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The Shangri La Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum ‘Shangri La’) is a rare pothos cultivar with some pretty wild-looking leaves! Read on for an everything-you-need-to-know guide to Shangri La plant care and propagation.
What is Shangri La Pothos?
Shangri La Pothos is a cultivar bred from the golden pothos. It has bright-green leaves with yellow variegation, but, its defining factor is the leaves’ shriveled appearance.
Where other pothos’ leaves lay flat, the Shangri La’s leaves are wrinkly and somewhat rolled up.
The leaves look a lot like cooked spinach leaves, hence why it’s nicknamed the spinach pothos! It’s also called the sleeping pothos because of the “sleeping” appearance of the leaves instead of being fully “awake” and open.
And, it’s ALSO called the Godzilla Pothos. I’m assuming this nickname comes from the upward-pointing leaves somewhat resembling Godzilla.
It’s a rare plant with very unique foliage. Definitely not for everyone, but personally, I think it’s such a cool plant.
Where can I buy a Shangri La Pothos?
You can find a Shangri La Pothos for sale easily on Etsy! Etsy is one of my favorite places to shop for those unique, harder-to-find houseplants.
How do you care for Shangri La Pothos?
|Watering:||When the top 2 inches are dry|
|Potting Mix:||A well-draining mix|
|Repotting:||Repot when rootbound|
|Temperature:||Above 60° F (about 16° C)|
|Pruning:||To control size, shape, legginess, and remove dead foliage|
Shangri La Pothos plant care is just about as easy as caring for any other pothos. The only slightly tricky part is getting the lighting right. I’ll explain why that is below.
Shangri La Pothos prefers a moderate amount of light. This is a delicate balance because too low light will cause the plant to lose variegation, but too bright light will cause the leaves to open up fully, losing their unique, shriveled appearance.
Variegated plants do need bright light to maintain variegation to make up for the lack of enough chlorophyll in the lighter colored parts of the leaves.
If you live in a low-light home and want your plant’s variegation to stay vibrant, consider getting a grow light to ensure you have the amount of light your plant needs.
Just don’t keep it directly underneath the grow light so that this sleeping pothos doesn’t fully open, but stays asleep!
The grow light below has been one of my absolute favorites. It’s very convenient to clip on to things and reposition and my plants have been so happy under it. My peperomia is starting to grow back some variegated leaves underneath it!
Water your pothos when the top two inches of the potting mix is dry. It doesn’t like to totally dry out, but it also doesn’t want to be kept as moist as other pothos plants.
Normally, when vining plants become too dry, they’ll start to droop. This might be a little harder to notice on the Shangri La Pothos since its leaves are naturally shriveled.
So instead of relying on that, keep an eye on the potting mix and make sure you’re feeling it with your finger once a week or so to see how dry it is and if your plant needs to be watered.
You want to be checking this because not only will it help you to water your plant when it needs it, but it will also help to avoid overwatering it. It’s very important to NOT overwater your plant. Too much overwatering could lead to root rot and ultimately, plant death 🙁
One of those most fantastic things about pothos is that they’re so low maintenance. This goes for the Shangri La, too!
All it needs is a well-draining potting mix. To create this, all YOU need is a general indoor plant potting mix and perlite. Perlite is puffed volcanic rock that helps aerate and increase drainage.
Honestly, I tend to eyeball the ratio here, it doesn’t need to be exact. About a handful of perlite for a small pot, increasing the number of handfuls as the pot gets larger.
Repot your Shangri La Pothos when it becomes rootbound. How often this is simply depends on your plant’s growth rate. Instead of going by a set schedule, check for these signs of rootbound-ness:
- Roots coming out of the pot’s drainage holes
- Roots heavily swirled around the inside bottom of the pot (you’ll need to slip the plant out of its pot to check this)
- Stunted growth or an unhealthy-looking plant (this is a good clue, but check for one of the above two signs, too)
When repotting, use a pot one size up that has good drainage. Try to save your repotting for the growing season (spring and summer).
Use a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season (the spring and summer). Dilute the fertilizer by half, too.
