What To Do If Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow

Pothos is a common houseplant and often thought of as the easiest one to grow. Its botanical name is Epipremnum aureum. It is also sometimes called taro vine or devil’s ivy. Pothos is a vine plant, but it doesn’t need a trellis. However, it can be draped around a room in a becoming fashion. It can grow up to thirty feet long, but most plants are between six and ten feet.

Get started with your own indoor pothos plants or gardening supplies by shopping here.

How To Grow Pothos

source: goodtogrow.wordpress.com

While it is easy to grow, pothos does need a few things to thrive. This plant does well in moderately cool temperatures. It prefers about fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit but can handle warmer room temperatures. Pothos also needs full shade or partial shade though it does like diluted sunlight.

This plant isn’t picky about soil, it does need to have some fertilizer. When first planting it, use a potting soil that has some in it. The plant does not like to be overwatered. Let the soil dry out completely before watering it.

Keep in mind that all parts of this plant are poisonous. It is a mild to moderate poison as it contains calcium oxalate, which is sharp crystals. It can cut into a person or pet’s mouth at the first bite. If it is swallowed it can continue to cause small cuts on all of the ways through the digestive tract. It is best to keep it out of the reach of pets and children.

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Causes Of Yellow Leaves On Pothos And How To Treat It

Like many perennial vines, pothos can have naturally occurring yellow leaves. As leaves get older, they turn color and fall off so new growth can flourish. These will be at the base of the stems rather than the tips. Nothing needs to be done for the plant for this type of yellow leaf.

However, if the leaves are occurring elsewhere on the plant, it’s time to look at other things. The number one cause of pothos leaves turning yellow is due to overwatering. As mentioned before, pothos likes to have the soil completely dry before watering it again. It’s best not to wait until the leaves begin to show signs of stress, but don’t give in to the urge to water like other houseplants.

Poor drainage can be a cause of yellow leaves on pothos. For indoor plants, make sure that there is nothing but potting soil in the pot. There should be a hole at the bottom of the pot, and there should not be a pebble on the hole. The plant needs the drainage. The other debris in the pot can create other problems, such as poisoning the plant.

If your pot is not suitably draining water, you can find a great pothos indoor pot here.

With both overwatering and poor drainage, the rotting of roots is also one factor for having yellow leaves on pothos. If you tip the pot you can check for this problem. White roots are indicative of healthy roots. Tan or brown roots are signs that they are rotting.

It is possible to treat root rot but time is of the essence. Gently remove the plant from the pot. Wash the roots in cool, running tap water. As you do this, try to get as much potting soil off of the plant as you can. The old soil may contain spores that caused by rotting. Also gently remove all of the rotted roots.

Check this article to know more about Slice Seeding

When this is done, clean the pot and put the clean soil into it to replant the pothos. Follow repotting instructions, including how to water the plant properly.

Having white roots may not mean that the roots aren’t the problem. It is important to check and see if the pothos is root-bound. If roots are showing out of the hole in the bottom and they are wrapped tightly around the pot, it’s time to put it in a larger pot.

While this plant prefers fairly cool temperatures, cold drafts can also cause yellow leaves on pothos. This could be from an air conditioning duct or it could come from outdoor temperatures finding a way inside. Plants that are near windows in the winter may suffer from this. This plant also does not like too much heat. Having it close to a heating duct can also cause yellow leaves on pothos.

In areas that get extremely high temperatures a lot of the year, pothos may require air conditioning to survive. Some areas see temperatures in the high eighties to the low one hundred six or more months at a time. If you live in such an area, try to keep the plant cool enough.

As you check off things that cause yellowing of the leaves, remove the yellowed ones so you can check to see if the problem is solved. Monitoring the plant will help prevent unnecessary replanting or other methods of dealing with the problem. This is for yellowing not occurring due to older growth.

Pothos and Fertilizer

The good news is that pothos doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer, as it is a low feeding plant. That’s one of the reasons it is considered easy to grow. That said, potting soil is not known for having much in the way of nutrients. Once a month or once every two months, depending on plant size, use a small amount of fertilizer on it. If you are unsure of the volume, talk to someone at your local nursery to find out how much to use and when to apply it.

You can find pothos specific fertilizer for your plant here.

