With long trailing creepers, the pothos is a much-desired houseplant, but what do you do when your pothos leaves are turning black?
Simply put, why are pothos leaves turning black? Why is this happening to my beautiful plant when grandma was so easily able to grow one?
Here are the main reasons why pothos leaves turn black.
Why Are Pothos Leaves Turning Black?
Pothos leaves are turning black because of underwatering, massive temperature fluctuations, insects, disease, too much light, and fertilizer. These conditions can cause pothos to flounder and become sick, dying soon after.
Blackened Pothos Leaves — Who’s to Blame
While pothos plants are all fond of light, you should never place them in direct sunlight, which can literally burn the plant.
Make sure your room is comfortably temperate and has access to good quality sunlight. Also, move your pothos plant away from spots where the sun is too harsh.
If you have already planted the pothos in a very sunny room, and it is not growing well, then you can definitely move it to a darker room.
Too Much Fertilizer
You may have been overly zealous with your application of fertilizer.
I know I sometimes have to restrain myself, and keeping a book of when you fertilize and how much you fertilize can help you maintain healthy plants.
I’ve found the sweet spot is to fertilize my pothos plant only once every two to three months, but only during the growing season as winter sees little growth, so fertilizer has a bigger chance of burning the roots then.
Underwatering and Overwatering
If you haven’t been watering your pothos enough, the leaves will wilt, and if this continues, the tips of the leaves will turn black as the cells die from dehydration.
I keep a record of when I water my pothos and how much water I give them. This helps me avoid overwatering or underwatering.
As a rule of thumb, I keep the soil of my pothos plants moist, but not wet. I also monitor the drainage trays beneath the pots as a large collection of water building up can indicate I am overwatering.
When you overwater your pothos plant, you are drowning the roots. These begin to rot, and the leaves will die as a result.
As alluded to above, when your pothos plant is drowning, it will soon die.
I find my pothos do better with slightly drier soil, but when I stick my finger into the soil, I should feel damp soil by the time I’ve pressed the first digit of my finger into the potting mix.
When the drainage holes have blocked, or the pothos has become root bound, it can result in poor drainage, even if you don’t overwater.
So checking the soil or potting mix with your finger to be sure the soil is aerated enough. Remember, roots need to breathe.
Dramatic Temperature Changes
The pothos is a tropical plant, and it loves humidity. When you live in a dry area where the air is dry and the temperatures are high, you will notice your pothos doesn’t do so well.
Adding more water is a temporary solution, and you will need to ensure there isn’t severe sunlight on your pothos.
At home, I use a humidifier in the room where my pothos is to help moisten the air and introduce more humidity.
Insects and Disease
If you notice black spots on your pothos plant’s leaves, you may be dealing with a bacterial infection known as Phytophthora or blight as it’s commonly known.
If this is the case, you may need to repot your pothos, and at the least, I’d recommend you remove the infected leaves as soon as possible to limit the spread.
Treating your pothos with a fungicidal spray is also a good idea, or I sometimes go the natural route and dust my pothos with cinnamon, which is an antifungal.
To treat this, simply wipe the leaves with alcohol and then rinse with a good spray of water. Repotting is also a good idea as you can remove any insect eggs that may be hiding among the roots.
In extreme cases where your pothos has become totally infested by mealybugs or mites, or the bacterial infections have gotten to most of the plant, it is wiser to throw away your pothos before it spreads infections to other plants in your home.
Frequently Asked Questions About Why Pothos Leaves AreTurning Black
What does an overwatered pothos look like?
If you overwater your pothos, it will start to look dull and soon the leaves will turn black as the roots have begun to rot. Overwatering drowns the roots, which can cause the pothos to not absorb essential nutrients at all.
What signs will a pothos show if it is dying?
If your pothos leaves start to wilt and hang, followed by the tips turning brown or black, your pothos is in distress and could be dying. Be sure to check your plant for overwatering, underwatering, fungal infections, and insect strike.
Should I cut brown or black leaves off pothos?
If your pothos is turning brown or black, remove them. These are not going to recover, and they will simply drain the plant further. Cut them off with a sterile and sharp knife or scissors. Be sure to remove these leaves from the pot, disposing of them where your other plants will not be in contact with them.
Pothos are incredibly beautiful plants, and their long trailers are much desired as a decor element in any home. Yet, when those lush leaves turn black, take immediate action.
I recommend you get into the healthy habit of checking your pothos over once a week, testing the soil dampness, and inspecting leaves for white fluff that could indicate an insect strike.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.