Perfect for those looking to get started in the wonderful world of tending houseplants, the Manjula Pothos (Epipremnum areum Manjula) is considered one of the easiest plants you could ever hope to grow.
Plus, there’s a good reason the Manjula Pothos is also called the ‘Happy Leaf’!
With large, undulating leaves that are not just green but fused with splashes, swirls and dapples of white, the Manjula Pothos will brighten up any space while at the same time forgiving your not-so-green fingers.
That being said, you’ll want to give it the best care you possibly can, so there are some tips to remember so that you’ll know how to care for a Manjula Pothos so that it stays healthy and grows happily in your house.
Manjula Pothos Care Summary
While it’s a plant that can tolerate low light, it’s best to place your Manjula Pothos where it’ll receive plenty of natural light but keep it out of direct sunlight. The paler, white leaves of the plant are susceptible to strong light, which can cause them to scorch.
Never over-water your Manjula Pothos and instead keep it topped up, so the soil is only ever damp. A Pothos can go around 2-3 weeks before it needs watering. A good rule of thumb is to water when the top of the soil is dry, but a little probing reveals damper soil.
Feed every 2-3 weeks with a good houseplant fertilizer, and while it grows, train your Manjula Pothos to tumble over a hanging basket or even across a door frame horizontally, as its ivy-like tendrils add a healthy green glow to any living space.
Like all Pothos plants, the Manjula Pothos is toxic to both humans and animals so while it’s perfectly safe to touch, be sure never to ingest the leaves, and keep out of reach of children and pets.
One of a Whole Variety of Pothos!
The Manjula is one of the ‘latest’ Pothos plants to have been cultivated in the USA. Pothos is the name given to the Epipremnum areum genus in the Araceae family of plants. They’re native to Asia, and in China, India and the Pacific islands, and they grow abundantly in wild, tropical forests.
Providing that the weather’s temperate enough, they can do well outdoors in the USA, and many people find that they brighten up their outdoor working areas and sheds as well as their indoor offices.
But in this country they do best indoors, where they can enjoy a warm temperature all year around. They’re a great addition to an office or living area as they’re adept at removing pollutants from the atmosphere and cleaning the air for healthier living and working spaces.
So, keep your Manjula Pothos indoors! It’ll grow well, survive easily when you forget to water it for a week or so or go away on vacation, and it’ll make you look like a fabulous plant cultivator.
Best Location for Your Manjula Pothos
Because they’re so hardy they can survive in all manner of conditions. They’ll grow in rooms where the owner never opens their curtains to let in any light, but this is never a great practice for any plant-lover to emulate.
While it can survive with little light, it does even better when it has regular access to natural light. The most striking feature of the Manjula Pothos is its large, wavy leaves, and these love light.
Keep your Manjula out of direct sunlight, though! The pale, almost white leaves are sensitive to direct rays and can burn easily. If you’re noticing brown patches in the leaves then move your Manjula Pothos to a less brightly lit area.
Best Potting for a Manjula Pothos
An acidic-to-neutral soil is best for this plant, somewhere in the 6-6.5 region of the pH scale. This means that a regular houseplant soil from your local garden center will do nicely.
If you’re buying a Manjula Pothos ready-potted from a store, be sure to check that the pot it’s been sold in is large enough. Check to see if your plant is already outgrowing the pot, which you’ll see from the number of roots growing out from underneath.
If this is the case, repot into a good quality potting soil of your own, into a larger pot.
It’s vital that the pot in which you plant your Manjula Pothos has good drainage. Pothos plants hate to be too wet and their roots will rot easily. Avoid root rot by refraining from watering your plant unless the soil becomes dry.
If you’re seeing signs of scorched or brown leaves, and it’s not direct sunlight that’s causing the problem, then you may be seeing signs of root rot. Remove the plant from the pot, and remove any rotted roots, then repot in fresh soil.
If it looks as though the plant may be completely rotted at the roots, there may still be a chance to save it by propagating, which is thankfully easier. Check out the section below on ‘Propagating Your Manjula Pothos’ and follow the easy-to-perform steps and you’ll soon have rescued your plant.
Watering Your Manjula Pothos
Water sparingly! Remember that plants are like humans when it comes to watering: drowning will kill them both quicker than dehydration will.
This is the best advice we could give you. The Manjula Pothos is really the kind of houseplant that does perfectly well with the least amount of human intervention, which is what makes it such a good choice for beginners.
We tend to fuss a little over our plants and want to make sure they’re getting enough moisture and when this happens, we can easily over-water them. But the fussing is what will sadly kill your Manjula Pothos, as opposed to encouraging it to thrive.
