Difference Between Pothos and Philodendron
By Marc Gordon - October 12, 2022

The Pothos (or Devil’s Ivy) and the heart leaf Philodendron are two very common houseplants that share many similarities. Both plants belong to the same aroid plant family (Araceae), share many of the same growing needs and behaviors, and look pretty much the same to the untrained eye.

Table Summary

Genus EpipremnumGenus Philodendron
Thick, waxy leaves and spade-shapeThin, smooth leaves and heart-shaped
Thick, single aerial rootsMultiple aerial roots
Tolerates more light and prefers higher temperaturesTolerates less light but not higher temperatures
New leaves unfurl from old leavesNew leaves unfurl from cataphylls
Philodendron Birkin In The White Potted On A Gray Cement Table

Getty Images / EyeEm / Tharakorn Arunothai


The Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is a tropical vine with shiny, heart-shaped leaves that are sometimes variegated with gold, white, or yellow. It is also known as Devil’s Ivy.

The vining philodendron (genus Philodendron) is a tropical American plant. The leaves are typically green, but they can also be coppery, crimson, or purplish; parallel leaf veins are typically green, but they can also be red or white. The fruit is a white to orange berry.

Pothos VS Philodendron

Pothos plants have thick, waxy leaves with a rough texture and an indented midrib, giving them a spade-like shape. Philodendron leaves are thin and smooth to the touch, with a curved inward base and a sharp apex to form a heart shape (in the case of the common heart leaf philodendron).

New Pothos leaves emerge from an old leaf and has a lighter color than the old leaf. A new philodendron leaf grows from a little, modified leaf called a cataphyll, which eventually falls off. The fresh leaf is pink or brownish, then darkens over time.

Both plants have aerial roots that enable them to climb vertical surfaces. Pothos plants have only one huge stubby aerial root per node, but philodendrons may have multiple tiny aerial roots per node, giving them a wilder appearance.