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.
|Thick, waxy leaves and spade-shape
|Thin, smooth leaves and heart-shaped
|Thick, single aerial roots
|Multiple aerial roots
|Tolerates more light and prefers higher temperatures
|Tolerates less light but not higher temperatures
|New leaves unfurl from old leaves
|New leaves unfurl from cataphylls
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.