Philodendron vs Pothos: What’s the Difference?

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For every house planting enthusiast, picking up the right plants is on the priority list. Each plant comes with its special features and symbolizes ideas, emotions, and actions. Additionally, indoor plants have their unique meaning. To have a positive environment, having plants that symbolize what you want or need is suggested.

Choosing the essential plants becomes a conflict when two plants look alike. Similarly, philodendron and pothos are both planted indoors, but they differ in their symbolic meanings and surviving conditions. 

When both the plants can be easily planted at home, which one will you pick?

Philodendron vs Pothos

To make tough choices, you require advanced knowledge. Hence, here we are to shed light upon the differences of both these plants and lend a helping hand in your selection.

Without any further delay, let us dive into understanding each plant as a whole and draw a comparison between their differences.

Bonus Read: Get onto remodeling your outdoor seating area with any of these 17 mind-blowing enclosed-patio design plans.

Philodendron vs Pothos: Key Features and Specifications

Here is a detailed comparison table that will give DIY gardeners much-needed basic introduction about the plants:

Shape of leavesHeart-shaped, thinner, soft texturedLarger, thicker, waxier
Genus of the plantPhilodendronEpipremnum
Aerial rootsThinnerWider, stubbier
PetioleRound, uniformIndented, not completely round

For an in-depth explanation about the plants, continue reading further.


Philodendron of the Araceae family is a stout-stemmed climbing plant of tropical America. Cultivated for its showy foliage, the name philodendron is broken into ‘philo’ meaning ‘love’ or ‘affection’, and ‘dendron’ meaning ‘tree’. This is a classic indoor plant requiring less care, and symbolizing health and abundance.

Also known as ‘heartleaf philodendron’, this is the most common type to be confused with pothos owing to similar appearances. There are over 480 recognized types of philodendron found worldwide.

Top-rated to purify indoor air, philodendrons are found in various shapes and colors and grow rapidly. Belonging to the aroid class, these plants can survive in warm outdoor climates and cool indoor temperatures too. The commonly preferred are the heart-shaped ones having dark green leaves and a flexible vine.

With a stunning display of delicate flowers and intricate design-bearing leaves, philodendron adapts easily to changing climatic conditions.

Types of Philodendron

Some usually favored types include:

1. Philodendron Hederaceum

A native plant of South America and the Caribbean, its other names are ‘heartleaf’ and ‘sweetheart’. Just as the name suggests, the leaves are heart-shaped and a wonder to watch. With basic thriving requirements, this plant can be gifted to beginners of house planting as well.

Nurture the plant with bright, indirect sunlight and slightly moist soil. Along with fertilizing lightly every month, pinch back the stems to grow a fuller, bushy plant.

2. Philodendron Erubescens

Primarily found in Costa Rica and rain forests of South America, the other names of this plant are ‘pink princess’, ‘blushing’, and ‘red-leaf’. Bearing an exotic appearance, this plant can climb up to as tall as 5 feet. 

The red-leaf is not fond of bright sunlight. Thus, placing it in an east-facing window is a good solution. Philodendron erubescens are hassle-free to take care of, and not feeding them during the late fall or winter months is recommended.

3. Philodendron Bipinnatifidum

Popularly known as the ‘hope plant’, or ‘lacey tree’, this is a floor plant. Bipinnatifidum is a non-climbing plant that can grow as wide as 5 feet. 

Philodendron Bipinnatifidum

To ensure healthy growth, remember to regularly treat the plant with neem oil and place it in a location where it receives a lot of sunlight.

4. Philodendron Brasil

‘Cream splash’ and ‘silver stripe’ being its other names, this is a fast-growing vine. Brasil, which aptly earned its name due to its close resemblance with the Brazilian flag, can survive in low light conditions. To make it grow faster with more leaves, place it in indirect contact with bright or medium sunlight.

The normal household humidity works fine for the plant to grow. An added benefit of growing brasil at home is that it pulls out all toxins from the air, making the home environment pure.

5. Philodendron Monstera Deliciosa

Renowned as the ‘Swiss cheese plant’, monstera deliciosa is a split-leaf philodendron. It is characterized as a fruit-bearing plant with mildly toxic leaves that are harmful to humans, dogs, and cats. Exposure to the intake of plant leaves can cause vomiting, congestion, and headache.

The monstera plants are expensive due to their rarity. This is one of the most effective plants to reduce air pollution and makes a statement appearance when placed in bedrooms.

When chosen as a house plant type, the monstera symbolizes honor, respect, and longevity. It is a great gift for someone who values family history and background.

