One of the best things about pothos is that they’re pretty hardy and tolerant when it comes to general care. However pothos dropping leaves is one of the most common problems that plant parents face. So why does that happen?
The most common reason for pothos dropping leaves is improper watering, whether it’s too much or too little. However, other reasons can also cause pothos leaves to drop.
In this article, we’ll walk you through all the possible reasons for such a phenomenon as well as the best way to deal with it. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Let’s start with water-related problems because they’re the most common reason why pothos leaves hang downwards and fall.
Ideally, pothos are built to tolerate underwatering better than overwatering. However, it’s more likely for the leaves to drop in the case of underwatering.
When pothos are getting less water than it needs it’ll let you know by displaying drooping leaves.
However, if the plant gets little to no water for a considerable period of time, the leaves will start to shrivel or curl up along with the dropping.
This happens because the stems and vasculature of the leaves maintain their firmness using water and nutrients. If not enough water is feeding the plant, it won’t be able to sustain its upright firmness.
Other symptoms can also let you know that your pothos is dropping leaves due to underwatering. For example, the plant stem will feel limp to touch, dry, and wilted.
Additionally, you might notice a few yellowing or even browning leaves along with some dried fallen leaves on the surface of the soil or potting mix.
The best way to ensure underwatering is by dipping your finger in the soil. If your finger comes out dirty but mostly dry, the plant is most definitely underwatered.
To fix that, you’ll need to let your plant sit in the properly sized container filled with clean water for about 30 to 45 minutes, so that the roots are replenished with water.
After that, transfer the plant to an empty container with drainage to drop excess water before replanting them to avoid root rot.
Many indoor plants that don’t get enough sunlight will have problems absorbing and draining excessive water. This also happens because the soil isn’t exposed to the sun so it doesn’t evaporate quickly. Since pothos is an indoor plant, it’s no exception to this rule.
As previously mentioned, pothos is even more sensitive to overwatering than underwatering. The problem with soil that is too damp is that water replaces air in the gaps between soil particles, so the roots start to drown and rot.
As this starts to happen, the plant will also react by dropping leaves in addition to some other symptoms.
One of the quickest reactions to overwatering is yellowing leaves. However, unlike underwatered pothos that is crispy and wilted, these will be plump and mushy. You can also confirm that the plant is overwatered if you see the following:
- The top of the soil overflow with water when you add it
- Your fingers come out moist if you dip them several inches into the soil a few days after watering.
- You might smell a rotting smell near the leaves
- The roots are brown or black and slimy
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that your pot has drainage holes and that they’re functioning properly.
Next up, you can move the plant closer to the window in order to get more sunlight while watering your plant less frequently. A tip here is to always water your plant when the top 1.5 inches of the soil is relatively dry.
Pothos is a pretty hardy plant that is capable of withstanding low light situations. However, light is still essential for your plant’s growth and nutrition, so placing them in an inadequate part of the room can cause the leaves of the plant to droop or even fall off.
Ideally, a pothos requires anywhere between 12 to 14 of indirect sunlight a day for proper growth. In the case of too little exposure to light, you’ll notice the following:
- The green parts of the plant will turn yellowish while maintaining their structure
- The discoloration will vary according to the orientation of the plant, so you might notice some leaves are green because they’re properly exposed to the light.
- With time, the yellowing parts of the plant might also start wilting and drooping
On the other hand, a plant that is exposed to too much sunlight or direct sunlight will show the following:
- The leaves will turn yellow and slightly crispy
- Some parts of the leaves might look sunburned or scorched, especially older leaves
The solution in both cases is to transfer the plant to a more suitable spot, such as behind an east or south facing window. You can also use lace curtains to create indirect sunlight, which is even safer.
Pothos thrive in climates with relatively high humidity. If you live in an area where the air is too dry, the leaves will struggle to maintain their moisture content.
What gives low humidity away is that the drooping leaves are usually green. However, low humidity is easily noticed. For instance, the humidity will typically fall during the colder months of winter.
Additionally, if you run the AC all the time, the humidity level in the room will go down significantly. You can install a hygrometer in the room to get an accurate reading of the humidity.
Luckily, you can easily solve low humidity by misting the pothos leaves consistently, using a pebble tray, or by using a humidifier. The ideal humidity for pothos is around 50% to 70%.
Since pothos is originally a tropical plant, it’s not only built to thrive in high humidity, but also in relatively high weather. Despite being a hardy plant, it’s still relatively sensitive to coldness.
For that reason, if you keep the plant near an open window during the winter months or water the plant with cold water, you might notice signs of frost damage.
In that case, the solution is to use warmer water while irrigating the plant’s soil and move the plant to a place with a decent temperature of about 65 to 85 degrees F (20 to 30 degrees C).
Pest infections and diseases are also a reason why pothos leaves might start to discolor and fall off. Among the most common diseases that cause that is of course, root rot, which we’ve discussed earlier.
In addition to this condition, some pests can also infect the pothos to cause certain symptoms, including pothos dropping leaves , such as:
- Thrips: They’re one of the most common reasons for leaves to drop because they feed on the sap, leaving tiny greyish scars on the plant.
- Mealybugs: They inflict the most damage on pothos. However, they’re very easy to identify because they leave whitish cotton-like masses beneath the leaves.
In addition to these two, pothos are also affected by a variety of pests, such as scales, caterpillars, and spider mites.
However, these pests are less likely to cause the leaves to droop or fall off. Instead, you might notice discoloration on the leaves.
The best way to deal with plant infections is to remove all signs of infections from the plant and get rid of them away from the plant, then apply alcohol dipped swaps, insecticidal soaps, and essential oils like neem oil to repel these tiny critters.
7. Natural Causes
Lastly, you should know that yellowing and dropping leaves are not necessarily due to bad reasons. In some cases, it can happen for perfectly natural causes.
For instance, the roots of the pothos might have reached their bounds due to the size of the container.
In that case, you can solve the issue either by pruning and trimming the plant on your own or transferring the plant to a larger container.
Moreover, after transporting your plant or repotting in new soil, the plant might get a transport shock, which can cause some leaves to turn yellow, droop, or fall off.
This shouldn’t be a concern as well because the plant will recover quickly on its own and make new foliage instead of the lost ones.
There you have it! A complete guide with all the possible reasons for pothos drooping leaves. While there are plenty of reasons for the plant leaves to start dropping, you might be able to save your precious plant in most cases.
You should also keep in mind that some of these reasons are more common than others. For example, if you notice dropping leaves, there’s a much bigger chance your pothos is suffering from water-related problems than diseases.
The key here is to watch for the other symptoms that can help you detect and get rid of the problem.