POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Not sure if your plant is suitable for a Vivarium? Substrate Issues and Viv pests discussed.
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Philsuma
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POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby Philsuma » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:55 pm

** Edit** Not ness recommended for VIV....but ABSOLUTELY recommended for quarantine and temporary containers and packing / shipping containers.

Pothos is arguably the easiest of houseplants to grow and one of THE BEST "Utility-use" plantings for the Dart Frog Hobby and here's why:

1. It's easy to find everywhere- every garden store, every home depot, every Walmart, everywhere.

2. It's cheap. Nothing is cheaper

3. It's semi-indestructible. You have to be REALLY mad at it to kill it. Cut it. Hack it, and it never needs rooted or started. Just scissor it up and throw it into the temp tank or Q-tine tank and away it goes. Instant grow, no matter what !

4. It holds moisture really well and helps provide humidity and it's large leaves provide many hides and visual barriers. Pothos is ESSENTIAL to all Temporary tanks and Quarantine Tanks that I have.

5. It's awesome for shipping. forget sphagnum moss and excess paper towels that can shift and crush your frogs in transit .Use a 'ball' of clipped Pothos and worry no more !

It’s a long-growing, leafy vine that can reach 40 feet in tropical East Asian jungles, but usually confines itself to about 6-10 feet in containers, where it trails freely. Pothos is tolerant of low light conditions and erratic watering. Although pothos can flower, it is rare to see one in flower. Pothos are high on the list of plants that can help purify indoor air.

Latin Name:Epipremnum aureum

Common Name(s):

Pothos, Devil’s Ivy, Variegated Philodendron

Mature Size:
Depends on the variety, how it is grown and how much it is pruned. However, mature plants grown in their native tropical climates can reach 40 or more feet in length. Pruning makes for a bushier, more compact plant. Leaf size will also vary with variety and growing conditions.

Exposure:
Shade to Partial Shade. Indoors, pothos prefer bright but indirect light.

Description:
Foliage: Leaves are a pointed heart-shape and can be green or variegated in white, yellow or a paler green.

Flowers: Pothos is rarely seen in flower. When it is found flowering, the flowers are white.

Form: The natural form of pothos is a trailing vine. It can get very leggy if left unpruned and if allowed to dry out too drastically, the older leaves will yellow and wither, leaving the vine stripped at the base, with leaves only on the new growth. Pruning will keep the plant fuller.

Pothos vines will not cling to trellises and supports on their own, but they can be twined onto them and appear to grow upward.

Vivarium Tips:
Pothos are perfect houseplants / Vivarium plantings for areas that don't get a lot of sunlight. This makes pothos choice plants for places like offices and dorm rooms. Pothos are an excellent plant for busy people, non-plant people even for black-thumbs.

Suggested Varieties:

'Marble Queen' - A white-variegated variety that grows very slowly.
'Golden' - Leaves and stems have a yellow hue.
'Tricolor' - mottled with or yellow, cream and pale green. Harder to find.
"Neon" - Fairly new, and striking vibrant green !

Growing Tips:
Pothos are very easy care plants. Your biggest chore will be keeping the vines from taking over.

Soil: Pothos prefer a slightly acidic soil, but any well-draining potting mix will suffice.

Water: Pothos like to have their soil dry out completely between waterings. If left continually in damp soil, the roots will rot. Let the plant tell you when to water. When it starts to droop, it needs a good drink. Don't wait until the leaves start to shrivel or you will lose some leaves. Unlike the general rule of watering deeply and infrequently, I have found my pothos grow best if I give them a splash of water whenever they start to droop.

Image

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Chuck Lawson
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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby Chuck Lawson » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:59 pm

Pothos is great; the more you ignore it, the better it does. It'll do better if you don't let the leaves droop before watering, though (when the leaves droop, some of the finer root structure is probably also going away).

