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Do you have a Pothos or Philodendron? | How to spot the differences and identify your plant

Epipremnum Aureum (Golden Pothos) is commonly mislabeled as Philodendron Hederaceum (Heartleaf Philodendron), and vice versa. While they do look similar, once you spot the differences – you’ll always know which is which. Once you know that, you’ll be able to apply the right care accordingly.

In this post I’m going to talk only about the differences in appearance. For care tips visit – Philodendron Hederaceum aka Heartleaf Philodendron | care tips and – How to care for Epipremnum Aureum | Pothos care & propagation tips.

Stem differences

I’d say, the easiest thing to notice is that Philodendrons have this sheath, a protective cover from which a new leaf develops. This cover stays on the stems and eventually dries out, but if you don’t remove it by hand, it will stay that way making it really easy to notice it’s a Philodendron.

On the other hand, Pothos leaves grow from the stem, without a sheath. You can understand best by taking a look at the pics below.

Leaf differences

Leaf color

There are many Pothos varieties (like the Manjula Pothos, Pothos N’Joy and Marble queen Pothos), as well as Philodendron Hederaceum varieties.

Those that we usually mix up are the Golden Pothos and Jade Pothos that are mistaken for a classic green Philodendron Hederaceum. Golden Pothos may have more or less yellow variegation on the leaves, while Jade Pothos has completely green leaves. If not given enough sunlight, your Golden Pothos will also turn completely green eventually.

We also may mix up the Neon Pothos with the Philodendron Lemon Lime, because they both have bright light, “neon” green colored leaves.

There is one common Philodendron variety that has very specific variegation that’s not similar to any Pothos variety – the Philodendron Brasil. If you see this plant in a store, you can be 100% sure it’s a Philodendron. It has yellow variegation in the middle of the leaf, which makes each leaf really unique and beautiful.

Leaf color – New growth

The color of new leaves on Philodendron plants may be more of a brownish red color, rather than green. After the new leaf develops, do does its color, while new Pothos leaves don’t change color – they are green from the start.

Leaf shape

Pothos leaves are more narrow and pointy, while Philodendron leaves have more of a heart shape, rounding up toward the end.

While some Photos leaves may look like hearts, the majority of them won’t. As opposed to the Philodendron, which leaves will predominantly look like hearts.

If you look closely to where the leaf meets the little leaf stem – Philodendron’s leaf rounds up like a heart from the very beginning, while Pothos’ leaf doesn’t have such a pronounced curve in the middle.

Leaf appearance

Pothos leaves have a more sturdier appearance and a more flat surface of the leaf. Philodendron, on the other hand, looks more fragile, its leaves look thinner and has deeper vein dents.