Skip to Content

Underwatered Pothos – 3 Signs and How to Revive It

Scientifically named Epipremnum aureum, Pothos plants are easy to grow and are found in several colors, patterns, and foliage.

Native to the tropics of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands of the West, they have an array of common names, including the silver vine, devil’s vine, taro vine, and Ceylon creeper.

The Pothos plant can die for various reasons, and being underwatered is one of them.

While these plants are particularly low-maintenance, they start showing systems of long-term drought if neglected for too long. 

 

How to Tell if My Pothos is Underwatered?

Your Pothos plant is underwatered if you see the soil pulling away internally from the pot. Droopy, brown and wiltes leaves are yet another reason as well as soil that is drying too quickly.

Underwatered Pothos – 3 Signs and How to Revive It
Underwatered Pothos – 3 Signs and How to Revive It

 

Symptoms of Underwatered Pothos

An underwatered Pothos will exhibit signs such as discoloration of the leaves and dry and segregated soil. 

 

1. Droopy, Brown, and Wilted Leaves

If left unwatered for too long, the leaves of Pothos plants tend to droop and look lifeless. After some time, those drooping leaves will begin falling off.

Droopy, brown, and wilted leaves on your Pothos plant is a clear sign that it is underwatered
Droopy, brown, and wilted leaves on your Pothos plant is a clear sign that it is underwatered

Discoloration occurs, signifying that the chlorophyll of the leaves is dissipating and disappearing. The yellow-to-brown transition should be considered a warning.

Do not wait for all these symptoms. You will need to act on the first signs.

 

2. Too-Quickly Drying Soil

Dehydration occurs when the soil is not moist enough. This happens long before the plant and its leaves start showing any symptoms.

If the soil’s drying out too quickly between waterings, you might have to repot the plant altogether. But this check comes before the plant shows symptoms – it is precautionary. 

A pot that’s too small cannot hold the amount of water needed, and you may need a bigger pot.

Repotting your Pothos plant after 1 year of growth helps prevent underwatering
Repotting your Pothos plant after 1 year of growth helps prevent underwatering

Sure, smaller Pothos plants don’t need big pots, but when they grow, their requirements will be impeded by their small container. Repot your Pothos after a year of growth.

 

3. Soil Pulling Apart and Away

If you notice that the soil is segregating, pulling apart, and forming consolidated shapes, then it is an indicator that your Pothos is underwater.

Soil pulling apart and away is another surefire sign that your pothos plant is underwatered
Soil pulling apart and away is another surefire sign that your pothos plant is underwatered

Because of lacking moisture, soil tends to contract. 

This requires plant parents to reduce the time between waterings.

The soil must have a constant supply of water so that even when you’re not watering, the soil remains moist enough to sustain the plant until the next watering. 

Reduce the time between watering sessions for your pothos plant, but make sure to not overwater it
Reduce the time between watering sessions for your pothos plant, but make sure to not overwater it

However, be warned. In the process of reducing the time between watering, you might end up overwatering your Pothos. You will have to be mindful and calculative when going about this.

 

Saving and Underwatered Pothos

With your Pothos dying because of being underwatered, all you will be left with brittle leaves turning yellow, then brown, and eventually crisping away and falling.

The topsoil will have cracks, and you will even be able to see some of the roots. Your plant will be a sorry sight, stringy and frail.

Hence, follow the succeeding steps below.

 

1. Repot the Plant

If you’ve planted your Pothos in a small pot, and if it is big enough, you need to repot it immediately.

Be gentle while taking the plant out to avoid damaging the roots. Carefully dig the soil away, and use gloved hands to remove the plant. 

Make sure to be gentle when repotting your pothos plant into its new planter
Make sure to be gentle when repotting your pothos plant into its new planter

When repotting, make sure you use different soil that suits your needs. Also, choose your new planter carefully and check for any holes that may contribute to drainage.

 

2. Moisture Restoration

The next thing on your list must be restoring the plant’s moisture level and rehydrating it.

You can start with misting the plant. Create a misting schedule that you think can work well with your plant. 

Mist the plant for at least three days so that the extra hydration helps it recover. Start watering it again, but be careful this time.

Slowly rehydrate your Pothos plant by misting it for at least 3 days
Slowly rehydrate your Pothos plant by misting it for at least 3 days

You do not want to overwater the plant, and you most certainly don’t want to underwater it – again.

 

3. Removing Damaged Leaves

Lead damage can spread. The yellowing and the browning that you notice can grow further.

As chlorophyll leaves the plant’s leaves, they will not only yellow but harden. No longer watering the plant and figuring out what went wrong can further the damage. 

Carefully and with gloved hands, remove the damaged leaves or the damaged parts with scissors. When using scissors, make sure you do not end up cutting any of the healthy parts.

 

4. Prune Dead Stems

When you prune your Pothos, you will notice new vines growing on the nodes. You need this to propagate leaf growth so that the ones you cut off can be replaced.

Leaves are a plant’s kitchen, and the roots are the supplies. 

When there are more kitchens, your plants watering needs will grow. That way, all water will be used up even if you are overwatering slightly.

Pruning helps new leaves grow and prevent overwatering, too. Additionally, you can avoid underwatering as well as all the water will be used by the leaves.

Pruning or trimming the dead stems on your Pothos plant helps it to grow new leaves, as well as prevent overwatering
Pruning or trimming the dead stems on your Pothos plant helps it to grow new leaves, as well as prevent overwatering

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Underwatered Pothos

 

Can I underwater my Pothos plant?

It is possible to underwater a Pothos plant trying to avoid overwatering it. If you are using a small pot, there may not be enough space in there to hold water. As a result, it will overflow. Most of the water might not reach the roots in case there are holes in your pot.

 

How to tell if my Pothos plant needs watering?

Leaves turning yellow and brown, wilting, soil pulling away, and dried-up soil are signs your Pothos is dehydrated. Develop a watering schedule best suits your pothos’ needs. If you’re avoiding overwatering your Pothos plant, you could opt for misting 5 times a day for 2-3 days.

 

How much sun does a Pothos plant need?

Pothos are appreciative of bright sunlight for not more than 15 hours. Going beyond them can cause dehydration. However, if you grow your plants in low light, the lack of color intensity will result in the growth of smaller leaves that may not be ideal for the plant.


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.