The simplest way to tell if it needs water is to put a bamboo skewer (or disposable chopstick, long toothpick, stick from a fireplace match, etc.) about two inches into the soil (you can break off all but an inch or two at the top if you don't want to see it). Once a week or so, pull the stick out, and see if it is cool/damp to the touch. If it is, ignore it. If it isn't, water it. If it's dry twice in a row, start checking it more often; pretty soon you'll get the plant's rhythm down. As it adds leaves, or the humidity goes down (winter heating, etc.) it'll probably want water more often. If the stick tends to stay wet from week to week, you probably need a less water retentive soil (you can probably use the same potting soil if you mix it 2:1 or 1:1 with perlite (only outside the viv -- don't put perlite in with your frogs)).

Watering -- put a saucer under the plant. Water until some water comes out (if the pot doesn't have a hole in the bottom, switch pots). Don't let the plant sit in the water -- dump the saucer out, or put some stones in the saucer to hold the pot out of the water. If roots start coming out of the holes in the bottom, it's time to put it in a bigger pot. Don't water in little sips (this will cause salts to build up) - water until its saturated enough to drip out the drain holes (this flushes the salts out).

Taking cuttings; cut just after the internode (the place where the stem branches) -- this keeps the plant looking tidier.

These watering rules will probably work for the vast majority of houseplants (at least the more forgiving ones); I just thought I'd toss them out here for people who aren't "plant people" and are trying to get pothos going.

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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby DianeCarter » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:45 pm

Thanks for the advice, Chuck. That's me, not a "plant person", but trying to have plants in my vivs!
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outofreach
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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby outofreach » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:49 pm

I put some recently in a couple tanks. Tanks get misted 1-3 times a day for 5-15 seconds and substrate is always moist to some extent. Will these rot out eventually?

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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby Jeremy Huff » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:04 pm

One major downside I have seen is that it will push up lids or open doors. I have heard of people losing frogs because of that too.

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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby Chuck Lawson » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:05 pm

outofreach wrote:I put some recently in a couple tanks. Tanks get misted 1-3 times a day for 5-15 seconds and substrate is always moist to some extent. Will these rot out eventually?


It's not so much how moist the substrate is as how much airflow it allows -- substrates that get "heavy" or "muddy" (usually substrates with a lot of peat moss or other fine components) can rot roots easily, while substrates that allow a lot of air space with coarser particles (fir bark, coarsely ground tree fern, charcoal, long fiber sphagnum, gravel, turface, etc.) can retain a lot of water in some particles where roots can get it, but still allow air to get to the roots (this is what's usually meant when a plant guide says "well draining soil"). The more you mist the viv, the better draining the substrate needs to be, to allow the roots to breathe.

Pothos is vastly tolerant, but it can be a good guide -- if it doesn't do well, it may be a sign that you need to amend your substrate a bit to allow for extra drainage.

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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby Chuck Lawson » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:11 pm

DianeCarter wrote:Thanks for the advice, Chuck. That's me, not a "plant person", but trying to have plants in my vivs!


lol... I had a "brown thumb" for years; I learned what little I know by killing a lot of plants until I started to get the hang of it (and I still kill tons of plants; I swear that one day I'm going to walk into the begonia section of a local nursery and see my picture on a poster labeled "Don't Go Home With This Man!" above them :mrgreen:)

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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby Chuck Lawson » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:14 pm

Jeremy Huff wrote:One major downside I have seen is that it will push up lids or open doors. I have heard of people losing frogs because of that too.


Most anything will if you give it enough chance to grow -- pothos just grows really fast when it's happy. Keep it pruned into submission, and it'll be fine -- or replace it with something a bit more challenging and /or slower growing if you don't want to prune as often..

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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby DianeCarter » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:19 pm

I actually enjoy watching my pothos, over time. Like I said, I am not normally a "plant person". BUT, the pothos is different. The roots go down along the sides of tanks, you can see it grown down, actually under the substrate into the leuca balls. And at the other end, you can see it go up, just into the air, split off, and grow like crazy! Over the past 6 months I have cut off cuttings of it several times, and just stick the end into the substrate of a new tank, to let it root and grow, and it does! Easy peasy. I COULD see it pushing a lid up, or doors open, but only if you weren't paying attention. Every day or two, when I feed, I look over my plantings to see if any grooming is needed. It should NOT ever be a surprise to let it cause trouble!
Pumilio bastimentos, R. benedictas, P. Terribilis orange, R. Imitator Cainarachi Valley, D. Leucomelas, D. Auratus, D. Azureus, P. vittatus, D. cobalts, D.Oyapok, Bombina Orientalis

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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby Eric Walker » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:29 pm

I keep pothos growing aquatic in my tree frog breeding tanks and iv never had a problem with them not liking it. I don't see how its possible to overwater it.

