How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Marble Queen Pothos
Want to learn how to grow and care for Marble Queen Pothos? This cultivar is one of the most popular of the Pothos species, easy to find and care for. They make great houseplants, and can thrive in a variety of living conditions. Gardening expert Madison Moulton tells you everything you need to know to help your Marble Queen thrive.
For houseplant collectors and enthusiasts, having at least one Pothos is a no-brainer. Once you’ve collected the original Golden Pothos, you may consider branching out to one of the many cultivars of this beloved species. There are many different varieties to choose from, but the easy-going Marble Queen should be your go-to.
While there are many other pothos cultivars, and some being even more rare, the Marble Queen is an excellent entry level houseplant that won’t break your budget. They are just as easy to care for as more common varieties, with a beautiful and unique variegated look.
If you’ve decided to welcome one of these lovely houseplants into your home, you’ve made a great choice. Keep reading on to find out how to grow and care for this established and beloved pothos cultivar.
Plant Type Houseplant
Species Epipremnum aureum ‘Marble Queen’
Native Area French Polynesia
Exposure Bright indirect light
Watering Requirements Low
Pests & Diseases Aphids, mealybug, spider mites
Soil Type Airy and well-draining
Grows Best Indoors with indirect light
What is Marble Queen Pothos?
Marble Queen is one of the most popular cultivars of the Epipremnum aureum species. Pothos are known for being low-maintenance, hardy plants, and this plant is no exception.
As an older cultivar of this species, it is stable, easy to grow, and more widely available than some of the newer and rarer cultivars, such as Pearls n Jade.
Pothos plants have many common names. Devil’s Ivy describes the plants’ ability to spread. In fact, this spread is so vigorous and quick that they are declared invasive in some areas. It’s recommended to keep them in pots and away from native plants to control their growth.
In Feng Shui, they are also known as Money Plants. When placed in the right area of your home, these plants are said to bring their owners luck and financial prosperity.
Marble Queen, and all Pothos cultivars, are members of the arum family, Araceae. This family is characterized by its spiky flowers and tropical foliage. However, you’re unlikely to see the Pothos flower in the wild, meaning it’s even more unlikely indoors.
This species is often confused for another member of the arum family, Philodendron hederaceum or Heartleaf Philodendron. Luckily, thanks to Marble Queen’s unique coloring, it’s far easier to tell these two plants apart.
Epipremnum aureum is believed to be native to the islands of French Polynesia, specifically the volcanic island Mo’orea. But, due to its ability to spread, it resides in tropical forests around the world.
Outdoors, the vines cross floors and climb trees in tropical rainforests. You can find a Pothos on almost every continent, if not in the wild, then certainly in the homes of houseplant enthusiasts.
They are accustomed to dappled light under the canopy of trees, along with high temperatures and humidity. In rainforests around the world, temperatures rarely drop below 60F and humidity ranges from 70% in the dry season to above 90% in the rainy season.
Pothos plants have stunning glossy, heart-shaped leaves that grow along long vines. They can grow several feet tall with leaves over 3 feet long in their native habitats.
They can be induced to flower with Gibberellin (resolving a genetic impairment that prevents flowering), producing a spathe under 10 inches long.
Indoors, their growth remains much more modest. The leaves don’t grow nearly as large as they do outdoors and the vines spread slower than they do in the wild. However, that doesn’t mean they are slow growers, adding around 12 inches in length to the vines every month of spring and summer in the right conditions.
This variety is one of the most sought-after cultivars, and it’s not hard to see why. This plant is beloved for its variegation pattern, featuring flecks and patches of cream and white amongst the bright green.
It is a strong and stable cultivar – the parent of several sprouts including the highly variegated Snow Queen Pothos.
When purchasing your first Marble Queen, it should stay happy in its original pot for at least a few months. However, if it appears root bound or if you want to change out the pot, a simple repotting will do the trick. Follow the instructions below to find out how.
If you’ve received a cutting from a friend, planting is simple. Start with a medium-sized pot of any material. The green leaves are complemented best by a terra cotta pot, but ceramic, fabric, or even recycled plastic pots are suitable.
