Golden Pothos Vs Hawaiian Pothos (Differences and Similarities)

The image showing the difference between Golden Pothos and Hawaiian Pothos

The appearance of Golden Pothos and Hawaiian Pothos is quite similar. However, some of the care tips and requirements differ from one another.

That’s why giving these two types of pothos a deep thought is crucial in growing them altogether—the ultimate reason why this article is for you. 

Golden Pothos and Hawaiian Pothos are under the same species. Their taxonomy, growth habit, height structure, and most care tips are similar. However, unlike Golden Pothos, Hawaiian Pothos need a medium or higher light instead of low light to maintain their intense yellow color. The leaves also grow larger in time. 

Difference Between Golden Pothos Vs Hawaiian Pothos

At first glance, it’s challenging to identify these two types of pothos. But the most obvious variation of these two is their color or variegation.

For you to understand more of their individual characteristics, the following will show you each’s unique features. 

Leaf Shape and Texture

The appearance of Golden Pothos and Hawaiian Pothos is almost the same, except their shapes and sizes. I will separate the leaf shape and characteristic for you to identify them: 

Golden Pothos 

You can easily recognize the Golden Pothos in a hanging basket. Its heart-shaped leaves are enough to catch the eye’s attention.

When you grow this plant to a trunk of trees, you can see ultimate changes from regular-size to 18-inch leaves. 

Golden pothos has a medium texture—where its foliage and branches categorize it as either overly large or ridiculously small.

Most plants with this type of texture have smooth edges and simple shapes of leaves. 

Hawaiian Pothos 

The Hawaiian Pothos leaves are huge compared to other types of pothos. Its texture has a glassy glow similar to a wax, with thicker and raised or bumpy leaves.

When you take a closer look at its shape, it has a resemblance to a gardening spade. Moreover, its stem’s color is a vibrant yellow. 


Golden Pothos 

As others may not know, Golden Pothos or pothos, in general, is a flowering type of plant.

But it is not commonly seen indoors, for the reason that the flowers will only appear when it reaches maturity from the ground. If you want to see the flower blooms, you need to grow it outdoors. 

Its flower’s color is usually white and grows all-year round when grown in the ground or its original habitat. 

Hawaiian Pothos 

Since Hawaiian Pothos is another cultivar of Golden Pothos, its flower’s color and texture are similar to that latter. Although the common color is white, others might look similar to cream. 

Foliage Color

Golden Pothos

You can recognize Golden Pothos when you look at the leaves’ foliage. It has a variegated color with a mixture of dark green, yellow and white streaks. (Source: University of Florida)

Like other plants, it doesn’t have a fall color change. The color remains, but its green intensity might depend on the plant’s sun exposure. 

Hawaiian Pothos 

Hawaiian Pothos and Golden Pothos have many similar characteristics, except to their variegation color.

While Golden Pothos leaves have dark green, yellow, and white streaks, Hawaiian Pothos has a more intense yellow color.   

Similarities Between Golden Pothos Vs Hawaiian Pothos

Hawaiian Pothos is the cultivar of golden pothos, so it is not new to learn that they have similar qualities and characteristics.

The following will tell you more about these two variants of pothos.

  • Taxonomy

The scientific name for the pothos family is Epipremnum aureum. Golden Pothos and Hawaiian Pothos belong to the same species.

Their availability is more common in tropical countries since they are also known as tropical vines.  

  • Sheath

Plants like philodendron have this cataphyll—a waxy, thin, and opaque sheath—that covers new leaves. On the other hand, sheaths in pothos leaves do not exist.

New pothos leaves grow on their own by unfurling lighter green color extending from the current leaves. 

  • Growth Habit

All types of pothos are vining with trailing habit. Typically, it can grow from 6 to 10 feet. But pothos in their native habitat can grow from 30 to 50 feet.

You’ll see giant pothos from the forest, where they can trail on higher trunks of trees. 

  • Height and Structure

The arrangement of pothos leaves is alternate. You’ll see there’s only one leaf in each node, while it grows in an ascending spiral.

