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One of the most beloved “houseplants” ever, Pothos (or Epipremnum aureum) is almost indistinguishable in the wild versus the plants that we grow in our homes. Keep reading to learn all about pothos in the wild in this informative post, and I’ll show you some gorgeous pothos specimens from my own travels around the world.
POTHOS IN THE WILD
1. WHERE DO POTHOS GROW IN THE WILD?
Epipremnum aureum, commonly known as Pothos, is native to the Society Islands in the south Pacific Ocean and is a climber in nature.
It’s hard to see the green areas on the map below that show the native range since the range is so small in scope. But in purple, you can see where pothos has become introduced and has naturalized around the world.
In many of my travels to subtropical and tropical areas around the world, I’ve seen pothos in the wild grow spectacularly. If you’re like me and don’t live in a warm climate, it’s always a treat to see “houseplants” in the wild.
Here is one that I saw in St. Thomas and couldn’t help but snap a photo of myself to show the scale of the leaves.
2. ARE POTHOS INVASIVE?
Yes, and this is probably part of the reason why they are such sturdy houseplants! When grown outdoors in the ground in warm climates, they can be very invasive and will spread and choke out native plants.
In an effort to keep your outdoor pothos in bounds, it is probably best to keep it as a houseplant in order to help preserve native plants and biodiversity in your location.
They are climbers in nature, and often times, Pothos will overtake native trees and can eventually kill the tree if left unchecked.
Here is a gorgeous pothos that I saw in Mexico, growing up a palm tree. This type of situation would require some pruning so that it doesn’t completely overtake the palm tree.
3. HOW BIG DO POTHOS GET IN THE WILD?
They can easily get 40 feet or more in length, growing as both a ground cover and up trees. Once their roots attach onto a tree and the plant starts climbing, the leaves will be able to reach maturity.
As it climbs, the leaves will get bigger and bigger and develop fenestrations (holes and slits). Leaves can grow over 2 feet long.
When grown as a ground cover without attaching onto anything, the small, juvenile leaves prevail and they will resemble the common pothos that we grow indoors in hanging baskets or as trailing plants.
4. DO POTHOS BLOOM IN THE WILD?
Yes they do, but even in the wild, it is considered a “shy-flowering” plant due to a gibberellin (GA) biosynthetic gene, EaGA30x1, deficiency in the Epripremnum aureum species.
Gibberellin is a hormone that triggers flowering.
Flowering, however, can be artificially induced by spraying GAs onto the plant.
The pothos flower itself is characteristic of any aroid and contains a spathe and spadix. Technically, this whole structure is called the inflorescence, and the actual flowers themselves are tiny and found on the spadix.
5. HOW DOES POTHOS REPRODUCE IN THE WILD?
In the wild, pothos will usually just reproduce by vegetative propagation, or simply just spread as a result of its vining nature.
Similar to how we would propagate pothos at home, if a vine breaks and lands on soil or even on a tree, it will start to grow into a new plant.
Although flowering is very rare in cultivation, and even in the wild, it can flower and even fruit outdoors. Here is one instance below.
It looks similar to Monstera deliciosa fruit, but pothos fruit is reportedly not edible. (And even Monstera deliciosa fruit must be ripe before eating and is inedible in its unripe form).
Given the low propensity of pothos plants to flower in the first place, any listings that you may see online for pothos seeds on Etsy, eBay, and other sites are probably a scam, so buyers beware!
Plus, since it is so easy to propagate Pothos with cuttings, trying to grow these plants from seed wouldn’t make much sense to begin with anyway.
Be sure not to miss my pothos varieties post to explore all the gorgeous pothos types out there that you can grow in your own home.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on pothos in the wild. Have you ever seen a pothos in the wild? Comment below. I’d love to hear!