The lush and lovely Hawaiian pothos will bring a touch of paradise into your home. This houseplant’s vibrant, heart-shaped leaves and easygoing nature make it the perfect green companion for both experienced and novice plant parents alike.
A radiant relative of the popular golden pothos, the Hawaiian pothos sports variegated green and yellow leaves that seem to sparkle in the sunlight. In fact, you might feel like you’re on a mini-vacation every time you catch a glimpse of its cheerful foliage.
Grab your favorite island drink and kick back as we guide you through everything you need to know about Hawaiian pothos care to turn your home into an indoor oasis — one gorgeous leaf at a time.
Hawaiian Pothos Plant Care Guide
History, Habitat, and Characteristics
Hawaiian pothos (Epipremnum aureum ‘Hawaiian’) is a climbing vine with vibrant green leaves and contrasting light-green variegation. And it’s as resilient as it is beautiful.
Originating from the South Pacific, Hawaiian pothos isn’t just about good looks. Its resilience has also helped it spread across the region, even lending a hand in recolonizing areas recovering from volcanic eruptions.
Hawaiian pothos is also known as giant Hawaiian pothos, and for good reason. Its heart-shaped leaves can grow up to a foot long, and some varieties even display fenestrations, small holes that emerge when they bask in the bright outdoor light.
As a climbing plant, Hawaiian pothos loves growing on trees or similar structures, giving it much-needed support to maintain its impressive leaf size. With its ability to thrive in low-light conditions, it’s perfect for adding that tropical touch to your home’s interior spaces.
Fun fact: Did you know that despite its resemblance to the Philodendron, Hawaiian pothos is actually part of the Araceae family? That’s right — it’s related to famous houseplants like Monstera deliciosa and peace lily (Spathiphyllum).
It’s not hard to find ideal lighting conditions for your Hawaiian pothos. Like most pothos, it’s pretty easy to please, especially indoors, where it’s protected from the sun’s harsh rays. You still need to find a good balance for a healthy, thriving plant, though.
Aim for bright, indirect light to help your plant grow happily. A great spot would be near — but not directly in front of — a south-facing window, where it’ll receive plenty of natural light throughout the day. Keep an eye on your plant for any signs of sun damage, and be prepared to adjust its position as needed.
Prolonged direct sunlight will be too harsh for the delicate pothos leaves, causing unsightly brown spots and yellowing edges. When this happens, consider moving your plant out of direct sun, either by putting up a sheer curtain to filter sunlight or by finding a spot with less direct light exposure.
Pothos can handle lower light than many other tropical plants grown as houseplants, but the Hawaiian variety may not thrive if it’s not getting enough light. One way to tell your Hawaiian pothos is not getting enough light is if its variegation disappears. In this case, try relocating your Hawaiian pothos plant to a brighter spot or give it a boost with artificial light, such as an LED grow light.
- Give your Hawaiian pothos bright, indirect light.
- Avoid exposing your Hawaiian pothos to direct sunlight for extended periods.
- If a south-facing window has too much direct light, try adding a sheer curtain or move to an east- or west-facing window.
- In shadier spots, use a grow light to supplement your plant’s light exposure.
Hawaiian and golden pothos are incredibly forgiving plants. When a pothos is thirsty, you may notice some drooping, but it will bounce back right away as soon as you give it a good soak. When it’s time to water your pothos, make sure the soil is completely soaked, kind of like a pour-over coffee, and then let the excess water drain through the drainage holes.
The biggest danger for Hawaiian pothos is overwatering. Too much water can lead to root rot, disease, and plant death. You can tell your plant has been overwatered if the leaves turn yellow and the stems are mushy. Always let the soil of your Hawaiian pothos dry out before you water it again.
If your Hawaiian pothos isn’t getting enough water, the oldest leaves (those at the bottom) will turn bright yellow, and you might spot some curling leaves too. In that case, it’s time to step up your watering game. Be sure to remove any dying leaves to avoid attracting common pests and conserve the plant’s energy for its healthy leaves.
Our watering tips:
- To check the moisture level, feel the soil about an inch or two down. You’re aiming for dry but not bone dry.
- Never put pothos in a pot without drainage holes.
- In the winter, when plant growth slows down, reduce your watering frequency.
