An exceptionally popular houseplant, the Pothos has been a fixture of interior decoration for decades. This is because it’s easy to care for and has an airy, tropical appearance that makes it perfect for any room in the house.
It’s easy to care for and incredibly adaptable, which makes it a great choice for anyone looking to bring some greenery into their home. But these plants often tend to experience issues with their leaves turning yellow. So if you notice your Pothos leaves turning yellow, it’s essential to understand what this means and what you can do about it.
First things first, if you notice your Pothos leaves turning yellow, don’t panic. There are several possible reasons why this happens, and it’s important to know the core issue so that you can handle the problem right away.
And more importantly, every condition is treatable if caught early on and handled appropriately. Unfortunately, many people give up on a Pothos plant early on because they don’t know what is causing the leaves to turn yellow.
So let’s take a look at some common reasons why your Pothos plant has started turning yellow and how you can fix them.
Main Reason for Your Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow
The most common reason for your Pothos leaves turning yellow is because of a natural cause. This means that the color change probably has nothing to do with you or something that you did, and it just needs some time to recover.
You will most likely see this in older leaves that have reached the end of their lifespan.
In this case, you will eventually see new leaves start to grow and replace the older ones. This is a natural process that happens with most plants, so don’t worry! If your Pothos plant has started turning yellow because of old age, give it some time, and new leaves will grow in their place.
Related: 20+ Types of Pothos and Varieties
- Wait. Be patient! If you are worried about your Pothos plant, just wait a few days and see if new leaves start to grow.
- Prune. Cut away the unsightly leaves and wait for new growth to take their place.
Not Enough Light
Pothos are what you refer to as low-light plants.
This means they can survive in shady conditions if they need to. What this does not mean is that they like to experience a lack of sunlight.
Many gardeners take the label “low-light” as meaning “no-light” and think that their Pothos can live in the dark.
This is categorically not true, and if you are experiencing problems with your Pothos, it could be that you need to give it more sunlight for optimal growth.
For reference, a healthy amount of light for a Pothos is four to five hours of bright, indirect sunlight. Be sure not to overcorrect and place your Pothos in the path of direct sunlight (which causes sunburn).
Heavily variegated Pothos (with more white than green) need slightly more light than their greener cousins. This is because of a lack of chlorophyll on the leaf surface, which necessitates them needing more time under the sun.
- Move your plant into a more brightly lit area of your home.
- Use grow lights to compensate.
Watering is the most critical factor in keeping pothos green. If you water your plant too much, it will turn yellow and die. If you don’t water the plant enough, it will also start wilting (and sometimes turn yellow) and die.
When determining how much water to give your Pothos, consider three things:
- How large is my plant? A young pothos can survive on less than an inch of moisture per week; a mature specimen might need up to 2 inches per week (more during hot months). In general, larger plants need more frequent watering than small ones because they have a greater volume of soil that needs hydration.
- What type of pot do I have? Clay pots hold more moisture than plastic ones (especially if they are glazed), so watering may be less frequent with clay pots than with plastic ones.
- Where does this plant sit in my home? Light-colored porcelain or glazed ceramic tiles reflect heat better than darker natural materials such as wood or concrete floors do when exposed directly under windows during summer months. In addition, plants placed directly under windows may require more frequent irrigation during warm weather months.
Striking a balance between over and underwatering is key if you want to prevent your Pothos leaves from turning yellow. The key to proper watering is giving your Pothos enough water at the correct times to keep their soil moist but not soggy. Here are the key factors to take into account.
Root rot is the byproduct of overwatering and overly moist soils. It’s a common problem for Pothos, but it’s easily prevented by following the guidelines above.
What is Root Rot?
Root rot is a fungal infection that causes your plant’s roots to turn black and slimy. It can be caused by overwatering, but it’s also possible for your plant to be infected with root rot if you keep it in an environment with high humidity and poor ventilation.
Signs of root rot include:
- Leaves that have become yellow or brown and are curling up
- Leaves that have become limp or shriveled
- A root system that is rotting away. The roots will appear black and mushy with no rigidity anywhere.
Once a root has been rotted from the inside out, there is no saving it.
A Pothos exposed to ethylene gas will begin to show signs of damage and yellowing leaves. Ethylene is a naturally occurring compound produced by many fruits and vegetables as they ripen. This can cause leaves to curl, turn brown or yellow in color and drop off of the plant completely.
Greenhouse heaters also release this chemical if they malfunction.
- Check the greenhouse heaters for malfunction.
- Use separate soil for Pothos, and don’t reuse old soils from previous projects.