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Why Are Pothos Leaves Turning Brown? 7 Preventable Reasons

Why Are Pothos Leaves Turning Brown? 7 Preventable Reasons

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Your pothos plant can lose its green leaves and turn brown under the wrong conditions.

This typically occurs due to sudden weather changes and extreme temperatures, but other common causes include overwatering, underwatering, and root rot.

Why are pothos leaves turning brown?

The reasons why pothos leaves are turning brown are over-or underwatering, non-ideal temperatures, lighting issues, root rot, or too much or too little fertilizer. When you spot brown leaves, inspect your pothos plant and cut off the brown section with clean scissors or pruning shears.

Why Pothos Leaves Turn Brown

You probably grew accustomed to your pothos exhibiting gorgeous colors of green, gold, and yellow.

You’ve come to count on its exquisite countenance for a bright, tropical feel to your office, study, Florida room, or patio. When it turns brown, you need to quickly diagnose the issue and change its surroundings to address the problem.

The one step that applies to all situations is that you prune or pinch off the brown leaves. They cannot re-green and your plant will recover quicker if you prune it.

Location of the Browning

If the plant only becomes brown at the leaf tips, your pothos either lacks water, has lighting issues or root rot, received the wrong amount of fertilizer, or there’s too much salt in its water.

Try a lower sodium content fertilizer and water the plant with sodium-free bottled water.

Outdoors, your pothos might have too much direct light. This weakens the plant and turns its leaf tips brown.

Pothos needs humidity to thrive, so placing it near heaters or radiators can turn its leaves brown. You can address this issue by moving the Pothos to a less dry area and providing it with a humidifier.

If the plant develops brown spots on its leaves, it probably contracted a fungal infection or bacterial leaf spot. Use a fungicide with the soil mix.

Make sure the area where your Pothos is has better air circulation to provide healthier surroundings.

Spraying air fresheners or cleaning chemicals in the room can cause this problem, too. The chemicals cause the brown spots. Switch to all-natural cleaners for your plant room.

If the plant develops solid brown leaves, the easiest thing to address is excessive light. Move the Pothos to a place getting indirect light.

Inappropriate temperatures can also cause this issue, so move your plant indoors.

Not watering enough can cause this problem, but so can overwatering. Overwatering can also create soggy soil, ultimately leading to root rot.

Root rot requires repotting the plant with fresh potting soil as well as trimming off the affected roots, too. Let the roots dry out while you have the plant out of its pot, then trim the mushy roots off.

Sudden Weather Changes

The Araceae family of plants naturally grows as a perennial tropical plant in Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and the Solomon Islands. It isn’t typical for a backyard in Ohio or South Carolina, so it needs a bit of help.

You can expect it to grow well so long as the temperatures range between 70°F and 90°F, but your Pothos really won’t like it if the temperatures fluctuate too much. Things will grow really bad if the range drops beneath 70°F or spikes above 90°F.

Not only will this retard the growth of your dear plant, but it will also make its green leaves turn brown, which sadly is not like Linda Ronstadt’s eyes going from brown to blue, but pretty close. Your pothos is sad.

You can make your plant happy by moving it indoors if it currently resides outdoors.

So long as you notice the brown coloring relatively quickly, you can bring it in and place it in a room with ideal temperatures and humidity. You’ll need to provide the Pothos with the best of conditions to save it.

Providing the Right Temperature and Humidity

This means keeping it in a room with the temperature at about 68°F, so it can remain perfectly happy. Normally, its ideal indoor temperatures range from 65° to 75°F.

You just need to go with the median and keep it that consistently to level the plant out, so you can save it. On the upside, these plants like the ideal temperature for economically cooling your home or heating it.

Providing the Right Lighting

You also need to make the lighting conditions just right for the pothos. It needs low light with partial shade.

Outdoors, that would mean hanging it from a tree limb, but inside, you need to hang it near a window, but not right in front of it.

The lovely pothos needs bright yet indirect light. Your roof provides its shade.

When the Leaves Continue to Brown

Let’s say that leaves continue to brown. You may need to enhance its humidity or perfect its lighting conditions.

While this is a low-maintenance plant, once you get the conditions just right, until that moment, you need to change things until they become perfect.

Nurseries grow their stock plants at 5,000-foot-candles (ft-c) of light. You can use a light meter to measure this and then try opening the curtains or using sheer curtains, etc. to alter the lighting subtly, so you provide the ideal conditions for growth.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pothos Leaves Turning Brown

What is the ideal humidity to avoid brown leaves?

You can make it even happier by providing it with 70 to 80 percent relative humidity. That is pretty normal for the Solomon Islands.

Are brown leaves why my pothos isn’t blooming with flowers?

Flowering isn’t related to the Pothos’ brown leaves! These plants won’t spout flowers as a houseplant. If you saw photos of the plant in its native growth, sorry. It does not bloom in captivity, which is what growing it outside of a tropical forest consists of. You could grow it in a greenhouse under faux tropical forest conditions to get it to blossom with the cream-colored spathes in an erect flower stalk complemented by their purple spadix.


You can stop those pothos leaves from turning brown by placing the plant indoors in cooler temperatures and providing it with appropriate humidity.

Your pothos can thrive inside your home in indirect sunlight and provide you with tropical beauty every day.