Dying Pothos Plant? Here’s How To Revive It Quickly

Not everyone has green thumbs. If your pothos is looking less than perfect, you might think you’ve killed yet another plant. Pothos vines are hard to kill, though, so it’s highly likely that yours isn’t really dead.

Taking care of golden pothos is usually uncomplicated. They prefer warm temperatures, partial shade, and high humidity. They’re tolerant to most soil types and can live up to 12 days without watering at all!

Hard to imagine neglecting a pothos to the point of death. But if you have a pothos vine that looks dull and you’re wondering how to deal with a dying pothos plant, this article’s for you.

Let’s bring some health back into these vines!

How to Revive a Dying Pothos Plant

Plants often give us signs of what’s wrong with them. Since it’s a low-maintenance houseplant, it won’t be all that hard reviving a dying pothos plant.

First things first, let’s try to diagnose the problem! Here are the top 5 issues that recur with domesticated golden pothos:

Discolored Leaves

Discoloured leaves

Depending on the color, you can predict what’s wrong with your plant and how to handle it.

Yellow or Brown Leaves

Golden pothos vines have unique and attractive leaves. Unfortunately, the leaves are often the first to get affected if the plant is diseased.

It can be tricky to decide if a pothos’ leaves are discolored because of over or underwatering. A quick tip is to check what the colors are and where they are showing.

If the same leaf shows both yellow and brown spots, it’s probably getting more water than it needs. If a pothos vine is underwatered, the leaves are going to be mostly yellow and brittle. Both yellow and brown spots will hardly show on the same leaf, in this case.

In the end, you’ll need to check the soil to confirm your findings. When all else fails, try fertilizing your pothos every month. Indoor-specific fertilizer might be a good choice for houseplants.

White Spotting

When a golden pothos shows white spots on its leaves, it’s a sign of a fungal infection. Most cases can be cured with regular fungicidal oils. Neem oil is a good place to start.

Curling Leaves

Golden pothos leaves curl down when they are infected with pests. Most commonly, pothos vines are infected with spider mites, mealy bugs, or scale.

Look for cotton-like colonies on the leaf to confirm your suspicion.

These pest infections aren’t lethal. Use an insecticide treatment to stay on top of it. Neem oil or other plant-grade insecticides can also help treat the vine.

You can also prune away the leaves that are too compromised.

Droopy Leaves

Dying pothos plant - deteriorated leaf

Droopy leaves on a golden pothos plant can be a sign of overexposure to light. Pothos vines thrive in partial shade but can tolerate a maximum of 3 to 4 hours in direct sunlight.

Light meters can detect the amount of light that a plant is receiving. Pothos’s light requirements range between 1076.39 and 2152.78 lux.

Stagnant Growth

Stagnant pothos growth is typically a sign of either underwatering or under fertilizing.

A golden pothos isn’t particularly needy when it comes to water. Yet, you don’t want to leave more than half the pot dry too long. Water your vines every week or so, and see if that helps.

In most cases, all-purpose fertilizer will be good enough to give the vine the boost it needs.

Root Rot

Root rot is caused by fungal infections. When you overwater a potted plant, you’re creating an ideal environment of moisture for fungus to take hold. You’ll know that the root is infected if the soil smells foul and the root itself is soggy and brown.

Here’s what you can do to treat a pothos with root rot:

  1. Reduce the moisture. Try drying out the soil; get a pot with better draining holes, and water every 10 days or so.
  2. Use antifungals. Using a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution around the root for a few days can help eliminate the infection. Hydrogen peroxide treatment depends on “reactive oxygen species” that attack the fungus.
  3. Aerate the soil out. Airing out the soil helps a lot to avoid overwatering. Use chopsticks or anything similar to poke holes in the soil. This gives the soil better air circulation and dries it out faster. Repeat this process with every watering.