Don’t overfertilize pothos, as they really don’t need it and it could end up hurting them. Fertilizer is just a helpful boost for pothos plants, but they are not dependent on it.
Pothos, including Shangri La Pothos, are not very particular about temperature. But, houseplants, in general, do not like to be cold, so try to keep the temperature above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (about 16 degrees Celcius).
No need to run over to your thermostat, now! Just take note of the chilly areas in your home—windowsills, the front door, large windows—and move your plants away from them in cold weather.
Pothos grow naturally in humid environments, so the Shangri La Pothos will definitely appreciate some extra humidity.
The easiest way to do this is by using a humidifier. I love this method because it’s low maintenance and can help a lot of plants at once (depending on the humidifier size).
Below is one humidifier I really like that can last about one full day and works well for an average-sized room.
Climbing is part of the Shangri La Pothos’ normal growth habit. It uses its aerial roots to climb up things. (Ideally, that be would a tree even though this isn’t a naturally occurring pothos variety.)
Simulating how it naturally grows will help it grow larger and reach its full potential. You can do this easily by giving your plant a moss pole to climb.
I really love the stackable moss pole below because it’s so easy to add more onto once your plant does the inevitable—outgrows it! I use a stackable moss pole for all my climbing plants.
You might choose to prune your Shangri La Pothos for a few reasons:
- To control size and shape – If your pothos is getting too long or untamed for your liking, you can give it a haircut. Cut off the vines above a node to encourage new growth, creating a fuller plant overall.
- The nodes are the little bumps along the stem where leaves, roots, and aerial roots grow from.
- ABOVE a node means if you point the vine up towards the ceiling, you cut above the node. The node will stay on the main plant, not on the part you cut off, because we want the new growth to happen on the main plant.
- When we propagate, we cut BELOW the node because we want the node on the cutting so new roots develop on the cutting. I’ll talk about that more in the propagation section, but I thought it would be helpful to mention here, too.
- Remove legginess – Plants can become leggy—meaning stretched-out stems with fewer leaves—due to lack of enough light. If you have some leggy vines, cut them off above a node which will also enourage new, bushier growth (as explained above).
- Remove dead foliage – Pluck off any yellow, dead or dying foliage.
Always use a clean, sharp pair of scissors when pruning your pothos.
How to propagate the Shangri La Pothos
Propagating the Shangri La Pothos is just about as easy as propagating any other pothos variety—very!
Below vs. Above the Node
I already reviewed this in the pruning section, but I know most of you are more interested in propagating, not pruning, so I’ll do a quick re-review before I go into the propagation steps.
Nodes are the bumps along the stems. New growth—leaves, roots, aerial roots—comes from the nodes. When you want to propagate your plant you want the node to be ON the cutting because you want new growth (roots) on the cutting!
So, cut BELOW the node when you want to propagate. “Below” means the node will be included on the piece you cut off of the main plant.
And, as a reminder, you’d cut ABOVE a node when you want to prune to create a bushier plant. This means the node will remain on the main plant because that’s where you want the new growth to sprout.
Shangri La Pothos Propagation in Potting Medium
This is the most straightforward way to propagate pothos. “Potting medium” refers to potting mix, sphagnum moss, or whatever other medium you like to use for propagation.
- Idenitfy some healthy vines and cut them off using clean scissors, cutting below the node. You can even take one long vine and cut it into multiple few-inch-long sections (each with its own node).
- Stick the cuttings into lightly moist potting medium. On each piece, the node should be buried, or at least nestled in if you’re using something like sphagnum moss.
- As the new roots are growing, keep the container with your cuttings in bright to medium, indirect light; keep the potting medium lightly moist; and provide extra humidity by putting a clear plastic bag over the top of the container.
- In about a month, you can check the status of the new roots. Pull very gently on each cutting. Do you feel some resisitance? If so, you have a good root system developing! If not, that’s OK, the cuttings just need more time.
- When the roots are developed, pot up your cuttings into an appropriately sized permanent pot and water them well. The pot should not be too big or all the excess soil could lead to overwatering the little plant.
