Why Are My Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow? 8 Causes and Effective Solutions

According to medical research, keeping ornamental plants at home and in the office has a significant impact on your physical and mental well-being. It reduces stress levels, increases memory retention, and promotes happiness and relaxation.

Many people choose to plant pothos because this plant is easy to care for and has great air-purifying quality. Unfortunately, you might end up asking yourself this question: why are my pothos leaves turning yellow?

In this article, we’ll explain why pothos leaves turn yellow and suggest several solutions to help you keep your plant in great shape.

Why Are My Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow?

Pothos are excellent indoor and outdoor plants, coming in several types that suit every taste. When they’re healthy, the leaves appear vibrantly and brightly green, and the plant can grow to several feet long.

But sometimes, you might experience some discoloration in the leaves, and they’ll start turning yellow. This could be due to overwatering or following an inconsistent watering schedule. Not exposing your plant to enough sunlight or leaving it in the sun for too long can also be the culprit.

In this section, we’ll list all the possible reasons why your pothos leaves are turning yellow.

1.    Overwatering

Overwatering your plant can cause the leaves to turn yellow. This happens because the excessive water in the soil suffocates the roots and obstructs them from obtaining essential nutrients.

You can tell that overwatering is causing your leaves to turn yellow if they show brown spots and start to wilt. Random yellowing all over the leaves is also a sign that the soil is too wet for the plant. If you don’t take action, the leaves will start to fall off.

2.    Underwatering

Applying too little water is another mistake that can turn your pothos leaves yellow. When there isn’t enough water, the leaves will start to curl to reserve water and nutrients, and your plant won’t look healthy.

After a while, the leaves will turn yellow, then brown, and eventually will wilt and die. You can tell that the plant needs some water when the leaves look droopy.

3.    Improper Watering

Sometimes the problem isn’t related to overwatering or underwatering your pothos but rather following an inconsistent watering schedule. This causes stress in the plant because the soil’s condition fluctuates between being overly dry and overly saturated.

4.    Root Bound

Your plant’s leaves might be turning yellow because there isn’t enough room to grow. You can tell that this is the problem if the roots are poking from the drainage holes and the plant isn’t growing fast enough. When this happens, the leaves start to turn yellow and then brown.

why are my pothos leaves turning yellow

5.    Root Rot

Bacterial and fungal root rot are common in pothos when you’re not following an adequate watering and misting schedule. The excess moisture makes room for the roots to develop these diseases, which eventually cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall off.

When the roots are rotten, they turn black and mushy. There might also be some hollow water spots on the underside of the leaves to show that you’re applying too much water. These are caused by bacterial leaf spots.

6.    Overfeeding

Applying a good fertilizer will help your plant grow full in a short period of time, but overfertilization can eventually turn the leaves yellow. This happens because of the excess salts in the fertilizer that pull the moisture away from the roots leaving the leaves yellow or brown.

Whether you’re applying too much fertilizer or applying it too frequently, it causes the salts and other chemicals to build up in the soil and affect your plant’s growth. This will be more obvious if you’re growing your pothos indoors in a small pot.

7.    Improper Sunlight

When it’s grown inside or outside, pothos thrives in low to moderate indirect sunlight, but this doesn’t mean that you should keep your plant in the dark. This is why it’s best to keep it next to a window if you’re growing it inside the house. When grown in a garden, pothos grows well in the shade, usually under big trees.

Keeping the plant in direct sunlight for prolonged periods leads to loss of moisture. This is why the leaves turn yellow and eventually wilt and die.

8.    Old Leaves

You might end up with yellow leaves, especially near the base of the stem. These are the older leaves that are about to fall off to make room for the new foliage.

These old leaves carry the waste compounds that the plant doesn’t need anymore. There’s nothing wrong with your plant as long as the leaves don’t excessively fall off.

How to Fix and Stop My Pothos Leaves from Turning Yellow

To fix and prevent the formation of yellow leaves in the future, you need to follow a consistent maintenance routine to take care of your pothos. Remember that the solution depends on the cause, so you need to pay attention to your care routine to determine what needs to be changed. Here are some tips to help you fix and prevent the yellowing of your pothos.

