Very leggy pothos- pinch or stake?

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by starli84, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. starli84

    starli84 Active Member

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    Hello,

    I am back, and armed with more pictures! When I inherited this desk it came with 2 plants- an umbrella tree (which is blooming quite nicely, and needs to be re-potted soon) and a pothos.

    I didn't know what this plant was, only that it had lots of greenery and that it hadn't died or turned brown- voila, insta-gardener! Problem is, I've now seen pictures of what a pothos should look like... and this looks nothing like that. It is very leggy, and I'd like to maintain some of the real shape of it.

    I have already cut back many of the straggling leaves, rooted them, and gave them away. But I am not sure how severe I should cut into it. Since there are already many nubs on it, I am afraid that it will never be a bushy plant...

    Any thoughts?
     

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  2. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    stake it up!!! the viney parts will start to regrow leaves in a few weeks.
     
  3. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

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    You can stake your pothos like Joclyn said, or drape the stems all around like a jungle but they do become leggy when they get too long. You can keep them pinched back to a foot ot two for a more bushier fuller look. You can also keep much of it pinched back and just leave a few strands that would grow longer and hang down from a plant stand, or pedestal.
     
  4. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    Its searching for light. We have one inside and we do what Bluewing says, we just keep wrapping around and around the pot.

    Ed
     
  5. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    The plant is Epipremnum aureum with the common name of Pothos or Devil's Ivy. It really wants to climb and will become much fuller if given a tall totem so it can climb. The plant is thought to have originated in the Solomon Islands north of Australia and if you do a search on this site with the scientific name you'll find lots of information. It loves light, humidity and water. But the roots don't like to stay wet. True, it will root in water, but will do much better in a fast draining soil mix with a large totem in the center of the pot. If allowed to get too dry or too wet they will drop their leaves and become deciduous. I've got it climbing to a height of 17 feet (5.2 meters)with leaves close to 18 inches (45cm) in my atrium. In Miami you can find them along Old Cutler Road climbing well up into very tall trees with leaves that are quite large. I've posted a photo of some of my large leaves on one or more of the discussions on this forum.
     
  6. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

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    Steve,

    I would love to see those "wild" pothos your talking about, but I doubt I'll be getting to Miami. I guess the locals don't have to go to Walmart to buy that specific plant!

    Yes star,

    If your looking for a "fat plant", one that is more lush like you have seen, staked or not, your pothos will benefit with more light (bright indirect & some dapple sun)
    and maybe a slight hair-cut, then you can stick the ends back into the pot to help fill pn any bare spots:)

    This one I keep trimmed for now.
     

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  7. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    You should take a trip down to Miami. You can bring back all sorts of things people often pay good money to buy! I have no idea who turned the Epipremnum loose along Old Cutler, but down close to where 160th stree intersects with Old Cutler there is a stretch of preserved land the county won't allow anyone to clear. There are big Philodendron and Epipremnum species all along that drive. And if you go for a walk back into the preserve you'll be amazed at what is loose including lots of parrots.

    I'd guess a lot of the plants along that road came from both Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden which is just a few miles to the north and east and the old Parrot Jungle Park which is just a bit further north on Red Road. Both have incredible "jungles" and the birds that used to live in Parrot Jungle would eat the seeds and then "deposit" them all over south Miami. Many of their birds were allowed to free fly all over South Miami. I used to have Macaws and other large birds visit my back yard "rain forest" all the time.

    My Epipremnum aureum is now pretty mature, but I promise, there are leaves along Old Cutler that are larger. The "pothos" is the oval plant with the markings as you would expect on a pothos. The larger leaf is a Philodendron sagittifolium which has leaves around 30 inches (75cm) long. You can estimate for yourself how large my leaves now grow. The Philodendron came from the now defunct Orchid Jungle Park.
     

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  8. starli84

    starli84 Active Member

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    Any suggestions on the stake? I was reading that moss stakes work well with aroids but I don't know if anyone sells them around here. I have an 8" pot that I keep at my desk. There is barely any sunlight... only office lights (there are a row of windows about 20 feet away (in an office). Under these conditions, it seems to be doing quite well.

