Devil’s ivy is one of the most popular houseplants in the world. It is a vining plant that originated in Southeast Asia, and is also called a pothos plant, although it is not technically part of the pothos family. The most popular variety is the golden pothos, whose off-white, yellow, and green marbled patterns make it unique among houseplants.
Devil’s ivy is a favorite among plant enthusiasts because of how low-maintenance it is. It requires very little care and attention and is also very easy to propagate.
In this article, we will dive deeper into the proper cultural care of a devil’s ivy plant. So, if you are planning to add one of these to your collection, keep reading to learn more about them.
Devil’s ivy plant care
Devil’s ivy vines do not cling naturally to trellises and support like actual ivy does, but they can be trained to wind around them, giving the appearance of twining. Some specimens can grow up to 30 feet long as indoor plants, though most are kept at a much shorter and more aesthetically pleasing length. In the event that you decide to allow your plant to grow into a long vine, it can be secured on hooks so that it can trail along walls and over window frames. To prevent your vines from becoming a tangled mess, shake them out every now and then to keep them from twisting around one another.
Indoors, devil’s ivy prefers bright but indirect light. If exposed to insufficient light, variegated plants may lose their leaf pattern and revert to having only green foliage. The variegation is usually restored once the plant is moved to brighter conditions.
If you are growing your plant in a place where natural light is scarce, you can help it out by using a grow light so that it still gets the light that it needs every day.
The sudden appearance of pale-looking leaves indicates that the plant is receiving too much sunlight. If this happens, transfer your plant to a spot where it can get more diffused light to keep the leaves from getting scorched.
Devil’s ivy plants do well in any type of potting soil, as long as it drains well. They can also thrive in soil ranging from neutral to acidic pH.
Make sure that your chosen pot has drainage holes at the bottom so that any excess water in the soil can simply flow out, thereby decreasing the chances of overwatering.
Devil’s ivy prefers its soil to dry out completely between waterings; its roots will rot if they are left in a constantly moist environment. You will know your plant is overwatered if there are black spots on the stems nearest to the soil. This could mean that the roots have already rotted and soon the rest of the plant will, too.
To avoid overwatering, only water the plant when the top two inches of soil have dried out.
Conversely, if the plant has been without water for too long, it will begin to droop and wilt and the edges of its leaves will curl and turn brown. In order to avoid such dehydration, check the moisture in the plant’s soil regularly by touching it.
If the top two inches of soil are dry, you may water the plant, but if the soil is still damp, wait one or two days before checking the soil again.
Temperature and humidity requirements
Devil’s ivy thrives in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It can survive outdoors, but be mindful to take it indoors once the temperature starts to drop in the fall. Then, keep the plant inside the house until spring when it can be taken back outside in the warmer weather.
This plant loves high humidity, so placing it in a humid area of your homes, such as the kitchen or bathroom, will benefit it. You can also place it next to other humidity-loving plants so that they create a microclimate around each other.
A pebble tray filled with water can also be helpful when it comes to keeping the humidity raised. Place the plant on top of the pebble tray and, as the water evaporates from the tray, it will moisten the leaves and the soil in the pot.
Devil’s ivy is more tolerant of low humidity than other tropical plants, so you may not need to purchase a humidifier unless the humidity where you live is particularly low.
Devil’s ivy does not require frequent feeding. However, if its potting soil is low in nutrients, you can supplement the plant’s needs by feeding it once – or possibly up to twice – per month with any balanced houseplant fertilizer.
Just make sure that you do not overfeed your plant because this can lead to soil toxicity and root burn.
Diseases and pests
Common diseases that can affect the devil’s ivy are caused by bacteria or fungi. Root rot and leaf spots can even kill the plant if not resolved in time.
The best way to prevent pathogens from taking over your plant is by avoiding overwatering: root rot is more likely to occur when the roots are damaged and weakened, and fungi thrive in damp environments.
Devil’s ivy is susceptible to a variety of pests, but infestations are extremely rare.
Mealybugs and spider mites are among the pests that are most commonly observed.
When you first see signs of an infestation, move the affected plant to a different part of the house to quarantine it from your other plants.
To get rid of the pests, you can place the plant under the shower and let a steady stream of water knock them off.
Alternatively, a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or neem oil will easily kill and eradicate the pests when the affected areas are treated. Repeat the application of rubbing alcohol or neem oil every three days until you are sure that all of the pests are gone.
Devil’s ivy propagation
When propagating your devil’s ivy, you will need a pair of sterile scissors, clear glass containers, water, pots and well-draining potting soil.
From your parent plant, select a vine that has several nodes on it. Untangle the vine and lay it out on a flat surface, then cut it into individual cuttings, making sure that each cutting has at least one node. It is important to retain the nodes because this is where the new roots will grow.
You can also root the whole stem, but this can take a long time and often results in a plant that is difficult to transplant into the ground after spending a long time in the water.
Fill your containers halfway with water and submerge the cuttings so that the cut ends are completely submerged in the water. Do not submerge any leaves.
Place the containers in a warm, bright location and wait for them to establish roots. Check on them every couple of days, and replace the water when it starts to smell or become murky.
Keep the devil’s ivy cuttings submerged in water until they have at least one inch of root growth. Keep in mind that the longer the roots are submerged in water, the more difficult it will be for them to adapt to a new environment. Not all the cuttings will be ready at the same time, so you can plant those that are ready while letting the others grow out their roots a little longer.
Fill a pot about two-thirds of the way full with fresh potting soil. Take your cuttings and begin arranging them around the edges of the pot, adding more soil as needed to keep them in position and to completely cover the roots. Plant the next cuttings in the middle of the pot, and so on until all of the cuttings have been planted.
Place the pot in a spot where it can get bright, indirect light, and water it only when the top two inches of soil are dry to the touch.
Devil’s ivy is a beautiful vining houseplant that is low maintenance and a perfect starter plant for someone who is just getting into gardening.
This plant’s needs are fairly simple: indirect light, well-draining soil, water when the top two inches of soil are dry, temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, high humidity, and minimal feeding.
You can propagate your devil’s ivy using stem cuttings. Let the cuttings root in a glass of water and replant them as soon as their roots are an inch long.
Image: istockphoto.com / Robi_J