Pothos has a simple leaf type with a blade length of 4 to 8 inches, 8 to 12 inches, 12-18 inches, and 18-36 inches. 

When it comes to pothos height, it depends on its supporting structure. The longer the structure, the longer it trails to the top.

On the other hand, pothos spread continuously as long as there is a ground where the leaves can multiply.

It grows fast, so having the right height structure based on your preferences is crucial. 

  • Propagating Golden Pothos Vs Hawaiian Pothos 

Pothos—regardless of its types—is easy to propagate. You can multiply it through cuttings, and give them away to your family and friends.

If not, you can have your pothos section in your home to enjoy their lush and trailing appearance. 

What’s more, you can propagate them either in soil or water. To begin, find a healthy vine that is 4-6 inches in length with three leaves, then make a stem cutting above the root node. 

If you want to propagate it in water, prepare a water bottle and pour water into it. Place the cutting and let the cut ends submerge.

Now, if you want to do it in soil, set the cuttings in a small pot with potting soil.

  • Growing Requirements

When talking about the care tips needed for Golden Pothos and Hawaiian pothos, you don’t need to second guess since they are under the family of Epipremnum aureum.

Maybe the only difference is that Hawaiian needs to preserve its color which makes it different from other pothos variants. 

Temperature: Golden Pothos and Hawaiian Pothos have the same temperature requirements. The ideal temperature to grow pothos is between 65°F and 85°F (18°C – 29°C). 

Light: As you base from the pothos culture, they thrive best in a shade where it gets just enough light.

However, when it comes to Hawaiian pothos, you need to put them in a medium and higher light to maintain their variegation. Keep it away from direct sunlight to protect its foliage. 

Soil Requirement: According to the research of Edward F. Gilman from the University of Florida, pothos soil tolerances are slightly alkaline, clay, sand, acidic, occasionally wet, and loam.

Taking care of pothos is popular among beginners since it grows in different types of soil. 

However, keep in mind that this research refers to the type of soil where it can grow, not where it can strive.

Pothos plants hate to sit in wet soil. That’s why you need to make sure that the soil has a well-draining capacity. 

If the soil from your local areas has a clay texture, you can add more perlite, coco coir, and sand to improve the plant’s drainage. 

Pot Requirement: Whether you want to put the pothos in a hanging basket or a regular pot, the choice is up to you.

If you like the idea of trailing leaves from the basket, hanging it on your ceiling might be a great idea. On the other hand, you can use a regular pot, then put a moss pole at the center. 

When it comes to your pot, ensure that it has adequate holes for better drainage. Otherwise, the root might rot in the process. 

Water Requirement: Pothos is not similar to other types of plants where it needs frequent watering. The best rule before watering is to put your finger in the top two inches of the soil to see if it’s already dry.

Allowing the top-soil to dry out before watering prevents root rot while ensuring that roots are still moist.

Too much dryness is not good for pothos, wherein the leaves might start wilting or turning brown. 

Fertilizer: You can use a balanced houseplant fertilizer monthly or bi-monthly to ensure that you are feeding enough nutrients to the potting soil.

Nonetheless, you don’t have to use a heavy fertilizer since pothos isn’t a heavy feeder. 

Final Words

Differentiating two types of plants in the same family can be intriguing and confusing at the same time.

Nevertheless, knowing different types of plants, including their growing requirements can be satisfying. Here are the three key points to summarize everything in this article: 

  • Hawaiian Pothos is a cultivar of Golden Pothos due to selective breeding. Its appearance is recognizable through its speckles of yellow variegation. The stem’s color is also yellow, while the leaves grow larger in time.
  • Although both of the pothos variants have similar growing requirements, Hawaiian pothos need medium or higher lighting. That is to keep its intense yellow color, without compromising or drying out the plant. 
  • The way of propagating the Hawaiian and Golden Pothos is the same. Through cuttings, you can multiply the number of your pothos plants at home. You can either propagate them through soil or water. 

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

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