Pothos is one of those perfect houseplants that you just can’t have too many of! And from the more than 15 varieties of pothos to choose from, the snow queen and the marble queen are two that appear nearly identical at first glance. But some key differences make these plants two separate varieties.
The leaves and growth habit are the key distinctions between snow queen vs marble queen pothos:
- Leaf color: Snow queen’s foliage is primarily white with small sections of green scattered over the leaf. Marble queen leaves have a roughly equal balance between deep-green and creamy white leaf sections.
- Growth habit: Marble queen grows faster and has a more pronounced vining growth pattern. Snow queen grows more slowly and tends to stay more compact.
In this article, you’ll learn more about the differences we already mentioned and a few other more subtle ones. By the end, you’ll have a good understanding of which plant is which and be able to pick them out for yourself.
We’ve dedicated posts to each of these lovely plants, both of which you can see right here:
Let’s get started!
80% white and 20% green, pointy leaf tips, wide leaves
50% white and 50% green, more rounded leaf tips, narrower leaves
Bushy with some long vines
About every 10 days
About every 7 days
Lots of bright, indirect light
Moderate bright, indirect light
Loose, well-draining, richer in nutrients
Not necessary, can feed once monthly during active growing season
Feed once monthly during active growing season
Susceptibility to Pests/Disease
Usually not needed
Prune to control aggressive growth
About every 2 years
1. Leaf Appearance
You can probably already tell by the name they have in common (genus Epipremnum) that snow queen and marble queen pothos originate from the same group of plants. According to North Carolina State Extension, snow queen and marble queen are siblings in the plant world, and there’s definitely a striking family resemblance!
Size-wise their leaves are the same, but there are other differences. Let’s compare the two by:
- Leaf color
- Leaf shape
- Leaf texture
The most remarkable difference between snow queen vs marble queen is leaf color. Although new leaves start out green for both plants, the maturation of color is quite different.
Chlorophyll levels determine the amount of green leaf color- and snow queen has very little! Snow queen leaves are about 80% white and 20% pale to medium green.
In comparison, marble queen is usually about 50% white and 50% medium-to-deep green.
Here’s a comparison between my own two plants:
Another slight difference between snow queen and marble queen is leaf shape.
These two have the same heart-shaped leaves, although marble queen is slightly less pointed at the tips than snow queen.
But this one may have to go by more technical measurements- it’s hard for me to pick out a striking difference in real life! Here’s a look at both:
To appreciate the difference between snow queen and marble queen leaf texture you’ve got to look up close and feel the leaves.
Snow queen has straighter, wider leaves that have fewer indentations while marble queen has leaves that are deeply veined, narrower, and thinner with edges that tend to curl.
Both have glossy leaves and feel slightly waxy.
Here’s a closeup:
2. Growth Rate
Because it has a higher level of chlorophyll to photosynthesize food, marble queen is a faster grower than the snow queen.
You can expect to see several inches of new growth on a marble queen every year, while a snow queen may be about half that.
3. Growth Habit
“Growth habit” refers to the way plants produce new growth.
Snow queen has a naturally bushy, more upright shape. It will form some longer tendrils, but in general, it tends to produce more growth upwards from the center of the plant.
Marble queen follows the typical pothos growth pattern of forming long, trailing vines. These look great draping out of a hanging basket or over a shelf’s edge, and you can also train them to grow up a support pole.
You can see a difference when comparing the two side-by-side:
This difference in growth habit will become more pronounced as the plants continue to mature.
Now let’s move on to how the differences between snow queen and marble queen pothos affect the care routine.
4. Watering Frequency
Both snow queen and marble queen have lower watering frequency needs than many other houseplants. Like all pothos, these plants like to dry out between waterings. Always check the soil moisture level each time before you give water- the top 2-3 inches of soil should feel dry.
As a slow grower, the snow queen requires less water than its sibling, marble queen. During warm or hot months, it’s a good idea to water snow queen about every ten days and marble queen about once per week.
5. Lighting Requirements
Since there’s a big difference in the chlorophyll level in the snow queen and marble queen, these plants require different lighting arrangements:
- Marble queen likes moderately bright, indirect sunlight to stay beautifully variegated. An east or west-facing window is typically a good spot that provides the right amount of light.
- Snow queen needs higher levels of bright, indirect sunlight because it has fewer green patches (and therefore chlorophyll) in the leaves. A few feet back from a bright south-facing window is ideal.
Always keep your pothos out of direct sunlight, since this can scorch the leaves.
