Why Your Pothos Cuttings Are Not Rooting: 10 Common Mistakes and Solutions

Image Source: Unsplash

If you’ve been trying to propagate your Pothos plants in water and have been unsuccessful, you’re not alone. Pothos, also known as Epipremnum aureum, is generally considered one of the easiest houseplants to propagate.

However, there are several common mistakes that can hinder root growth and prevent successful propagation.

In this article, we will explore 10 potential reasons why your Pothos cuttings are not rooting and provide solutions to help you achieve successful propagation.

1. Your Cuttings Are Too Long

When you trim your Pothos, it’s important to consider the length of the cuttings. If your cuttings are too long, they may struggle to absorb enough moisture to survive.

This can lead to wilting, yellowing leaves, and ultimately, failed root growth. To increase your chances of rooting success, aim for cuttings that are no longer than 4-6 inches (10-15cm).

Better yet, opt for single node cuttings to maximize the usage of your cuttings and encourage fuller plant growth.

2. You Didn’t Include a Node

A node is a critical part of a Pothos cutting as it is where both roots and new vines form. When taking cuttings, it’s important to include a node.

The node is the point where the leaf meets the vine. This is where you’ll see roots forming below the node and new vines growing above it.

By ensuring that each cutting has a node, you provide the necessary structure for successful propagation.

3. You’re Keeping Your Cuttings Too Dark

While Pothos cuttings require some shade, keeping them in a very dark area can hinder root growth. It’s best to place your cuttings near a window, as long as the temperature is warm, or near grow lights.

Avoid areas that are excessively dark, but also be cautious of exposing the cuttings to too much direct sunlight, as this can harm the rooting process.

4. You Tried to Let It Callous Over

Callousing is a technique commonly used for propagating succulents but should not be applied to leafy tropical plants like Pothos.

Callousing involves allowing cuttings to air dry for a couple of days to form a dry, protective layer over the cut end.

However, Pothos cuttings should be placed directly into water or soil after being taken to encourage successful root growth. Attempting to callous over Pothos cuttings can lead to their demise.

5. You’re Lacking Patience

Root growth in Pothos cuttings can vary depending on the conditions, ranging from a few days to a couple of weeks or more.

If your cuttings still appear green and healthy, they may just need more time to root. Patience is key when it comes to propagation. Be sure to follow the other tips in this article for optimal results and wait for the roots to develop.

6. You’re Keeping Your Cuttings Too Cold

Pothos thrives in warm temperatures, and keeping your cuttings too cold can hinder root growth. Aim to maintain a temperature above 68°F (20°C) for best results.

Additionally, ensure that there is sufficient light present for the cuttings. Cold conditions can cause the cuttings to remain stagnant and impede their ability to develop roots.

7. You’re Trying to Propagate in the Wrong Season

Seasonal variations can impact the rate at which Pothos cuttings root. During the winter or slower growth periods, it may take longer for the cuttings to establish roots.

If your cuttings still appear healthy and green, continue to wait patiently. Eventually, they will root. However, keep in mind that the process may be slower during certain seasons.

8. You Made Cuttings from Old or Unhealthy Vines

When selecting vines for cuttings, it’s essential to choose healthy portions of your Pothos plant. Avoid using old vines, vines that appear sickly or yellow, and bare vines with no leaves.

Opt for vines that are vibrant, green, and in good condition. By using healthy vines, you increase the chances of successful propagation.

9. You’re Not Changing the Water

Roots require air to grow, and changing the water regularly helps replenish the oxygen content. It’s recommended to change the water every 2-3 days with fresh tap water.

Tap water contains dissolved oxygen, which can deplete over time. Changing the water also helps maintain cleanliness and prevents any potential issues if one cutting goes bad and contaminates the water.

10. You Used Soft Water

Softened water, which has had calcium and magnesium ions replaced with sodium, should be avoided when propagating Pothos. Sodium is toxic to plants and can hinder root growth.

It’s best to use regular tap water or other water sources that have not undergone the softening process. Ensure that the water you use is free from chemicals and safe for your plants.


Successfully propagating Pothos cuttings in water requires attention to detail and avoiding common mistakes. By addressing the potential reasons why your Pothos cuttings are not rooting, you can increase your chances of successful propagation.

Remember to keep your cuttings at an appropriate length, include a node, provide adequate light, avoid callousing, be patient, maintain warm temperatures, consider the season, use healthy vines, change the water regularly, and avoid soft water.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to successfully propagating Pothos and enjoying a thriving collection of these beautiful houseplants. Happy propagating!

Leave a Comment