Shangri La Pothos Propagation in Water
This method involves the extra step of transferring your cutting from water to potting mix when the roots have grown, but it’s still a very easy method. It follows the same concept as the first method.
- Identify some healthy vines and cut them off using clean scissors, cutting below the node. You can even take one long vine and cut it into multiple few-inch-long sections, as long as they will easily rest in a jar of water without falling in.
- Stick the ends into a jar of water so at least one node from each piece is under the surface. Don’t keep the leaves underwater though, or they’ll just rot off. You can remove some lower most leaves if needed.
- Now for the cool part of water propagation—you get to watch the roots grow! As the new roots are growing, keep the glass with your cuttings in bright to medium, indirect light. Refill or replace the water as needed.
- Once your Shangri La Pothos’ roots are two to three inches long, you can transfer the cuttings to their permanent pot and give them a good watering. Same as the previous method, you should use an appropriately sized pot. It should not be too big or all the excess soil could lead to overwatering.
Why is my pothos not happy?
What is wrong with my Shangri La Pothos?
There are a number of possibilities why your pothos isn’t happy, but the most common reason is a watering issue.
If you’re overwatering your pothos, you’ll have a lot of yellow leaves and eventually, root rot. Root rot is when the roots essentially drown and the rest of the plant dies shortly after.
Overwatering is the easiest way to kill a plant, so make sure to always feel the soil first before you water your plant.
On the other end of the spectrum, you might be underwatering your plant. A thirsty plant will be droopy. A VERY thirsty plant will start to get yellow-brown, crispy leaves and die.
Why is my pothos not vining?
Pothos are naturally vining plants, so if yours isn’t vining, it means it’s not growing much. Make sure you’re providing it with the conditions that will make it happy: proper light, humidity, and proper watering.
Also, giving its vines a moss pole to climb will help them grow larger and stronger.
Reverting leaves (Losing variegation)
Variegated plants need light to maintain their variegation. This is because the white (or lighter green) parts have less chlorophyll, so variegated leaves have less chlorophyll compared to solid-green leaves.
In low light, the plant will start to revert to solid green as a defense mechanism. Normally, if you want to ensure your plant maintains its variegation, you must provide it with bright, indirect light.
BUT since the Shangri La Pothos’ leaves will open up in bright light, stick with a moderate amount of light for this one. This should give a good balance of variegation and the unique, “sleeping” pothos leaves.
Pothos aren’t particularly prone to pests, but pests are an inevitable part of owning ANY houseplant.
I really like to use Bonide Systemic Houseplant Insect Control to help with pest prevention. I use it with any new plants I bring into my home.
Growth Rate and Size
Shangri La Pothos is a relatively slow grower, especially for belonging to a generally fast-growing species! You can help it grow as fast as it can by providing it with optimal conditions including proper lighting, humidity, and watering, but don’t expect any major growth spurts.
It can grow close to 10 feet tall/long in absolutely perfect conditions, but it probably will not reach quite that height/length as an indoor plant.
Shangri La Pothos vs. Sleeping Pothos
The Shangri La Pothos and the Sleeping Pothos are two different names for the same plant—Epipremnum Aureum ‘Shangri La.’ It’s nicknamed the Sleeping Pothos because its leaves are not fully open—kind of like it’s asleep!
Is the Shangri La Pothos toxic to pets?
Yes, Shangri La Pothos, and all pothos, as a matter of fact, is toxic to animals. Keep it far away from your pets!
- Light – Medium, indirect
- Wateirng – When the top 2 inches are dry
- Potting mix – A well-draining mix
- Repotting – Repot when rootbound
- Fertilizing – Balanced fertilizer
- Temperature – Above 60° F (about 16° C)
- Humidity – Above average
- Climbing – Yes, provide it with a moss pole
More Pothos Posts
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- Marble Queen Pothos
- Satin Pothos
- N’Joy Pothos
- Neon Pothos
- Cebu Blue Pothos
- Golden Pothos
- 13 Pothos Varieties That You Can Easily Care For