Home » Pothos aerial roots – [How to deal with them]

Pothos aerial roots – [How to deal with them]

Aerial roots pothos

Potho or by its scientific name Epipremnum aureum is one of the most popular houseplants in the world. This popularity is due to several factors like; its striking and beautiful leaves, its hanging appearance, how easy it is to grow it, among others. Originally from Southeast Asia, this peculiar plant can reach an incredible height of 20 meters, as long as it has a support structure. If you have one at home you will have noticed that the pothos develops aerial roots, in this post we will deal with talking about these roots. What are they? What are its benefits? Should you cut them? These and other questions we will answer.


Aerial roots on pothos are very common, especially when you let their branches develop hanging on a wall. What the little plant wants to do when it releases one of these roots is to hold on to some point to be able to lean on it and from there to be able to climb. In general, they are not harmful to the development of pothos, in any case we will analyze all this in depth in the following sections.

Interesting fact: There’s no doubt that pothos make great houseplants, but you may not be aware of one of the biggest benefits of having one in your home. According to NASA studies, pothos is one of the best plants to purify the air in closed environments.

1. What are pothos aerial roots?


Aerial roots are roots that grow on the parts of the plant that are above the ground. They are characterized by being thick, fleshy and very vigorous. Although aesthetically they sometimes make your plant look a little bad, the truth is that they have many functions.

The most basic function is support, although they are also capable of absorbing moisture and nutrients. As you well know, pohtos are tropical plants that can develop very well in water. In those cases, the aerial roots are more than useful to carry out the exchange of air.

2. Benefits of Pothos Aerial Roots


We already mentioned some of the main functions of aerial roots but let’s delve into the benefits that these functions bring to pothos.

2.1 They provide oxygen


If you grow your pothos in water, the aerial roots fulfill a vital function: absorbing oxygen through their pores, as long as they are in the open air and not under water. Now you know that you should never cut aerial roots if your pothos is in the water.

2.2 Colonize new territories

Aerial roots could be seen as a way for pothos to spread and “reproduce”. And it is through these roots that the plant can anchor itself and go further. And at the same time, once this root is properly anchored, other parts of the plant can die and it will continue to grow.

In practice, you can take advantage of aerial roots to propagate your pothos. They are very strong and vigorous roots so it is a very fast, simple and effective method of propagation.

2.3 Improve ground anchoring

Although when we have our pothos in a hanging pot we do not need or want the branches to be anchored to the wall, the truth is that in their natural environment this is extremely necessary. Whether it is to withstand strong winds without becoming unstuck or withstand strong currents of water, a good anchor is very necessary.

2.4 They provide nutrients

They are not only useful for oxygenating the plant, they are also capable of extracting nutrients. These nutrients can be absorbed from various sources in nature, for example from nutrients present in rainwater, dew or even fog.

3. Can you cut aerial roots pothos


There are different positions when answering this question. Although basically I can summarize it in two: there are gardeners who say that you can cut them, and others who say that it is better not to cut them at all. The position we take in this blog is somewhat in between. Your pothos won’t die from cutting off a couple of aerial roots, but if you can leave them uncut, all the better.

Because I tell you that if you can leave them and not cut them, the better. Because I maintain that plants are intelligent beings. If they have begun to develop aerial roots, it is because they need these roots, and therefore they will fulfill some function. I think that’s a pretty logical thought.

Now, if your pothos has developed a lot of aerial roots and some of them look very bad aesthetically, it won’t hurt to cut off some of these roots. Always do it with sterilized scissors, and never cut all the aerial roots. Try not to remove more than 1/3 of all these roots.

Advice: If you are reading this article on pothos aerial root control, you may find some of these gardening articles interesting:

4. How to deal with aerial roots


While, as we have seen here, the aerial roots have many benefits for their pothos the truth that many gardeners bother them. The problem is aesthetic, that is, they do not like to see the hanging roots.

If you are one of those people who bother them that their pothos plants have aerial roots here we will see three solutions to treat them.

4.1 Cut the aerial roots

Undoubtedly, the fastest and simplest solution for these cases is to cut the roots. From this website, we recommend that you do not eliminate all the aerial roots, it is recommended that you leave 2/3 of the total. Anyway, there are many that argue that can reduce all roots and not cause any damage, I leave it at your discretion.

No matter how many roots you want to cut what you should never forget is to sterilize cutting tools. These tools can be pruning scissors or a simple sharp knife.

When you make the cut, do it very close to the stem. These cuts you make to discard the aerial roots promote the pothos to develop. You can start new shoots or also new roots. Cutting the roots is not a permanent solution, always return to grow new.

4.2 Propagate your pothos

The aerial roots of your pothos are an excellent opportunity to propagate this plant. In this way, you are using these roots and you make new plants.

We will analyze how to propagate a pothos from roots aerials in section 5., at the end of the publication.

4.3 Bury the roots on the ground.

This last option that helps you control the aerial roots of a pothos is only useful for cases where the plant is not hanging on a wall. We need him to be on the floor and have contact with the earth.

In those cases, what you can do is partially bury the roots on the ground. Therefore, these will begin to develop themselves as normal roots and stop seeing “bad” on the plant. Then, if you want to propagate the plant, you will only have to unearth these roots with a portion of branch and will have a new plant.

5. Can You Propagate Pothos From Aerial Roots?


As we already mention a way to take advantage of the aerial roots that we cut from our pothos, and we give them a use, it is to use them to create new plants. It is a process is very simple and we will summarize it in the following steps:

  • Step 1: When cutting the roots, it does not eliminate only the root, cut the root with a small portion of stems and leaves.
  • Step 2: Place these branches with the roots in a container with water.
  • Step 3: Change the water from the container every 2 or three days.
  • Step 4: When approximately two or three weeks have passed, they will notice how new roots will be generated.
  • Step 5: Once you notice that new roots appear, you can plant on the ground. And ready, it already has a new plant.

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