6. Philodendron Xanadu

A native plant of Brazil, xanadu philodendron is a large, compact, and upright indoor plant with lobed green leaves. 

Philodendron Xanadu
Image: nurserylive.com

The xanadu likes warm temperatures, and keeping it away from open doors, especially in winters, is advised. Planting it indoors is beneficial because this plant cannot survive outdoors in cold temperatures and frost season.

7. Philodendron Micans

Also called the ‘velvet-leaf philodendron’, the micans are native to Mexico and Southern USA. These plants have a velvety texture and greenish-brown leaves.

Having rust-colored undersides, this plant is a suitable pick if you want to play with different shades in the room. Growing the plant in a large, spacious room is recommended because this plant can grow as tall as 6 feet!

8. Philodendron Rugosum

A native plant of Ecuador, rugosum is also called ‘pigskin’. It has thick leaves and a rough texture. Due to its leathery bright-green appearance, it is often mistaken as a plastic plant.

These philodendrons have well-established root systems and are very healthy, climbing tropical plants. With the potential to be quite huge, these plants can grow as tall as 6 to 15 feet.

9. Philodendron Moonlight

The philodendron moonlight is a hybrid variety of the common heartleaf philodendron, being a non-vining, clump-forming plant. Moreover, it is known for its remarkable fluorescent green foliage. 

Philodendron Moonlight

The moonlights are popular as they are easy-to-care-for indoor plants. Over a while, one can see the moonlight grow as large as 20 to 26 inches. Unlike other philodendrons, the moonlight does not climb or sprawl, making it a beautiful atrium choice.


Pothos are evergreen plants with thick, waxy, green leaves and splashes of yellow. These are hardy foliage plants belonging to the arum (Araceae) family. Speaking of other well-known names, ‘devil’s ivy’, ‘golden pothos’, and ‘money plant’ are a few.

Pothos plants are found in different colors and variegations, with the leaf shape and growth habits remaining similar. This is one of the first plants that any house planting beginner starts with.

One of the easiest plants to grow, pothos not only help in cleansing the air but also help in relieving the eyes after long days of staring at screens.

Types of Pothos

Some common indoor pothos includes:

1. Golden Pothos

Easily available, the golden pathos is the traditional pothos type. Along with having heart-shaped green leaves, it is splashed with blue shades.

Having attractive leaves and a high tolerance for low sunlight, low humidity, and cool temperatures, golden pothos are rated at the top when it comes to selecting pothos for indoor planting.

2. Marble Queen Pothos

With a cheesecake-type look, the white and dark green colors form eye-catching variegation. Being a highly variegated variety, there is less chlorophyll on each leaf. As a result, the plant needs a closer light source for better growth.

Marble Queen Pothos

Avoid direct sunlight as the marble queen is a low-maintenance plant that does well in both – sunny and shade conditions.

3. Neon Pothos

Bright and lime green colored, the neon pothos is a unique type. Unlike other pothos types, neon pothos requires bright sunlight. Do not make the mistake of placing it in a low or dimly lit room, as that could make the leaves dull and dark.

Water the plant every 5 to 7 days depending on the outside temperature and humidity. An all-purpose potting mix works the best, and applying a balanced fertilizer every month keeps the plant healthy and growing.

4. Jessenia Pothos

Found in hues of green and yellow, all the leaves of jessenia are different from the rest. Having much darker variegation, the jessenia plant grows slower than other types due to a lack of chlorophyll.

Jessenia Pothos
Image: gabriellaplants.com

A beautiful house plant, the jessenia pothos is gaining huge popularity in modern times.

5. Manjula Pothos

A patented variety of pothos, this was originally produced at the University of Florida. The leaves of Manjula have curvy edges and do not lay flat. This plant variety can be found in shades of silver, cream, white, and light green.

Manjula is a trailing plant whose pot needs to be pruned to prevent the stems from overflowing. Additionally, to keep the foliage vibrant, Manjula needs specific care requirements.

6. Pearls and Jade Pothos

These plants have green leaves and are variegated with silver-gray and white colors. Its variegation is seen on the edges of the leaves and not at the center.

Pearls and jade pothos have relatively smaller leaves which require a lot of time to grow. Being a natural climber, these plants demand low light conditions. Ideally, bright indirect light is best for the plant to grow. Make sure to protect the plant from frost as its frost tolerance level is zero.

7. Silver Pothos

Also known as ‘satin pothos’, this plant has dark green, heart-shaped foliage. To get the brightest shades of silver on the leaves, placing the plant in contact with bright indirect sunlight is recommended. 