Pruning Pothos

The plant takes well to pruning. It will have a fuller, bushier appearance if the vines are kept fairly short. Thin vines can be cut back to the root ball with no problem for the plant, as new vines will grow to replace it. Pruning also prevents some of the problems with drafts and excess heat. It’s a lot easier to keep a shorter plant at the right temperature. It’s also easier to check to see if the plant is ready for more water.

You may also like this article: Plants That Can Grow From Cuttings


Pothos are sturdy, tough and easy to plant. But it doesn’t mean that they are not indestructible. So, when pothos leaves turning yellow, most people are getting worried. However, you can treat it if you apply the above information in this article. In case you want to ask more questions, you can contact us or leave your comment below.

14 thoughts on “What To Do If Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow”

  1. Hi, such an amazing blog and thanks for sharing this interesting post. Mostly, Yellowing of leaves of most of the houseplants near the bottom of the stem is a common thing but if the yellow leaves are spreading over the entire plant the first thing I would consider is the watering. Because mostly it is caused due to drying up of plant in between the soakings. The other thing could be poor drainage, or cold or hot drafts for being placed close to the cold window or due to some heating unit respectively.

    • I agree with this assessment, David Brown. I’m sometimes lazy about watering my plants, and if I let my pothos get too dried out, i.e. leaves drooping, then when I water it I see yellow leaves in the next day or two. So, I think there’s a happy place between over and underwatering that will prevent leaf yellowing.

    • The key is in the word ‘clean’ – hydroponics requires clean water, principally. When a plant has its roots in soil or compost, this isn’t clean in the same way. The planting medium is full of bacteria, fungal spores and a wealth of other micro organisms and bio diversity, most of which are supportive of the plant’s growth. If you leave this pot with its plant sitting in water permanently, the conditions in the soil change, usually from life supporting to toxic in some way. Gas exchanges are affected, some bacteria multiply and others simply die, and fungal spores may overgrow, thus providing a very toxic environment for the plant trying to survive with its roots in that soil. This is not true of all plants – some grow very well in soggy, wet soil, but the vast majority do not.

  2. Thank you! I have had my Devil’s Ivy since 1977, when my grandfather passed away. I have been so worried about it since the leaves started turning yellow. I did not know what to do. Now, thanks to you, I know what to do for my plant! THANK YOU!!!

  3. I have been growing my plant in a clear vase for about 5 years now and all of a sudden this year the leaves have been turning yellow. I have city water so I put water into a container and let it sit out for at least 48 hours before I put into any of my plants just in case of chlorine. My plant has been in the same place in our bathroom same amount of light, heat, air. My plant has grown up over our big mirror and coming down the other side, then all of a sudden the leaves about mid way just started to turn yellow and fall off. Please help me I love my plant.

  4. Where I come from, we call this plant water plant because we grow this plant in the water. Although I knew it also grows in soil. But it is also very interesting to read the article here about not needing much water for this we call “water plants” 🙂 just giving my thoughts and experience with this plant. I have plenty of this in my house, and they are all living in the water 🙂

  5. I have a beautiful golden pothos and it is doing just wonderful. It is vining and new leaves are growing all the time. It sits next to the window and seems to thrive on the sun. In winter I just pull the drapes closed at night to ward off any cold air from the window. I have also taken cuttings from it by removing the two bottom leaves from the cutting and putting in a clear glass jar with water and in about 2-3 weeks we have wonderful roots. My friends love this and they get a free plant to grow. Theirs are thriving also.

  6. Hi! As a new plant parent i have seen most of ppl using water pots to grow em so i decided to grow them in the water too but now they are turning yello what should i do about this should i take it off from water ?
    But other ppl’s pothos are doing gr8 in water

  7. I have had this plant for a few months now and it’s been doing ok for some reason the one leaf just keeps getting bigger not looking like it’s going to vine but a new shoot started to grow a couple weeks ago next to it ..both have been looking really green an nice untill a few days ago ..the big leaf started to turn yellow so yesterday I reported it …the edges on one side are turning brown today tho the base is still very green ..wish I could send a picture… Do I just wait now that I’ve done all the steps of replanting checking roots ect ? Or am I losing the plant 😥


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