No matter which material you choose, make sure the pot has enough drainage holes. This plant is prone to root rot and cannot be left to sit in water. Also, avoid leaving the plant in trays or in pot covers. Stagnating water can attract bacteria and leave the roots in water, resulting in rotting.
Grab your pot and fill it with a specialized houseplant potting mix. If you have materials on hand, you can also make your own by amending potting soil with perlite and coconut coir. Premoisten the soil and let all the excess water drain from the pot before planting.
Make a hole in the center with your finger and bury the cutting, pressing down around the soil to secure it in place. It’s best to plant several cuttings together in one pot to create a fuller plant, if you have enough on hand. You can also wait until the cutting has grown long enough to propagate to fill out the pot later on.
Don’t plant this variety outdoors in your garden. It needs to be confined to a pot to stop it from becoming invasive.
How to Grow
All Pothos plants are considered easy to grow, including Marble Queen. Besides some extra considerations to maintain the wonderful variegation, they are incredibly beginner-friendly. This makes them wonderful gifts or plants for busy plant parents that don’t have time to fuss over their indoor garden.
Take a look at any low light suitable houseplant list and you should find Pothos near the top. These plants are known to withstand low light conditions incredibly well. They might not grow to their full potential, but they won’t show too many signs of struggle either.
However, when it comes to Marble Queen specifically, this is not the best idea. The variegation pattern is reliant on the correct light levels. Without it, the leaves will revert, looking exactly like a regular Golden Pothos.
The reason for this is chlorophyll. The areas of Marble Queen leaves with white variegation lack chlorophyll due to a genetic mutation. As chlorophyll is responsible for photosynthesis and therefore growth, less than suitable lighting conditions will stress the plant and cause it to produce more chlorophyll, reverting to its original color.
For the best possible growth and strong variegation, keep your this plant in bright indirect light for most of the day. They can handle an hour or two of gentle direct sun in front of an east-facing window too, but will burn in harsh direct sunlight in midday or the afternoon.
If you can’t find the perfect spot, filter the light from a south-facing window with a sheer curtain to recreate the conditions these plants love.
All Pothos plants require consistent watering to look their best. They don’t mind a missed watering or two, but face less stress when the soil is consistently moist.
Keep in mind that moist does not mean waterlogged. They cannot be left to sit in soggy soil for extended periods as this will cause the roots to rot and may end up killing the plant completely.
To avoid excessive moisture, it’s best to water when the top few inches of soil have dried out but before the entire pot dries out. You can test the moisture levels with your finger or by lifting the pot and determining how heavy it is. If it’s very light, it’s time to water again.
This plant will generally need water around once every 7-10 days in spring and summer, and once every 2-3 weeks in winter. However, environmental conditions like light, temperature and humidity can impact the moisture levels in your soil day to day.
Always test the soil before watering instead of following a rigid schedule to account for these environmental changes.
Incorrect soil can cause a host of growing problems for your Marble Queen, so it’s important to get it right from the start. As these plants don’t like being waterlogged, the soil should be well-draining and light to deliver oxygen to the roots.
If you take a look at the soil your Pothos came in, you should notice a few elements. The first is the small white rocks, known as perlite. This expanded volcanic glass is incredibly lightweight and increases the space between soil particles, improving drainage.
You may also notice peat moss, or its sustainable alternative, coconut coir. These materials hold moisture without weighing down the mixture, draining freely.
Replicating this soil mix when planting or repotting is vital to maintaining the health of your plants. This plant does not enjoy changes in environments, so the closer you can stick to the original soil mix, the better.
Most houseplant soil mixes available online or from your local nursery will contain the perfect mix of ingredients. If you can’t find the right option, or prefer to mix your own, combine two parts potting soil with one part perlite and one part coconut coir.
Temperature and Humidity
Like most tropical houseplants, Marble Queen does not appreciate cold or dry weather. They thrive in conditions that match their native habitats, meaning warm and humid is the goal.
Aim for indoor temperatures between 65F and 85F for optimal growth. They will be happy in slightly higher temperatures, but stop growing if they dip too low. Never leave them in temperatures below 50F as this can result in cell damage, causing the affected parts of the plant to die off.
Keep humidity above 40% for the best results. Below 40% humidity, the tips of the leaves will start to brown and the plant may stop growing. 60% is preferred for optimal growth and comfort for the owners indoors, but anything above 40% will keep the plant happy.
