Why Are My Pothos Stems Splitting? Prevention & Solutions

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Pothos plants are popular for their easy-to-care nature and lush foliage, making them an ideal choice for both beginners and experienced plant enthusiasts. However, finding splitting stems on your beloved pothos can be quite alarming for most people. As a plant owner, it is crucial to understand the factors that cause stem splitting and take suitable actions to ensure the plant’s health and longevity.

There are several possible reasons for pothos stems splitting, with common factors being low humidity or inadequate watering. These plants are native to humid environments, so when placed in areas with low humidity, the stems may split due to the contrasting conditions 1. Another frequent cause of stem splitting is improper watering, such as over-watering or under-watering, both of which can lead to stress and damage in the plant 2.

Besides these factors, other potential causes include excessive direct sunlight exposure, pests, and diseases 3. To properly address the issue of splitting stems, it is essential to identify the root cause and make necessary adjustments to your pothos’ care routine. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the causes of split stems and offer helpful tips to prevent and repair the damage.

Causes of Pothos Stem Splitting


Overwatering is a common cause of pothos stem splitting. When pothos plants receive excessive water, it can lead to root rot, which weakens the stems and makes them more prone to splitting. Ensure proper watering by allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Monitoring the plant’s moisture level can help prevent overwatering and subsequent stem splitting.


Conversely, underwatering can also lead to pothos stem splitting. When plants don’t receive adequate water, the stems may become weakened and brittle, causing them to split. It’s essential to maintain a consistent watering schedule for your pothos to avoid underwatering issues. If you notice your plant’s stems splitting, check the soil moisture and adjust your watering routine as needed.

Temperature Stress

Pothos plants are sensitive to sudden changes in temperature, which can cause stress and result in stem splitting. Extreme temperature fluctuations can cause stems to expand and contract, leading to possible splitting. To avoid temperature stress, try to maintain a consistent temperature in the area where your pothos is growing. Avoid placing the plant near drafty windows, heating vents, or air conditioners, which may cause sudden temperature fluctuations.

Improper Pruning

Improper pruning techniques can also cause pothos stems to split. When pruning your pothos plant, remove damaged or dead stems and leaves and avoid cutting healthy stems too short. Overzealous pruning can stress the plant and may result in excessive stem splitting. Being cautious and gentle during pruning can help minimize potential stem damage and prevent splitting issues.

By addressing these common causes, you can help prevent future occurrences of pothos stem splitting and ensure the health and beauty of your plant.

Signs of Stressed Pothos

Pothos plants may show signs of stress due to various factors such as low humidity, excessive direct sunlight, over-watering, or under-watering. In this section, we will discuss some of the common symptoms of stressed pothos plants and their possible causes.

Yellowing Leaves

One sign of a stressed pothos plant is the yellowing of leaves. This can often be attributed to:

  • Over-watering, which can lead to root rot and cause the leaves to turn yellow.
  • Under-watering, as the lack of water can also result in yellowing leaves due to dehydration.
  • Exposure to direct sunlight, as pothos plants prefer indirect or filtered light.

To resolve these issues, ensure the plant receives adequate water and is placed in a location with appropriate lighting conditions.


Wilting is another symptom of a stressed pothos plant. Some potential causes for wilting include:

  • Over-watering, as excess water can prevent the roots from absorbing necessary nutrients.
  • Under-watering, which causes the plant to lack sufficient hydration.
  • Exposure to extreme temperature fluctuations.

To alleviate wilting, adjust the watering schedule and avoid placing the plant in areas with drastic temperature changes.

Root Rot

Root rot is a common problem in pothos plants, often resulting from over-watering. Symptoms of root rot include brown, mushy roots and a foul smell. To prevent and treat root rot:

  • Ensure proper drainage in the potting container.
  • Allow the soil to partially dry prior to watering again.
  • Trim away any affected roots and repot the plant in fresh soil.

In conclusion, monitoring your pothos plant’s environment, watering conditions, and overall health will help you identify signs of stress early on and take proper action to maintain the well-being of your plant.

Prevention and Management Tips

In this section, we will discuss various tips and techniques to prevent and manage pothos stem splitting, ensuring the plant’s overall health.

Watering Practices

Proper watering practices are crucial to prevent stem splitting in pothos. Overwatering can lead to splitting, while underwatering causes the plant to become stressed. It’s essential to maintain the right balance of water for your pothos. Make sure to:

  • Use clean water when watering your pothos.
  • Water the plant when the top 1-2 inches of soil start to dry.
  • Avoid letting the plant sit in standing water for extended periods.

Pruning Techniques

Regular pruning helps manage stem splitting and promote overall plant health. Implement the following pruning techniques for your pothos:

  • Remove any damaged, brown, or split stems by cutting them back to a healthy point.
  • Inspect and treat the plant for pest infestations, as these can lead to stem splitting.
  • Promote bushier growth by pinching back the tips of your pothos vines.

Temperature Control

Maintaining a proper temperature range for your pothos plant is essential in preventing stem splitting. Remember to:

  • Keep the temperature around your pothos between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Provide sufficient humidity for your pothos by placing a humidifier nearby or placing the plant on a tray with water and pebbles.
  • Avoid exposing the plant to direct sunlight, as this can cause stress and stem splitting. Instead, provide bright but indirect light.

By following these prevention and management tips, you can ensure your pothos plant is healthy and free from stem splitting. Remember to maintain proper watering practices, implement regular pruning techniques, and control the temperature around your plant.

When to Seek Professional Help

Sometimes, despite your best efforts to maintain optimal conditions for your pothos, stems may continue to split. In such cases, it might be beneficial to seek professional assistance. There are a few situations when professional help is necessary for your pothos.

First, if you are unable to diagnose the exact cause of the stem splitting, it is wise to consult an expert. An experienced horticulturist or plant care professional can help you determine the root cause of your pothos’ issue and provide guidance on appropriate measures to take.

Additionally, if your pothos plant shows signs of serious pest infestations, enlisting the help of a professional is essential. These infestations can be difficult to manage and control, potentially resulting in further damage or even loss of the plant. A plant care expert can help identify and treat pest problems more effectively than you might be able to on your own.

In some cases, problems with the splitting stems might be related to an underlying issue, such as improper potting, improper soil composition, or inadequate drainage. A professional can help diagnose these issues and recommend the best course of action to ensure your pothos remains healthy and happy.

Lastly, if you have experimented with different remedies to help your pothos but continue to see stems splitting, it is time to reach out for professional help. A specialist can provide valuable insights and suggest alternative solutions you may not have considered.

To summarize, seek professional help for your pothos if:

  • You cannot pinpoint the cause of the stem splitting
  • Your plant is suffering from a severe pest infestation
  • There are underlying issues such as improper potting or soil composition
  • You have tried different remedies, but the problem persists

Remember, it’s always better to take action and consult a professional sooner rather than later to prevent further damage to your beloved pothos plant.

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