Ever wonder if the Marble Queen Pothos is more fragile than other Pothos types? I’ve had this feeling that it’s more delicate than the traditional, greener Pothos varieties.
Despite using the same soil, water amount, and sunlight, my Marble Queen struggles more with diseases like leaf spots and doesn’t grow leaves as readily.
In contrast, the older varieties seem to flourish effortlessly, turning into a leafy jungle without much trouble. I’ve got your back on this.
Here’s what you’ll find in this article:
- The underlying reasons why growing Marble Queen can be tricky
- The conditions that make cultivation tough
- Tips for nurturing your plant successfully
I’m a seasoned Pothos collector with experience in growing over 50 varieties and a Plant Advisor working with the government. When I first encountered the Marble Queen about 10 years ago, it was much more expensive, costing more than double what it does now. It took a lot of courage to buy it.
So you could say I’m pretty obsessed with Pothos, especially the Marble Queen, with its gorgeous marble-like pattern. It’s incredibly popular for its beauty.
However, many beginners, and even pros, struggle to keep it in prime condition for more than a short period.
But don’t worry, in this article, I’ll share “The reasons why Marble Queen is a challenge to grow and tips to do it right” – perfect even for beginners!
- Why is Marble Queen Pothos Tricky to Grow? The Root Cause
- Ideal Winter Growing: Above 68°F (20°C)
- Avoid Direct Sunlight
- Regular Fertilizing and Vitality Boosting
- Thinning Pruning
- But It’s Still a Pothos, So Don’t Worry!
Why is Marble Queen Pothos Tricky to Grow? The Root Cause
Let me get straight to the point. The white parts of the Marble Queen’s leaves (known as variegation) lack chlorophyll, which is essential for photosynthesis.
Plants perform photosynthesis through the chlorophyll in the green parts of their leaves. However, the Marble Queen has less green area, meaning less chlorophyll and consequently, it generates fewer nutrients and energy from photosynthesis.
This limited capacity to produce the essentials makes the plant inherently weaker, making cultivation more challenging.
Challenges Due to Reduced Chlorophyll
- Slow Growth
- Vulnerability to Cold Damage
- Prone to Spots
- Susceptible to Leaf Burn
1- Slow Growth
The reduced nutrient and energy production from photosynthesis naturally slows down the growth rate. Slow growth means the roots and new leaves develop more slowly.
If the plant sustains any damage, such as from overwatering, disease, or cold exposure, it takes longer to recover.
Beginners often struggle to address these various problems during cultivation, which can lead to the plant dying. That’s why growing a Marble Queen can feel particularly difficult.
2- Vulnerability to Cold in Marble Queen Pothos
Marble Queen Pothos are quite sensitive to cold. This isn’t just from my own experience in growing them; it’s also backed by a study conducted in 1990 at the Central Florida Research and Education Center of the University of Florida.
The study divided Marble Queen plants into six groups based on the amount of white variegation versus green in their leaves. These plants were then placed in a refrigerated environment at 50°F (10°C) for a week. After this period, the number of leaves that suffered from frostbite was counted.
The results showed that leaves with more white variegation were more prone to frostbite, while those with more green were less affected. This means that Marble Queen Pothos with more white variegation are more delicate.
Comparatively, Marble Queen Pothos are more delicate than the common Golden Pothos, indicating a higher difficulty in cultivation.
Generally, it’s said that Pothos can tolerate temperatures down to around 41°F (5°C), but this threshold is for Golden Pothos, which can withstand colder temperatures without damage.
Marble Queen Pothos really needs temperatures above 50°F (10°C).
In some areas, even indoor temperatures can drop to 32°F (0°C) during winter nights or when you’re out and have the heat off.
The tricky part about growing Marble Queens is that they can accidentally be exposed to these cold environments.
3- Prone to Spots and Edge Browning
It’s not just Marble Queens; plants with white variegated parts, like the variegated Monstera (Monstera deliciosa ‘Albo-Variegata’), often develop brownish stains and browning edges.
This can be due to various reasons, including cultivation errors or just natural aging of the leaves. It’s a characteristic feature that the white parts, which lack chlorophyll and don’t contribute much to growth, are more vulnerable.
They’re inherently weaker, so when they take any hit, symptoms appear more readily. It’s like human skin—when you’re tired, delicate areas like your face, neck, or groin might itch or develop redness and rashes.