Your plant will only need topping up with water every 2-3 weeks, and even then, you only need to add a little each time.
One way to test how much it needs a drink is to check the soil: if the top is dry, but underneath is damp, give it a small amount of water. If the top of the soil is already damp, leave the watering for another week.
The Manjula Pothos will thrive more in water that’s less chlorinated, so you may want to keep it topped up with bottled as opposed to tap water.
This doesn’t mean tap water is bad for your plant, but if you live in an area where your local water is more heavily chlorinated, then run some of the water into an open container and leave it to sit for a couple of days for most of the chlorine to evaporate, before you use it on your house plants.
Humidity Conditions for the Manjula Pothos
You’ll have understood by now just how adaptable and un-fussy the Manjula Pothos is but keep in mind that it’s still a plant that originates from the tropics. As such, it does tend to do well in higher humidity.
It should never be in conditions where the temperature drops to lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) and optimum temperatures are anything between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit (21-32 degrees Celsius).
Manjula Pothos, or Happy Leaf, is a great plant to keep in your bathroom, and the hotter you have your shower, the happier it’ll be!
Feeding Your Manjula Pothos
You’re unlikely to find that store-bought plants are potted into soil that gives them everything they need, so it’s always advisable to re-pot a houseplant once you get it home from the store. It’s also a good time to check the condition of the roots and see if the plant is pot-bound.
Once you’ve re-potted your Manjula Pothos into a better-quality soil, they won’t need much feeding. A soil of good quality will give the plant nutrients for the months to come but in Spring and Summer, which is the season in which your Manjula Pothos will grow the most, top up its nutrients by giving it some liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks.
As the Fall moves in, you can stop with the feeding until Spring rolls around again.
Growth and Pruning
As such an easy plant to look after, the Manjula Pothos will reward you greatly with very little effort and work from you.
They’re not really a flowering plant. You’ll rarely find any kind of Pothos that flowers indoors, particularly in the USA. In the wilds of the tropical jungle, some of them do flower in their mature stage but it’s not likely that your houseplant ever will.
That said, the Manjula is known as the Happy Leaf Pothos for good reason. While you might not get flowers, you’ll get such beautiful, undulating, wavy leaves from your plant that at times they seem as vibrant and pretty as flowers in themselves.
The leaves that the Manjula Pothos grows can be anywhere from a deep, luscious green to a lighter spearmint color to a creamy white. One leaf alone can take on all three colors, too. So, there’s plenty to look at and to brighten up a room with.
Pothos plants are nicknamed “the Devil’s Ivy” but there’s really no knowing why this is. They don’t grow at such a terribly fast rate that they’ll overpower everything and choke out other plants. In fact, they’re not great climbers, so the comparison with ivy is pretty strange.
That said, they do grow well and over time the leaves will no longer grow upwards and will begin to venture outwards instead.
This is the time to train the plant to go where you’d like; for example, Manjula Pothos plants do exceptionally well as indoor hanging plants as they trail down from a hanging basket, looking particularly fabulous.
While they don’t climb, they’ll grow horizontally, so you can train them to grow across a surface or even over a doorframe. You can try and train them to grow vertically up a trellis but more often than not they’ll move across it as opposed to up it.
If your Manjula Pothos looks to have stopped growing or the leaves are sparse, then there are a couple of things you can do to restart its growth. Cut the affected stem back as far as soil level and very soon a new stem will appear.
Check to see if you plant is pot-bound. Because they can grow at such a healthy rate, a Manjula Pothos can soon outgrow its pot. So, if the roots are growing out of the bottom of the pot or are clumping together, try cutting your plant right down or even splitting it.
Which leads us nicely to propagating!
Propagating Your Manjula Pothos
Either you’ve done this before, or you’ve watched a friend do it: when you see a plant that someone else has cultivated so lovingly, you just can’t resist trying to get in on the action! And so, you’ll ask for a cutting.
With a Manjula Pothos, it couldn’t be easier to propagate this plant. If ever you catch one of the stems by accident and tear it off, you can even put it into a jar of water or some moistened soil and more often than not, it’ll begin to quickly grow its own roots.
Before you know it, you’ll have a brand-new plant.
If the Pothos is the kind of plant you love in your house, you could easily buy just one or two different kinds and from them, you’ll eventually have so many you’ll be having to give them away.
Find the Right Part to Cut
To begin propagating, you’ll always have the best results if you can find the part of the stem that has an aerial root growing from it. It’s basically a root on a vine. These stems are getting ready to grow and will take very quickly and easily once transported.
Snip off the stem just below this aerial root and place it upright in some water. A really great idea is to invest in some test tubes. Not only are they perfect for propagating all kinds of cuttings, but they look fabulous, all stood upright in their own stand.
