Overwatered Pothos: 4 Important Things You Need To Do Next

Pothos, also known as the Devil’s Ivy, is an evergreen plant with heart-shaped green leaves with characteristic splashes of yellow all over.

The houseplant’s scientific name is “Epipremnum aureum” and it comes from the Society Islands of French Polynesia. Despite being a hardy plant that’s easy to care for, the plant is quite sensitive when it comes to moisture and watering, especially if you overwater them.

Ideally, there are various methods to save overwatered pothos, which are removing the excess water and leaving the soil to dry or removing most of the soil without disturbing the plant’s root, and repotting it in new dry soil. However, in the case of rot, you can cut the vine into fragments and use them to make new plants.

In today’s article, we’ll walk you through a brief guide with everything you need to know about overwatered pothos. Let’s jump right in!

What Is the Ideal Way to Water Pothos?

Pothos is a pretty sensitive plant when it comes to watering, which is why you should never stick to a specific schedule while watering the plant because every surrounding factor in the plant’s environment will affect the moisture level.

Instead, you should always check the soil and make sure it’s dry before rewatering the plant. Ideally, you might need to water anywhere from 5 or 7 days and up to every 2 weeks, depending on humidity, lighting, temperature, and more.

Additionally, whenever the plant is ready for rewatering, make sure that you water the soil thoroughly so that all the roots get enough moisture. Always keep in mind that pothos are much better at tolerating underwatering than overwatering.

What Happens If You Overwater Your Pothos?

woman watering pothos in greenhouse

Your Pothos will let you know that it’s overwatered in a variety of ways. However, some of these signs are also manifested in the case of underwatering, so here are some of the results that you might observe if you have overwatered pothos:

  • Wilting: Despite being the most common sign, the plant can also wilt if it’s severely underwatered, so check the soil’s moisture to determine whether you’ve gone over or under.
  • Root Rot: The roots of the plant will look slimy and dark instead of white and fresh
  • Foul Odor and Mold: Mold and mildew is always a sign of overwatering and it happens due to fungal infections. This is often accompanied by blisters and spots on the leaves.
  • Pest Infestation: An overwatered pothos will attract pests that like moist conditions, such as fungus gnats and fruit flies. On the other hand, spider mites and small webs around the plant are a sign of underwatering.
  • Soft, Yellow Leaves with Brown Edges: Yellowing is another common sign that is shared by both underwatering and overwatering. However, if the leaves are soft with a clear brown lining on the edges, it’s overwatered.
  • Droopy Stem with Falling Leaves: Dropping leaves can be an indication of either situation as well. However, if the stem is fairly soft and droopy, it’s most likely overwatered.

What to Do if You See Any of the Overwatering Signs

If you’ve observed any of the previously mentioned signs on your plant, there are some essential steps that you need to take immediately in order to increase your plant’s chance of survival:

1. Remove Dead Leaves

Dead leaves will cover the soil and prevent the water from evaporating, providing an excellent environment for the rot and pests to thrive.

Similarly, wilting leaves will absorb essential nutrients that the plants need to survive without contributing to the plant’s well-being. For that reason, you should always remove or prune away all these leaves.

2. Check for Root Rot

Root rot is a fatal condition for plants and it can be pretty difficult for a pothos to survive it. That’s why you need to check the roots for any dark spots or signs of rot and act immediately to save your plant. But more about this in the following sections.

roots of plants on a table

3. Check for Mold and Apply Treatment if Necessary

Similar to root rot, mold puts the plant in a critical situation if left untreated. Yet, you can use a commercial fungicide like Garden Safe Fungicide 3, and spray it as directed on the bottle to eliminate the mold.

4. Save the Plant from the Overwatered Soil Whenever There’s a Chance

Although pothos are very sensitive to overwatering, there’s always a brief window where you can save the plant from root rot and drowning in excess water. Here’s a brief overview of each one of these methods:

Method 1: By Removing Excess Water and Drying the Soil

This method is ideal if you’ve accidentally poured out more water than your soil can take or you’ve noticed that the water is stagnating over the soil.

In most cases, there might be a drainage problem on the soil, especially if you have standing water on top of the soil.

After assessing the amount of excess water you have added, start by pouring out any excess water out of the pot without disrupting the pothos.

Next, check the pot and make sure that its draining holes are not blocked, especially if you didn’t change anything from the last time you’ve watered the plant.

If you’ve recently repotted the plant, make sure that you use a well-aerated and drained potting mix. Also, add a layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot (about 1 inch), then top it up with a layer of 1:1 gravel and soil.

You can also use UV Lamb and open the windows to speed up the drying process of the soil. Some might use a hair dryer or paper towels to soak up the moisture from the top of the soil. You can use these methods but avoid disrupting the plant’s roots.

Method 2: By Re-potting the Plant in New Dry Soil

Tap around the pot to separate the soil from the plant and gently scoop the plant out, then check the roots for any signs of rot. Make sure to trim or cut away any parts that are dark, mushy, or rotting.

Now that you’ve removed the plant from the wet soil, it’s time to re-pot it in a new plantar. Make sure that the new one is as big or slightly bigger (preferred) than the previous one. Unlike regular re-potting, you won’t have to moisten the soil before planting it.

Instead, you’ll add dry soil to the pot so that it absorbs the excess water from the soil around the plant roots. Make sure to surround the roots as well as the old soil with the new one from all directions.

One the next day, inspect the soil and check its moisture level. If it feels dry, you can add a very small amount of water.

However, if it’s still pretty wet, don’t water it and check daily until the top 1 inch is completely dry before rewatering the pot.

Method 3: By Creating a New Plant from Vine Fragments

Upon checking the roots earlier, you might notice severe root rot. In that case, re-potting the plant won’t be much of a help because most of the roots are already dead. In that case, your last resort is to grow a new plant from the cuttings of the surviving vines.

To do that, use a clean sharp knife and cut about 4 to 6 inches of the vine while making sure that it has about 3 to 4 leaves attached to the vine.

Put the pothos vine in water and leave it in indirect sunlight. As soon as it starts making roots, remove the plant from the water and plant it in a new pot.

Alternatively, remove 1 leaf from the stem where you’re going to plant the vine and add rooting hormone.

This should be much easier than letting them grow in water because you’ll need to change the water every day.

Tips to Avoid Overwatering Pothos

woman watering pothos indoors

Now that you know more about pothos watering and what you need to do if your plant is overwatered, here are some of the best tips to avoid overwatering your pothos:

  • Always start by checking the soil and making sure that the top 1 inch in completely dry before rewatering the pothos.
  • Check the draining holes regularly and empty the bottom basin from water to allow the soil to drain easily.
  • Add a layer of gravel to the bottom of the pot to improve its draining rate.
  • Never water the plant’s leaves and always add water to the soil directly.
  • Use a hygrometer and a room thermometer to keep track of the environment and adjust the watering schedule.

Wrap Up

There you have it! A complete guide with everything you need to know about overwatered pothos and how to handle the situation to save your plant!

As you can see, pothos are very sensitive when it comes to watering, and they can handle being underwatered much better than being overwatered.

Remember to follow our tips to avoid overwatering in order to keep your plant from dying and act as soon as you notice any signs of overwatering or rotting.