Philodendrons and pothos are both climber plants that have several similarities.
For starters, each of them belongs to the same family called Araceae. They creep into any space they can find, be it other trees, buildings, or electricity poles.
Their roots and aerial and their leaves as glossy and heart-shaped. However, there are several differences between them as well that may seem hard to notice at first glance.
- Philodendrons are a large flowering plant genus, while pothos is part of the Epipremnum genus.
- Philodendrons have a broader range of leaf shapes and sizes, whereas pothos leaves are heart-shaped and more uniform.
- Pothos are better suited to low-light environments, while philodendrons require more sunlight.
Philodendron vs Pothos
Philodendron plants are known for their large, glossy leaves and distinctive aerial roots, coming in various shapes and sizes. Pothos plants, also known as Devil’s Ivy, have heart-shaped leaves that are variegated with shades of green, yellow, and white and are easy to care for.
Philodendron is the term for a wide variety of climbers that have flowers. It has around 489 species, making it the second-largest in its family in terms of variety.
The leaves of this plant grow on its vine, which is opaque, thin, and waxy. New leaves that grow in the plant have a slightly pink or brownish tint to them.
Meanwhile, pothos is a plant species commonly known as devil’s vine or money plant. Its name is such because, at times, it can get almost impossible to kill it.
However, unlike philodendrons, the leaves of pothos grow out from other leaves in the plant. Moreover, new leaves only have a lighter shade than other fully grown leaves.
|Parameters of Comparison||Philodendron||Pothos|
|Type||It is a genus of plants from the family Araceae.||It is a species of plant from the family Araceae.|
|Description||It has thin heart-shaped leaves that are smooth in texture, have a protruding sinus and a very pointy tail.||It has relatively thicker leaves that are spade-shaped, bumpy in texture, and even asymmetrical at times.|
|Growth||Its leaves grow on the vine of the plant.||Its leaves grow out from new leaves.|
|New Leaves||The new leaves have a pink or brownish tint to them.||The new leaves are only of a lighter shade than old leaves.|
|Stems||The stem is relatively thin and has a greenish-brown colour.||The stem is thick and of the same colour as the leaves.|
|Roots||The aerial roots are thin, spindly, and grow in groups.||The aerial roots are thick and individually placed.|
What is Philodendron?
Philodendron is the name of a genus of climber plants. These plants are generally grown at homes for ornamental purposes. The name ‘philodendron’ is derived from the Greek words ‘Philo-‘, meaning love or affection and ‘-dendron’, meaning tree.
Around 489 species in this genus belong to the Araceae family. However, many of them remain undescribed.
The leaves of the philodendron genus plants are thin and smooth to the touch. Their shape is like that of a spade.
The sinus, which is where the two different lobes or sides of the leaves meet, is very protruding. The end of the leaf at the top is very pointy.
These leaves are known to grow out from the vine itself. When new, the leaves have a pink or brownish tint to them. As they grow and become full-sized, their colour changes to green.
The stem of the plant is thin and greenish-brown in colour. In contrast, its roots are thin and spindly. They grow in groups, making the stems and leaves closely placed together.
Philodendron plants reproduce by growing an inflorescence. This is a leaf-like hood that contains a tube-like structure inside it. For pollination, these plants use the help of specific beetles that carry pollen from one plant to the other.
What is Pothos?
Unlike philodendron, pothos is only a species of flower. It is most commonly known by the name ‘Devil’s ivy’ or ‘money plant’. The plant is very popular as an ornamental feature for homes.
An interesting fact about it is that it is very difficult to kill this plant. It even stays green when kept in the dark for long durations.
Regardless, pothos leaves are thin, bumpy, and irregular. Their shape is more like a heart. However, it is very common for different leaves in a single plant to grow asymmetrically.
Unlike the former, the leaves of pothos grow out of old leaves in the plant. The new leaves only have a lighter shade than fully grown leaves.
The pothos’ stem is thick and the same colour as the leaves. The roots of the plant are aerial as well. However, they do not form groups.
Each individual node is placed separately and relatively far from the other. This results in the leaves and stems also having considerable space between them.
Unfortunately, these plants can only grow flowers if they are spiked with artificial supplements. The last known flower that grew out of a pothos plant was in 1964. A caution while growing this plant at home is that it can be toxic if consumed by dogs and cats.
Main Differences Between Philodendrons and Pothos
- Philodendron is a genus of plants from the family Araceae, whereas pothos is a species of plants from the family Araceae.
- Philodendron has thin heart-shaped leaves that are smooth in texture, and have a protruding sinus and a very pointy tail, whereas pothos has relatively thicker leaves that are spade-shaped, bumpy in texture, and even asymmetrical at times.
- Philodendron leaves grow on the vine of the plant, whereas pothos leaves grow out from new leaves.
- The new leaves of philodendrons have a pink or brownish tint, whereas the new leaves of pothos are only of a lighter shade than the old ones.
- The stem of a philodendron is relatively thin and has a greenish-brown colour, whereas the stem of a pothos is thick and of the same colour as the leaves.
- The aerial roots of philodendrons are thin, spindly, and grow in groups, whereas those of pothos are thick and individually placed.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.