Pothos Characteristics

People often mistake plant characteristics for diseases. You have no idea how many people thought their pothos was dying just because it doesn’t flower, or how many plant owners wasted money on fungal treatments when the vine was absolutely healthy!

If you’re new to owning a golden pothos, there might come a time when you wonder if there’s anything wrong with your vine. The top two pothos characteristics that are often mistaken for diseases are aerial roots and flowering diseases. Let’s discuss each one in detail.

What Does It Mean If a Pothos Has Aerial Roots?

Aerial roots are leafless, brown growths on the vine. Having aerial roots on golden pothos is normal and doesn’t indicate that there’s anything wrong with the vine.

In fact, aerial roots can help the vine twine around solid support. They aren’t anything that you need to worry about, but if they get messy, you can always prune them.

Why Is My Pothos Not Flowering?

pothos with no flowers

Golden pothos of the origin Epipremnum aureum family Araceae are flowering vines. However, your odds at seeing flowering pothos are slim to none. They’re very shy-flowering vines.

This doesn’t mean that your vine is dying though! Sometimes, people expect all ornamental houseplants to flower during spring.

There are two main reasons why golden pothos rarely flower:

  1. Domestication. The golden pothos is originally a wild tropical vine. In heavy forests, they grow a lot faster and bigger. So by domesticating pothos, we’re limiting their ability for growth and reproduction.
  2. Gibberellin deficiency. Recent studies found a correlation between the transition from vegetative states to reproductive ones and a phytohormone called gibberellic acid. This isn’t something you can fix with a fertilizer, though. In this case, the gene responsible for producing gibberellin is underrepresented.

Whether it’s genetic or not, there isn’t much you can do for a shy-flowering golden pothos. You can, however, enjoy its iridescent heart-shaped leaves!

My Pothos Is Overgrowing, What Should I Do?

To be fair, this is a more likely situation than your pothos dying. They weren’t given the name “devil’s ivy” for nothing! This name is said to reflect its immortal-like resilience.

So, you’ve cared for your golden pothos all year round and now it’s grown nicely—almost too nicely. Want to know how to deal with a pothos that’s gone too long?

Pruning and Repotting: Taming Overgrown Vines

Pruning can help you tame houseplants. If your golden pothos is getting unruly, try trimming it seasonally. It’ll help keep it in shape.

Be smart about pruning and you’ll have spare cutting to give your friends and family. And soon enough, they’ll have their own pothos!

To get good cutting for propagation, make sure the cutting is 3 or 4 nodes long. Fresh cuttings can then propagate in soil or water.

If you don’t feel like trimming the pothos’ roots, you can repot the vine instead. Every year or so, you can go up an inch or two in pot size. This gives the roots more room to spread.

Avoid changing into a much larger pot suddenly, though! This larger size will take much more water than the old used to, drowning down the root.

Support: Get You Pothos Hanging

overgrowing pothos

Even the healthiest golden pothos will sometimes droop down since it’s a hanging vine by nature.

In the wild, pothos plants grow around tree branches, which help support them. The name Epipremnum aureum is derived from the “epi” and “premon” which means “upon” and “tree trunks” respectively.

Try wrapping the vine around solid support and gently hold the vine in place with a string. Just be careful not to wrap it too tightly, you don’t want to break the vine.

Keep in mind that humidity helps the vine twine around supports. Get a humidifier for the room and your golden pothos will do much better.


Golden pothos plants are one of the most resilient houseplants out there. They’re always a top recommendation for anyone new to gardening.

Most troubles with pothos vines can be fixed by regulating the watering intervals and getting pots with adequate draining. For heavier droppings or discolorations, consider using a fertilizer.

Like other houseplants, pothos plants are susceptible to pests and fungus infections. Natural oils like neem can help in these cases. If too much of the plant has been compromised, try pruning out the damaged parts and repotting.

Pothos vines are a great low-maintenance option for people looking for ornamental plants. Once you’re done reviving the vines, you’ll be ready to set a simple care routine that’ll save you the hassle in the future!