Skip to Content

Neon Pothos vs Golden Pothos (What’s The Difference)

Because these closely related plants share many similarities, it’s easy for a novice to confuse neon pothos with golden pothos.

These popular pothos varieties are notable for their ease of care, heart-shaped foliage, and vining growth habits. 

However, there are some differences between golden pothos and neon pothos that should be considered when caring for them.

Here’s how to tell the difference.

The primary distinction between golden and neon pothos is that golden pothos has mid-green foliage with golden yellow variegation, whereas neon pothos has neon green leaves that are almost translucent and without variegation. Additionally, golden pothos has longer yellow vines that can reach 40 feet indoors, whereas neon pothos green vines rarely exceed ten feet in length.

Let us now go over the specifics of the differences between these two types.

Differences Between Neon Pothos and Golden Pothos

Neon Pothos vs Golden Pothos

[1] Differences in Leaf Appearance

Plants such as neon pothos and golden pothos are grown specifically for their showy, glossy heart-shaped leaves. When these leaves mature, they become lobed and erratic.

The similarities in the foliage end there, as the leaves differ in terms of color, the shape of the tip, and variegation. Let’s take a closer look at this.

Leaf Shape: Similar to golden pothos, neon pothos plants have heart-shaped foliage that becomes unpredictably lobed as they mature. The leaf tips of golden pothos are typically pointed and curved.

Leaf Color and Variegation: Neon pothos leaves are bright chartreuse, yellow-green, or acid green in color. Younger, tender leaves are usually more vibrant than older foliage. 

With age or if the plant does not receive enough bright light, the striking neon green leaf color tends to become darker, duller, and deeper.

Notably, neon pothos’ foliage lacks visible variegation, though some can be variegated with dark green striations due to a specific gene mutation.

Neon Pothos with Variegation

Golden pothos leaves, on the other hand, are medium-green in color and marbled with golden yellow variegations. In brighter light, the variegation becomes more pronounced.

Leaf Texture: The leaves of golden pothos are thick and glossy, with a waxy or substantial feel to the touch. Neon pothos leaves are leathery and thinner to the touch, despite being shiny.

Because they emit a neon-like radiance, neon pothos is an excellent houseplant for brightening up dark corners in your home.

Golden pothos leaves are larger, reaching up to 3-4 inches long and wide on average. They are typically thicker and chunkier in texture than neon pothos leaves.

When grown outdoors, the golden pothos can develop into an aggressive climbing vine, with each leaf spanning up to 24 inches or more.

[2] Vining Stems

Golden pothos has yellowish vining stem
Neon pothos has a bright green vining stem

Both neon pothos and golden pothos have vining stems that allow them to creep, climb, or trail along trellises, walls, and other structures.

When grown indoors, golden pothos produces fast-growing vines that can reach 20-40 feet in length when fully mature.

I, on the other hand, prefer to prune mine to a neater, shorter length. If you want your golden pothos to grow into long vines, use hooks to train them to trail over window frames and along walls.

Neon pothos has much shorter vines that can grow up to 10 feet long as indoor houseplants. You may want to prune the vines on a regular basis to keep them at a specific size.

[3] Height and Structure

When grown outdoors, golden pothos can reach a maximum height of 40 feet (12 meters) and a spread of around 26 feet (8 meters). 

This is due to the fact that the available support only limits their height when they are outdoors or in the wild. Outdoors, the leaves can grow to be 18-24 inches long, and sometimes even longer.

Indoors, however, the plant can grow to a height of 6-8 inches and spread to a width of 13-40 feet. Vining stems can grow up to 3 feet long in hanging baskets. As a result, I prefer growing golden pothos in hanging baskets.

The structure of neon pothos is much more compact and shorter. Indoors, the neon pothos plant can reach a maximum length of 10 ft. (about 3 m) and a width of 3 ft. (about 1 m).

The height of a neon pothos as a climbing vine outdoors is only limited by the available support. However, the stems and nodes appear to be thinner and more flexible than those of golden pothos.

[4] Flowers

Indoors, golden pothos rarely blooms. The same is true for golden pothos grown in beds or containers outside. 

Golden pothos, on the other hand, produces flowering spikes enclosed in spathes that range in color from cream-yellow to pale green in the wild.

Although neon pothos is rare in indoor cultivars, it is more likely to flower than golden pothos. They typically bloom in late spring or early summer, with cream-white to green spathe flowers.

[5] Light Requirements

Golden pothos is more resistant to low-light conditions than neon light, but it will eventually lose their distinctive golden-yellow variegation and revert to solid green.

Both golden and neon pothos thrive in bright, indirect, diffused, or filtered light, but they should be kept out of direct sunlight.

Neon pothos’s bright yellow-green color is most visible in dappled sunlight.

[6] Soil Requirements

When it comes to the growing medium, golden pothos isn’t picky. It will thrive in a standard growing medium as long as it is moist and well-draining.

Neon pothos, on the other hand, prefers airy, loamy soil that is well-draining and moist.

[7] Growth Rate

Golden pothos grows quickly, adding up to 18 inches of vine length in a month during the growing season. Neon pothos grows at a rate of about 12 inches per month on average.

Similarities Between Neon Pothos and Golden Pothos

Growth Habit

Both pothos varieties grow in a vining manner. They can be trained to trail over window frames or to follow along walls, trellises, and other structures.

Light Requirements

Golden pothos and neon pothos call for bright, indirect sunlight. They can’t tolerate too much direct sunlight, though.

Watering Requirements

Both pothos prefers evenly moist soil but is prone to root rot if grown in a waterlogged or soggy medium. Before irrigating again, wait until 2-3″ of soil is completely dry.

Now that I think about it, that may not make much of a difference in resolving the confusion. That’s why I’ve put together a detailed table highlighting the key similarities and differences.

ParameterNeon PothosGolden Pothos
Scientific NameEpipremnum aureum ‘Neon.’ Epipremnum aureum
Common NamesNeon pothos, Ceylon Creeper ‘Neon.’Devil’s Ivy, Devil’s Vine, Ivy Arum, Taro Vine
USDA Hardiness Zone11a, 11b, 12a, 12b 10 through 12
Mature Vine Length10 ft. (3 m)20-40 ft. (6-12 m)
Mature Width3 ft. (around 1 m)3-6 ft. (around 1 m to 2 m)
Growth HabitVining growth habitVining growth habit
Growth RateModerate, adding about 12 inches of vine length per month during the growth periodFast, adding up to 18 inches of vine length per month
Leaf Shape, Texture, & ColorBright neon green leaves in characteristic heart shapeGlossy medium-green,  heart-shaped leaves
Leaf VariegationNo VariegationGolden yellow variegation
Light RequirementsThrives indoors in bright, indirect sunlightRequires bright, indirect, or diffused sunlight indoors
Soil TypeMoist, well-drained loamy soilAny moist, well-draining potting mix or soil
Soil pHSlightly acidic soil pHNeutral to acidic soil pH
PestsTypically pest-free, but look out for mealybugs, spider mites, fungus gnats, or scale insects.Usually pest-free, except for occasional mealybug infestations
DiseasesRoot rotRoot rot
ToxicityToxic to humans, dogs, and catsAll parts are harmful to both pets & humans
(Source: North Carolina State University)

Why All the Confusion?

The plant family Arum includes golden pothos and neon pothos. They share green heart-shaped foliage, a vining growth habit, and a preference for bright, indirect light.