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Tl;dr – yes: I gave it a go, and the cutting with a pothos in with it propagated WAY faster than the others.
For someone that didn’t really do much propagating until this year, I’ve gotten really into it. One of the tricks is to keep all your vessels on your coffee table so you don’t forget about them.
Is my coffee table a mess? Yes. But also, I can now produce my own plants for free, which is worth it.
I tried having them on my office desk but it just distracted me.
Anyhoo, the latest experiment has been whether putting a Pothos cutting in with another cutting will help it grow faster. I cut up my Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma because the stem has gone yellow and I’m too scared to look at the roots* and I’m trying it out with a marble queen cutting.
*I went to repot the other day and it just snapped off. Annoyingly, the roots were ok, just…not attached to the plant any more. I think the stem was lying horizontally in the soil and just got too wet. Oh well.
Does Pothos help other plants’ roots?
What I wanted here was science. What I actually got when I researched it was, a lot of people saying that they know someone that tried it.
The problem is, if all the articles are written by people that googled ‘do Pothos help other plants root’ we’re running the risk that ONE PERSON once said that Pothos can help other plants root and the rest of us are just repeating that one person’s success.
So I tried it. It seemed like the only way. So far, no results, so I thought I’d ask ChatGPT. Here’s what it said:
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) can directly help other plants root faster. However, some gardeners and plant enthusiasts believe that Pothos can indirectly help other plants by improving the overall health of the soil and providing a favorable environment for root growth.
I actually couldn’t find an article that said this BUT I can’t search the whole internet, AND I suspect that it’s correct.
Pothos plants are known to be effective at purifying the air and removing harmful toxins, which can help create a healthier growing environment for all plants in the area. Additionally, Pothos plants are often grown in soil that is rich in organic matter, which can improve soil health and fertility.
This is not true. Pothos are NOT effective at purifying the air or removing harmful toxins UNLESS they’re in a hermetically sealed room that’s FULL of plants. Do not grow Pothos in organic matter-rich soil unless you want to start a fungus gnat farm.
Moreover, Pothos plants can also create a microclimate that is favorable for root growth. By creating a canopy of leaves, Pothos can help regulate temperature and humidity levels, which can promote healthy root development.
Naaah, not to any noticeable degree. In the home anyway. Perhaps in Polynesia it’s different.
In summary, while there is no direct evidence to suggest that Pothos can help other plants root faster, its ability to improve soil health, purify the air, and create a favorable microclimate may indirectly benefit other plants in the area.
That’s us told.
Why does Pothos help other plants to root?
The theory goes that Pothos have higher levels of the auxins that act as rooting hormones (indolebutyric acid or IBA) than other plants. When they’re cut, the hormones are releasing into the water and help other plants to root quicker.
I searched YouTube to see if anyone had tried this (it worked for the rooting hormone article!) and the only video I could find where the guy actually tested the theory wasn’t *quite* what I was after BUT I thought it was worth discussing just in case other people were thinking this was the way to go.
What he did was root a load of Pothos in some water, strain that water, and then used that old Pothos water to root another plant. It didn’t work at all, probably because the water would have been basically stagnant at that point.
So if you’re thinking of doing that, don’t.
What I’ve done is take a Pothos cutting and a Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma cutting and stuck them in the same glass.
I’m also doing an experiment with Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma where I see if changing the water more frequently makes a difference in the speed at which the cuttings root. My control for this Pothos experiment is the cutting that is having the water changed weekly, because I only have so many Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma nodes!
How much faster with plants propagate if there’s a Pothos cutting present?
I took these cuttings on the 12th of April. I’m starting this article on the 17th and we still have no movement. Hopefully we’ll have something to report by the time this article goes live on the 25th, but if not…er, fuck.
Ok, so I have the results!!
And it totally worked! I’m actually a bit surprised.
So the cutting with the Pothos in rooted in less than a week, which is ASTOUNDING quick in my opinion. Look:
In comparison, we have the other cuttings:
Nothing happening. The one on the far right-hand side is the one that’s getting its water changed every day, and I think I can see a bit of movement at the end of that aerial root but not as much as the one that was in with the Pothos.
There is clearly a slight difference in the samples, which is that the one that was in with the Pothos had a much longer aerial root than the others, which I suspect might be skewing the results a bit. I will repeat the experiment once I’ve got all my current props potted up.
The length of the aerial roots hasn’t made a difference to the speed at which propagations rooted in the past, but obvs it may have had an impact.
I’ve had a lot of issues with propping Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma in the past, but this one rooted in less than a week, which is WILD to me.
I also want to compare how fast a cutting will root in nutrient water compared to rooting with a Pothos.
You don’t need to run out and buy a Pothos to help your propagation root faster. I recently tried rooting a Philodendron brasil in 10 different substrates and using nutrient water was BY FAR the fastest way to root.
HOWEVER the fastest cutting to get roots and then subsequent growth was EASILY the one in the terrarium SO warmth, humidity, and light seem to be key.
Note that the cutting was in soil (I just put the whole pot in the terrarium) and it didn’t root very quickly (one of the slowest in fact) BUT it’s currently throwing out new leaves whereas the others are still working on their roots.
It’s not all about speed folks!
By the way, at the same time I was running this experiment, I also ran another one where i changed the water of a (different) cutting every day to see if that made it root faster. Bad news lazy people, changing the water every day REALLY boosts rooting speed.