The Hawaiian Pothos and Golden Pothos are very similar looking plants because they are close relatives.
However, they do have some differences.
But you need to look carefully and know what you’re looking for.
Hawaiian pothos vs. golden pothos, what’s the difference? The main difference between the two plants are the colors and patterns of their leaves. Similarly, the size of the plants and their foliage as well.
Golden pothos has brighter yellow variegations compared to those of the Hawaiian pothos.
Although, the Hawaiian pothos is a bigger plant that will develop larger leaves. As such, the yellow patterns of the Hawaiian pothos are more noticeable.
Difference Between Golden Pothos vs. Hawaiian Pothos
When it comes to the Hawaiian pothos vs golden pothos, the two most distinctive differences that will help you identify these plants from one another are their:
- Size (the size of the plant and the size of the leaves)
- Color (variegation color or the colors of the patterns on their leaves)
In all honesty, the two plants are very similar in looks.
And that’s understandable given that the Hawaiian pothos is a cultivar of the golden pothos.
But with close observation, you’ll be able to tell the difference.
Golden Pothos vs. Hawaiian Pothos – Difference in Leaf Color
One of the main things to look for when trying to differentiate a golden pothos from a Hawaiian pothos is to look a their leaf variegation or colors.
Golden pothos are known for their darker, vibrant green color and brighter yellow streaks.
Although, these streaks or patterns may not be large in size.
That said, the amount of variegations varies significantly from plant to plant. In large part, this is due to how much sunlight they receive.
For this reason, you’ll notice that many indoor pothos plants will have less bright yellow markings compared to those grown outdoors.
Similarly, outdoor golden pothos will also grow larger and produce bigger leaves.
So, the variegations will look more prominent.
Finally, if you look closely, you’ll also see some white streaks in addition to the yellow variegation in golden pothos.
On the other hand, Hawaiian pothos are primarily bicolored.
As such, you’ll see two main colors which are green and yellow.
In general, the green color of the Hawaiian pothos is not as dark as the golden pothos. Similarly, the yellow patterns are not as intense or bright as those of the golden pothos either.
However, since Hawaiian pothos will get bigger and produce larger leaves than golden pothos the yellow variegation in its leaves look much more prominent.
They cover larger sections of the leaves and are more noticeable.
So, while both golden pothos and Hawaiian pothos are vines and have heart-shaped leaves, the look and color of their leaves will vary.
The most difficult part in telling the difference in the colors is that the variegation and intensity of the yellow patterns will vary based on how much light the plants get.
Since each plant owner will give their plant varying light environments, telling the difference via the colors of the golden pothos and Hawaiian pothos leaves can sometimes be challenging.
Golden Pothos vs. Hawaiian Pothos
In most cases, the size of the two plants also makes them easy to tell apart.
But that’s not always the case since there are giant golden pothos as well.
Just as importantly, when the two plants are allowed to grow outdoors, the difference can be less noticeable.
That’s because the leaves of the golden pothos can reach 14 inches in size when grown outdoors or in its natural habitat.
But indoors, its leaves are much smaller.
On the other hand, Hawaiian pothos will have larger, wider leaves even when grown as a houseplant. Outdoors, their leaves will get huge.
As such, it is much easier to tell the size differences indoors or when the plants have not become very large yet in size.
Of the two, the Hawaiian pothos is the bigger plant.
Additionally, its leaves will become very impressive as they’ll grow to good size even as a houseplant.
The leaves will be longer and will be much wider. This makes it amazing if you let it climb up a pole and grow out.
On the other hand, golden pothos have smaller leaves.
And while it will get tall if you allow it to climb up a pole, it will look more like a vine.
The Hawaiian pothos will have a similar look as a monstera or philodendron plant where it looks like a large foliage plant.
Hawaiian Ptohos vs Golden Pothos Leaf Development
One of the unique differences between the Hawaiian pothos and golden pothos is their leaves.
More specifically, with the right conditions, golden pothos can develop fenestrations.
Fenestrations are holes in their leaves.
The most prominent houseplant known for this are the monstera plants.
Like monsteras, pothos are native to the dense tropical rainforests. They also grow to be very tall vines in their native habitat.
While they’re much smaller when grown as houseplants, golden pothos can easily climb up larger trees and grow to over 40 feet tall in the forest.
There, you’ll see its leaves become much larger than what we’re used to seeing when the plant is grown indoors.
The problem when the plant gets this big and dense is that the lower leaves will have a harder time to receive sunlight since they’re blocked by the plant’s upper leaves.
To allow slivers of sunlight to pass through, golden pothos’ leaves will develop fenestrations or split on the edges.
These cuts or openings on the side will allow the light to pass through its topmost leaves to reach the lower foliage.
On the other hand, Hawaiian pothos will not develop fenestrations or holes in their leaves.
Unfortunately, because golden pothos will only develop splits on their leaves with ideal conditions. As such, you may or may not see your golden pothos have any fenestrations.
Hawaiian Pothos vs. Golden Pothos Stems
Another unique feature of the golden pothos is that its vines can turn yellow when given lots of light.
Normally, both golden pothos and Hawaiian pothos have green vines.
But when the golden pothos receives sufficient lighting, its green stems will turn lighter. In some cases, they will become yellow.
This is not the case with Hawaiian Pothos which maintain their green vines.
Again, like the fenestrations, the change in color in golden pothos vines does not always happen.