If you need to raise the humidity around the plant, there are a few options available:
- Misting: Temporarily raises humidity, but needs to be done several times a day.
- Pebble Tray: If your air is dry, this can help, but may not be enough.
- Grouping Plants: Grouping will slightly improve humidity within that small area.
- Choose The Right Room: Place your plant in a room that has a water source.
- Humidifier: Allows you to control the humidity in that area.
Although they are not heavy feeders, Pothos plants can be fertilized to improve their growth. This is one pothos growing tip that many indoor gardeners get wrong. They choose the wrong fertilizer, or over-fertilize. However, if your plant is repotted regularly, this isn’t a necessity. If the soil has not been replenished in a while or if growth is stunted, fertilizing can improve conditions.
There are a number of fertilizing options available for houseplants. It can be confusing, but if chosen and applied correctly, it’s hard to go wrong.
Most houseplant fertilizers are available in liquid form, diluted or added straight to the soil with your regular watering routine. You may also come across fertilizer granules that are dissolved in water before pouring over the soil.
For those who don’t have time to fuss over their plants, slow-release fertilizer sticks are perfect. Simply bury one or two in the soil, depending on your chosen fertilizer and the packaging, and water to begin releasing the nutrients.
A balanced fertilizer with an equal NPK value is ideal for all-around plant health. You can also choose a fertilizer slightly higher in nitrogen to improve foliage growth and color, but don’t overdo it to avoid causing a nutrient imbalance.
Marble Queen, despite the royal title, is not high maintenance. There are a few tasks that will improve growth and health, but they are not integral and can be skipped if needed.
The first task is pruning. If your Pothos is stretching, or if the spaces between the leaves are increasing, pruning can improve growth and give the vines a denser and fuller appearance.
Trim the vine above a leaf node to promote new growth. Don’t remove too much of the plant at one time – no more than one-third. Take any parts you prune away and pop them in a glass of water to propagate even more Marble Queens.
The second task is wiping down the leaves. As the leaves are small, this is not as important as it is for some other large-leafed plants (such as the popular Fiddle Leaf Fig). But it will improve photosynthesis and return this plant’s beloved sheen.
Using a damp cloth, gently wipe down the individual leaves. Take care not to damage the vines or pull off any leaves. A light hand is needed.
Of all the houseplants, Pothos is one of the easiest to propagate. There are several methods to choose from, but cuttings are the most common.
Start by cleaning your shears or scissors with a 5% bleach solution. This will remove any harmful bacteria or germs that can impact the growth of your cuttings and the parent plant.
Choose a stem with lots of dense leaf growth. Avoid any damaged or diseased areas as these problems will only spread to the new plant.
Make a cut just below a leaf node – the bumps in the stem where leaves and roots emerge. Cutting at an angle will increase surface area and stop the cut from sitting against the bottom of the glass when rooting in water.
Your cutting should be around 4 inches long with a few sets of leaves. Remove any leaves from the bottom half of the cutting and root in water, or plant straight into soil. Once the roots have grown one or two inches long, transplant into a new pot filled with the soil mix discussed above.
It’s best to propagate a few cuttings at once. This will give you a full and bushy plant when replanting, rather than a single vine in a large pot. When transplanting, gather the vines together and plant in the center of the pot to trail down the sides evenly.
Marble Queen grows slightly slower than the original Golden Pothos due to the variegation. But in general, it is still considered a fast grower. The benefit from regular potting every few years, depending on their age and the quality of the soil.
As soon as you notice roots growing from the drainage holes, it’s time to repot. Also keep an eye on the soil. If it starts to disintegrate, not holding onto water or becoming compacted, a soil refresh is required.
Choose a pot one or two sizes up at most. These plants are happy being confined in their pots, so don’t choose a pot that is too big. If you’re only repotting to change the soil and the plant is still the right size, you can simply wash and reuse the same pot.
Remove the plant from the pot and shake off the old soil. Those repotting due to overwatering should take a look at the roots and trim away any damaged areas to promote new and healthy growth free from disease.
Fill the pot with a soil mix discussed above, gather the vines and gently place them in the soil. Fill in around the gaps with additional soil mix and press down around the base to secure.