Both snow queen and marble will technically tolerate less sunlight, meaning that they won’t die in dimmer conditions. But it will lead to a loss of variegation as the plant produces more green patches to capture whatever light comes its way.
So provide plenty of indirect sunlight to maintain those lovely cream/white colors.
6. Soil Type
In terms of soil, both marble queen and snow queen need well-draining potting soil with a light, fluffy texture. Marble queen has a bit higher need for quality soil, only because it’s a faster grower than snow queen.
A nutrient-rich potting soil like this one from Dirctco drains well and promotes optimal photosynthesis, root growth, and overall strength and resiliency.
7. Fertilizing Needs
Marble queen has slightly higher fertilizing needs because its faster growth consumes more nutrients.
If you use high-quality potting soil, fertilizer is not often necessary, especially for the snow queen. However, feeding your plants once per month during the active growing season (March through October) can help them grow strong.
Use a houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength, and always give plenty of water whenever you fertilize. This liquid formula from The Grow Co. is a good choice.
8. Susceptibility to Diseases and Pests
Pests and disease are not common problems with either the snow queen or the marble queen. But of the two plants, snow queen is more vulnerable to pests and diseases because the lack of chlorophyll produces an overall weaker plant.
If you’re going to run into a problem, it will likely be from:
- Scale insects
- Brown leaf spot from fungal spores
Fortunately, if you detect a pest problem early, they’re fairly easy to banish with insecticidal soap and the right environment. To keep brown leaf spot at bay, make sure to water the soil rather than the leaves and provide plenty of space for good air circulation around the plant.
Pruning a snow queen usually isn’t really necessary since the plant has a naturally bushy shape rather than an aggressively trailing one. But if any stems are getting too long or leggy for your preference, you can trim them off.
For a marble queen, you still only need to prune when needed to maintain the shape you want. But you’ll probably need to get out the pruning shears much more often, thanks to the marble queen’s fast growth.
This video from Platerina does a good job of outlining the why, when and how of pruning pothos and other similarly vining plants:
10. Repotting Frequency
As the more aggressive grower of the two, marble queen outgrows its pot faster than its slower cousin. Plan to repot your marble queen annually in the spring, after the plant has emerged from its winter dormancy period.
You’ll probably only need to repot your snow queen every 2 years or so.
Keep an eye out for signs that your plant outgrowing its pot:
- Root tips poking out through the pot’s drainage holes or the soil surface
- Your plant dries out faster than usual
- Slow or no new growth
- Leaves begin to yellow or droop a bit
If you see any of these signs, it’s time to move to a larger home.
Snow Queen vs Marble Queen: Background
Both snow queen and marble queen are native to southern Polynesia and the southeastern portion of Asia, including Cambodia, Vietnam, and India.
Snow queen and marble queen were cultivated using selective breeding to promote a desirable trait. In these cases, it was the gorgeous variegation.
Snow queen was actually discovered by accident in 1954 and was compared to marble queen to distinguish it as a new cultivar. Now you can find both cultivars just about everywhere in the world.
Both snow queen and marble queen prefer warmer temperatures (between 65 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit) and fare well indoors with lower humidity levels (30-50% depending on your zone). They’re both tropical plants, so if you live in US zones 10-11 you could even keep them outside.
Are Snow Queen or Marble Queen Pothos Rare?
Many plant sellers advertise snow queen as rare, but that’s mostly because it’s difficult to find in stores. Your local garden center may have them, but that’s probably very hit-or-miss. However, there are plenty of online sites, including Amazon and Etsy, where you can easily find snow queen pothos any time you want.
Marble queen pothos, on the other hand, is typically quite easy to find. I’ve seen them for sale in my local grocery stores and greenhouses many times. And of course, there’s always a reliably good selection online. Etsy and Amazon are two good places to shop.
One caution: I’ve ordered live plants from Amazon before, and they’ve been healthy and beautiful. However, Etsy sellers tend to be mostly run by small businesses that prioritize customer service and can answer questions if you have them. So I always recommend ordering from Etsy if you can.
Frequently Asked Questions about Snow Queen vs Marble Queen Pothos
Epipremnum snow queen and marble queen pothos are both beautiful additions to any household. They have many similarities in their care and environmental needs, but several differences set them apart, with leaf color being the most striking.
My personal recommendation? Have at least one of each because they’re just so pretty!
We want to hear from you! Do you have any more questions about snow queen and marble queen pothos? Or maybe you have one of these plants and have some care tips to share. We learn best as a community, so please share your thoughts in the comments!