What is Wrong with My Pothos: Top Issues & Quick Fixes

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Please note that while we always strive to provide 100% up to date and accurate information, there is always the small possibility of error. Therefore, we advise conducting further research and due diligence before consuming any plants or exposing pets to anything mentioned on this site. Kindly refer to the full disclaimer for more details here.

Pothos is a hardy plant, but sometimes it can develop issues that can leave you wondering what went wrong. In this article, we will explore some common problems that pothos owners encounter and offer solutions to help get your plant back on track.

Identifying Common Pothos Problems

Yellow Leaves

One common issue with pothos plants is yellowing leaves. This discoloration often occurs due to improper moisture or overwatering. To promote healthy growth, only water the plant when the top quarter of the soil is dry, ensuring even dampness after watering1. It’s also worth noting that older leaves may yellow naturally as the plant no longer needs them2.

Root Rot

Root rot is another problem that pothos plants might face. This disease develops when the plant is consistently overwatered, which results in soggy soil3. To prevent root rot, it’s crucial to maintain proper watering practices and avoid letting the plant sit in wet conditions. If the issue persists, consider repotting the pothos in fresh soil to give the plant a chance to rejuvenate.


Pothos plants are occasionally affected by pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. These pests can cause damage to the leaves, leading to discoloration and the plant’s overall health decline. To treat pest infestations, one can apply organic or chemical pesticides, as appropriate4. It’s also a good idea to regularly inspect the plant for visible signs of pests and address issues promptly.

Leggy Growth

Leggy growth in pothos plants is often caused by inadequate light exposure. When the plant does not receive enough light, its stems may become elongated and weak5. To avoid leggy growth, ensure the pothos plant is placed in a spot with plenty of bright, indirect light. If the plant receives too much direct sunlight, however, it might lead to scorching and sunburn on the leaves. Adjust the plant’s position as needed to achieve a balanced light exposure and healthier growth.

Proper Pothos Care

Watering Practices

Pothos plants thrive when provided with the correct water balance. Overwatering can lead to yellowing leaves, while underwatering can result in dry, crispy leaves. To properly water a pothos plant, allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings. When it’s time to water, thoroughly soak the soil, allowing excess water to drain out1. Pothos plants can also benefit from occasional deep soaking, where the plant is placed in a sink filled with 3-4 inches of water for about 45 minutes2.

Light Requirements

Pothos plants require adequate light to grow well3. They can adapt to various light conditions, but they prefer bright, indirect light. If the plant is in a low-light area, it may show signs of stress, such as slow growth or pale leaves. In extreme cases, the lack of light can cause leaves to turn brown1. To make sure your pothos gets the necessary light, place it near a window that receives bright, indirect sunlight or use artificial light sources if necessary.


Proper fertilization is essential for maintaining the health and growth of your pothos plant. Although pothos plants are not heavy feeders, they benefit from regular fertilization every 4-6 weeks during the active growing season3. Use a well-balanced, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions. Avoid over-fertilization, as this can cause build-up of harmful salts in the soil, leading to root damage, and burnt or brown leaves.

By following proper watering practices, ensuring adequate light, and providing appropriate fertilization, you can keep your pothos plant healthy and thriving.

Pothos Diseases

Bacterial Leaf Spot

Bacterial leaf spot, a common problem for pothos plants, causes yellow or brown spots on the leaves, often surrounded by a yellow halo. This disease can be caused by excessive watering or high humidity levels. To prevent bacterial leaf spot, avoid overwatering and provide proper air circulation around the plant. If an infection occurs, remove the affected leaves to prevent spreading and apply a bactericide or fungicide as needed.

Fungal Infections

Pothos plants can suffer from various fungal infections, such as Southern Blight or Root Rot. Southern Blight affects the leaves, causing brown areas and eventual die-off Blooming Backyard. Prune away affected leaves and stems as soon as they’re noticed, to avoid the problem spreading. Keep the soil well-drained and ensure proper sanitation measures, such as cleaning pots and tools, to decrease the risk of fungal infections.

Root rot, another common fungal infection, occurs when the plant’s roots are consistently sitting in damp, soggy soil due to overwatering. Symptoms include wilted, yellowing leaves, and a foul-smelling root system. To treat root rot, remove the plant from its pot, trim away affected roots, and repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil Greenpacks. In the future, ensure proper water management to prevent root rot from reoccurring.

To minimize the risk of pothos diseases, maintain a consistent watering schedule, provide adequate lighting, and ensure proper air circulation around the plant. Additionally, using a balanced fertilizer will help with nutrient deficiencies, which can stress the plant, making it more susceptible to diseases The Practical Planter.

Preventative Measures

Regular Maintenance

Taking care of a pothos plant involves regular maintenance to ensure its overall health. One crucial aspect of maintenance is proper watering. Pothos plants generally need to be watered once a week during the summer and spring seasons, but it’s essential to check the soil’s moisture before watering. If the soil feels dry, water the plant immediately to prevent droopy leaves 1.

Another critical component of regular maintenance is pruning. If you notice any discolored or wilted leaves, make sure to trim them off promptly. This not only keeps the plant looking attractive but also prevents the spread of diseases, such as Southern Blight or Bacterial Wilt 2. Additionally, inspect the plant’s leaves for signs of pests and disease, as addressing these issues early can help maintain the plant’s health 3.

Environment Management

Proper environment management plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy pothos plant. One aspect to consider is lighting. Pothos prefer indirect light, so it’s essential to place the plant in an area where it receives a suitable amount of light 4. Ensuring the correct lighting conditions will minimize potential health issues.

Monitoring temperature and humidity is also important for pothos plants. They thrive in temperatures ranging from 60-85°F (15-30°C) and prefer a moderately humid environment. Avoid exposure to cold drafts and sudden temperature fluctuations to ensure the plant’s well-being 1.

In summary, preventative measures for pothos plants involve regular maintenance and proper environment management. By adhering to watering guidelines, pruning as needed, and providing the right lighting, temperature, and humidity conditions, you can maintain a healthy and thriving pothos.

Reviving Your Pothos

Pruning Techniques

Pruning your pothos is an essential step in maintaining a healthy plant. To begin, carefully remove any yellow, brown, or black leaves, as these indicate potential issues such as overwatering, too much sunlight, or nutrient deficiencies 1. Next, trim away any leggy vines to promote bushier growth, using a pair of clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears.

When pruning, make sure to:

  • Cut just above a leaf node
  • Remove dead or damaged leaves and stems
  • Avoid over-pruning, leaving at least a few leaves for photosynthesis


Repotting your pothos can help improve its overall health and prevent further problems. To successfully repot, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a new pot that is slightly larger than the current one, ideally with drainage holes to prevent overwatering 2.
  2. Prepare a well-draining potting mix, consisting of equal parts peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite 3.
  3. Carefully remove the pothos from its existing container, taking care not to damage the root system.
  4. Place the plant in the new pot and fill it with the fresh potting mix, leaving approximately an inch of space at the top for watering.
  5. Water the pothos thoroughly and allow excess water to drain out.

Following these pruning and repotting techniques can significantly improve your pothos’ health and vitality, ensuring a thriving plant for years to come.

Video Guide