    I just repot it from a 6 in (COMPLETELY rootbound) to an 8" pot, but I am thinking that it might do well as a floor plant. Should I wait until it fills the 8" pot before I use a larger pot, or can an 8" serve as a floor pot? Once it gets used to the stake, I guess I can repot it larger and put it on the floor.

    By then, hopefully my chinese evergreen will be in fighting shape for my half-wall!
     
  9. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Although a lot of people will argue not to use a much larger pot, I do. And would. The common belief is you should never give a plant a "too large" pot because the plant will spend time working on new roots instead of growing. Not the case with Epipremnum aureum. I'd go at least 12 inches and make sure and add some compost or peat or something that will make the soil drain quickly but stay damp. You are trying to approximate rain forest soil which is filled with dead vegetation. Also add a large helping of orchid potting bark with charcoal and gravel. The Schultz brand works great. You can order a totem here:

    https://www.secureserver.com/mosserlee/orderonline.html

    I'd order the tallest one possible since the plant will quickly climb to the top. You can root new cuttings and pin them to the post all around. Keep the soil damp, just not soggy and give it as bright light as possible, just not direct sunlight.
     
  10. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

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    Interesting reading! The only time I saw wild parrots and parakeets was in Florida, in the Tampa area. I'm sure there are plenty of 'houseplants" like that growing all over the place wild...Something worth seeing for sure if you know where to look!
     
  11. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Looks like you have a cubicle - you can use hook-eyes and twine to give it a trellis up the walls if you don't want to stake it. I have a friend who turned his entire cube into a jungle in this manner, with just one pothos.

    But like Steve (PhotoPro) says, give it a bigger pot and amend its soils first.
     
  12. starli84

    starli84 Active Member

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    There's a problem...

    When I repot the plant, I went from a 6" to a 8". I tried to loosen the root ball as mentioned before, and rinsed out the soil. I repot the plant with new soil (Peat mix with a healthy helping of perlite) and watered it. Now, some of the leaves have turned brown/black on the edges and others have begun to get holes in the middle of their leaves... This is rot, right? What do I do now?
     
  13. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Not necessarily. More likely shock. It is fairly easy to shock an established specimen when you repot it. Rot is more likely to occur in the roots. Just keep the soil damp, not soggy, and give the plant as bright light as possible. I would expect some of the leaves to drop once re-potted but it should not take long for the specimen to begin to recover. This is one difficult species to kill! Once the plant begins to show recovery give it a dilute liquid fertilizer a couple of times each month. Chances are you will find the plant to soon become root bound again since you stepped up to only a slightly larger pot.

    Many people believe large pots are not good for house plants but those who grow and study them have learned that is not particularly good advice. I grow many specimens in 24 inch pots and I know a few growers who have placed small very rare specimens in full sized trash cans with holes in the bottom. Those tiny plants grew much faster as a result of the root space. Think about it. Nature does not restrict the amount to soil around the root ball! Someone just decided the plant would grow faster out of the pot if the roots were contained. Ive never found that to be true with any Philodendron or Anthurium. Your plant is neither species, but is related.

    In the research greenhouses are Missouri Botanical Garden everything is planted in large pots.
     
  14. starli84

    starli84 Active Member

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    Great points. I wish I had known that before I repotted! I was told that I should only go 2" larger... I'm assuming that I should wait a little while before I repot again to the larger size.

    I also bought the moss stakes that you recommended, photopro. I'm excited to see this plant take off. I know that it is one of the simpler plants, but I am happy to continue learning with this one. From this, I'll start branching out!

    Another question- if a leaf begins to show a blemish, is it best to remove it or let it stay? I don't want to start taking off all of its leaves...
     
  15. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    you'll see a BIG difference within a few weeks of putting the stake in!!

    i just used a support stake for my glads until i could find something more proper and the parts that had lost all the leaves (except for the two at the end) have filled out again and the other pieces that i jerry-rigged (they weren't quite long enough at the time) have grown about 4 inches since then. so, yes, this guy REALLY likes to grow upwards!!

    i ordered those supports that steve recommended - will use them for the hoya as i'm going to custom make something for the pothos. i have high ceilings (old house) so i want to see this in all it's glory which means a pot sitting on the floor and a tall, tall, support for it!

    if you have yellowing leaves, you can wait until they're completely dead or pinch them off once it's clear that they're goners. you're choice.

    if you've got a whole stem that's going, that would indicate something isn't right. can you post a pic?
     