Drain The Wet Soil

Ideally, you should wait until the soil dries out before watering your plant. If you have yellow leaves because of overwatering your plant, you need to clip them off because they won’t turn yellow again. After that, you should fix the problem of the wet soil by following one of these methods.

  • Move your plant to a sunnier spot to help the soil to dry faster. You should, however, not leave the plant in direct sunlight for too long as this can burn the leaves.
  • Move the plant into another pot with more drainage holes.
  • Mix your soil with some perlite to boost the soil’s drainage.
  • Remove the plant from the pot and let the root ball sit on a piece of newspaper sheet. Spread the soil on a flat surface until it dries out, then repot the plant one more time.

Follow A Consistent Watering Schedule

You need to water your pothos every 1 to 2 weeks, but in some cases, you might have to water it every 3 or 4 days, depending on the weather and soil conditions. To avoid overwatering, you should check the soil. If the two uppermost inches are dry, then it’s time to water your plant.

If you notice that your pothos leaves are turning yellow because of underwatering, you should slowly poke the soil with a stick to aerate it and then pour small amounts of room-temperature water all over the soil until the water runs out of the drainage holes.

Move Your Plant to Bigger Pot

In good conditions, your pothos can grow up to one foot per month. If you see the roots poking out of drainage holes and your leaves are turning yellow, then it’s time to repot the plant.

You can check that by removing the plant from the pot. If the roots look dense and do not spread freely, then you should move the plant to a bigger pot.

Yellow Pothos Leaves

Deal With Root Rot

If your stems are mushy and the leaves are yellow, then your pothos is probably suffering from root rot. You should remove the plant from the pot and support it with your hands as you inspect the roots. If they’re turning black and soft, then you’re dealing with root rot.

When all the roots are rotten, unfortunately, it’s too late to save the plant. However, if some of the roots still look firm, you can try the following.

  • Rinse the roots by removing all the soil.
  • Use shears to remove the rotten parts of the roots.
  • Wash the pot with diluted bleach to kill the root rot-causing pathogens, or use a new pot to repot your plant.
  • Use a new well-draining potting mix to plant your pothos.
  • Cut off all the unhealthy leaves to avoid stressing the healthy roots with supporting dead leaves.

If your plant is suffering from bacterial leaf spots, you should cut down the infected leaves and avoid misting them while watering. Instead, make sure that you’re applying the water directly onto the soil.

Applying Enough Nutrients

Applying a good fertilizer promotes healthy growth as the plants can actually turn yellow because of nutrient deficiency. But too many nutrients will stress the plant and cause a mineral overload.

You can fix this by adjusting the frequency and amount used to fertilize your pothos. Usually, using a diluted fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks is enough. You can also let the water sit in a pitcher for a night to allow the nutrients to evaporate.

Giving the Plant Enough Sunlight

Depriving your pothos of sunlight or exposing it to too much sunlight can cause the leaves to turn yellow and wilt. Unfortunately, a lot of people keep the plant in the dark or with no access to sunlight because they know that it’s a low-light plant.

Exposing the plant to adequate sunlight will help fix overwatering problems. If the leaves are looking plumper, then your plant isn’t getting enough light. If they look crispy, then your plant is getting too much light, and you need to move it to a new location.

Getting Rid of the Old Leaves

Although this is a natural plant of the plant’s aging cycle, you need to keep an eye on the leaves to make sure that the yellowing isn’t spreading to other parts of the plant. You can apply a diluted fertilizer to boost the condition of the soil and watch out for any other yellowing signs, and cut all the old leaves to keep your pothos healthy.

Wrap Up

Pothos with yellow leaves in pot
Home and garden decoration of golden pothos in the bedroom

Pothos are quite easy to care for, but you might end up with some yellow leaves on your plant. It’s crucial to examine the plant to find the cause of the problem and follow the right solution.