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Let’s set up a quick scenario together: you’re browsing your favorite houseplant websites, looking to add a new, vibrant piece to your growing collection. You stumble upon the Pothos, a gorgeous option that checks every one of your boxes. You order it and wait patiently for it to be shipped to your home. However, when it arrives, you realize that the site never specified whether you were getting a Golden Pothos or Snow Queen Pothos.
So, how do you determine which of the two you just purchased? Both plants are very similar members of the Pothos family, but they still possess a few differences that might impact the way that you both care and display them in your home. Luckily for you, the Golden Pothos and Snow Queen Pothos follow many of the same care requirements, so much of what you need to investigate to discover your plant’s true identity will be immediately evident to you, so long as you have the proper knowledge to do so!
Before we talk about the differences between the Golden and Snow Queen variants, it’s important that we lay the foundation of what constitutes a member of the Pothos family! Pothos plants are native to parts of the Southern Pacific, where they enjoy tropical and subtropical conditions. They’re vine-like in appearance, and while they won’t naturally grow up the sides of poles or trellises, they can easily be trained to do so. When kept indoors, some Pothos plants can grow up to 30 feet in length, although most owners tend to keep theirs cut to a shorter length.
A lengthy Pothos plant can be secured with hooks along walls and around window frames, making them an especially versatile addition to the home. The only issue that arises here is that the vines can begin to get tangled, so if you plan on growing out your Pothos, make sure to occasionally separate them so that no further complications take place.
As if long, healthy vines and vibrant color wasn’t enough, members of the Pothos plant family are well known for their ease of care. They’re drought resistant, requiring very little with regards to a watering schedule, and they can also grow properly in an array of living conditions. It is the ultimate option for newcomers, withstanding loads of neglect and allowing for a certain learning curve that many other houseplants simply do not provide.
Now that the basics are out of the way and you’ve got a solid understanding of the Pothos plant family, we can begin to discuss the difference between the Golden Pothos and Snow Queen Pothos. Simply put, much of the actual plant care and similar guidelines for these two plants is nearly identical, since they belong to the same family and don’t divert away from the general Pothos blueprint to a great extent.
If you solely look at their watering schedules and temperature or light requirements, you’re going to have a very difficult time determining which of the two that you currently possess. For an answer to your question, you’re going to want to look at the actual appearance of the plant itself. The Golden Pothos and Snow Queen Pothos differ primarily in the way that their leaves and vines look, so your plant will provide you with the physical clues that you need in order to identify it.
The leaves of your plant are going to be the greatest giveaway for which of the two types of Pothos you own. The Golden Pothos tends to have leaves that are primarily a bright green with light, golden accents throughout. These accents do not make up a majority of each leaf, appearing as a vein of gold traveling across the foliage rather than an overwhelming force.
In contrast to that, the Snow Queen Pothos likes to flip the script and possesses foliage that boasts a much more unique color pattern. Most Snow Queens offer leaves that are mostly white or faintly golden, with smaller accents of green. Some tend to look more like the Golden Pothos, with smaller portions of white and larger portions of green. Still, you will quickly be able to discern the color of the accents, bringing you one vital step closer to labeling your plant.
Both the Golden Pothos and Snow Queen Pothos possess leaves that take on the shape of a heart, growing wide and curved at their bases and slimming down to a definite point at their ends. Additionally, neither of these plants’ leaves grow out of sheaths, which are common in many other forms of houseplants. Instead, they simply unfurl right off of their vines.
While both plants feel waxy when touched, the leaves of the Snow Queen Pothos are generally a bit waxier, and from a very young age they take on the mostly-white color pattern that they proudly adorn once matured. Leaves of the Golden Pothos, on the other hand, don’t have quite the same waxy exterior, and their leaves begin as green instead of highlighting their less prevalent accents.
Interestingly enough, the growth rates also differ between these two plants, even though they belong to the same family and follow many of the same care steps. In general, Pothos plants are quick growers, and these two are no exception to that rule. The Golden Pothos’ growth is decidedly slower than most of its counterparts, while the Snow Queen Pothos often sees exceptionally rapid growth under the proper conditions. If you find that your plant is growing quickly, you likely have a Snow Queen on your hands.
While it might develop slower, the Golden Pothos reaches a greater height on average than the Snow Queen. In maturity, it reaches heights of up to 5 feet, while the Snow Queen only reaches 3.2 feet. However, the opposite is true for each plant’s foliage. This is another easy way to identify your plant, although it requires a greater amount of patience from you before becoming apparent.
Outside of physical appearance, there is little that separates the Golden Pothos from the Snow Queen Pothos. You’ll find that most, if not all, of their care guidelines are virtually identical, as is the case with most Pothos plants. Both plants are resilient and offer their own support in your houseplant care journey, which is what makes them so perfect for people of all ages and levels of experience.
Of course, most indoor plants require a bit of tweaking to their care schedules, based on the conditions that they encounter on a daily basis. While you will inevitably have to make some adjustments, there are a few basic steps you can follow immediately to have your Pothos plant looking as good as possible.
The Golden Pothos and Snow Queen Pothos share similarities in the conditions that they enjoy within your home:
You’ll be happy to find out that the temperature and humidity levels the Pothos plant enjoys are readily available in the average household, so you won’t have to make any adjustments whatsoever to your own home. The watering schedule for these plants is susceptible to change, as they simply require more water once the top inches of soil are nearing complete dryness.
These plants also enjoy areas of your home that offer it partial shade, although it will grow best when exposed to bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight and total shade, as these extremes have proven to be dangerous. Pothos plants need light to grow, so full shade can cause it to become severely underdeveloped, and too much direct light will lead to your plant’s leaves burning and eventually dying off.
Outside of their practical similarities, the Golden Pothos and Snow Queen Pothos also fill the same aesthetic niche. Their long, sleek vines and variegated leaves are perfect for covering walls and functioning as hanging plants, and they provide your home with just as much natural beauty when grown as a regular potted plant.
Depending on the length at which you keep your plant, it can fill almost any empty space in your home. Plus, they’re a popular choice amongst air purifying houseplants, which can reduce the amount of airborne contaminants in your home!
With all of this in mind, you should now be able to tell the difference between the Golden Pothos and the Snow Queen Pothos. Trust your eye in this case, and judge your plant based on its physical properties instead of its care requirements. If that isn’t enough, watch its growth rate, and take note of the color patterns present on its matured leaves.
Whether you end up having a Golden Pothos or Snow Queen Pothos, you can rest assured knowing that you’ve got a prime houseplant that’s ready to grow itself and is guaranteed to be a major talking point among your friends and family. Happy growing!