  16. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Joclyn is right, but she often is! She's become very astute at growing the species in her collection and I commend her for her "growth".

    I believe if you back up a few posts you'll find I did recommend a 12 inch pot, but that is certainly something easy to miss. As for removing all the blemished leaves, you'll soon find you'll want to remove a bunch if you take off down that road. I sometimes remove leaves that are badly damaged but nature is not very nice with most of the plants in her care. If you go into the rain forest you'll find more leaves that are damaged than ones that are whole. I don't always like to see them, and I do everything possible to prevent damage. But it just goes along with growing plants.

    There are two specimens in the Missouri Botanical Garden research collection I'd kill for and both are badly damaged. Nature just does that. Both are the only known specimens of their species in a collection anywhere and both have ragged and frayed leaves. But their beauty is phenomenal.

    Just take the approach you will try to give the plant all you can to keep it happy and let nature do the rest. The totem is going to make a big difference and in a year you'll look at the plant in awe. And that is a promise!

    And by the way Jocylyn, I ordered another big box of the 42 inch ones yesterday!
     
  17. starli84

    starli84 Active Member

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    Sure thing! It seems like there are spots that are turning yellow, then turns into a bare patch on the leaf.

    I am attaching a second picture as well- when I came back from the weekend, I saw that a whole stem of new leaves had turned brown on the edges. There are also other leaves from other stems that had done the same.

    Plus, I had to cut of the new growths at the end of the stems because they had all turned brown as well. I am hoping that this is just because I had to run the plant out from my house back into the car, and the same when I brought it into the office again... or from the repotting. I am told that this things are really hardy, but I don't like the look of this.
     

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  18. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    I think a lot of gardeners get too "fussy" when it comes to blemishes on the leaves (and I'm not saying that it is you starli84). I personally don't worry too much about it. If it gets really unsightly or indicates a problem then I remove them or try to find the source. Most of the time it just might be a natural occurance, or a bit too much sun here or too much wind there. Like Steve said if you go to a rainforest leaves are chewed by insects, leaves burned, damaged plants etc. Its just natural!!
    In saying that, sometimes leaf blemish can be signs of a problem...

    Ed
     
  19. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Ed is absolutely correct. The brown leaves appear to be damaged as a result of the repotting. The blemished leaf is something I've seen many times. I hate to be trite, but we all just live with it! The plant is fine. But if this keeps on going and going, then we need to look for a problem.
     
  20. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    it's probably just a result of the repotting. most plants go into a bit of shock when they're moved and some leaf loss is unavoidable. and those little 'pin-pricks'? they're inevitable - no matter how careful we are, they just happen. like the others said, out in nature, things would be a lot more ragged, so, no worries!

    from the way they're browning, it almost looks like what happens with some plants when they're watered with fresh tap water.

    tap water is fine to use (although i do sometimes gather rain water and use that when i can; i'll also use the run-off from the window units in the summer time). with tap water, you need to let it sit overnight so the excess chlorine can dissipate. letting it sit also gives an opportunity to use room-temp water and that's a plus, too.

    steve, thanks for the vote of confidence!! i'm a relative noob, though, when compared to you!! i'm wrong just as often as i'm right - hopefully that ratio will improve over time :)
     
  21. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Promise, it will. Sometimes I read your responses and just shut up. No reason for me to say another word.
     
  22. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    Ditto for me too...
     
  23. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    *blushing* thanks :)

    i got a lot of my info from your site, steve!! you're a very good teacher!!
     
  24. starli84

    starli84 Active Member

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    Thanks for your help, everyone! I got nervous because this plant has not had a blemish on it since I've seen it. I knew that it was incredibly rootbound so I was sure I was doing the right thing, but now its damaged leaves were making me nervous!

    I will wait a while longer before I jump to conclusions, thanks again!!! :)
     
  25. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    you're very, very welcome!! always glad to help another gardener!!

    please post some pics in a month or so - i'd like to see how well your pothos is doing after it's been on the stake for a bit!
     

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