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Why are Pothos Stems Turning Brown? The Answer!

Why are Pothos Stems Turning Brown? The Answer!

Pothos plants, also known as Devil’s vine, are popular evergreen houseplants characterized by their distinct heart-like leaves.

These easy-to-care-for creeping beauties are particularly stunning in hanging baskets and are a great, non-fussy option for adding some greenery to a room.

However, like all plants, pothos can become distressed or diseased if one does not keep an eye on overt symptoms of decay.


Why are pothos stems turning brown?

Overwatering pothos can turn their stems brown. Alternatively, stems may also turn brown from underwatering. Damaged branches can also derive from bacterial or fungal infections, blight, root rot, or even temperature shock. Brown stems indicate that pothos could be dying and should be dealt with urgently.


Overwatering Pothos

While pothos plants are considered low maintenance, they are frequently overwatered, which can be very damaging to them.

Pothos should be watered often, but as they don’t stand in direct light, the best tip I can offer is to keep checking the soil’s moisture level with a fingertip.

The top one inch or so of soil can be mostly dry before each watering session, and pothos should never stand in saucers of water as they do not enjoy having soggy “feet.”

The reason for this is simple. If pothos roots become waterlogged, valuable oxygen and nutrients that live in soil can no longer reach the plant via its root system. As a result of this, leaves and stems start to turn brown, and the plant begins to die.

If a pothos is suffering from browning stems, it needs to be gently repotted in fresh soil, and the decaying growth should be removed.


Underwatering Pothos

As with overwatering, underwatering is indicated by wilting, browning leaves, and dry, brown stems. If you feel the soil and find it very dry, you may way to soak it through and begin rehydrating your pothos.

Furthermore, removing dry, dying sections of the plant can help to reroute its energy reserves for the recovery process.


Diseased Pothos

Rot is a fungal infection that attacks plants’ root systems, causing them to turn brown or black and start decaying. Root rot is most often the cause of brown stems and results from overwatering gone too far.

It occurs when a plant has lived in dense, saturated soil for extended periods. If you identify root rot as the reason for brown stems, it may be too late to save for the plant.

Similarly, other diseases can also threaten the health of pothos.

Bacterial infections, blight, and insects can hurt and damage roots and leaves, sapping a plant’s energy and causing it to start dying, a tell-tale sign of which is brown stems.

Pothos should be inspected regularly for any mischievous critters or symptoms of illness like leaf and root spots. If the threat of disease is looming, pothos can be treated with fungicide or insecticidal soap.


Pothos Suffering from Temperature Shock

Although rare, outdoor pothos can be damaged by cold shock. This results in limp leaves that wither and die over time.

For the duration of the cold months, it’s best to leave the damaged areas on the plant and let them fall away naturally. Whatever still needs to be cleaned up can be pruned away during spring.


Ideal Pothos Growing Conditions

Pothos are genuinely easy-to-care-for plants and don’t require much attention. They can live quite happily in various growing conditions, making them an excellent choice for beginner gardeners.

All they need is slightly acidic, well-draining soil (pH 6.1 to pH 6.5) and a spot away from direct sunlight. They can tolerate low light but prefer a little humidity, and in dry areas, some light misting is beneficial.

Temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and below 80 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 27 degrees Celsius) are best, and one must be wary that too much hot light or cold air can burn them.


Frequently Asked Questions about Why Pothos Stems Turn Brown


What are the brown growths and nodes on the stems of my pothos?

These are called aerial roots and are perfectly normal and harmless. In fact, it indicates that your pothos is ready to be propagated, and so you can begin to take cuttings from a parent plant and root them in water or soil.


Can tap water hurt my pothos?

Pothos are hardy and generally aren’t too bothered by tap water, but it can damage plants if it is incredibly unbalanced. If you have completely eradicated the options for why your leaves and stems are brown, consider testing your tap water. Added minerals and fluorides may well be hurting the plant.


Can my pothos suffer from too little light?

Although pothos can survive well in low light, extremely little light is a different story. The first sign that a pothos is suffering from too little brightness is darkening leaves. This happens when plants start to overcompensate for missing light. Soon after that, they may begin to yellow, then brown.



Pothos are such beautiful additions to homes and gardens, and this is doubly gratifying because they are so easy to parent.

Regular inspection of their stems and leaves should keep you abreast of your pothos’ health.

Fortunately, even if pothos shows signs of decay or disease, they can be easily revived when caught early enough.