How to Revive a Dying Pothos Plant

How to Revive a Dying Pothos Plant

Overwatering and inadequate drainage are the usual causes of a dying pothos plant. Pothos want the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings and require well-draining potting soil. Because of root rot, pothos leaves become yellow and appear to be dying if the soil is continually moist.

The leaves of the pothos can sometimes go brown, curl, and eventually drop off due to root rot.

If pothos vines are not routinely pruned or are exposed to excessive shade, they become leggy.

If the pothos dies after being repotted, the cause is typically root rot brought on by compacted soils, inadequate drainage, or an excessively large pot that holds too much moisture.

If the pothos isn’t developing, it’s likely due to Winter hibernation or a lack of nutrients or light.

It is crucial to mimic the native conditions of a dying pothos, which include well-draining soil, watering only when the top inch of the soil is dry, and placing the pothos in bright, indirect sunshine.

To save the plant, it might be required to cut down any roots that have root rot and propagate the pothos from any remaining growth.

For information on how to revive your golden pothos plant, also known as devil’s ivy or pothos, continue reading.

Pothos Turning Yellow and Brown with a Drooping and Dying Appearance

  • Symptoms. Sometimes, the leaves and stems start to turn yellow with brown spots or patches and droop. Additionally, the leaves begin to yellow, curl, and eventually fall off.
  • Causes. Overwatering, compacted soils, sluggish drainage, and pots without base drainage holes.

Overwatering is the cause of the yellowing, drooping, and death of pothos leaves. Between each watering, Pothos needs the top inch of soil to dry off. Pothos gets root rot in constantly wet soil, turning the leaves yellow and giving them a drooping, withering appearance.

Pothos is a climber that grows up trees with its roots in well-draining, aerated, porous soil on South Pacific islands where it is native.

This implies that it’s critical to mimic some of the circumstances of the pothos’ natural environment when growing them, like using light, porous soil that drains easily and allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.

Underwatering is generally more tolerable for pothos than overwatering, which is typically the reason for a dying plant.

The circumstances for the fungus illness root rot, which is frequently the cause of a dying pothos, are promoted if the pothos roots are in constantly moist soil as a result of overwatering or poor drainage.

If root rot occurs, the plant’s ability to transfer water and nutrients is compromised, resulting in the yellowing, browning, and drooping of the leaves.

The effects of very slow-draining or compacted soil are similar to those of overwatering, which results in root rot and yellowing of the leaves.

Pots without drainage holes in the base, saucers and trays under pots, and all of these things lead to water pooling at the bottom of the pot and encourage the growth of root rot, which makes the leaves of pothos turn yellow and brown and appear to be dying.

