Why Are My Pothos Leaves Turning Black? The Key Causes Explained

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Pothos is a popular houseplant that’s known for its easy-to-care-for nature and attractive foliage, but like all plants, it can be susceptible to a variety of issues. One common problem that plant owners may encounter is blackened leaves on their Pothos plant. In this article, we’ll explore the common causes of blackened Pothos leaves, including overwatering, pests, and diseases. We’ll also provide some tips for identifying and treating the problem to help your plant stay healthy and vibrant.

Causes of Black Leaves

Black leaves on a pothos plant can be attributed to various factors that negatively impact its health. This section will explore the common causes of blackening leaves, such as overwatering, underwatering, root rot, and fungal infections.


One of the most common reasons for pothos leaves turning black is overwatering. Providing too much water to the plant can cause the leaves to wilt and turn black, and also increases the risk of fungal diseases and root rot(source). Excess water can prevent the roots from absorbing oxygen, which ultimately results in blackened leaves. To avoid this, it is essential to maintain a proper watering schedule and ensure that the plant has adequate drainage.


Similarly, underwatering can also cause pothos leaves to turn black. Insufficient water intake leads to dehydration, causing the leaves to shrivel and eventually blacken(source). To prevent black leaves caused by underwatering, it is crucial to identify the plant’s water requirements and maintain consistent soil moisture levels.

Root Rot

Root rot is another significant cause of black leaves on pothos plants. This condition is typically brought on by overwatering and poor drainage, which leads to the development of Phytophthora root rot(source). The rot weakens the root system and prevents the plant from properly absorbing nutrients and water, resulting in blackening leaves. To avoid root rot, ensure that the plant’s pot has drainage holes and is not sitting in standing water.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections can also cause pothos leaves to turn black. Overwatering and inadequate drainage create favorable conditions for fungi to thrive, leading to various fungal diseases that affect the plant’s overall health(source). To prevent fungal infections, it is essential to maintain proper watering and drainage practices and remove affected plant parts as soon as any symptoms become apparent.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

If your pothos plant is experiencing issues, a few main symptoms can help with diagnosing the problem. In this section, we will examine critical symptoms, such as wilting and yellowing leaves, root symptoms, and stunted growth.

Wilting and Yellowing Leaves

One common sign of issues with a pothos plant is wilting and yellowing leaves. This could be a result of underwatering, overwatering, or exposure to extreme temperature fluctuations(source). Additionally, too much direct sunlight can cause leaf burn and lead to discoloration and wilting.

Another potential cause of yellowing leaves is an over-application of fertilizer. A balanced fertilizer with a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 ratio applied once a month during the growing season should suffice(source).

Root Symptoms

Root symptoms can also be a sign of pothos plant distress. Overwatering the plant is the most common cause of pothos leaves turning black and developing root rot or fungal diseases(source). It is crucial to provide proper watering, ensuring adequate drainage to prevent root rot and other issues.

Inadequate drainage or a poorly aerated growing medium can also cause root problems. A well-draining potting mix and a container with drainage holes are essential to maintaining healthy root growth in pothos plants.

Stunted Growth

Stunted growth is another possible symptom when pothos plants are under stress. This could be a result of inadequate light, temperature fluctuations, or insect infestations(source). It is essential to provide consistent care and conditions that are optimal for pothos plant growth.

  • Ensure a proper balance of light, neither too much nor too little.
  • Maintain a consistent temperature in the plant’s environment, avoiding sudden changes.
  • Regularly inspect the plant for signs of pests, and address any infestations promptly.

Keeping an eye on these symptoms and following proper care guidelines will help ensure a healthy pothos plant.

Treatment and Prevention

Proper Watering Technique

Proper watering is essential to prevent pothos leaves from turning black. Overwatering can cause root rot, while underwatering leads to dehydration. Water your pothos when the top inch of soil is dry, and allow excess water to drain through the bottom of the pot to avoid waterlogging. Adjust your watering routine depending on the season and the plant’s specific needs.

Soil and Drainage Improvements

Improving soil and drainage can help prevent pothos leaves from turning black. Use well-draining soil, such as a mix of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite, to avoid water retention. Adding drainage holes or using a container with drainage holes also aids in preventing overwatering and root rot.

Fungus Elimination

Fungal infections can cause pothos leaves to turn black. To address this issue, treat your pothos with a fungicidal spray or use a natural antifungal remedy like cinnamon. Dust the affected area, including the leaves and soil, with cinnamon to prevent the growth and spread of fungus.

Additionally, maintaining proper humidity levels, providing adequate airflow, and keeping the foliage dry can help prevent fungal infections.

Repotting and Root Care

Repotting your pothos can help address the issue of black leaves. When repotting, gently remove the plant from its current pot, trim any damaged or blackened roots, and replace the old soil with fresh, well-draining soil. Choose a container with drainage holes to promote proper moisture management.

Care for the plant’s roots by avoiding overwatering, providing appropriate nutrients, and ensuring the right temperature and humidity levels. Root care plays a vital role in maintaining the overall health and vibrancy of your pothos plant.

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