You’ll be able to watch as the cut end of the stem begins to put out its own roots. Once you see the roots sprouting (this can take just a few days but leave the cutting in the water for the roots to grow a little more) then you can move the cutting to its new home: a ready-and-waiting-pot.
Keep the soil nice and damp for this part so that the roots don’t suffer from the shock of going straight from being submerged in water to being in soil. Once you can see that the plant has taken to the pot nicely, then cut back on the watering.
Where to Keep Your Sapling
While your new Manjula Pothos sapling is growing, it’ll be diverting all its energy to its new roots and for this reason, it may have trouble regulating its humidity levels. Give it a helping hand by keeping it nice and warm.
A greenhouse is the perfect place for saplings to thrive. The heat and abundant access to light provide the right conditions for them to grow but you can still do well enough with a bottle of water for those first few weeks if you don’t have a greenhouse or access to one.
Splitting a Manjula Pothos
Sometimes you’ll find that your plant has simply outgrown its pot, or may be taking over your space. If it gets too large, don’t worry. The Manjula Pothos is so hardy that it can cope with being divided into sections and sized down further when simply cutting back the stems isn’t enough.
By separating the roots and actually tearing them apart, you can take your new split Manjula Pothos and keep one for yourself and give another to a friend. These plants take very easily to new conditions, so you won’t do any damage to a Manjula Pothos by splitting it into new sections.
Just be sure that when you split your plant, you leave about the same amount of root ball as you do stems. They should be proportionate.
Is a Manjula Pothos Toxic?
Despite the fact that they’re such a joy to grow, Manjula Pothos plants are actually considered toxic, as are all Pothos varieties.
If you were to ingest the leaves, you’d suffer some nasty gastrointestinal problems, including nausea, vomiting and stomach pains. You may also notice painful sores in the mouth and excessive salivation and drooling. So, don’t get tempted to put a few leaves in your salad!
All Pothos plants are also toxic to animals. Most reptiles don’t seem to have a problem with them, but dogs and cats will respond violently after ingestion in similar ways to a human. The problem is that while Manjula Pothos ingestion isn’t likely to be fatal in humans, dogs and cats are much smaller animals and the plant can easily kill them.
If your pet likes to chew on leaves, then find a way of keeping your Manjula Pothos well out of their reach. You can try throwing some orange or lemon peel into the plant’s pot which not only works as fertilizer but also keeps your pets away as both dogs and cats are averse to the smell of citrus.
Keep out of reach of animals and children, and always wash your hands after tending to your plants.
Pests and Diseases and the Manjula Pothos
One of the reasons they’re so hardy is that the Manjula Pothos doesn’t fall prey to many diseases at all, nor do they really have a problem with pests.
Like most plants, a Manjula Pothos doesn’t do well with waterlogged roots as this can cause root rot. You’ll soon know if this is the case with your plant as you’ll notice withering, browning leaves, wilting stems, and an overall sickly-looking plant.
Take a look at the roots. Root rot is easily spotted as the roots will literally be rotting. They’ll be black or brown and mushy. If you find that your plant is suffering with root rot, then remove the offending roots as soon as possible and your plant should soon bounce back.
If it’s not overwatering that’s causing the problem, it may be that the pot your plant is sitting in isn’t draining the water sufficiently, so consider moving the plant to a different pot, or placing some broken plate parts at the bottom of the pot before replacing the plant.
An issue some people have reported is with mealybugs. If your Manjula Pothos is going to suffer from an infestation of any kind, it’s most likely to be a mealybug infestation, because both the plant and the bug love the same kind of conditions: warm and humid.
Mealybugs are common houseplant pests. They’re tiny, but up close they look like little caterpillars with scales. From afar they could at first be mistaken for tiny bits of cotton wool. They love to munch through the stems of plants and suck out the sap, but their numbers quickly grow at the expense of your plant.
Banish mealybugs with a solution of water and insecticidal soap which is sprayed onto the plant. Wash the leaves regularly and if you can stomach it, dap each off the bugs in turn with a Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol.
Get Started with a Manjula Pothos!
Whether you’re only just starting out on your houseplant adventure, or you’re a seasoned horticulturist who just loves to watch their plants thrive while leaving them to their own devices, a Manjula Pothos is such a great idea.
With their large, dappled green and white leaves and ability to withstand all manner of conditions, they’re sure to be a big hit in your house or office. And don’t forget that they’re so good at cleaning the air around you that they can even make you healthier!
So if you like the look of the Manjula pothos and enjoyed our guide, why not have a look at our Cebu Blue pothos care guide!