How to Revive a Pothos Plant with Yellow and Brown, Drooping Leaves

  • Reduce watering to replicate the normal moisture cycle found in the pothos plant’s natural habitat. When watering pothos, it is best to water liberally until surplus water drips from the pot’s base, allow the top inch of soil dry up, and then water once more. This watering cycle makes sure the pothos has the ideal moisture balance for the plant to flourish and to prevent root rot.
  • Look at the roots of the pothos after removing it from the pot. Look for evidence of root rot in the roots. Use a sharp pair of pruners to cut the roots all the way back to healthy growth if they feel soft, mushy, look dark, or smell terrible. Healthy roots are white and firm in texture. Wipe the blades of the pruners with a cloth soaked in disinfectant before each cut to prevent potentially spreading fungal diseases, from the infected roots to otherwise health roots.
  • Replant the pothos in fresh, aerated potting soil that drains well. Replanting the pothos is crucial since the old soil may contain the fungi that led to the rot of the roots and the yellowing of the leaves. Use a potting mix that contains 2/3 regular potting soil and 1/3 perlite, horticultural grit, or pine straw to mimic the typical aerated, porous soil conditions seen in the pothos plant’s natural habitat.
  • Any unhealthy stems that are turning yellow and looking rotting should be cut back. A stem that is healthy should feel firm, whereas a stem that is dying should feel limp and mushy and smell awful. Any individual stems that seem sickly should be cut back to a healthy growth point or the plant’s root system. Between each cut, wipe the pruner blades with a cloth dipped in a disinfectant.
  • Any long, trailing branches should be cut back. By pruning the stems with yellow leaves, you can assist the pothos plant grow smaller and speed its recovery by providing fewer leaves for the roots to sustain. To encourage new growth or to make the pothos take on a more compact appearance, stems can be cut down to about 2 inches from the plant’s base.
  • The pothos should be repotted in a container with drainage holes in the base. The pothos can also be repotted in its original container (as long as it has been cleaned with a disinfectant), but it is crucial to make sure that any excess water can drain from the container effectively to prevent root rot. To stop root rot, frequently empty saucers and trays of any extra water.
  • After repotting, frequently mist the pothos. By reducing water loss through the leaves and recreating the humid conditions of the pothos plant’s native environment, misting the leaves can help lessen the impact of transplant shock. Misting can assist relieve stress from water loss. While cutting back sick stems and roots is vital for the pothos plant’s life, the interference with the roots may make it difficult for the plant to draw up enough water and nutrients in the near term.
  • After repotting, give the pothos a good soak, but keep in mind to wait until the top inch of soil has dried out before watering it once more. By doing this, you will be simulating the regular moisture cycle in the pothos plant’s natural habitat.

If a pothos has extensive root rot, it may be challenging to save it since there are sometimes insufficient good roots to pull up the moisture and nutrients the plant needs to survive.

In that instance, since pothos is simple to grow from seed and it might be the only option to save the dying plant, I strongly advise reproducing it from any healthy stems that are still present.

Pothos can be easily and cheaply multiplied. Watch this handy YouTube video for how to properly grow pothos plants:

Read my article on how to save a pothos plant with yellow leaves for a comprehensive list of causes and solutions.

Pothos Losing Leaves and Growing Leggy

  • Symptoms. Pothos stems lose leaves and become lanky, especially near the plant’s base. Yellowing occurs before the leaves drop.
  • Causes. inadequate lighting and infrequent trimming of the pothos stems

Because pothos is a climbing vine that focuses its energy on creating long vines with fresh leaf growth, this causes it to lose leaves and become lanky. As the pothos grows older, the leaves at the base become yellow and eventually fall off.

The pothos plant is a tropical island native to the Solomon Islands, where it grows as a climbing plant frequently beneath a thick forest canopy.

The pothos plant prioritizes growing longer vines up into the tree canopy, to an advantageous place where they have enough light, room, and resources to flourish. This approach enables them to achieve adequate light to grow and thrive.

As a result, its vines can spread swiftly when grown as a houseplant, giving the plant a lanky appearance and causing lower leaves closer to the base to turn yellow and die off as the plant focuses its energy on maintaining and extending leaves higher up the vines.

The lanky appearance of a pothos and the conditions for leaf loss can both be caused by inadequate light.

In its natural habitat, where it grows beneath a forest canopy, pothos can scald in excessive sunlight; but, if it is in excessive shade, the vines become lanky as the plant looks for more light.

Because the pothos lacks the resources to support as many leaves and is attempting to preserve energy, too much shadow also causes the leaves to fall off.

As the plant ages, pothos leaves also drop off, particularly if the vines are not frequently clipped.

A lanky pothos that is losing leaves can be readily revived because pothos plants are quite resistant and resilient.

