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Why Are Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow? I See!

A pothos plant is a wonderful houseplant, but imagine my shock when I noticed my beloved pothos plant was turning yellow!

I was confused. What was I doing wrong? Was my pothos plant sick or dying?

Why were the leaves turning yellow?


Why Are Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow?

Pothos plant leaves turn yellow in response to a range of factors from overwatering to underwatering. Poor lighting, insufficient humidity, and insect loads can also make my pothos plant leaves begin to turn yellow. Finally, some yellow leaves are natural as the pothos grows.


Pothos Leaf Yellowing Factors


Factor One: Overwatering

Probably the most common reason for pothos leaves turning yellow is overwatering of the plant. While a pothos is a tropical plant, it doesn’t want to drown in water either.

When the potting mix is not draining well or you have drizzled the plant in too much water, you may find the leaves becoming starved of nutrition since the roots are suffocating and reverse osmosis has begun happening.

This means your pothos will start leaching nutrients from itself back into the potting mix and the water there. As a result, your pothos will sicken and the leaves will turn yellow.

The yellowing is followed by the texture becoming spongy, and soon, the leaves will begin rotting at the stem, which will cause leaf fall.


Factor Two: Underwatering

When there is too little water in the potting soil, your pothos plant will begin turning yellow due to the loss of water. The leaves will yellow and the edges will become brittle and brown.

Soon, the leaves will shrivel up and fall off.


Factor Three: Insufficient Humidity

I know my pothos is a tropical plant, so it prefers a humid climate, but in the area I stay, the air is quite dry, so I watch for yellowing leaves as a sign that I need to provide more humidity.

A humidifier or pebble tray will help my pothos not turn yellow.

Another reason my pothos requires higher humidity levels is that it helps my plant regulate its breathing process through transpiration.

When it’s too dry, my plant will end up not “exhaling” through the stomata cells in the plant leaves. Higher humidity means my pothos can take in the right gasses and produce food and stimulate growth.


Factor Four: Low Light

While I like to have a home with low ambient lighting, I know my pothos requires more direct sunlight and warmth that simulates the tropics where it naturally grows.

My pothos plant can tolerate some lowered light like being in a bathroom or bedroom. However, I need to watch for signs that my plant needs more sunlight such as the leaves turning yellow.


Factor Five: Pests

Pothos plants are particularly susceptible to the strike of insects like mealy bugs, mites, and scale. These all contribute to the plant being drained of energy as the bugs feast on my pothos plant.

The plant will begin to experience stress and it will lose energy, which will result in yellowed leaves.


Factor Six: Growth Changes

It is natural for my pothos to grow upwards. I have noticed when my pothos grows, the last few leaves seem to become sickly, yellow, and fall off.

This is normal for the pothos plant. The pothos plant will lose yellowed leaves and new green leaves will rise to the forefront.


How To Stop My Pothos Plant Leaves Yellowing

It’s up to you to look after your pothos plant. Yellowing leaves can be an indication of a much more serious problem.

Ideally, you should keep a log of how much you water and when. I keep a notebook with some information about my pothos plants in it.

This way, I can ensure I have been informed of all the latest changes in my plant. I can also check on the following to stop my pothos plant’s leaves from turning yellow.


Step One: Be Sure To Water Well

Your pothos plant shouldn’t be watered every day. Once you know how big a drinker your pothos is, you can plan watering days and keep track of how much you are watering the plant.

Write it in a notebook to make sure you are on top of your pothos plant’s care.

When you check your pothos’ water levels, your first knuckle should just start to feel wet when you press it into the potting soil. Giving more water than that will result in yellow leaves.


Step Two: Increase Humidity

Create a warm and steamy environment for your pothos by grouping it with other plants, using a pebble steamer, and plugging in your humidifier near your pothos plant.


Step Three: Your Pothos Is Starving

Chances are your pothos is starving. Yes, plants can starve too. Your pothos plant requires enough nutrients to meet all its metabolic needs.

I found my pothos plants require nitrogen, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, which were all essential for better growth.

By adding these nutrients into the potting soil during the growing seasons, I ensure my pothos plant is always well-fed and ready to grow.


Frequently Asked Questions about Why Pothos Leaves are Turning Yellow


What does an overwatered pothos look like?

One of the many signs your pothos’ overwatered is yellowing leaves. These quickly indicate your pothos is planted in soil that isn’t draining and is drowning.


What’s the best thing to do when pothos leaves turn yellow?

Be sure to drain the soil better by drilling bigger drainage holes at the bottom of your pothos plant’s pot. This will help air out the roots, giving your pothos plant a chance to recover. Ensure your pothos plant has enough sunlight, humidity, and that it’s out of the way of general movement in your home. A pothos plant doesn’t like to have people walk past it in close proximity.


Can yellow pothos leaves turn green again?

If you catch the problem early, pothos leaves can become green again. Drain the soil, ensure enough sunlight, and be careful about how much you fertilize the soil, and your pothos can recover from leaves turning yellow.


The Final Yellowing

When your pothos plant is yellowing, you need to take quick action to save leaves that are dying. Sometimes, your pothos will shed leaves that are older to allow the plant to grow upwards.

This is normal, and you need only check for infections as the leaves turn yellow.

I have found that caring for my pothos and ensuring it stays healthy and happy is not so complicated when you are prepared and keep a log of what you water or feed the plant with.

Being organized will ensure you have beautiful blooming pothos plants.

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli

Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.