6 Best Fertilizer for Pothos | How and When to Use

Plant parents love South Asian-originating Pothos for their low-key maintenance needs and heart-shaped leaves. However, while it may not need as much TLC as other varieties, Pothos plants still require fertilizer to stay healthy. 

Finding the perfect fertilizer for your plant can seem overwhelming, so I took my years of plant parenting experience and gathered the highest-quality fertilizers available. Read on for a happy pothos plant!

Best Pothos Fertilizers

If you need a quick rundown, here are my top three Pothos fertilizer picks:

Neptune's Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1

Best Liquid Fertilizer

Neptune’s Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1

An organic, liquid concentrate fertilizer, great for providing an instant boost to Pothos as well as improving poor soil. 

Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food Spikes 6-12-6

Best Fertilizer Spikes for Pothos

Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food Spikes 6-12-6

Convenient, mess-free houseplant fertilizing care. Simply insert the required amount of sticks then sit back and enjoy your plants

For a more in-depth look at why, when, and how you need to fertilize Pothos, be sure to read the rest of this short article. 

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Choosing the Best Fertilizer for Pothos

Before choosing a fertilizer, there are a few components to consider. First is the N-P-K ratio. More on that later, but it stands for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium – three ingredients that impact the life of your Pothos plant significantly and are needed if you want it to thrive.

The pH and nutrient uptake levels are the other crucial aspects of fertilizing, as an incorrect pH and lack of nutrients will likely kill your plant. 

Choosing a fertilizer that has a liquid formula or a granule formula is mostly a personal choice but can impact how often you need to apply fertilizer. 

Finally, consider if you would prefer an organic fertilizer or something artificial. Below are more details regarding each component of a fertilizer decision.

Pothos Fertilizer N-P-K Ratio

All fertilizer products contain three specific nutrients that are vital to plant health. These are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). 

Nitrogen is essential for leaf growth. Nitrogen begins its journey in plants as inorganic, transforms to organic, and finally creates molecular compounds. These compounds represent 90-95% of the nitrogen content in the plant. So, if your Pothos plant lacks the N in N-P-K, the leaves will become fragile and eventually die.

Phosphorus is not always abundant in soil, so fertilizers can be used to supplement the intake. It not only performs a crucial role in ensuring the effectiveness of nitrogen, but it also helps to ensure strong root growth and flower development. 

Potassium (K) is the final N-P-K component. Potassium is a transporting medium that distributes other nutrients or water throughout the plant. Additionally, potassium encourages healing which is great news for plants suffering from temperature stress or diseases and pest infestations. 

Pothos plants benefit from an equal or nearly equal balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. For example, a 10-10-10 ratio with 10 percent of each ingredient is the perfect equilibrium for healthy Pothos plants. 

To avoid fertilizer burning to either the roots, stem or leaves be sure to follow the manufacturer’s application guidelines. Over-fertilizing occurs when fertilizer is used in excess quantities or applied too often. 

Soil pH and Nutrient Uptake

The sweet spot for perfect Pothos soil is between 6.1 to 6.8 pH. Pothos like slightly acidic soil best, and most indoor soil mixes fall within that range. 

If you have concerns that your soil is not acidic enough, you can purchase an at-home test kit and check the dirt for high or low acidity.

Nutrient uptake is another benefit of fertilizer. Plants perform nutrient uptake in 3 ways – diffusion, advection, and active uptake. 

Diffusion occurs when nutrients increase at the root and gradually diffuse to the rest of the plant. Advection works similarly to evaporation in that the nutrients react with heat and rise. Active uptake decreases the overall nutrient count of the soil.

If the soil pH is too high or too low the plant will not be able to process the available nutrients in the soil, often leading to the yellowing of the leaves or leaf curl and ultimately secondary problems.

Granular Vs. Liquid Fertilizer

While neither granular nor liquid fertilizers are better than the other per se, it all depends on the unique needs of each plant as well as your own personal preferences as a gardener. Read on to learn about both types, what they do, and what makes them different.

Liquid Concentrate or Spray

Liquid concentrates or sprays are a perfect fit for Pothos plants. They dilute easily, offer an even distribution of nutrients, and are even easier to use when incorporated into your regular watering schedule. 

I recommend diluting liquid fertilizers with a high N-P-K ratio (such as 20-20-20) by ¼ to ½ strength of the instructions provided on the product label.

Pothos Fertilizer Granules

Granules, although they can be more cumbersome to apply, have several benefits, such as: 

  • Can be purchased in bulk and therefore offer better value for money
  • Ideal for planting new Pothos plants, as you can place granules in the soil before you plant
  • Provide a slow release of nutrients that are absorbed gradually

If you constantly forget to fertilize your plants, granules will work best. They are slow-release and provide your Pothos plant with nutrients over months (instead of days or weeks).