So, when you see these stains on Marble Queen leaves, it doesn’t mean the plant is immediately dying. But for a beginner, it can be disheartening and confusing, making you wonder, “What’s wrong?
This is hard.” I think it will be necessary to remove the stains and dry edges as they will not be aesthetically pleasing.
Since Marble Queens grow slowly, it takes time for new leaves or vines to develop. This is why growing them can be more challenging compared to Golden Pothos.
4- Susceptibility to Leaf Burn
Leaf burn happens when leaves are exposed to strong light like direct sunlight, damaging the chlorophyll (the green pigment) inside, causing discoloration to white, brown, or black.
It’s akin to a sunburn in humans. As I mentioned earlier, the white parts of Marble Queen Pothos leaves lack chlorophyll and can’t perform photosynthesis, making them inherently weak.
So, when these delicate plants face intense stimuli like direct sunlight, leaf burn is almost inevitable. While preventing stains and edge browning is tough, leaf burn can be avoided.
Grow Marble Queen in an environment above 68°F (20°C), even in winter. Keep away from direct sunlight.
Ideal Winter Growing: Above 68°F (20°C)
While you don’t need to worry much about temperature from spring to fall, winter is critical.
Marble Queen Pothos are particularly sensitive to cold, so ideally, keep them in an environment above 68°F (20°C) during winter.
They can survive above 50°F (10°C) with slower growth, and even manage to overwinter at 41°F (5°C). However, for optimal growth, closer to their natural growing temperature is best.
For example, keeping them in a room with heating on all day, and placing them where they get indirect sunlight but are about 3 feet (1 meter) away from the window, is ideal. If you’re out all day, consider using a home greenhouse heater nearby.
Without heating, they might sustain some damage, but you can protect the roots from the cold by placing the pot inside a Styrofoam container.
Remember, Pothos, in general, stop growing in cold conditions. If you want vigorous growth similar to spring and early fall, maintain a warmer growing temperature.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
The key to preventing leaf burn in Marble Queen Pothos is to avoid direct sunlight. Growing them in semi-shade, like behind sheer curtains indoors, will prevent leaf burn 99% of the time.
This is because without direct sunlight, the chlorophyll in the leaves doesn’t get destroyed. Even if they get a bit of western sunlight indoors, it won’t lead to leaf burn.
If you’re growing them outdoors, like on a balcony, from May to October, make sure to keep them in a spot away from direct sunlight and reflective surfaces like concrete during the hotter months of August and September.
Regular Fertilizing and Vitality Boosting
A common oversight for beginners is forgetting to fertilize and provide vitality boosters. While watering is often remembered, many neglect the importance of fertilizers and vitality supplements.
However, it’s not complicated. You can use solid or liquid fertilizer made for houseplants. For vitality boosters, ampule-type ones that you stick into the soil work well.
Thinning pruning, typically done to improve the growth of trees, is also beneficial for Marble Queen Pothos. This involves selectively removing parts of the plant to encourage healthier growth.
In short, by reducing the number of leaves, we aim to simplify care. For example, a thriving Marble Queen Pothos will develop a dense canopy of leaves.
This density, however, reduces air circulation, making the plant prone to dampness. Such an environment is cozy for diseases and insects, increasing the likelihood of these problems and making their treatment more challenging.
So, by thinning out the leaves, you can improve air circulation around the plant base.
While this might be a downside for those who love long, trailing vines, the plant will quickly produce more foliage during the growth period starting in May. Whether to prioritize aesthetics or workload is up to you.
You might be wondering, “Observation? What’s that about?” But let me reiterate, Marble Queen Pothos are more delicate than the common Pothos.
Think of how you keep a constant eye on vulnerable beings like newborn babies or puppies and kittens. Why? Not just because they’re cute but to be ready to respond quickly to any potential danger.
The same principle, albeit a bit exaggerated, applies to Marble Queen Pothos. Because of their delicate nature, regular observation is crucial to detect and address problems early.
This added vigilance is one reason why growing Marble Queen Pothos can be challenging.
Ever had trouble telling apart Snow Queen and Marble Queen Pothos? I’ve broken it down for you in this article.
But It’s Still a Pothos, So Don’t Worry!
Despite the challenges, remember that Marble Queen Pothos is just a variety of Pothos. It’s a created variety of the common green-and-yellow Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), resulting from a spontaneous mutation and has been a stable variety for over 60 years.
So, if you follow the right care tips, anyone can grow it successfully without much difficulty!