How to Revive a Pothos Plant that is Losing Leaves and Growing Leggy

  • Most of the long, lanky vines should be pruned back to 2 inches above the soil surface. A tough plant like pothos may withstand a severe pruning.
  • Cutting back all the long, lanky vines at once may shock the pothos too much, so only about half of them should be removed at a time. The act of pruning back encourages fresh growth.
  • You can safely cut back any remaining lanky vines once new growth has appeared on the pruned vines. A leggy plant with few leaves can be completely revitalized by doing this.
  • The ideal time to cut back is when the plant is actively growing, ideally in the spring. The pothos is more resistant when it is actively growing than when it is dormant in the winter.
  • To help the pothos regenerate, use a basic houseplant fertilizer at half strength once each month during the spring and summer. The pothos needs more nutrients as pruning encourages new growth, so fertilizer can help fuel the growth and improve the plant’s appearance. Because pothos can be somewhat sensitive to too much fertilizer, I advise using about half the suggested amount.
  • To encourage new leaves to grow, keep the pothos vines clipped to the desired size. When necessary, prune your pothos to preserve its size, avoid a lanky appearance, and encourage the development of more leaves.
  • Place the pothos in a location with strong, indirect light. Pothos can thrive in more shaded areas, but they have a propensity to grow leggy, necessitating more frequent pruning and resulting in slower growth. Pothos grows well in a bright space as long as it is not in direct sunlight on a window sill. Bright light promotes the growth of more leaves and keeps the pothos from getting too lanky too quickly, however it should still need to be pruned to keep its size.

Pruning can be done at any time of the year but it is preferable to prune during active development, particularly in the Spring as this encourages new growth and the pothos can recover its appearance with lots of lush, green foliage.

Pothos Leaves Curling

The soil is too wet from overwatering and inadequate drainage, which is the most frequent cause of pothos leaves curling. The roots of the pothos plant are dying from root rot as a result of moist potting soil if the leaves are yellowing and curling.

To keep healthy and avoid the leaves turning yellow and curling, pothos needs the top inch of soil to dry out between each round of watering. There are various reasons why the pothos potting soil could be too wet:

  • Frequently watering the pothos (let the soil dry before watering).
  • There is too much compacted potting soil (pothos needs porous soil).
  • The base of the pot lacks drainage holes.
  • The pot’s bottom trays or saucers have impeded proper water drainage.

All of these things contribute to the potting soil becoming excessively wet, which encourages root rot and causes curled leaves that finally turn yellow and fall off.

Pothos leaves, however, may also begin to curl due to excessively dry conditions brought on by:

  • a surplus of direct sunlight.
  • failing to water frequently enough or watering too little.
  • high temperatures brought on by heating inside.
  • minimal humidity

Pothos plants can dry out too rapidly in too much sunlight and need strong, indirect light.

In an effort to retain moisture, this leads the pothos leaves to curl, reducing the surface area of the leaf and hence the quantity of water lost from the leaf.

Additionally, pothos is a native of a hot, humid climate.

In contrast to its original environment, which normally has humidity levels around 30%, indoor humidity is typically about 10%.

The pothos leaves can begin to curl when the low humidity starts to rob them of too much moisture.

Wintertime heating and abrupt temperature fluctuations frequently make low indoor humidity worse, which can cause the leaves to curl. For pothos, the ideal temperature range is between 55°F and 80°F (12°C and 27°C).

It should be noted that pothos needs to be watered thoroughly so that any extra moisture drips from the pot’s base.

When the pothos is watered too sparingly, the water only reaches the top inch or two of the soil and does not penetrate to the roots, where it is needed.

How to Revive a Dying Pothos with Curling Leaves

If the leaves are yellowing and curling despite regular watering, root rot is probably at blame. In that case, follow the steps outlined above under the first subtitle of this article.

It’s critical to prevent the yellowing and curling of pothos leaves by…

  • Prior to watering, allow the top inch of the potting soil to dry up. Pothos does not tolerate constantly wet soil, so use your finger to feel the soil’s moisture level to see if the top inch of soil has dried. Wait to water if the soil seems wet. This is the ideal time to water your pothos if the soil feels a little dry.
  • Plant pothos in potting soil that drains properly. Compacted soil makes it difficult for water to drain properly, which encourages root rot. To improve drainage and mimic the porous, aerated soil conditions of the pothos native environment, repot pothos with two-thirds ordinary potting soil and one-third pine bark-based orchid potting mix.
  • Fill saucers and trays with water on a regular basis and plant pothos in containers with drainage holes in the base. In order to imitate the regular cycle of soil moisture in the pothos plant’s natural environment, this makes sure that water can adequately drain from the bottom of the pot and that the soil can dry out a little between each bout of watering.

