Hawaiian Pothos vs Golden Pothos – 11 Queries Explained

Hawaiian Pothos vs. golden Pothos, which do we like better? You’d be wrong if you think all types of Pothos are the same.  

If you’re in the market for a durable, forgiving houseplant, you’ve likely settled on a Pothos plant. But now, you’re facing the even bigger challenge – narrowing down which Pothos type. 

To the amateur, it might not seem very clear when trying to tell the many different Pothos species apart. That’s why you have experts like me who make it easy to tell the plant type by identifying markers like foliage size and color, plant height, growing needs, and history. 

Specifically, we will compare two of the most popular Pothos types – Hawaiian Pothos vs. Golden Pothos. 

Table of Contents

Can We Compare Hawaiian Pothos and Golden Pothos?

hawaiian pothos vs golden pothos

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the Hawaiian vs. Golden Pothos plants.

What Are the Similarities?

Hawaiian Pothos and huge golden Pothos share many similarities that make them look almost identical. They’re the same species in the same genus. 

What Is the Taxonomy of Pothos Plants?

All types of Pothos are in the Epipremnum aureum genus of the Araceae (arum) family. The giant Hawaiian Pothos and the Golden Pothos are the same species of tropical vines. You get the Hawaiian Pothos from the cultivation of Golden Pothos.

They’re called Devil’s Ivy because Pothos plants grow rapidly and snuff out other plants. And it’s also believed that Pothos plants bring you luck and financial prosperity, giving them the name Money Plants.

Where Are They Native?

Pothos plants are native to the tropical forests of the French Polynesian islands. Their need for high humidity and warm weather makes them excellent houseplants. 

But the fast spread of their thick vines causes them to smother other vegetation if not kept under control. So be wary if you’re growing these species outside. They’re invasive to many areas. 

Are Pothos Plants Rare?

The frequent popularity of the Golden Pothos plant means it’s not at all rare. You can find them almost anywhere, and beginner indoor gardeners frequently choose them. 

It can be a bit tougher to find Hawaiian Pothos at all locations. But it’s not so difficult that these plants can classify as incredibly rare. 

How Do Hawaiian and Golden Pothos Look?

golden vs hawaiian pothos

The best way to differentiate between a Hawaiian vs. Golden Pothos species is by looking at the plant. Both plants are similar, but there are a few noticeable differences if you look closely. 

Leaf Shape

Golden and Hawaiian Pothos plants share similar leaf structures to most other Pothos plants. They have pointed tips with rounded bases. The leaf tucks in at the petiole to create a heart shape. 

Pay close attention to the leaf tips to tell the difference between a Golden and Hawaiian Pothos plant. For example, Pothos Hawaiian plants have more rounded tips than the pointy ends of the Golden Pothos. But even the most experienced gardener can have problems identifying these two plants by leaf shape alone. 

Leaf Color

watercolor of golden pothos on white background

It can also be a bit complex to identify the two types of Pothos plants apart based on leaf color. As the name implies, Golden Pothos have golden dots in patterned green leaves that look like patches of gold or green that can look yellow.

Hawaiian Pothos plants share a similar color and pattern. You’ll have to look closely to detect the light yellow variations in the leaves. This yellow can turn creamy, if not pure white. You can pull out the golden yellow color by exposing Hawaiian plants to brighter light.

Plant Size

The only major distinguishing feature between Golden and Hawaiian Pothos plants is the size difference of the leaves.

When grown indoors, Hawaiian Pothos leaves will get quite large – roughly bigger than the size of a hand. But the Golden Pothos will be smaller, whether grown indoors or outside.

Hawaiian Pothos plants also grow bigger and faster than their relatives due to absorbing more sunlight. But the difference is not as noticeable as the variation in leaf size.  

What Does Pothos Care Look Like?

Because these two Pothos types are so similar in relation and appearance, they need the same level of care. Both types are low maintenance and beginner-friendly. 

What Light Is Needed?

