Pothos plants truly are the perfect option for indoor gardeners of all skill levels. The bright green, heart-shaped leaves grow on long, tumbling vines, so even a single Pothos can give your space an exciting and tropical atmosphere.
Not only do they look great, but they are also incredibly easy to care for. The plants require very little maintenance and can usually bounce back from short-term neglect. However, one common issue with all types of Pothos plants is the yellowing leaves.
If you have noticed an increase in the number of yellow leaves on your Pothos, we are here to help! Not only will we explain what this common issue means for the overall health of your plant, but we will also explain how you can correct the problem and help restore your house plant back to its natural, vibrant green color.
Why Does My Pothos Have Yellow Leaves?
While they are certainly concerning, yellow Pothos leaves do not necessarily mean your plant is dying. In most cases, the issue signifies a fairly simple issue that can be quickly addressed. To make things easy, we will go over the most common reasons why Pothos leaves turn yellow one at a time:
1. Overwatering and Other Moisture-related Issues
Too Much Water
One of the most common reasons why Pothos leaves turn yellow is improper moisture levels in the soil. More specifically, overwatering usually causes the plant’s leaves to turn yellow.
Due to the fact that Pothos plants have a tropical and almost jungle-like appearance, many people assume that they need plenty of water every single day. The reality is you should only water your Pothos plant when the top two-to-three inches of soil are completely dry.
You want the soil near the roots to be somewhat damp, but definitely not soggy. This is because Pothos plants, like many other types of houseplants, are very susceptible to root rot. When the roots begin to rot, the leaves will become yellow and, eventually, die and fall off.
Not Enough Water
Oppositely, a thirsty Pothos will sometimes sprout yellow leave; however, this is a less common occurrence than yellowing leaves on an overwatered Pothos. If you notice that some of the leaves are yellow, but the rest look limp and droopy, it is possible that you are not watering your Pothos plant often enough.
How Can You Fix the Issue?
In most cases, you can simply reduce the number of times you water your plant per week, as well as reduce the amount of water you use when you do so. This should let your Pothos recover, which will mean the leaves will stop turning yellow.
However, if most of the leaves are yellow and the plant is suffering from a serious overwatering issue, such as root rot, it might be necessary to re-pot your plant if you want it to recover. It is also important that the pot your Pothos is in has at least one drainage hole, as this will allow excess water to flow from the soil.
2. Light-related Issues
While Pothos plants are certainly resilient and they can tolerate a variety of light conditions, the leaves often turn yellow if the amount of light they receive does not match their preference.
When they are placed in a location that receives an overabundance of direct sunlight, the leaves can burn. Leaf burn usually causes the leaves to turn dark yellow and brown. On the other hand, if your Pothos does not receive enough sunlight, the plant can become stressed and the leaves will often turn pale yellow.
Unless your plant is frying in the sun, or completely starved of natural light, light-related issues usually present themselves as scattered yellow leaves, rather than the entire plant turning yellow.
How Can You Fix the Issue?
Pothos plants usually thrive when they receive bright yet indirect sunlight. In most cases, a Pothos will adapt better to lower light conditions than too much direct sunlight.
To address yellowed leaves as a result of improper lighting, try to find a location in your home or office that is bright throughout the day but receives little direct sunlight. If you cannot find an area of your home that fills with indirect sunlight, you should consider partially closing the blinds or curtains, as this will help filter the sunlight.
In most cases, the plant will quickly bounce back once the plant has been relocated and the lighting issue has been corrected.
3. Poor-quality Soil and Fertilizer-related Issues
While they are resilient plants, the leaves of Pothos can also turn yellow if they are planted in inappropriate soil.
A well-draining potting soil mixture will help your Pothos thrive and help prevent yellowed leaves. The soil should not hold too much water, and it should contain the nutrients a Pothos needs to survive. Most indoor potting mixes work really well, so you do not have to worry about finding overly complicated or expensive soil for your plant.
Excess or inadequate fertilizer use can also turn a Pothos plant’s leaves yellow. If you decide to use a fertilizer, aim for water-soluble indoor plant food and do not use it more than once per month. If they are given too much nitrogen and phosphorus, the leaves can develop yellow spots.
How Can You Fix the Issue?
If you suspect that your Pothos is planted in an improper type of soil, you can re-pot it and use a more appropriate potting soil mixture. Alternatively, if you believe that the yellowing is caused by an overabundance or lack of fertilizer, adjust your fertilizer schedule to once per month. Also, make sure that the fertilizer you are using is water-soluble and designed for indoor plants.
4. Other Causes
If none of the aforementioned causes are to blame for your plant’s yellow leaves, it could be the result of an insect infestation.
Spider mites and mealybugs are common pests that can wreak havoc on houseplants. When they feed on the leaves, they can become stressed and turn various shades of yellow. There are plenty of insecticides you can purchase at your local garden center that will eliminate the pests without harming your plant.
Inconsistent temperature and humidity levels can also turn the leaves of a Pothos plant yellow. So, try to avoid positioning your plant near a heating or air conditioning vent. You should also avoid misting the leaves, as this can also cause them to turn yellow.
Some yellowing of the leaves is also natural. If it is only one or two yellow leaves and it does not happen often, you can usually ignore the issue. Old leaves tend to turn yellow before they drop off. This is just part of the natural growing cycle, so it should not be viewed as a cause for concern.