Water immediately after repotting to limit shock. It also helps to place the plant back where it was originally as soon as possible to limit the time the plant spends out of its accustomed environment.
While Marble Queen is easy to care for, it is not immune to problems. Some are caused by owner error, while others may be out of your control. No matter the cause, it’s important to know how to fix them and avoid the same problems in the future.
If there is one problem every pothos owner has experience dealing with, it’s yellowing pothos leaves. As this problem has so many causes, it is incredibly common in all houseplants, including Marble Queen. Here’s a quick-fire look at potential causes and solutions:
- Overwatering: Only water when the top layer of soil has dried out.
- Underwatering: Never leave the soil to dry out completely.
- Age: Older leaves may turn yellow and drop off. This is natural.
- Lack of Sunlight: In dark areas with no windows, the leaves can yellow.
- Overfertilization: Never add more fertilizer than is recommended.
Browning leaves are usually the result of a moisture issue. This is often related to underwatering, especially when accompanied by wilting and dried stems, but can also be caused by lack of humidity.
Resolve the related issue and the plant should return to normal in a few weeks. Prune away any heavily damaged growth to promote new and healthy growth.
Leaves can also turn brown when exposed to direct sunlight. Like humans, the leaves effectively burn, leaving dried and brown patches on the parts of the plant exposed to the light source. You may also notice the stems start to brown as well.
Keep your Marble Queen away from direct midday or afternoon sun to prevent burning. You can also filter the light from the window to protect the leaves and provide ideal lighting conditions. The bottom line is too much sun can cause brown leaves, and even lead to your pothos dying.
Lack of Variegation
Marble Queen is favored for its variegation pattern, so it can be distressing when it starts to revert.
The key to maintaining the variegation pattern is sunlight. When light levels are too low, the plant starts producing more chlorophyll, impacting the color.
Move your plant to a spot with bright indirect light for most of the day. They can also handle an hour or two of direct sun when introduced to it slowly.
Like yellowing leaves, there are a number of reasons for stunted growth. Usually, the culprit is stress, either due to incorrect watering, lighting, or cold temperatures and low humidity. Providing the right environment will keep your Marble Queen happy and thriving for several years.
Stunted growth could also mean your plant has outgrown its pot, requiring immediate repotting. Lift the plant out gently to assess root health. If you notice roots circling around the bottom of the pot, repotting is essential.
Finally, lack of nutrients may be the cause. If you haven’t repotted or fertilized in several years, the nutrients in the soil are likely used up, leaving nothing left to keep the plant growing. Replenish the soil or fertilize and growth should pick up again.
In low lighting conditions, your Marble Queen will have inconsistent growth. The stems may begin to stretch, with leaves growing further and further apart. This is known as leggy growth and ruins the entire look of the plant. Plus, it’s not great for their health either.
Prune away leggy growth and move the plant to a brighter area. The new growth should appear full and healthy.
Pests & Diseases
Spider mites, aphids, mealybug and fungus gnats are just a few of the terrible pests known to attack Marble Queen Pothos. They can be removed by hand or with an application of neem oil. For flying pests, install sticky traps to draw them away from the leaves.
Diseases like blight can also affect Pothos plants. Avoid getting water on the foliage, prune to improve airflow, and keep the plants healthy to allow them to defend themselves from potential infections.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Marble Queen toxic to pets?
All Pothos plants are toxic to pets. Leave them out of reach of children and prying paws and talk to a veterinarian if you fear your pet has ingested any parts of the plant.
How can I improve Marble Queen variegation?
Light is key to maintaining variegation. Keep them in bright indirect light, not in low light, to prevent reverting.
Why is my Marble Queen wilting?
Both overwatering and underwatering can cause the leaves and stems to wilt. Check the soil to determine which is most likely and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
Are Marble Queen Pothos and Snow Queen Pothos the same?
Although they look very similar, these two plants are not the same. Snow Queen is a sport of Marble Queen with more variegation in the leaves.
If there is any Pothos cultivar to add to your collection first, Marble Queen is it. While this plant may not be as popular or as sought after as some of the more rare varieties, it’s still a great entry point for any indoor gardener that’s on a budget. This plant is easy to find, easy to grow, and adds a touch of tropical elegance in any room it is placed.