Pothos plants are versatile in the type of lighting they can tolerate. As a result, you often see these plants listed as tolerant of low lighting. 

But the best growth comes from giving your Pothos plants exposure to bright indirect lighting. This lighting is the most similar to the dappled sunlight they would get growing along the forest or up trees. 

Hawaiian species will be happier with more bright sunlight to encourage voluptuous leaf growth and coloring that sets it apart from the Golden Pothos. 

Neither plant can tolerate long exposure to direct sunlight unless it’s a subtle, gentle morning sun, which can boost growth. But midday and afternoon sun can burn the leaves. 

Inside, the best lighting conditions would be in a window facing south or east. Cover the window with a sheer curtain to mimic a spotted mottled -splotchy color patches – effect.  

How Much Water Is Necessary?

Pothos plants are superb for gardeners who forget about watering their green babies. Instead, give your plants time for the top of the soil to dry out completely between waterings. 

Test the dampness of the dirt by pushing your finger into the soil or with a moisture meter. You can also insert a bamboo stick into the earth and examine the watermark.

Due to their larger size, Hawaiian Pothos plants need watering more often than Golden Pothos. Other factors determining when your plants should receive water include lighting and temperature.

Is Well-Draining Soil Ideal?

golden pothos in white pot on table in room

Hawaiian and Golden Pothos plants need well-draining soil, so the roots don’t rot. Letting your plants sit in containers that hold water to stagnate around the plants is not recommended. 

Choose a planting container with several drainage holes that will pull out all the water you add to your flower pots. Next, fill the jars with houseplant potting soil. Or DIY a mix of one part perlite, one part coconut coir or peat moss, and two parts potting soil.  

What Do I Need to Know About Temperature and Humidity?

Sharing the same native environment means that both plants need the same growing conditions. As a result, they make superior indoor plants because they tolerate warm temperatures between 65℉ and 85℉ (18℃ to 29℃). But the plants can’t handle being cold. 

And these plants also require lots of humidity. Naturally, they get between 70% and 90% humidity. But indoors, they can handle lower humidity, at least 40%. But 60% is a powerful medium that can keep you and your plants happy indoors.

How Do I Fertilize Pothos Plants?

The good news about Pothos’ fertilization is that they don’t require additional treatment. But if you’re keeping your plants in the same pot for over a year without adding a soil top off, they can do well with feeding fertilizer during spring or summer.

You can use the same balanced liquid fertilizer on either type of Pothos plant, treated every four to six weeks. Or you can purchase slow-release fertilizer sticks that insert into the soil and break down over time. 

Are There Any Examples of Issues From Growing Pothos?

golden pothos on beige background in black pot

You can encounter several issues when growing either species of Pothos. But there are not any illnesses that affect one Pothos species but not the other. 

If you overwater your plants, you can experience leaves that turn yellow. This yellowing will be along the green parts of the leaves. Be sure you’re not confusing the yellow tone with the normal coloring. 

Wilting is another common issue typically caused by underwatering. But wilting leaves can also be because you overwater your plants. Use the texture of the soil to determine the problem and fix the situation. If you’ve overwatered, you might have to repot with fresh potting medium. 

Foliage tips that turn black or brown signal you’re not providing enough water. But it can mean that there’s not enough humidity in the area. Consider a meter that tests the moisture and the temperature. 

If you notice irregular brown or yellow spots on the stems and leaves, it’s a possible sign of pest infestations. Treat your plants with neem oil, which will smother existing pests and their eggs. 

Finally, if your plants start getting brown patches, it could signify too much direct sunlight exposure, which causes burn marks. Relocate your plants to a new spot that gets indirect bright light after pruning off damaged leaves. 

What Are the Differences?

A few minor differences between Hawaiian and Golden Pothos plants make them distinguishable from each other. 

What Color Are the Veins?

You can also attempt to identify Hawaiian from Golden Pothos by the color of the foliage veins. Hawaiian plants form rich green stems under optimal growing conditions. But Golden Pothos have yellow veins when cared for properly. 

