5 Tricks to Increase Coloration and Variegation in Pothos Plant

Suyash is a Master Gardener and the Editorial and Strategy Director at BalconyGardenWeb.com. With a focus on houseplant care, he combines over a decade of hands-on horticultural experience with editorial expertise to guide and educate plant enthusiasts.
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Are you looking for some tricks to increase variegation in pothos plant? Well, we have some fantastic ones that actually work!

Increase Variegation in Pothos Plant

Variegation in pothos depends on a lot of factors that can make or break the colors and streaks on its foliage. Let’s understand them in detail to get the best hues on its leaves!

Avoid these pothos growing mistakes 

How to Increase Variegation in Pothos Plant?

1. Grow the Most Variegated Varieties

Do understand the fact that not every pothos is variegated – for example, Cebu Blue Pothos has a striking blue-green foliage – but it stays solid in color – without any markings, splashes, or streaks.

So, no matter how much you try, it won’t get a variegation. The same goes for Neon Pothos, as well!

If you want the best colors on the leaves, then pick out varieties that naturally have deeper variegation. Marble Queen Pothos, Golden Pothos (The quintessential Pothos for sure!), Manjula Pothos, and Snow Queen Pothos are some of the most distinctive ones with the best color palette on the foliage.

Best variegated pothos plants

2. Do Not Treat it as a Typical Low Light Houseplant

When it comes to pothos, we think it requires minimum light and will do just right in a dark room. Well, this may be right for a solid color or the usual classic pothos, or heart leaf philodendron for that matter, but to have more variegation – NO! They need more light!

Why Light is Essential?

As we all know, photosynthesis is vital for every plant to survive, and sunlight is the basic need for it. Lack of light forces the specimens to reduce the variegation, as photosynthesis primarily occurs in the green parts of the leaf, where chlorophyll is present – a vital component for absorbing light.

How does Lack of Light Affect Variegation?

In variegated leaves, areas lacking chlorophyll cannot absorb light efficiently. This means they don’t contribute to photosynthesis, potentially reducing the plant’s overall ability to produce energy – the reason why plants in low light are not as colorful as the ones that bask in the bright light.

What Needs to Be Done?

I’m not saying you have to expose pothos to the sun all the time – well, not exactly.

All you have to do is to make sure that the plant gets indirect light all day – this will ensure the colors stay bright and the plant fills its foliage with colors!

3. Use Cuttings from the Most Variegated / Colorful Specimen

Well, this is not to increase the variegation in the existing pothos plant, but this allows you to have another, more variegated plant in your collection!

How it works? When you take a cutting from the most variegated specimen, it automatically guarantees that the plant you’re going to propagate with it will have the exact same coloration as the donor plant.

This means you will have another, most colorful specimen in your collection!

Pro Tip: If you want to grow a big leaf pothos – you can use this same trick! Snip a cutting from a large leaf specimen for propagation – you’ll have a similar plant!

4. Go for Bloom Boosting Fertilizers

Increase Variegation in Pothos Plant 2

Before you jump the gun, hear me out! Pothos, as we all know, are not known for producing flowers. However, phosphorus (Which is a key nutrient that promotes strong flower development and vivid coloration) enhances the overall flowers and color development in the blooming specimens.

What you can do is:
  • Add a handful of a bone meal in the soil (per pot) once in the growing season. This, being rich in phosphorus, will help the coloring of the pothos’ leaves.


  • Go for liquid formulations like 10-30-20 (This means the blend contains 30% phosphorus). Dilute it to half of its strength, and use it once in 4-5 weeks. This will surely enhance the coloration of the leaves!

5. Keep the Dust Away

Pothos have a large leaf area as compared to most of the typical houseplants that we all grow. It promotes better absorption of light, which equates to better photosynthesis, which we all know is crucial for the overall plant development and, ultimately, the color of the foliage.

So, it is essential that you clean the foliage from time to time. The best way to do it is to use two soft cotton cloths:

  • Dampen the first one with water and take out the dirt by wiping the leaves softly.
  • Dampen the second one as well, but this time, add 6-8 drops of milk and then wipe the foliage. Milk can keep fungal infections like powdery mildew at bay, so it will not only add shine to the leaves (Making them appear more vibrant than they actually are) but will also keep the plant safe.

Watch this video for more information

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