Pothos Fertilizer Spikes

Fertilizer spikes work similarly to granules, except they look like sticks. While they might cost more upfront, they only need to be replenished a few times a year and come pre-measured – so you never need to worry about over-fertilizing your Pothos plant. 

Organic Vs. Synthetic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers consist of organic waste and microbes. They usually contain a lower NPK analysis, so there is less chance of chemical burn or plant damage. They work by stimulating beneficial microorganisms, which can help to improve the structure of the soil. 

Organic fertilizer microbes convert fertilizer into soluble nutrients, which the plant uses for nutrient uptake. Unlike synthetic fertilizers, organic formulas provide secondary nutrients (or micronutrients) that plants need to grow, such as magnesium, sulfur, and calcium.

Synthetic fertilizers tend to have a higher concentration of NPK and can make your plants appear greener and grow bigger and faster. The downside of non-organic fertilizers is their potential to damage microorganisms as well as the possibility of creating toxic runoff into local water sources.

Best Fertilizer For Pothos Reviews

Now for the fun part – a rundown of my favorite Pothos fertilizers! 

The examples below suit all skill levels, budgets, and desired formulations. Read on to find your next favorite fertilizer.


  • Fast-acting
  • Versatile and affordable
  • Gentle N-P-K that won’t cause root or foliage burn


  • More applications may be required compared to other formulas

This fast-acting formula is my top fertilizer choice for plant parents on a budget. Authorized by the Organic Materials Review Institute for its careful selection of ingredients, the Neptune 2-3-1 fertilizer is a surefire way to ensure your Pothos plants stay healthy and vibrant.

Ingredient-wise, Neptune’s Harvest fertilizer contains fish and seaweed to help build up natural sugars in plants. This effect produces robust, greener, lusher Pothos plants. 

I love that this formula can be used both for indoor and outdoor plants. Once you have mixed it, apply it using a watering can, a sprayer, or via a dripline. For houseplant use, your bottle will make about 32 ounces. The outdoor mixture makes 16 ounces. 

How to Use: Dilute the required quantity with water and administer at roots as well as over foliage. Repeat every 1-2 weeks. 


  • The slow-release formula that lasts for two months
  • Mess-free and convenient
  • Odorless once inserted into the soil


  • Higher price point compared to other fertilizing methods

Plant Food Spikes offer convenience and are a mess-free, user-friendly way to apply fertilizer. These from the Miracle-Gro brand are a slow-release formula, that can provide nutrients for between one and two months – depending on the season. 

You’ll find that the high phosphorus nutrient ratio encourages root growth and will support the effectiveness of nitrogen so that you can be sure the leaves of your Pothos are lusciously green. 

How to Use: Dig a small hole in the soil between the stem and the rim. Push the fertilizer spike down into the dirt until it becomes completely covered. Water as normal.


  • Made with organic, vegan ingredients
  • High potassium content is great for potted snake plants


  • May burn plant roots if placed too close

EarthPods organic plant food ensures your house plants enjoy robust root growth, brilliant color, and sturdy stem development. The ultra-mild .2-.2-.4 formula provides a gentle potassium boost for added health and resiliency.

These helpful plant food spikes have a vegan formula with no added urea. While you may pay more for the EarthPods up front, you get 100 capsules per package. That’s a 5-year supply for a single pothos plant! 

Like other spike formulations, EarthPods are slow-release and gradually break down at the base of the plant over time. Avoid storing the EarthPods in humidity, as this can initiate premature release. Keep them cool and dry for best results.

How To Use: Push the fertilizer pod into the soil around your plant until the capsule is completely covered. Replace every 3 weeks. Use 1 to 2 pods for small plants, 2 to 4 pods for medium plants, and 4 to 8 pods for large plants. 


  • High nitrogen results in brilliant green leaves
  • Can help to adjust soil deficiencies


  • Can cause root burn if used incorrectly

As you can probably tell by now, I’m a fan of fertilizer spikes – and this slow-release version from Jobe’s is one of the best on the market especially if you know your soil is depleted but are not ready to re-pot your Pothos.

With a high ratio of nitrogen and increased potassium plus sulfur, magnesium, and calcium, placing one of these near the root of your beloved Pothos plant ensures healthy stem and foliage growth and protection against common pests and temperature stress. 

How to Use: Press each fertilizer spike into the soil until it is fully covered. Follow the recommended dosage directions to avoid damage and potential fertilizer burn to roots.


  • A balanced nutrient profile is safe for snake plants and more
  • Packaged in a pump bottle for easy measuring


  • Requires frequent feeding

For a quick and easy way to fertilize your house plants without the usual mixing, shaking, or digging in the dirt, the Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food Liquid formula is your best bet. 

