The Difference of Pothos and Philodendron

Last Updated on April 9, 2024 by Real Men Sow

It can seem simple for beginners to mix pothos with a heart-shaped philodendron. Both have green, glossy heart-shaped leaves. Both plants are similar to vines in their growth habits. They look beautiful both hanging from a hearth, hanging pot, or climbing up a trellis.

They don’t all need the same care, even though they have similar needs. It is helpful to know what you are doing with your plants! Let’s learn how to distinguish the plants.

Difference of Pothos and Philodendron ‘s Taxonomy

Both pothos, as well as philodendrons, are members of the Araceae family. However, if you break it down further you will see the differences. Pothos comes from the Epipremnum Genus, while philodendrons are part of, you guessed the Philodendron Genus.

The Epipremnum Aureum species is responsible for most pothos varieties such as jade pothos and neon pothos. The botanical name of the heart leaf philodendron is the philodendron. You might also be interested in philodendron brazil which has a lime green stripe along the middle and philodendron microans which have velvety leaves.

The difference of Pothos and Philodendron ‘s Leaves

Shape and Texture

Both the leaves of pothos and vining Philodendron have a heart-shaped shape, while philodendron leaves are wider. A philodendron leaf is more dramatic than a pothos leaf. It connects to the stem or petiole at the end. Pothos have thicker, waxier leaves than heart-leaf philodendrons.


Petioles are mini stems connecting the leaves to their main stem. A philodendron’s petiole has a round shape, while a pothos petiole curves inwards and is more like a celery stalk.

Aerial Roots

Both pothos and philodendron plants will have aerial roots that allow them to climb and vine. Pothos’ aerial roots, however, are thick and will only have one per node. This is the point where the leaf and petiole attach to the stem. Heartleaf Philodendron’s aerial roots are much thinner and you will see more than one at each node.

New Growth

How new leaves are grown is the final way to tell the difference between heartleaf and pothos. A new pothos leaf is tightly curled and gradually unfurls, revealing a lighter version than a mature one that will eventually darken.

The new philodendron leaves will be protected in cataphylls. The cataphylls will fall off once the leaves have matured and opened. Baby philodendron leaves tend to be pinkish-yellowish in color and will become more green as they mature.

Is it Possible to Grow Pothos and Philodendron Together?

It might work if you experiment with large mixed planters of different houseplants in one container. Both plants are easy to care for and require similar care. They would be a great complement.

  • Both pothos, as well as philodendrons, are able to tolerate low light conditions. However, they prefer brighter, indirect light.
    • A variegated pothos, philodendron, or other plants with variegation is likely to be under-lit. You can move it to a sunny spot and you will see more color.
  • You should let the soil dry a bit between waterings. Wait to water the soil until it is dry to the top. Pothos are especially susceptible to root rot when they have too much moisture.
Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.