Therefore, it is not a distinctive difference you can rely on when trying to identify one plant from the other.
But when it does happen, it makes it easier to tell a golden pothos apart from a Hawaiian pothos.
Flowers / Blooms
The Hawaiian pothos and golden pothos are both flowering plants. However, it isn’t easy to get them to bloom.
As such, you likely won’t ever see your pothos flower as a houseplant.
In fact, even if you grow it in your garden, the odds of seeing it bloom is unlikely.
Instead, it will usually flower in its native habitat.
The good news is that pothos are best known for their leaves which are much more spectacular than their blooms. So, you’re not missing a lot.
That said, both the golden pothos and Hawaiian pothos need a good amount of space to be able to flower. They need to develop a strong root system to do so.
Additionally, you increase the chances of blooming by giving it light, nutrient rich soil that provides good drainage.
When the do, you’ll notice a few differences between the flowers of a Hawaiian pothos and a golden pothos.
Hawaiian pothos will have larger flowers. Again, this is due to its bigger overall size.
The plant’s blossoms also have a cream or off white color.
Meanwhile, golden pothos have smaller flowers. And their blooms are white in color.
Similarities Between Golden Pothos vs. Hawaiian Pothos
Now that you know the difference between the Golden Pothos and Hawaiian Pothos, let’s look at their similarities.
By far, the two plants have more things in common than they are different.
That’s because they’re very closely related.
And as you’ll see in this section, a lot of their features are very nearly alike.
Both the Golden Pothos and Hawaiian Pothos belong to the Epipremnum aureum species.
In most cases, the golden pothos is considered the Epipremnum aureum. Although, if you want to be formal about it or more specific, you can refer to it as Epipremnum aureum ‘Golden’.
Because there are many varieties of pothos around, they are identified by adding their name behind their species.
One example is the Hawaiian pothos which is a cultivar of the golden pothos. Scientifically, the plant is called Epipremnum aureum ‘Hawaiian’.
Since the scientific or botanical names can be difficult to remember or pronounce, most people will just go by their common names which are golden pothos and Hawaiian pothos.
All kinds of pothos are vining plants. This means that they will develop long stems where you have many leaves adorning these stems.
In the forest, pothos will grow to between 30 and 65 feet high.
They do so by climbing up larger trees.
This means that that size of the plant will partially depend on how high it can climb and what you give it to go up on.
But there’s also the ideal living conditions of the tropical rainforests that allows the plant to get this big.
That said, while its natural grow habit is to climb, many pothos are grown in hanging containers or baskets and allowed to trail.
This is a popular way the houseplant is kept indoors.
That’s because its long vining stems allow its many leaves cascade down the trailing vines.
You can likewise give it a pole to climb on if you prefer it to grow upwards in a container.
Size and Overall Shape
Hawaiian pothos is a cultivar of the Golden pothos. As such, it has many similarities especially in terms of requirements and appearance.
Both plants have heart-shaped leaves.
Similarly, they have alternate leaf arrangement. This means that if you look closely as how the leaves develop on the stems of both plants, you’ll notice that foliage grows in an alternating pattern.
This means that there is only one leaf per node at any given point in the stem.
In contrast, some plants have opposite leaf arrangements where each junction has a leaf on the right and left sides of the stem.
As far as size goes, pothos will grow much bigger outdoors than they do indoors.
But they grow to their optimal size in their native habitat.
In terms of size, pothos can reach between 30 to 65 feet in their native environments, the tropical rainforests.
Indoors, the golden pothos and Hawaiian pothos will usually reach 6 to 10 feet.
Although golden pothos can end up smaller than this, which I’ll go into more detail below.
If grown in your garden, you’ll see your pothos get bigger than it would if kept in a container indoors.
In all cases, the larger the plant, the bigger the leaves will get.
However, it is important to understand that these are all growth potentials.
As such, it means that the golden pothos and Hawaiian pothos can reach these sizes. But they may not as well.
There are many factors affecting how big your pothos can get.
One is whether it is grown indoors or outdoors. Similarly potted pothos won’t get as big as those grown in the ground since the container limits how far and deep their roots can establish themselves.
The amount of light, fertilizer and water they receive likewise matters.
Also, nutrient rich soil helps with growth.
Another important factor is how the plant is grown.
In general, pothos are evergreen climbers. They like to climb up larger plants and trees in their native habitats.
Both the golden pothos and Hawaiian pothos will likewise get bigger and produce larger leaves if you give it something to climb like a pole or totem.
The combination of these different factors along with the plant’s living condition will affect their resulting sizes.
Golden Pothos vs. Hawaiian Pothos Propagation
Another similarity between the two plant is their ease of propagation.
All pothos, including the Hawaiian and Golden pothos are easy to propagate. And you can do so via stem cuttings.
This is one of the reasons the plant has easily proliferated from its native French Polynesia and have become naturalized to many different tropical and subtropical regions in the world.
Additionally, they adapt very well to these climate conditions as well.
This is good news for plant and gardening enthusiasts as we’re able to enjoy their beauty.
In addition to being easy to propagate, you also have the option to root both plants in water or in soil.
All you need is a healthy stem cutting that’s between 4-6 inches long with at least 1-2 nodes on it and several leaves.
You can then plant the cutting in soil or leave it in water to develop roots.
This allows you to propagate your pothos in many different ways.