Looking for a lovely ornament to beautify your office or living room? Then you might be considering either a Lemon Lime Philodendron or a Neon Pothos.
With both these houseplants having stunning, heart-shaped leaves and eye-catching colors, a beginner would be forgiven for confusing the two – they do look very similar.
If you are planning to grow one of these plants but cannot identify their differences, this Lemon Lime Philodendron vs Neon Pothos guide is for you.
Is a pothos plant the same as a philodendron?
Both the Neon Pothos and the Lemon Lime Philodendron are gorgeous, easy-to-grow houseplants. For a novice gardener, it might be challenging to distinguish the two vining plants because they look extremely similar.
While both plants are wildly popular for their heart-shaped leaves, Lime Lemon Philodendrons possess the more heart-shaped leaves of the two. Additionally, Lemon Lime Philodendrons have thinner and softer foliage, whereas the Neon Pothos has leaves that are larger, thicker, and waxier to the touch.
Read on for more differences between the Lemon Lime Philodendron and the Neon Pothos.
1. Lemon Lime Philodendron
The Lemon Lime Philodendron, scientifically known as Philodendron hederaceum, is a common tropical plant that originated in South America. Philodendrons first became popular as houseplants when European explorers discovered them during a voyage and brought them to England. They were then cultivated, grown, and later sent to Florida to be sold in conventional markets.
One of the reasons the Lemon Lime Philodendron became a popular decorative plant in American homes is, as already mentioned, because of its eye-catching heart-shaped leaves. Its vines can reach up to 15 feet in length, while the leaves can grow up to ten inches long in favorable conditions. The bright green-yellow color of the foliage makes a lasting impression in any indoor setting, bringing a positive impact thanks to its calming appearance.
Anyone can grow and propagate a Lemon Lime Philodendron; it is low-maintenance and effortless to grow. The plant can easily grow aerial roots through stem cuttings, making propagation a straightforward process. It is also for this reason that this species of plant is in high demand and an all-rounder among gardening enthusiasts.
2. Neon Pothos
The Neon Pothos is one of the most popular and stunning varieties of the Pothos genus. It is native to French Polynesia and thrives on islands like Moorea and Tahiti. This low-maintenance houseplant is well-known for its neon-green, heart-shaped foliage, which can easily brighten up your indoor space. Whether you are a green thumb or a novice gardener, the Neon Pothos will make a great addition to your houseplant collection, and is very easy to care for and grow.
What makes the Neon Pothos different from the Philodendrons is its slightly larger heart-shaped neon leaves. This fast-growing vine can grow up to 10 feet long. Propagating your Neon Pothos is also straightforward – simply cut a stem with a node so that it can grow aerial roots. Since the plant can adapt easily to any lighting conditions, the Neon Pothos can be a great indoor plant for a low-lit room like your living room or office.
Lemon Lime Philodendron vs Neon Pothos – the differences
While the Lemon Lime Philodendron and Neon Pothos plants look very similar at first glance, they actually carry a world of difference if you look a bit closer! So, how can we tell these differences? Check out some of the distinguishable features below:
1. Shape and texture of the leaves
Both the Pothos and the Philodendron have heart-shaped leaves. However, the Lemon Lime Philodendron has leaves that are much thinner compared to those of the Neon Pothos. You will also notice that its leaves are softer to the touch, and tend to curve inwards.
The Neon Pothos, on the other hand, has larger and thicker foliage. The leaves come with a waxier, opposite to that of the Philodendron. You can also distinguish the two plants through their leaf base: unlike the Lemon Lime Philodendron, the Neon Pothos has a relatively straight leaf base.
2. Aerial roots and growing habits
Another important difference between the Lemon Lime Philodendron and the Neon Pothos is their growing habits. Both vining plants have aerial roots so they can grow above the ground, such as on walls, rocks, and trees. These aerial roots help absorb moisture and nutrients through the atmosphere or nearby vegetation while affixing the vines to the supporting structures.
However, the Neon Pothos only has a single aerial root on each of its nodes. The Lemon Lime Philodendron, on the other hand, comes with several smaller aerial roots on each node, giving it a wilder look.
Additionally, Philodendron plants can grow quickly all year round and are not affected by changing weather conditions. Conversely, the Neon Pothos thrives better during summer and might go into a dormant state during the winter.
3. Leaf color
The Neon Pothos gives off a tropical vibe through its bright, neon green foliage. Its younger leaves tend to be brighter in color than the older leaves.
What makes the Lemon Lime Philodendron different is its lighter, more muted lime green color. Some Philodendron varieties also tend to have tints of pink or brown on the leaves, making them look wilder than the Pothos.