The 1-1-1 ratio is perfect for Pothos health and will not over-fertilize your precious plant (if applied correctly). 

This formula has a balanced ratio, and it’s not essential that you dilute it. I recommend that you do dilute to half strength however since Pothos plants are more prone to fertilizer burn compared to other houseplants. 

How To Use: Mix at a rate of 4 pumps per quart of water. Apply as part of your snake plant’s normal watering routine. Small pots need 1 pump of fertilizer, and medium plants need 2. 

This fertilizer can be applied as often as once per week.


  • The spout cap makes measuring a breeze
  • Dissolves instantly for even distribution


  • Easy to over-fertilize if correct measurements are not applied

Another balanced formula, the Bonide Liquid Plant Food is a staple in my fertilizer collection. The 10-10-10 NPK ratio makes it easy to dilute and when used correctly, prevents over-fertilization. 

I notice a significant difference in my pothos plants with this formula – the leaves become vibrant, and the roots perform nutrient uptake exceptionally well.

This formula is excellent for beginners (although it suits all skill levels) because the dilution measurements are specifically labeled. You do not have to fret over finding the perfect water-to-formula balance. If you prefer to feed your plants once or twice per month and not each time you water, Bonide recommends diluting ¼ of a teaspoon with water.

How to Use: Mix ⅛ of a teaspoon into a quart of water. Suitable for use every time you water your plants, but I advise using every 3rd watering to avoid over-fertilization. 

How to Fertilize Pothos

How you fertilize your Pothos plant depends on the formulation you choose. Below are general instructions for each plant food type. 

Granules & Spikes

Spread granules across the top layer of soil, being mindful not to use too many. Dig them into the soil gently and water them well. 

To apply spikes, create a small hole in the soil and push the stick down until it reaches the roots. 


Pour liquid directly into the pot (if the instructions say you can!) or mix with water. You do not need to dig a hole before pouring – apply it around the rim. 

Remember to check the back of the product for dilution instructions, as not doing so can result in fertilizer burn. 

When to Fertilize Pothos

The best time to fertilize Pothos plants is during the spring and summer, as this is their active growing period. 

During fall and winter, Pothos are dormant and do not require any fertilizer. If you try to fertilize your plants during colder months, the new growth under adverse conditions can stress out your plant. 

How Often to Fertilize Pothos

How often you fertilize your Pothos predominantly depends on the formulation and product you choose. For example, the Miracle-Gro liquid above requires weekly applications, but the EarthPods only need replacing every 2 to 3 weeks.

Less is more when it comes to applying fertilizer – especially to Pothos and using too much can lead to fertilizer burn.

Fertilizing Pothos in Winter

During late fall and winter, Pothos should be left alone and allowed to lie semi-dormant. Avoid applying fertilizer from November to March.

If you overfeed your Pothos during winter, the nutrients in the fertilizer do not absorb effectively into the plant and may kill it before spring. This damage occurs because the dormant plant cannot process the fertilizer as quickly as during its active months. 

Avoiding Pothos Fertilizer Burn

The high salt levels in fertilizers pull moisture away from the roots because of reverse osmosis. The build-up from the salt compounds results in burnt roots and leaves.

Reverse osmosis is not as complex as it sounds. The process involves high pressure (such as from a fertilizer bottle) that raises the salt content in the water. It then travels through the plant and deposits 90-95% of the accumulated salt. This process results in dehydration and even chemical burns. The burn will decimate the root system and limit moisture uptake, eventually killing the plant. 

Final Thoughts

Pothos plants are perfect for almost every skill level and household. Keeping your plant healthy with fertilizer is the easiest way to enjoy your plant for as long as possible. 

My top picks for Pothos fertilizer are Neptunes Liquid Concentrate Fish and Seaweed fertilizer. This organic feed offers a versatile way of adding nutrients to the soil so that roots can absorb and utilize them quickly.

I also love Miracle-Gro spikes. These suit gardeners that want a set-it-and-forget-it method, as you only need to change them once a month while your plants are actively growing. These work great for hard-to-reach hanging plants! 

Neptune's Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1

Best Liquid Fertilizer

Neptune’s Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1

An organic, liquid concentrate fertilizer, great for providing an instant boost to Pothos as well as improving poor soil. 

Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food Spikes 6-12-6

Best Fertilizer Spikes for Pothos

Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food Spikes 6-12-6

Convenient, mess-free houseplant fertilizing care. Simply insert the required amount of sticks then sit back and enjoy your plants

Frequently Asked Question About Fertilizing Pothos 

Here are the most asked questions regarding fertilizing Pothos.