Dry circumstances are typically the cause if the pothos leaves are curling but not necessarily turning yellow or displaying any other symptoms of root rot, in which case…

  • Always give pothos a thorough watering so that any extra water drips from the pot’s base. By doing this, you can be confident that the moisture has gotten to the roots where it is needed. To ensure the ideal balance of moisture, never water again until the top inch of the soil has dried.
  • If the soil is extremely dry, it could reject water rather than allow it to permeate the soil to the roots. In that scenario, immerse the root ball for 10 minutes in a bowl of water to give the water time to properly absorb. If you haven’t watered your pothos in a while, you’ll likely need to do this.
  • Mist the leaves of the pothos once every several days to increase humidity. By misting the leaves, it is possible to simulate the humid microclimate found in the pothos’ native humid tropical environment. Increased humidity lessens the stress of drought, which causes the leaves to curl, by slowing the rate of water loss. When the air tends to be less humid in the winter because of interior heating, it can be essential to mist your pothos more frequently.
  • Place the pothos away from a heat source so that it is not right next to it. However, inside heating can speed up soil drying and cause the leaves to curl, so move the pothos to a spot away from the source of heat. Pothos can readily withstand the temperature range of a regular house.
  • Instead of direct sunshine, place the pothos in an area with bright, indirect light. The leaves can curl because too much direct sunshine dries out the plant and scorches the leaves. The ideal mix is bright, indirect light to help encourage healthy growth because too much shade might result in overly leggy growth.

If your leaves are curled due to drought stress, modify the settings to make them more conducive because pothos heals far better from dry conditions than from overwatering.

Pothos Dying After Repotting

  • Symptoms. After repotting, pothos plants frequently droop or even turn yellow and appear to be dying.
  • Causes. Root rot is caused when potting soil does not drain properly, a pot does not have drainage holes in the base, or a pot is too large and absorbs too much moisture.

The potting soil’s excessive moisture retention is typically the cause of pothos dying after repotting. Pothos cannot withstand constantly wet soil and needs a soil that drains properly. After repotting, pothos plants suffer from root rot if the soil is excessively wet, turning their leaves yellow and appearing to be dying.

Pothos thrives on soil that drains well and is permeable so that excess moisture may effectively drain away from the roots while yet retaining some moisture.

For a variety of reasons, the pothos plant may not be able to handle the potting soil remaining too wet.

  • Too much power has been used to compact the earth around the roots of the pothos. As a result, the soil becomes less porous and is more likely to remain damp for an extended period of time.
  • The new pot is a lot bigger than the old one. Larger pots are able to hold more soil, which increases their ability to hold moisture. This indicates that the new, larger pot holds moisture for an excessively long time, which may cause root rot and cause the leaves to become yellow.
  • In addition, the new potting soil may keep moisture for a lot longer than the old potting soil, which also favors the development of root rot.
  • Without drainage holes at the base, the new pot may cause water to collect around the roots, which can lead to root rot.

How to Revive a Dying Pothos Plant After Repotting

  • Pothos plants should always be repotted into a pot that is one size larger than the preceding pot. By doing this, the risk of root rot is reduced and the potting soil dries at a similar rate to the preceding container.
  • Repot pothos plants in a potting mixture with good drainage that mimics their natural soil environment. In order to mimic the ideal well-draining soil conditions and reduce the chance of root rot and the pothos dying after repotting, 2/3 of regular potting soil is typically blended with 1/3 orchid potting mix or succulent and cactus potting mix.
  • Make sure the new pot has drainage holes in the bottom, and routinely remove any saucers or trays that may be there. In order to prevent root rot after repotting, this makes sure that extra water is not collecting around the pothos plant’s roots.

