in ,

Why do Pothos Leaves turn Yellow and how to prevent it?

Why are my Pothos Leaves turning Yellow

This article briefly explains the Pothos leaves and answers the question “why are my Pothos Leaves turning Yellow?”

If you are new to gardening and are looking for an easy and low-maintenance plant, Pothos is an excellent option for you. 

It is an undemanding lovely plant that can help you add a splash of green to your home. This tropical vine comes in an array of foliage colors and patterns that appeal to a wide range of tastes and décor. Pothos can beautifully décor your bathroom or office as it can easily survive in low light. 

Pothos enjoys a wide range of environments. They can be grown in dry soil or vases of water, in indirect sunlight, and low light. 

They will do good in nutrient-rich soil but do almost as well in nutrient-poor earth. But easy maintenance does not mean you go all couch potato on the Pothos. 

Pothos leaves can turn yellow if they do not get the right conditions for proper growth. It is assumed that they express their frustration via yellow leaves.

The main reason that has been learned so far about why the pothos leaves turn yellow is improper soil moisture, particularly overwatering. 

If Pothos is not receiving the proper amount of water, its leaves will turn yellow. However, some types of Pothos, like marble queen pothos, have yellow details in their leaves. So, that yellowing is natural and makes the variety unique.

Proper Conditions for Pothos Growth 

Before discussing the causes of why the green leaves of Pothos turn yellow, let us look at the conditions required for a healthy Pothos plant.

Care levelEasy
Light RequirementIndirect bright light is ideal, but the plant can grow in low light and fluorescent light. Avoid direct sunlight; it can discolor or burn the leaves.
Ideal place to growNear the window where it can receive bright indirect sunlight.
Temperature 60-80 degree Fahrenheit
HumidityHigh humidity is ideal but can grow in average or dry air.
Soil typeHigh quality, well-drained potting mix with pH between 6.1-6.5 (acidic)
Pot requirementContainer with suitable drainage holes and 1-2 inches wider than the root ball.
WateringAverage level is ideal to allow the topsoil to dry. Overwatering can damage the plant.
FertilizingThey are light feeders. Give fertilizers every 1-3 months.
PruningTrim the long back runners
CleaningWipe with a damp cloth every few weeks.

Why are Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow?

yellow leaves of pothos plant

There can be several factors contributing to the yellowing of the leaves. Few are discussed below:

Too much Water

The plant starts absorbing more water than required when it is not getting the required amount of sunlight. 

Only the green part of the leaves can make energy for the plant as it has chloroplast – the green substance in leaves responsible for absorbing the light. 

Once the plant starts excess water intake, its roots are in danger of drowning as the water begins pooling at the bottom of the plant’s pot.

Air is essential for the roots, just as it is for us. The famous florist Joyce Mast explains, “When the plants receive too much water, the roots don’t receive enough air and start to drown and rot.”  

You can quickly notice that you are overwatering the plant as its leaves will start turning yellow because of the lack of air, as it cannot reach the plant’s roots due to the presence of excess water there. 

If the Pothos overflow with liquid during each watering, this also indicates that you are giving an extra amount of water or less sunlight to your plant. Too much water also creates high humidity, which also damages the plants.

What can you do about this?

  • Make sure Pothos pot has drainage holes. This will give space to the extra water to leave the pot. Joyce Mast says, “A plant in a pot without drainage holes is much more susceptible to root rot and damage or death from overwatering.”
  • Move the plant closer to the window.
  • Change the watering routine. Water the plant only when the topsoil feels completely dry.

Lack of Water

Along with overwatering, lack of water can also damage the Pothos leaves. Some plants are susceptible to dry conditions that they can start to decay without enough water and humidity. 

If the Pothos plant is not getting sufficient water, it will show symptoms by curling the leaves inward and turning them yellow. The thirsty Pothos plant will have drooping leaves.

What can you do about this?

