Why Are The Leaves Of My Pothos Turning Yellow?

Are your Pothos leaves turning yellow? This is quite a common issue but don't worry, we are here to help
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Growing the Pothos is rather easy which makes it a prime candidate for those looking to start a new indoor garden. This common plant does not need much care, but it is important to pay close attention to how it is watered and its humidity levels. The taro vine can get as long as 30 feet when properly cared for, but most plants cultivated for indoor use tend to grow no longer than six feet.

Do you have a Pothos plant that is not looking as healthy as it should? Perhaps the leaves are starting to wilt or even turning yellow. If you are worried about your plant and are curious about what may be causing the leaves to turn yellow, we can help. Below we cover some of the reasons your Pathos plant may be developing yellow leaves and remedies that can help.

Incorrect Lighting

Houseplants may be suited to living indoors but they still need to have specific types of lighting in order to grow. Some plants thrive in the shade while others need direct sunlight. The Pothos plant needs medium to bright light, but it must be indirect.

Too much sunlight will burn the leaves and too little sunlight will cause the leaves to turn yellow. The best way to ensure your plant gets the right variation is to place it in a room that gets plenty of natural sunlight but also faces away from the rising sun.

This will ensure that your plant gets the bright light it needs to thrive without burning its foliage. If your plant is not getting enough sunlight, consider moving it to a different room or installing a UV bulb near the plant to simulate sunlight. This will help prevent yellow leaves from developing and ensure that your plant is able to grow properly.

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Improper Humidity Levels

The Pothos is very sensitive to dry air and low humidity levels. If your plant is subjected to dry soil and low levels of humidity, the leaves will start to turn yellow and then brown along the edges. They will also start to wilt, becoming droopy and lethargic.

If your leaves are simply brown around the edges, you still have plenty of time to correct the humidity around your Pothos plant. If the problem persists for too long, the leaves will start to turn yellow which will then be followed by leaf shedding. There are a few ways to ensure that your Pothos plant has the humidity it needs to thrive.

Increasing humidity is rather simple. Make a point of misting the leaves of your plant once a day or once every other day. This will increase the humidity around your plant and prevent it from developing yellow leaves.

If you happen to live in a dry climate, or if the room your plant lives in happens to be overly dry, there are other options. A pebble tray is a great way to maintain humidity levels around a plant without too much effort. The water leftover from watering your plant will stay in the tray and help with humidity levels.

You can also place a cool-mist humidifier in the room with your Pothos plant. This will ensure your plant has the right level of humidity to thrive.

Too Much Moisture

Pothos plants need to specific soil moisture balance in order to thrive. Most plants are able to tolerate a bit of overwatering, but Pothos plants are not able to tolerate it at all. Too much water will result in yellow leaves, wilting, and eventually root rot if the moisture balance is not restored. There are a few things you can do to prevent overwatering and soggy soil.

It is critically important that soil moisture and proper watering are maintained when caring for the Pothos plant. Inconsistent watering and constant alteration between very wet and completely dry soil will stress out the plant. Stress paired with poor soil moisture will cause the leaves of the plant to turn yellow and wilt.

Spraying Pothos Plant
Spraying Pothos Plant

Using well-draining soil will help prevent standing water. When you do water the Pothos plant, make sure to allow the water to flow all the way through the soil until it comes out of the other end of the pot. The drainage holes on the bottom of the pot should be large enough to allow the water to pass through without obstruction. Once the water drains into the saucer, discard it. If you have your plant set up on a pebble tray for humidity, discard only enough water that the roots are not touching the puddles.

It is important to only water the plant with the top quarter of the soil has dried out. Never let the soil get all the way dry, but make sure not to overwater it to the point that it becomes soggy. A slight dampness is the best balance for the Pothos plant. During the wintertime, the Pothos plant needs even less water, but make sure to keep a steady level of humidity around the plant via a pebble tray or humidifier.

Troublesome Pests

Houseplants are not prone to some of the more harmful pests that outside plants have to face, but that does not mean they are immune. Houseplants have their own category of common pests which can seriously damage the health of their foliage or even their roots.

If your Pothos plant is stressed out or weakened for any reason, it is easier for insects to infest their foliage. Certain pests are more harmful than others though all pests have the ability to cause the leaves to turn yellow or even wilt.

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Spider mites are sap-suckers that will slowly drain the moisture out of plants. For the Pothos, this is a particularly nasty bug since the plant is so dependent on a constant moisture level. If your plant is suffering from leaflets and fronds that have started to yellow and there is no other cause, check the stems and bottom of the leaves for spider mites.

This is one pest that tends to affect indoor plants much more often than outdoor plants. It is important to eradicate them as soon as possible because they tend to multiply prolifically. When left untreated, spider mites can suck all of the moisture and nutrients out of a Pothos plant which will eventually cause it to die.

Poor Pot Drainage

Improperly draining soil can result in yellow leaves. Make sure that there is nothing but potting soil, perlite, and the plant in the pot. Every pot should have medium-sized drainage holes but check them occasionally to make sure that there are no pebbles blocking the holes.

Other items n the pot with the plant can also cause plant poisoning. Check the roots to ensure they are white, which means they are healthy. If the roots of your pothos are brown or tan it means that the roots are sick; chances are that is why the leaves are turning yellow.

The Pothos plant
The Pothos plant

Natural Degradation

It can be distressing to see that even after you have given your Pothos plant the care and attention it needs that the leaves are still turning yellow. If you have checked your plant for pests and have made sure your plant is properly watered, chances are it’s part of a natural process.

When the Pothos plant is getting ready for new leaves, the older ones at the bottom of the plant may start to wilt. Along with wilting, they will start to turn yellow and brown before they eventually shrivel and fall off. This is not a sign of illness, but rather a shedding of older leaves to make room for new, fresh leaves at the top of the plant.

By getting rid of older leaves, the Pothos plant is able to spend more energy and nutrients on new leaves and shoots.

The Best Growing Conditions For Pothos Plants

Although the Pothos is relatively easy to grow and care for houseplant, it needs a few things in order to thrive. Cooler temperatures and bright but indirect light are ideal. Temperatures that range from 55 degrees to 60 degrees are the most favorable. Partial shade is important as it will prevent the leaves from burning and help the soil to retain its moisture.

It needs well-draining soil to prevent soggy soil and root rot. Though any type of soil is ok, it is a good idea to add some perlite to ensure that it drains freely. Fertilizing with a diluted houseplant fertilizer once every two weeks.

Avoid watering the plant too much, but never allow it to dry out completely. It is toxic to pets so be mindful if you have curious critters living in your home. It is also toxic to humans. The plant contains natural calcium oxalate which can cause small cuts in the mouth and all through the esophagus and digestive tract if swallowed. Keep the plant away from children at all times.


Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at or follow on twitter

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