GARDENING: Two ivies worth tryingFloyd is a horticulturist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service. He can be reached at 498-4071 in Ector County or 686-4700 in Midland County or by email at

There are an obscene number of ivy cultivars available this day and time. Some require lots of sunlight and are picky about how much water they receive.

A few perform poorly in direct sunlight while others crave it. Practically all are noted for their ability to filter gasses out of the air such as formaldehyde and xylene. Two worth trying are Pothos and Philodendron.

Known as golden Pothos, or devil’s ivy, Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) ranks high among the easiest houseplants to grow. It develops trailing vines which support delicately heart-shaped leaves that sometimes have lovely white or yellow streaks.

Pothos does not require much attention. It is easily grown indoors year-round and tolerates outdoor conditions under dappled shade in the summer. Keep in mind that temperatures below forty can injure this tropical plant. It also prefers a somewhat damp rather than overly wet soil. Pothos is easily prorogated by stem cuttings. Simply place fresh cuttings in a jar of water and move them to potting soil after they form roots.

Philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum), also known as sweetheart plant and horsehead Philodendron, is as beautiful as devil’s ivy but has slightly different features. Its dark green leaves are glossier and have a more pronounced heart shape than those of Pothos.

Philodendron is also a little more finicky than Pothos, favoring warm light and wetter soil. Sweetheart Plants will not tolerate cool temperatures (below fifty-five degrees). One highlight of the sweetheart plant is that it grows great in peat moss. Like Pothos, Philodendron is also easily propagated by stem cuttings.

Knowing these differences allows even people who believe they have “brown thumbs” to grow these wonderful plants. Philodendron takes a little more care while Pothos is a water and walk away plant.

To learn more about the differences between Pothos and Philodendron, contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at 686-4700 or email