Pothos is a popular houseplant that is known for its trailing vines and ease of care. While pothos is generally a hardy and resilient plant, it can sometimes develop issues that cause it to decline and eventually die. Identifying the underlying cause of a dying pothos plant is important for addressing the issue and taking steps to save the plant. In some cases, simply adjusting watering habits or providing better-growing conditions can help. In this post, we’ll help you figure out why a pothos plant may be dying and help you take the appropriate steps to save the plant and restore its health.
Identifying Pothos Diseases
Pothos plants are generally hardy and resistant to many diseases, but they can still fall victim to certain issues. In this section, we’ll discuss three common diseases that can affect your pothos plant: Root Rot, Leaf Spot, and Yellowing Leaves. Recognizing these issues and addressing them promptly can help revive your struggling plant.
One of the most common diseases affecting pothos plants is root rot. This condition usually occurs due to overwatering or poorly draining soil, which can cause the roots to suffocate and decay. Symptoms of root rot include yellowing leaves, wilted foliage, and a foul smell from the soil. To treat root rot, remove the affected roots, allow the remaining healthy roots to dry, and then repot the plant in well-draining soil.
Another disease that can harm your pothos is leaf spot, which appears as brown or black spots on the leaves. This fungal or bacterial infection often results from excessive moisture on the leaves or high humidity. To prevent this disease, ensure proper air circulation around your plant and avoid wetting the leaves when watering. If the infection is severe, remove the affected leaves and treat the plant with a fungicide or bactericide.
Yellowing leaves can be a symptom of several issues, including underwatering, overwatering, or nutrient deficiencies. To identify the specific cause, examine your watering habits and the condition of the soil. If the soil is consistently damp and heavy, reduce watering to prevent root rot. If the soil is dry, increase your watering frequency. Additionally, consider using a balanced fertilizer to address any nutrient deficiencies, which can also lead to yellowing leaves.
Factors Affecting Pothos Health
Pothos plants are sensitive to both overwatering and underwatering. Overwatering can lead to root rot, yellowing leaves, and eventual plant death. On the other hand, underwatering can cause wilting leaves and slow growth. It’s crucial to maintain a balance and allow the soil to become slightly dry between waterings to encourage a healthy root system(Plantophiles).
Moreover, the type of soil is also important, as it should allow for proper drainage and air circulation. Dense or compacted soil can hinder the plant’s ability to take in oxygen and moisture. Replace your pothos soil with a well-draining potting mix to promote healthier plant growth(All About Gardening).
Both too much and too little sunlight can negatively affect a pothos plant. Insufficient light leads to slow growth and smaller leaves, while excessive sunlight can cause leaves to turn yellow, brown, or black(Gardens Whisper). It’s best to place your pothos in a location with indirect or filtered sunlight for optimal growth.
Temperature and Humidity
Pothos plants are sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. Temperatures below 70℉ can cause damage to the plant’s internal structures, affecting the transport of nutrients within the plant(The Practical Planter). Therefore, it’s vital to maintain a consistent and warm temperature for your pothos plant.
In addition to temperature, pothos plants prefer a humid environment. Low humidity can cause the leaves to become dry and brittle. To increase humidity around your pothos plant, you can use a humidifier, place the plant on a tray filled with water and pebbles, or regularly mist its leaves with water.
Pothos plants can be attacked by various pests, which can lead to the plant’s demise if left untreated.
Mealybugs are tiny, white insects that can be found on the leaves and stems of your Pothos plant. They feed on the plant’s sap, which weakens the plant and can cause problems such as yellowing leaves and stunted growth. To treat mealybugs, you can use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove them manually, or use an insecticidal soap or neem oil spray as a preventative measure (source).
A common pest for indoor plants, including Pothos, are spider mites. These tiny pests are hard to spot on their own, but their presence can be identified by the webs they leave behind between leaves and stems (source). If left untreated, spider mites damage the plant by feeding on the sap, which can lead to leaf drop and eventually death. A good remedy is to wipe the plant’s leaves with a damp cloth to remove the mites and their webs, and then apply an insecticidal soap or neem oil spray as a preventative measure.
Another common pest that can infest Pothos plants are aphids, which are small, green, pear-shaped insects. They suck the sap from the plant’s leaves and stems, causing the leaves to curl, yellow, and drop off. Moreover, aphids can transmit viruses to your plant, making the issue even more severe (source). To control aphids, you can try spraying the plant with a mixture of water and liquid dish soap or use an insecticidal soap or neem oil spray to prevent future infestations.
Reviving a Dying Pothos
A dying pothos plant can be revived by addressing its needs and ensuring the proper growing conditions. In this section, we will discuss important steps to save a dying pothos, including pruning, repotting, and fertilization.
One of the first things to do is remove any yellow, brown, or black leaves, as these are indications of many issues like too much sun, too little water, or nutrient deficiencies (Gardens Whisper). Pruning will help redirect the plant’s energy and resources towards the healthy parts. Make sure to sterilize your pruning shears before cutting, and ensure you’re making clean, angled cuts to minimize damage to the plant.
Root rot caused by saturated potting soil can lead to yellow and curling leaves, which can be a sign of a dying pothos (Gardener Report). To revive the plant, repot it in fresh, well-draining soil. First, carefully remove the plant from its pot, trying not to damage its root structure. Trim any damaged or rotting roots, then place the plant in a new pot with fresh soil.
Ensure that the new pot has drainage holes to prevent excess water from accumulating. Water the plant only when the top inch of soil is dry, as pothos needs its soil to dry out between watering sessions to stay healthy.
Adequate fertilization is essential for the healthy growth of pothos plants. Inadequate fertilization can be one of the common causes for a dying pothos (Simplify Plants). Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, and dilute it to half strength. Apply fertilizer every four to six weeks during the growing season, which is typically spring and summer.
Additionally, ensure that your pothos receives adequate indirect sunlight for at least six hours per day, and maintain a medium-light environment with increased humidity (Simplify Plants). By addressing these factors, you can promote the successful revival of your dying pothos plant.
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.