Pothos is a popular houseplant that is known for its trailing vines and ease of care. However, like all plants, pothos can sometimes develop issues that affect its growth and appearance. One common problem that gardeners may encounter with pothos is yellowing leaves. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including overwatering, underwatering, poor soil quality, pest infestations, or exposure to extreme temperatures or drafts. Determining the cause of yellowing leaves is important for addressing the issue and restoring the plant to health. With proper care and attention, pothos plants can recover from yellowing and continue to thrive.
Possible Causes of Yellowing
One possible cause of yellowing leaves on pothos plants is over-watering. When pothos receive too much water, it can lead to root rot, which causes the roots to become black and mushy. This, in turn, causes the leaves to turn yellow and fall off the plant. Ensuring proper watering and drainage for your pothos can help prevent this issue.
On the other hand, under-watering is another possible cause of yellow leaves on pothos. Inconsistent watering, where the soil cycles between being too dry and oversaturated, can stress the plant and lead to yellowing leaves. Ensuring consistent and adequate watering can help keep your pothos healthy and vibrant.
One common cause of yellowing leaves in pothos plants is too much direct sunlight. Pothos plants prefer moderate amounts of light and can thrive in low light conditions. Exposing these plants to direct sunlight can cause their leaves to turn yellow as an indication that they are receiving too much light. Placing your pothos in a well-lit area without direct sunlight can help resolve this issue.
Another factor that can contribute to yellowing leaves in pothos is poor nutrition. If the plant does not receive the proper nutrients, it may struggle to maintain its health, leading to yellowing leaves as a result. Feeding your pothos with a well-balanced liquid fertilizer can help provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.
Finally, fluctuations in temperature can be a source of stress for pothos plants, causing their leaves to turn yellow. Excessive heat or cold can lead to yellowing leaves, as the plant struggles to adapt to the changing environment. Maintaining a consistent temperature within the ideal range for pothos can help promote healthy growth and prevent yellowing leaves.
How to Treat Yellowing Pothos
Adjust Watering Routine
One of the reasons your pothos may be turning yellow might be due to overwatering. Pothos plants prefer the soil to dry out completely before they receive more water. To fix this issue, allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering your pothos again. Be careful to not underwater your plant as well, as this can also lead to yellowing leaves (Martha Stewart).
Improve Lighting Conditions
Too much direct sunlight or inadequate light can cause the leaves of your pothos to turn yellow. Pothos plants prefer bright, indirect light. To ensure proper lighting conditions, position your plant near a window where it can receive indirect sunlight. Avoid exposing your pothos to direct sunlight for extended periods, as this can cause the leaves to become sunburned and turn yellow (The Spruce).
Provide Proper Nutrients
Providing the right nutrients can help maintain the health of your pothos plant and prevent yellowing leaves. A balanced fertilizer with equal ratios of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, such as a 20-20-20 mixture, can be added to the soil to ensure your plant receives the necessary nutrients (Houseplant Authority). Be sure to follow the fertilizer package instructions to avoid over-fertilizing, which can also lead to yellow leaves.
Maintain Suitable Temperature
Pothos plants are sensitive to extreme temperatures, so maintaining a suitable environment is crucial for preventing yellow leaves. Keep your pothos away from drafty windows, air vents, or heating systems, as these can expose the plant to cold or hot temperatures that can damage the leaves (The Spruce). Ideal temperatures for a pothos plant range from 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 29°C).
Preventing Yellowing in the Future
One of the main causes of yellowing pothos leaves is overwatering or underwatering. To prevent this, ensure you provide the right amount of water to your plant by allowing the soil to dry out completely between waterings. This will help to maintain healthy moisture levels and reduce the risk of root rot, which can lead to yellow leaves[source].
Another crucial factor for healthy pothos is adequate sunlight. Though pothos can tolerate low light conditions, providing them with bright, indirect light will promote better growth and prevent the leaves from turning yellow[source]. Direct sunlight can be harmful, so consider placing the plant in a well-lit area with filtered light.
Temperature fluctuations and drafts can also cause pothos leaves to turn yellow. To avoid this, maintain a consistent temperature in the room where the plant is placed, avoiding extremely hot or cold conditions[source]. Make sure the plant is not near air conditioning units or heating vents, as these can create temperature fluctuations and drafts.
Fertilizing your pothos is essential for maintaining its health, but be cautious about over-fertilizing or using low-quality products, as this can lead to yellowing leaves. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the proper application rate and frequency. This will provide the necessary nutrients for the plant without causing harm[source].
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.