The best watering time for silver pothos is when the topsoil is half dry. 

Silver Pothos

Note: This plant has long stems and can grow as long as ten feet.

8. Cebu Blue Pothos

The striking characteristic of Cebu blue pothos is the arrow-shaped blue-green leaves. When given enough brightness, the leaves enlarge and form natural splits.

Bearing shiny blue leaves, the plant sparkles, giving the room an aesthetic appeal. Like all other pothos varieties, Cebu blue pothos also requires well-drained soil for healthy growth.

Bonus Read: Scroll through these soil test kits to verify the readiness of your soil.

9. N-joy Pothos

One of the new types in the market, the n-joy pothos are distinctly variegated. Being patient with its growth is necessary because the leaves grow slower than any other pothos plant.

These plants love bright indirect light and can also be exposed to the morning sun as long as the harsh sun rays do not burn the leaves. To top it up, they have firmer stems, making them a great choice for interiorscapes.

The n-joy pothos can grow as long as ten feet, but sometimes, maintenance can be tricky and difficult to manage.

Philodendron vs Pothos: Ground of Comparison

Now that you have significant knowledge about the plant characteristics and types, differentiating between them on common ground criteria will be of great help in your decision-making.

You must be able to identify between the two because when purchasing the plants, the retailer may put up wrong labels and you would end up buying something you did not ask for.

Shape of Leaves

Look at the widest part of the leaf to notice the difference in the shape of the leaves. Philodendron has a pronounced curving at the sides and bears a heart-shaped appearance. The lack of this striking characteristic in pothos sets it apart from philodendron.

Shape of Leaves
Image: wolframscience.com

Pothos leaves have a slightly bumpy texture and feel thick and waxy on the touch. On the other hand, philodendron leaves are thinner and possess a soft texture. Another difference between the shapes of leaves is the inconsistency. Pothos leaving can be asymmetrical at times, while the philodendron bears uniformity.  

The new leaves of philodendron have a pink or brownish tint which gradually darkens with maturity. Pothos leaves, however, carry a lighter shade than the rest of the plant.

Genus of The Plant

Both the plants are considered as a part of the aroid (Araceae) family and are somewhat related. The main difference lies in the genus of these plants. Pothos belongs to the Epipremnum genus, while philodendron is a part of the philodendron genus itself.

Aerial Roots

Aerial roots help in anchoring the plant firmly and are found above ground. This root is known to absorb water directly from the air.

Both the plants have aerial roots, but the difference lies in the outward look of the roots. Philodendron aerial roots are thin, clustered, and have distinctive cataphylls. Whereas the aerial roots of pothos are thick nubs, with just one root extending from each node.


Petioles are the small stems that connect the leaves to the main stem of the plant. The petiole fulfills the purpose of joining the leaf on the vine.

For easy recognition, a philodendron petiole is round and uniform. Whereas the pothos petiole has an indentation that eventually turns out to form two brown, papery edges.

Growing and Stem Differences

To spot the difference between the two plants, observe the growing habits. A new pothos leaf arises from the last leaf of the vein, but in philodendron, a new leaf extends on the vine, which is protected by a cataphyll.

The stems of philodendron and pothos are also different. Compared to philodendron, pothos stems are thicker and of the same color as the leaves. On the contrary, philodendron stems are dainty looking and bear a brownish-orange color.

Philodendron vs Pothos: The Final Review

To sum up the above discussion, here are some survival conditions which the plants require:

Growing Conditions for Philodendron:

  • In the presence of indirect light or shady regions
  • Water supply every 1 to 2 weeks
  • Moist air humidity will help in growing the leaves faster
  • Average home temperature ideally should not be less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit or more than 75 degrees Fahrenheit
  • A light feeding of granular food every 3 to 4 months is advised

Growing Conditions for Pothos:

  • Can be planted in dry soil or vases of water
  • Grows well in bright indirect sunlight as well as low light
  • The growth rate depends upon the variety of the pothos
  • Requires a high quality, well-drained potting mix
  • Avoid overwatering. Discard excess water to ensure that the plants are not sitting in water


To conclude, the philodendron vs pothos selection depends upon an each individual DIY house planter’s preference. The plants may look similar at first sight. However, a further close inspection will show the differences discussed above. Hence, it is vital to have the proper knowledge before jumping to the final decision.

We have tried our best to explain to you the differences in the simplest terms. We are certain that even a beginner of DIY house planting will gain insights from the above-mentioned discussion.

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