Pothos are incredibly popular houseplants for their long, trailing vines and beautiful leaves. They also have a reputation for being very hardy, but that can be misleading. Pothos requires a lot of care and attention to stay healthy and happy.
Most problems with a Pothos can be traced back to one of two things: underwatered vs overwatered Pothos. These are common mistakes gardeners make with their Pothos, resulting in brown tips on leaves, root rot, and even death if left untreated.
Figuring out what’s wrong with your Pothos is half the battle. Once you’re confident you’ve identified the problem with your plant, you can start getting to work on fixing it!
Unfortunately, underwatered vs overwatered Pothos are hard to tell apart. First-time owners report significant confusion when it comes to identifying the signs and symptoms of both. Both are equally unpleasant, but they require different treatments to fix them.
Related: 20+ Types of Pothos and Varieties
Let’s take a quick look at what each one looks like:
- Yellowing Leaves
- Soft, mushy leaves
- Soggy Soil
Overwatering is the direct cause of root rot, an almost untreatable fungal disease that attacks the roots, making them black and mushy and unable to function.
Prevention is the best course of action. If you notice your Pothos is becoming a little “lazy” and not growing as fast, or if its leaves are getting yellow but the plant itself isn’t wilting, then it’s time to check for signs of root rot!
How to Prevent Overwatering:
How to Treat an Overwatered Pothos:
If your Pothos has been overwatered for a long time, chances are high that it has already developed root rot. The key thing to do here is to address this ticking bomb as soon as possible and treat the affected roots. Here’s what you need to do:
- Remove the plant from its current container.
- Use a trowel or plastic spoon to clean away the old dirt and debris around the roots until they’re completely exposed.
- Inspect the roots for signs of rot.
- If you see any brown, black, and mushy roots, cut them away from the plant and discard them (use sterile tools). Cut off any discolored leaves as well.
- Repot in a pot with drainage holes using well-draining soil.
- Yellowing leaves
- Brown spots on leaves
- Papery, dried-out leaves
- Leafless stems
Comparing underwatered vs overwatered Pothos, overwatering is much more common because it’s easier to overcorrect. However, it’s still possible for underwatering to occur and cause problems for your Pothos.
Typically, underwatering is followed by brown spots of leaves or general discoloration. In extreme cases, this develops into paper-thin leaves that drop at the touch. If your Pothos has been underwatering for a long time, you may also notice that the stems of your plant are completely leafless.
Underwatering is a much less severe issue than overwatering because it does not (typically) result in any diseases. But it can still kill your plant if left untreated.
How to Prevent Underwatering:
How to Treat an Underwatered Pothos: