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Philodendron vs. Pothos: What’s the difference between them? 

Both Philodendron and Pothos are extremely common and loved houseplants and sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between these two. However, if you’re paying careful attention to characteristics like leaves shape, texture, and stems, aerial roots, and new growth, you’ll be able to tell the difference in no time. 

Let’s get to it then.

1. Taxonomy 

We’re starting it with a bit of theoretical information regarding both Philodendron and Pothos scientific classification. 

PhilodendronPothos
FamilyAraceaeAraceae
SubfamilyAroideaePothoideae
GenusPhilodendronEpipremnum
OrderAlismatalesAlismatales

2. Leaves shape & texture

Analyzing the leaves of these plants will usually tell you which one is which. When it comes to shape, Philodendron leaves have a heart-like shape and a thinner texture, while Pothos comes with thicker, waxier leaves. 

3. Aerial roots

And you’re still not sure of the genus of the plant you’re looking at, then you can check out the aerial roots patterns. Pothos only have one large aerial root per node, while Philodendrons come with multiple, smaller aerial roots per node. 

4. New growth

Philodendron new leaves are usually encased in cataphylls (small leaves that have the role of protecting the actual leaf – euphylls). These will dry out and fall off eventually. On the other side, Pothos new leaves unfurl directly from the previous one, so there are no dry remnants in this case. 

5. Petioles 

Petioles are the stalk that join a leaf to the plant’s stem. And when it comes to Philodendron vs. Pothos, there’s a very clear difference, as Philodendrons have a round and symmetrical petiole, while Pothos come with an indentation. 

Conclusion

Even if Philodendrons and Pothos look very similar, there are a few characteristics that will help you easily identify them. And if you’re still not sure, you can always download a plant identification application that will tell you which one is which. 

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