What Are the Leaves Like?

hand holding giant hawaiian plant leaf

Golden Pothos leaves tend to split, which allows sun and water to get down to the lower leaves and roots. 

This split is referred to as fenestration and only happens to Golden Pothos plants. But never to Hawaiian Pothos.  

What Is the Foliage Color?

Golden Pothos plants have more variegation in the leaf color. This Pothos variety has an intense, vivid yellow. But Hawaiian pothos foliage is a blend of yellow, dark green, and white. 

What Are the Different Pothos Types?

Golden Pothos is the most common of the Pothos plants. But a close second that looks almost the same is the Hawaiian Pothos. 

You can find Golden Pothos on impressive lists like the easiest houseplant to grow, the best plant for beginners, and NASA’s list of clean air houseplants by removing formaldehyde.

hawaiian pothos in brown pot against wall

Hawaiian PothosGolden Pothos
Epipremnum aureum genusEpipremnum aureum genus
Pointy-tipped heart-shaped leaves that are larger and longerLarge speckled heart-shaped leaves with pointy tips
Variegated dark green glossy leaves with yellow markingsDark green glossy leaves with yellow, white, light green, and cream streaks
Green stemYellow vines
Can grow up to 40 feet outdoors, 10 feet when grown inside Can grow 3 to 6 feet wide and 20 to 40 feet long
Well-draining acidic to neutral soil – 6.1 to 6.8Well-draining acidic to neutral soil – 6.0 to 6.5
Indirect, bright lightIndirect filtered low light
Water as needed when the soil dries outWater as needed, when the soil dries out
Fertilize once or twice monthly in spring or summer. No fertilizer is necessary in winterFertilize once or twice monthly in spring or summer but not in winter
Prune as needed to control growthPrune as needed to keep growth in check
65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit indoor temperatures65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit indoor temperatures
Requires 40% to 80% humidityRequires 40% to 80% humidity
More vigorous plant growth than Golden PothosMore vulnerable to fungal diseases and pests than Hawaiian


Are Hawaiian pothos rare?

Due to tropical vines, Hawaiian Pothos plants are less commonly available in all areas. But they are not rare or difficult to find.

Is there such a thing as hawaiian pothos?

Hawaiian Pothos plants are cultivars – a new species of plant made by a parent plant – of the Golden Pothos, giving you a slightly larger size and a less yellow color. Many nurseries will use these two names interchangeably – and incorrectly.

Are giant pothos the same as golden pothos?

The nickname Giant Pothos is for the Hawaiian Pothos plant, a relative of the Golden Pothos but not the same plant.

How big do Hawaiian pothos get?

In its native environment, the Hawaiian pothos can get to be over 65 feet! But they wont get nearly that big as a houseplant. You can expect them to grow around 4 feet long and about 1 – 2 feet wide.

Which Pothos Will You Choose for Your Home? 

Any plant in the Pothos species can be suitable for beginner gardeners or people with a habit  to forget daily care. The Hawaiian and golden Pothos are nearly similar with heart-shaped leaves. But the Hawaiian species has larger leaves with slightly rounder tips and creamy streaks, while the Golden Pothos has more yellow variation. 

Either Pothos plant will give you elegant greenery with minimal care. If you’re having a hard time deciding whether to choose a Hawaiian or a Golden Pothos plant, make the simple choice and buy both! Golden and Hawaiian Pothos plants are inexpensive and easy to grow for gardeners of any experience level.

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Sara Trimble
Sara Trimble was the lady who could kill a cactus. Today, she’s the fun and fabulous expert plant mom who rocks at growing the coolest, trickiest plants. Her favorites to grow are orchids, roses, succulents, and luscious vines. Sara has grown – and killed – hundreds of plants and she shares her green-thumb successes and failures to help other plant murderers discover correct plant care. In her spare time, she raises four kids, two dogs, and a husband.

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