Golden Pothos vs Hawaiian Pothos – What’s the Difference?

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Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is regarded as one of the easiest indoor plants to grow. They grow just about anywhere and there are lots of different types of pothos to choose from. They are commonly grown as indoor plants in a hanging basket. 

Two popular types of pothos are the golden pothos and Hawaiian pothos, but what’s the difference between the two? Golden pothos is a common type with dark green leaves that feature creamy white and yellow streaks. Hawaiian pothos is very similar but more yellow in color. They are both invasive exotics.  

What are Golden Pothos?

Golden pathos is one of the most popular hanging basket houseplants. It is also on NASA’s recommended list of clean air houseplants because it effectively eliminates formaldehyde.  

A trailing vine that is native to the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, golden pathos is now a common houseplant throughout much of the world. 

When mature, golden pothos can reach a width of 3-6 feet and can grow as long as 20-40 feet. Even though they are invasive in gardens, they make lovely, easy-to-manage indoor plants. 

Golden pothos grows wild in Florida and has done so since the 1930s. It’s listed as Category II invasive, which means that it spreads in the wild but it hasn’t done any serious ecological damage (yet). 

In its natural habitat, in tropical forests, golden pothos will grow up from the forest floor and eventually form a canopy that will engulf native shrubs and trees. While it develops long vines, it doesn’t have tendrils and it doesn’t twine. 

Instead, it produces underground rhizomes and tubers that can grip anything from tree trunks to stone walls. 

In the wild, it is heat, drought, and shade tolerant. It also produces berries that birds love to eat, though it doesn’t bear fruit indoors. 

Other Pothos Cultivars

There are many different types of pothos plants, most of which are identified by color and/or leaf size. They all thrive in similar light conditions. 

Jade pothos, for example, is almost identical to the standard golden pothos. The main difference is that there is only very slight variegation on its dark green heart-shaped leaves.

Neon pothos has bright lime-green leaves with no variegations. They thrive in bright light that brings out their neon-like color. 

Marble Queen pothos has variegated leaves with marble-like patterns. Their leaves are often more cream-colored than green, but the same sort of shape and size as Golden pothos. 

Manjula pothos is also cream, with hints of green, although sometimes the heart-shaped leaves are totally cream. Unlike other types of pothos, Manjula leaves have a distinctive wavy edge. Manjula is a recent variety that is rare and rather expensive when compared to other pothos. This is because it is a patented variety that was developed at the University of Florida.  

Pearls and Jade is a smaller leafed pothos that has dark green leaves with cream and sometimes gray markings.

Glacier pathos has small, green leaves that are speckled in a similar way to Pearl and Jade. 

Jessenia has dark green leaves with lemon-yellow variegations and a similar marbling effect as Marble Queen. It grows more slowly than Golden pothos. 

The pothos with the most unusual color is Cebu Blue. Its foliage is a silvery-blue color and it boasts pretty veined patterns on its elongated, almost pointy leaves.

And then, of course, there is Hawaiian pothos. 

What are Hawaiian Pothos?

Hawaiian pothos is a cultivar of golden pothos that have beautifully intense yellow colors. It also has really big, dark green leaves with speckles of yellow variegation.  

Its long, trailing vines look stunning in a hanging basket. But you can encourage more compact growth by pruning it regularly. 

Nevertheless, Hawaiian pothos has all the usual characteristics of any other type of pothos plant.

How do you tell the difference between Golden pothos vs Hawaiian pothos?

Golden pothos and Hawaiian pothos are very similar-looking plants. 


Both the Golden and Hawaiian pothos have heart-shaped leaves with pointed tips. But there are differences between the two. 

One is that Golden pothos leaves sometimes develop fenestrations while Hawaiian pothos doesn’t.


The leaves of Hawaiian pothos grow larger than any other type of plant in the Epipremnum aureum family. This also makes them longer. 

The plant itself is also bigger. 


Golden pothos leaves are glossy and mid-green and sometimes almost lime in color. They are often variegated with white, yellow, or light green striations. 

Hawaiian pothos leaves are more intensely yellow. But Hawaiian pothos develops a green stem while Golden pothos grows a yellow vine. 


The leaves of these types of pothos are glossy.

Light & Temperature Preference

Golden pothos prefers low light conditions while Hawaiian pothos favor brighter light. At the same time, Golden pothos will develop pretty yellow veins if the light is strong enough. 

Both are happy in an environment, where the temperature is between 65 and 85℉.

Growth & Height

Both types of pothos are long trailing vines. 

In their natural environment, both can reach 30 feet or more in height. When grown indoors, they don’t normally grow more than 10 feet, and many people prune them to make them more compact. 

Hawaiian pothos tends to be a more vigorous grower and in keeping with their large leaves, it gets a bit bigger than Golden pothos. 

Golden Pothos and Hawaiian Pothos Care

It doesn’t take much to care for either golden pothos or the Hawaiian pothos. If you follow a few basic rules you will be rewarded with happy, healthy pothos plants. 


Pothos isn’t fussy about the soil it grows in. If you pot it in a good quality potting soil it’s going to be okay. It also doesn’t seem to react much to the pH of soils and is happy in conditions that are neutral to acidic. 

Temperature & Humidity

Pothos will do well in temperatures that are consistently over 50℉, but they are happier when the temperature is a little higher, between 65 and 85℉. They also appreciate relatively high humidity conditions.

But, they really are super-tolerant houseplants and they will survive very happily in dry air too. 

So, while there’s certainly no need to invest in a humidifier, if you keep your pathos in the kitchen or bathroom, where the air is usually a little humid, it will be happy. You can also mist it with a little water from time to time. 


Pothos do best in bright, but indirect light. Golden pothos often loses their distinctive leaf patterns and variations and becomes all green when it doesn’t get enough light. 

By moving pots into an environment with brighter light you can restore the true colors and variegations. At the other end of the scale, if you find that the leaves of your plants start looking pale and washed out, it’s getting too much sunlight.  


Pothos don’t usually need additional nutrients unless the potting soil you use lacks nutrients. Unfortunately, this is often the case, so you can safely feed a balanced fertilizer once or twice a month once it is established.

It is best, though, to only fertilize during the growing season, in spring and summer.   


Pothos plants don’t like to sit in damp soil for any length of time. They like the soil to dry out completely before and after watering. 

But it isn’t rocket science to work out when it needs water, or, for that matter, when it’s had too much. 

If it starts to look a bit droopy, it’s asking for a drink. It’s telling you it is thirsty and is suffering if the leaves start to drop or shrivel up. If the edges of the leaves get dry and brown, your plant is in trouble, and so are you!

Look out for black spots on the leaves. Another telltale sign is that the plant will collapse. 

If any of these things happen, the soil is probably much too wet. If you leave it in wet soil. Its roots will rot.  

Apart from recognizing when your pothos plants need water, you need to get your watering regime right. 

Pothos have a bit in common with succulents that like to dry out after they’ve been watered. They also like the soil to be drenched when you water.

Let the water run out of the drainage holes in the pot, then let it dry 100%.


You can let your pothos grow as long as you like, but you will have to provide a trellis or some other support if you want it to trail further than down the wall. You can train it over window frames or hooks in the wall if you wish. 

Alternatively, you can prune it so that it remains relatively compact and beautifully bushy. 


Golden pothos and Hawaiian pothos have a lot in common. They have similar growth patterns and similar environmental preferences.

But there are differences, which we have set out to illustrate in this short article. 

Ultimately, Golden pothos is more common and easier to find. But keep your eyes open for these two easy-to-grow indoor plants and decide for yourself which one to grow in your home.

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