Temperature and Humidity
Hawaiian pothos plants originate in humid environments, so an ideal range falls between 40% and 60% humidity. Signs of too little humidity include brown or yellow pothos leaves and slow growth. On the other hand, if there’s too much humidity, your plant might show signs of mold or mildew growth.
The care for Hawaiian pothos includes a comfortable room temperature of 65-80°F. Avoid exposing plants to temperatures below 60°F or above 85°F. If you notice your pothos displaying wilting leaves, this could be a sign that the temperature is too high or too low. This isn’t an especially cold hardy plant.
Temperature and humidity care tips:
- Maintain a room temperature of 65-80°F, away from windows or doorways prone to drafts.
- Aim for an average humidity of 40%-60%.
- Use a humidifier or place a tray of water and pebbles beneath plants to increase indoor humidity.
- Avoid placing plants near heating or cooling vents, which can cause drastic changes in temperature.
Soil and Planting
Hawaiian pothos thrives in well-draining potting soil that promotes healthy growth and prevents waterlogged conditions.
When repotting your Hawaiian pothos, use a well-draining potting mix combined with perlite to encourage aeration and prevent soil compaction. Adding charcoal to the bottom of the new pot can help prevent bacterial growth, especially in large pots with limited drainage — which you should avoid anyway.
To repot a Hawaiian pothos when the roots outgrow its current pot, carefully lift the plant and its root ball out of the old pot, ensuring the vine and roots are loosened, and place it into a slightly larger, new pot with fresh soil.
If your Hawaiian pothos is not thriving and you’re following our watering and lighting tips, it may be due to issues with the potting soil.
Watch for signs of poor soil:
- Yellowing leaves: This can indicate a lack of nutrients in the soil or poor drainage, causing bacterial leaf spot.
- Wilting leaves: Wilting, even with careful watering, may be due to compacted soil that is not allowing proper aeration.
- Slow or stunted growth: A pothos that isn’t growing may have compacted soil or bound roots.
To resolve these issues, you may need to adjust your potting soil composition or repot your plant with fresh potting soil and proper drainage.
While it’s true that Hawaiian pothos requires nutrients to grow, you can overdo it with fertilizer. Use a balanced Hawaiian pothos fertilizer intended for houseplants and follow the product recommendations.
If you spot any of the following symptoms, your plant may be suffering from over-fertilization:
- Leaf burn: Yellow or brown leaf tips and edges are often a sign of too much fertilizer or fertilizer burn.
- Stunted growth: Excess fertilizer can cause salt buildup in the soil, leading to stunted growth.
To address these issues, try the following solutions:
- Water your plant thoroughly to help flush excess fertilizer from the soil.
- Reduce the frequency and amount of fertilizer application.
- If necessary, repot your plant with fresh potting soil to remove salt buildup and provide a clean nutrient base.
Few things in life are easier than propagating a pothos plant. Simply follow these steps and you’ll have a new plant in no time.
To propagate Hawaiian pothos via stem cuttings:
- Collect your supplies. You’ll need a clear vase, some water, sharp scissors (sterilized, please), and a healthy Hawaiian pothos plant.
- Cut a 4-6 inch segment from a healthy stem, ideally just below a leaf node. Aim for at least 2-3 leaves on top of your cutting — they’re going to be the stars of your new plant!
- Remove leaves from the bottom nodes. Soggy, submerged foliage can dirty the water and lead to plant disease.
- Fill your clear vase with water and place your cutting inside. To promote rooting, you can dip your cuttings in rooting hormone and add a few drops of fertilizer to the water, but this is not necessary.
- After about 3-6 weeks, you’ll see new roots forming. Remember to change the water when it looks cloudy, and keep an eye on your little cutting. When it reaches around 2 inches in length, it’s ready to plant!
- Plant it deep enough in well-drained soil to cover the roots and keep it steady, but don’t cover up those cute little sprouts from the node. Now’s the time to add a moss pole for support if you want your Hawaiian pothos to climb instead of trail.
- Keep the soil moist but not drenched, and place your new plant baby in a warm spot, like near an east-facing window where it will get plenty of sun, but not too much. As it gets older, you can gradually introduce it to even brighter indirect light.
When you see brown tips and yellowing edges on the leaves of your Hawaiian pothos, that’s a sign that your plant is getting too much direct sunlight. Don’t worry, fixing this is quite easy . . . .all you have to do is move the plant to indirect sunlight.