Follow the instructions in the first subtitle of this article to handle root rot and save the pothos if the leaves are yellowing more and more and the vines are appearing to be dying.

Revive Pothos Plant That is Not Growing

A pothos plant normally doesn’t develop because it goes dormant in the winter, which slows down its growth, or because of a combination of unfavorable environmental conditions, including freezing temperatures, a lack of sunlight, insufficient water, and a lack of nutrients in the soil.

In reaction to shorter daylight hours, reduced light intensity, and colder winter temperatures, pothos typically decreases its growth. Lower light levels can cause the leaves to begin to fall.

The pothos needs less water during its period of Winter hibernation because there are less hours of sunshine, which affects how often you water it.

When the plant is not actively developing, the pothos’ roots soak up less moisture, which causes the potting soil to normally dry up more slowly than it does in the spring, summer, and fall.

– Yellow and brown leaves. … Avoid placing the pothos right near to a heat source by moving it. Although pothos can readily withstand the temperature range seen in a typical home, indoor heating can speed up soil drying and cause leaves to curl. To avoid these effects, move the pothos away from the heat source.

The pothos should be placed in a location with bright, indirect light rather than direct sunshine. When a plant is very dry and exposed to too much direct sunshine, the leaves might become scorched and curl. The best balance is bright, indirect light to help promote healthy growth because too much shade might make the growth become overly lanky.

Pothos recovers far more readily from dry conditions than it does from overwatering, so if your leaves are curled due to drought stress, pothos should quickly make a recovery if the conditions are changed to be more suitable.

Symptoms. After being repotted, pothos plants frequently droop or even start to yellow and look dead.

Causes. Root rot results from poorly draining potting soil, a base without drainage holes, or a pot that is too big and holds too much moisture.

In most cases, excessive moisture retention in the potting soil is the cause of pothos dying after repotting. Pothos does not tolerate soil that is constantly moist and needs well-draining conditions. After repotting, pothos plants’ roots will rot if the soil is excessively wet, causing the leaves to turn yellow and droop, seeming dead.

Pothos develops naturally on soil that drains well and is permeable so that some moisture is retained but excess water may drain away from the roots effectively.

For a variety of causes, the potting soil may continue to be too wet for the pothos plant to survive.

Overly vigorous soil compacting has been done around the roots of the pothos. By forcing air out of the soil, this makes the soil less permeable and more prone to becoming overly moist.

Comparing the two pots, the new one is noticeably bigger. Larger pots are able to hold more soil and, as a result, can hold more moisture. Because of this, the new, larger pot may hold onto moisture for an excessively long time, leading to root rot and yellowing of the leaves.

The circumstances for root rot may also be promoted by the fresh potting soil’s potential to retain moisture for a longer period of time than the previous potting mix.

Key Takeaways:


How do you tell if pothos is dying?

Due of shorter daylight hours, less intense light, and colder temperatures throughout the Winter, pothos typically slows down its growth. When the light is lessening, the leaves will occasionally begin to fall.

Can pothos recover from overwatering?

Because the pothos’s need for water declines as the number of daylight hours reduces throughout the Winter hibernation period, it is crucial to water it less frequently.

How do you perk up pothos?

In comparison to Spring, Summer, and Fall, the potting soil normally dries out more slowly due to the pothos roots absorbing less moisture during this time.

How often should I water my pothos?

weekly or biweekly

What does an overwatered pothos look like?

My Pothos is becoming discolored! Most frequently, over or underwatering causes yellowing. If a leaf has both yellow and brown coloring, overwatering is probably to blame. Underwatering may be the culprit if you see yellow leaves as well as some brown crispy areas on other leaves.