  • Firstly, if you have not watered the plant for a long time, give ample water to it so that its leaves can perk up.
  • Allow the plant to sit in water for almost 30 minutes; after this, let the plant rest and make sure the pot has drainage holes so excess water can move out without damaging the roots.
  • Change the watering routine. Water the plant regularly until the leaves look fresh and healthy again.

Here is a complete guide on Pothos Care – How Often to Water Pothos?

Lack of Right Nutrients

Nutrient imbalance can also cause Pothos leaves to turn yellow. If it is not getting the required amount of nutrients essential for healthy plant growth, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and iron, it can develop yellow spots on the green leaves. 

The plant’s yellowing pattern can tell you which nutrient is in excess or deficient. For example, leaves with zinc, iron, or manganese deficiency will turn all yellow, leaving the stems and veins green. 

Similarly, if the leaves are turning yellow from the edges, it is deficient in magnesium. Sulfur deficiency can cause the top of the leaves to turn yellow; the bottom of the leaves will be yellow if the plant is getting less nitrogen.

However, if leaves appear yellow and brown, almost burn-like, this shows that they are overloaded with the nutrients.

What can you do about this?

  • Tap water can cause a nutrient imbalance in the plants. Try using distilled water or rainwater.
  • Set the plant in a way that allows the excess nutrients to evaporate.
  • If your plant is nutrient deficient, give it some fertilizer to fulfill its requirements.
  • Do not add an excess fertilizer; take help from the guidebooks. For Pothos, usually, fertilizer with iron and magnesium is used.

Lack of Light

Alexi Coffey, the co-founder of the app that helps with plant care, says that because the Pothos plant is labeled as a low-light plant, people start assuming that it can grow in no light as well; however, this is not the case. Pothos leaves turn yellow if they are not getting enough sunlight, due to which they absorb more water to fulfill the plants’ energy requirements.

Similarly, if the leaves are getting excessive light, they will turn yellow. This calculates the light requirement of the plant a little complex. 

So, the general rule defined by the specialists is: If the leaves are limp and look crispy, they are getting too much light. 

On the other hand, if they are not receiving enough light, they look plumper.

What can you do about this?

  • If you have placed your Pothos in the dark, move it closer to the window.
  • Avoid giving direct or bright sunlight.

So, the reason for your Pothos leaves turning yellow is negligence in the proper care for your plant. However, this is not always the case. 

Sometimes Pothos leaves turn yellow because of aging. And once the leaves turn yellow, no miracle can turn them green again, so you should prune them off.

Here is a complete guide on How Much Light Does Your Plant Needs?


Why is pothos called devil’s ivy?

Well, to be honest, there is little information about why it is called Devil’s Ivy, but it has little to do with the actual plant and more to do with its resilience. Pothos is a plant that can thrive in difficult conditions with minimal care or nutrients. It is known to grow in dark corners and on window sills without any problems. This is something that many succulents have and pothos plants have no problems growing in artificial light, so they actually do very well in all situations (dark, dim light or bright light).

Does pothos clean the air?

Pothos is a plant that can help clean the air in your home or office. This is because it naturally removes pollutants from the air through a process called photosynthesis. The result is clean air for you and your loved ones to enjoy.

What are the benefits of having a pothos plant?

The pothos is a beautiful and easy to care for plant that has many benefits. They are very low maintenance, and can be grown indoors or outdoors. They are great for anyone who is new to gardening, as they are extremely hardy and can grow in many different conditions.


In short, although the pothos plant is low maintenance, it still has some light, water, and nutrient needs. Poor care routine turns the leaves yellow. Most of the time, this yellowing problem can be resolved by moving your plant closer to the window, changing the watering schedule, and adding fertilizers.

Just like humans, plants also need proper care, otherwise, they will wither. So show occasional love to your pothos and keep it thriving! 

If you are interested in learning more about various types of houseplants and their characteristics click here.

Written by Chris Buckland

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

mother-of-millions plant

Mother of Millions Plant Guide: How to Grow & Take Care of your Plant + 5 Decoration ideas!

Variegated Rubber houseplant

Variegated Rubber Plant Guide: How to Grow & Take Care of your Plant