You could also use sheer curtains to filter the sunlight, giving your pothos plant just the right amount of bright light it needs to flourish during the growing season.
Make sure you’re watering your plant properly. Underwatering can sometimes masquerade as sun damage — and vice versa. Use your finger to check the soil for dryness. If it’s dry, give your plant a good drink. Proper watering will help your Hawaiian pothos bounce back from sun damage and maintain that vibrant, green foliage we love so much.
Yellow leaves could be a sign of improper watering, a nutrient issue, or even insect infestations. Overwatering often causes yellow leaves, leading to soggy soil. To fix this, let the well-draining potting mix dry between waterings (remember, no drowning the poor thing), and make sure your hanging pot has proper drainage holes.
But, hey, it’s not always about overwatering. Sometimes, underwatering can cause yellowing leaves too, especially if the older leaves are looking sad while the new plants are all cheery and healthy. So, check the moisture level of the soil. If it’s dry, give your Hawaiian pothos a much-needed drink.
And lastly, don’t forget to ensure that your potting mix has just the right balance of nutrients to keep your leafy buddy happy and healthy.
Pests and Diseases
Have you ever smelled a bog? Have you ever smelled a bog in your living room? That’s probably root rot. Soil that stays wet for too long turns into a fungal disease. You’ll know your pothos has a rot issue if you spot yellowing leaves, browning roots, and a funky damp smell around the plant.
Now, fixing root rot is a bit like plant surgery, but don’t worry, we’ll guide you through it.
First, gently remove the pothos from the pot and trim away any mushy, dark roots with a sterile cutting tool. Rinse out your pot and discard the old soil completely. Repot your plant in a potting mix with plenty of perlite, pumice, or LECA for aeration.
To avoid the dreaded root rot in the future, be sure to water your Hawaiian pothos only when the soil is dry to the touch — and as always, use a pot with sufficient drainage.
All right, let’s chat about those tiny troublemakers – mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids. They love to snack on Hawaiian pothos leaves and stems. If you have one of these infestations, you may notice discolored or curled leaves and stunted growth (no fun).
To catch these invaders early, inspect your Hawaiian pothos plant regularly for signs of infestation — think small white bugs, webbing, or little cottony clusters on stems and leaves.
So, you’ve got some unwelcome guests on your pothos plant. What now? First, isolate the affected plant. We don’t want them spreading to your other plants. Remove affected leaves and stems, and give the rest of the plant a good wipe-down with a damp cloth or cotton swab (bye-bye, bugs!). This is just step one.
You’ll need to follow up with insecticidal soap or neem oil to really show those pests who’s boss. Follow the product’s directions and be prepared to reapply at regular intervals — pests can be persistent!
To keep these critters away in the future, keep your plant’s surroundings tidy, check for infestations regularly, and don’t go overboard with the watering. A stressed Hawaiian pothos plant is an easy target. Provide proper light, water, and nutrients so your Hawaiian pothos stays strong and are better able to fend off any pest attacks.
That’s a wrap for our Hawaiian pothos care guide! You’re now equipped with all the tools and knowledge you need to keep your tropical treasure happy and healthy.
Hawaiian pothos care summary:
- Provide bright, indirect light by placing it close to an east-facing window.
- Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
- Keep humidity levels at 40%-60% and temperatures of 65-80°F for optimal growth.
- Use a well-draining soil mix with perlite and ensure your pot has drainage holes.
We hope you’re feeling confident and ready to grow Hawaiian pothos indoors. This tropical plant is not only easy to care for, but it also adds a burst of life to your living space.
If you’ve found this guide useful, don’t hesitate to share it with fellow plant lovers! As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us.
Aloha, and mahalo for reading!
Are Hawaiian pothos and golden pothos the same?
They’re related! Hawaiian pothos is a cultivar of Epipremnum aureum (golden pothos), and for many, it can be hard to tell the difference. Hawaiian pothos plants tend to have a creamier variegation and grow a bit larger, hence why they’re often called giant Hawaiian pothos.
Is Hawaiian pothos rare?
While not as common as golden pothos, it’s still fairly easy to find at local nurseries or plant shops.
Are Hawaiian pothos toxic?
Yes. According to the ASPCA, Hawaiian pothos contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation in both humans and pets when ingested. Some people can be sensitive while handling as well (especially if pruning), so play it safe and wear gloves.