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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby Chuck Lawson » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:22 pm

Pothos will grow full emersed; people root pothos cuttings in cups of water all of the time. Typically plants develop different root structures going from emersed to planted, though, and saturated soil has the potential to harbor nasty root eating funguses and bacteria you don't much get in either open water or aerated soil. I can't say I've ever tried growing pothos in saturated soil, but I'm guessing if you planted three cuttings, one in water with the roots fully emersed, one in well-draining soil, and one in saturated soil, the last one would do the worst of the three over time.

But that's the great thing about pothos; if you have a pot or two of it doing well, you can take cuttings all of the time and try it in all sorts of situations; if one fails, you've lost nothing but time, and you can change things around and try a new cutting. I've got a couple of huge pothos that I cut two or three foot clippings off of constantly and throw into quarantine vivs, etc., and then just toss them out when cleaning the viv. If I didn't have quarantine tanks going, I'd be clipping them and tossing the clippings out anyway, just to keep them from overgrowing the other plants.

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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby joneill809 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:23 am

Chuck Lawson wrote:Pothos will grow full emersed; people root pothos cuttings in cups of water all of the time.


Pothos is also used in freshwater tanks as a mechanism for lowering nitrate levels. Folks have modded HOB filters to house Pothos / keep roots away from fish while circulating water across its roots. Google around for "pothos aquarium nitrate" - results will be dominated by Oscar keepers - they typically have a rather large ammonia generator in their tank :)
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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby Philsuma » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:07 am

Wow..Pothos MUST be a strong worker then, as Oscars produce a lot of urine.

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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby Chuck Lawson » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:48 am

joneill809 wrote:
Chuck Lawson wrote:Pothos will grow full emersed; people root pothos cuttings in cups of water all of the time.


Pothos is also used in freshwater tanks as a mechanism for lowering nitrate levels. Folks have modded HOB filters to house Pothos / keep roots away from fish while circulating water across its roots. Google around for "pothos aquarium nitrate" - results will be dominated by Oscar keepers - they typically have a rather large ammonia generator in their tank :)


I love emerse growing houseplants in planted tanks; will have to get some pics of the one in my frog room.

I never tried a nitrate scrubber with cichlids; I guess early on they trained me to not think about plants in the same volume of water with them (I didn't mind the ones that ate the plants as much as the ones that just chewed them off at the base on general principles :-)), and I never much messed with any elaborate external filtration until I started doing reef tanks.

I sometimes miss my oscar pair from ages ago; when they got in a spawning mood, anything other than large rocks right on the bottom was likely to be either re-arranged or tossed entirely out of the tank. What I don't miss is getting soaked every time they decided to splash me during tank maintenance :mrgreen:

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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby Philsuma » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:07 pm

Not a good viv plant but a GREAT temp tank, q-tine tank and SHIPPING plant !!!

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Re: POTHOS ! -So Very Important...

Postby Philsuma » Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:11 pm

Interesting about the water dish! I totally get it - WC animals, stressed and dehydrated.

So many people desire to place frogs in the 190oz round tubs that when you take the lid off, it sounds like a gunshot. I call them heart attack tubs. Point is, a quarantine enclosure should be 10 gallons for most sized frogs and even bigger for tincs or lager -like 15 -20 gallons.

Pothos are SO very important for this practice, I feel. The live plant grows when cut, so no need to root or worry. It's bullet proof and easy to sanitize and then discard when done. The leaves are nice and large for good hides and the plant retains moisture so well, that is also elevates the general humidity level of the tank and maintains it !

Indispensable, IMO.


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