4. Leaf size
Philodendron leaves can grow between seven and ten inches long. The leaves are also broader and slightly thinner than those of the Neon Pothos.
On the other hand, Neon Pothos plants tend to have flatter, less round leaves that reach about four to six inches in length. You will also notice this plant species has a flatter leaf base to easily support the plant’s foliage.
5. Vine length and growth pattern
The Neon Pothos, when grown indoors, can produce leafy vines up to ten feet long. It will take a few years for the plant to become mature and reach such a height.
Lemon Lime Philodendrons can grow fast in any season, reaching an impressive 15 feet at maturity, and regular pruning or trimming is necessary to keep them at a manageable size.
6. Growing requirements
If you prefer a highly adaptable houseplant that can grow in any area of your home, then the Neon Pothos is your best option. This versatile evergreen is best grown in hanging baskets and needs minimal attention. Although best for indoors, you can also grow your Pothos outdoors given the right growing conditions, or you can plant it in water without using potting soil. Just cut a stem and place it in a vase of water so that the cutting can grow new roots. Place the vase in indirect sunlight and change the water regularly – at least every two weeks.
Lemon Lime Philodendrons are medium-sized plants that require regular pruning. However, unlike the Neon Pothos, these plants will not thrive in water alone, since their roots are prone to rotting – you will need a well-draining soil mix to keep them healthy and thriving. You can also propagate your Lemon Lime Philodendron easily through tip and leaf bud cuttings, and the plant makes a great tropical table decoration or an art piece on your wall.
7. Flower production
Philodendrons need to reach maturity – about 15 to 16 years – before they can begin flowering. The Neon Pothos, on the other hand, just requires the right outdoor growing conditions to produce flowers. Unfortunately, if you prefer to grow your Pothos indoors, it is unlikely that the plant will flower.
Lemon Lime Philodendron vs Neon Pothos – the similarities
Apart from their stunning looks, you will probably not be surprised to learn that these two plants also share some similarities when it comes to growing requirements and care. These factors are described in detail below:
1. Sunlight requirements
Both plants prefer indirect sunlight to grow well. They can also tolerate shady areas, making them ideal for growing indoors. However, it is still best if you expose the plants to partial sunlight if you grow them indoors. Place them near a window where they can receive enough light to maintain their lush foliage.
2. Watering requirements
Both the Lemon Lime Philodendron and the Neon Pothos require a moist environment to thrive. Hence, you need to water these plants at least once a week, especially during hot seasons. That said, it is best to wait for the top inch of soil to dry out before watering, to prevent the chance of root rot, especially in Philodendrons.
3. Soil requirements
Both plants prefer a loose, well-draining soil mix. For best results, it is recommended to use nutrient-rich, well-aerated soil to keep your plants in top shape.
4. Temperature requirements
Both the Pothos and the Philodendron can survive in regular room temperatures. However, they will not do well with sudden fluctuations in temperature, so keep them away from air conditioners during summer or radiators during winter.
5. Fertilizer application
Although neither plant is a heavy feeder compared with some other houseplants, they do require some fertilizer to help them grow well. Most potted plants do not have access to much organic matter, so adding natural fertilizers like peat moss helps ensure that they receive enough nutrients. It is also recommended to use a diluted fertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio every four weeks during the plants’ growing season. Do not fertilize them during the winter season.
6. Pests and diseases
Both the Neon Pothos and the Lemon Lime Philodendron are disease-resistant. Like most houseplants, they might occasionally be assaulted by mealybugs or spider mites, but you can easily get rid of these sap-sucking insects with neem oil or pesticides.
Any plants belonging to the Araceae family – as these two do – are considered toxic to humans and pets when consumed, so be careful about growing Neon Pothos or Lemon Lime Philodendrons if you have cats, dogs, or young children at home.
Which is better – Neon Pothos or Lemon Lime Philodendron?
Both the Neon Pothos and the Lemon Lime Philodendron are attractive vining house plants with beautiful heart-shaped leaves and vibrantly-colored foliage. But, if you are looking for a hardier plant that can grow faster and thrive in water alone, then the Neon Pothos is your best choice.
The Lemon Lime Philodendron, on the other hand, can thrive under any weather conditions, making it the best plant to grow all year round. It is also less prone to stress when exposed to cold temperatures, unlike the Pothos.
Both the Lemon Lime Philodendron and the Neon Pothos make amazing additions to your home or office decor, thanks to their lovely, heart-shaped leaves and brilliant colors. However, due to their similarities, it can be challenging for some gardeners to differentiate them. Hopefully, this short guide has given you some clear insight into the similarities and differences between these two stunning houseplants.
Image: istockphoto.com / Akchamczuk