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How Do You Save An Overwatered Pothos? Read This!

How Do You Save An Overwatered Pothos? Read This!

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Pothos plants originate in the beautiful island nation of French Polynesia.

This plant grows into beautiful, powerful vines with striking, bi-colored, heart-shaped leaves.   

Even though Pothos plants are sturdy and hearty, overwatering can smother the roots and kill the plant.

From my personal experience an overwatered Pothos will have drooping, yellowed leaves, or they may curl under and look wrinkled.

How do you Save an Overwatered Pothos?

There are 3 ways to save an overwatered Pothos. First, remove excess water and wait for the soil to dry. You can also remove as much soil as you can without disrupting the root ball and repot. But, if the plant has root rot, cut the vine into pieces and set them in water or soil to form new plants.

How to Remove Excess Water From Your Pothos Planters

While it’s tricky, I have been able to revive an overwatered Pothos from the brink of death in the past.

The first step is to recognize just how much excess water is in the planter. Most Pothos plants rooted in soil prefer damp, but not wet soil. 

If there is standing water, or the soil is saturated, there may be a drainage problem. Gradually pour water without disrupting the plant.

There are two ways to prevent excess water buildup in the future.

First, check the bottom of the pot to see if there are holes in it. If the pot doesn’t have any, you will need to make them yourself.

You can use nails or other sharp objects to puncture plastic or vinyl containers.

If the planter is made of ceramic, glass, or stone, you will need to buy a new planter that has holes in it.

Once the holes are in place, pour off excess water as it collects in the saucer. 

In order to prevent another overwatered Pothos situation, only water when the top inch of soil in the pot is dry. 

When you do water the plant, remove any excess water that drains into the saucer after  24 hours.

Second, the soil itself may not be draining well. 

To solve this, put about ½ inch of gravel in the bottom of the pot.  Then add about an inch of 50% gravel and 50% soil. 

This will improve drainage and help prevent problems in the future even if you add too much water.

When it is time to repot the plant, choose soil that drains better. 

How to Repot an Overwatered Pothos Plant

Start off by removing the plant from the planter. Occasionally, tapping the pot gently is necessary so that both the soil and plant come out.

Once you’ve done the first step, proceed with the following measures:

Check the Condition of the Roots Before You Repot

The roots should be firm and not break easily from the plant. 

If just a few roots are brown, black, or mushy, cut them away before you repot the plant.

Setting Up the Planter and Soil

Choose a planter that is bigger than the last one the Pothos was growing in. Make sure that the container has plenty of drainage holes in it. 

Under normal conditions, you should always moisten potting soil before using it. 

In this case, you are already dealing with an overwatered Pothos, which means there is too much water in the body of the plant. 

Dry soil will help leach some of that water out faster. 

Another way to do this is by adding gravel at the bottom of the plant’s container. After which, add 50% gravel and 50% soil for the next layer.

Go ahead and place the Pothos in the middle of the planter.  Just make sure to put more soil to completely surround the plant. 

Pack the soil in gently but firmly.  Make sure the soil from the old planter is fully covered by the new soil. 

Post Repotting Care

Check the moisture level in the new soil. If it feels dry after one day, add a little bit of water.  

If the soil feels moist, don’t water the plant again until you’re sure that the top inch of the soil is completely dry to the touch.

Making New Plants from an Overwatered Pothos

If the outer roots are brown, black, mushy, or smell foul, then repotting may not save the plant.  The root ball is probably in much worse condition. 

The best thing you can do is try to save the vines and make them into new plants.

Pothos plants can grow both in soil and water The trick is they don’t transfer easily from one medium to another. 

So, how to go about the process? 

Prepare the Cuttings

Cut the vines into 4 to 6-inch lengths. Make sure that each cutting you make has at least 4 leaves on them.

Remove 1 leaf from the end of the stem you plan to plant in soil or water. 

If you’re going to plant the cutting directly in the soil, make sure to use a rooting hormone. 

Pothos vines can get thick and tough, so it may not be easy for them to form roots without the hormone.

Rooting in Water

If you are going to root the Pothos in water, be sure to change the water every few days.  You should see roots in about a month. 

As soon as you start seeing roots, plant the cuttings into the soil immediately.  Otherwise, the new plant won’t adapt to the soil.

Don’t worry if you wait too long. Pothos plants can continue to grow in water indefinitely. 

Just continue to keep the water clean and exposing it to indirect sunlight. Read more about the light levels that plants need by reading about them.

Rooting in Soil

Cuttings rooted in the soil will also do best in indirect sunlight. You can use cactus soil or other sandy soil that will drain well. 

Pothos cuttings placed in the soil will take about a month to form new roots. 

During this period, make sure that the soil’s wet but not too moist. Cuttings can also develop root rot and disease very quickly. 


Many people love Pothos plants because they are easy to care for and very beautiful. 

There is also a great deal of interest in this plant because it can remove harmful chemicals from the air better than several other plants.

Truly, it’s challenging to avoid overwatered Pothos plants. But, once you get past this stage of plant care, you can look forward to enjoying this plant’s beauty and its other benefits.