Do you know why the pothos plant is called Devil’s Ivy? Because it’s pretty hard to kill it, even if you try your best. Its leaves also stay green regardless of the light conditions.
This may give the impression that pothos is easy to take care of, but that’s just a common misconception.
In the end, pothos is an invasive plant, and it’s not easy to grow out of its habitat. If you want it to survive, you’ll want to do your best to control its living conditions. Otherwise, you may start noticing droopy leaves and yellow patches.
If you’re reading this now, it means you already see some drooping signs. Well, let me assure you, droopy leaves are pretty common in pothos, and they’re easy to revive.
They mostly happen due to watering issues or improper growing conditions. Here’s a roundup of the common reasons and how to solve them.
So Why Is My Pothos Droopy?
Pothos leaves may get droopy for a number of reasons. You may be underwatering them, overwatering them, or you may be growing them in the wrong conditions. To know what’s wrong, take a look at these 5 causes and their solutions.
‘I’m not underwatering my pothos; I’m actually giving them more water than they need!’
I’ve heard this sentence more than I can remember. A lot of people are convinced that giving plants too much water is a good thing, especially with plants that love moisture, like pothos. Well, on the contrary, overwatering always does more harm than good.
Plants are no different than us. How would you feel if someone gave you eight glasses of water to drink at once? Your plant thinks the same!
With pothos, overwatering can lead to root rot because the air pockets surrounding the roots get clogged by moisture. These air pockets are the only way for roots to breathe. When they’re blocked, the roots will eventually rot due to suffocation. As a result, the turgor pressure will get lost, and leaves will start drooping.
Other results of overwatering pothos:
- Mold growth on the soil
- Yellow leaves
- Rotten smell
- Browned tips
- Brown spots on the leaves
- Black roots due to decaying
How to Solve It
If the soil feels wetter than it should, but it’s not too soggy, you can just skip the irrigation for today. However, if the problem is more severe, and you already see signs of root rot, you’ll need to follow more steps:
- Unpot the plant and check the roots for any signs of decay. You may see brownish roots that are a bit flaccid. In this case, use a pair of shears to prune the rotten roots.
- Grab the root system and rinse it softly under running water.
- Grab your shears and prune some of the stems and foliage to even the ratio after the lost roots. Then, remove any brown or dried leaves.
- Treat the root system with a fungicide solution to kill the remnant pathogens. You may add hydrogen peroxide for better results.
- Replace the old soil mix with well-drained new soil. Choose a blend with vermiculite or perlite for better drainage. It’s also recommended to get a new pot and make sure the drainage holes are open.
- Keep the soil moderately moist, and avoid frequent irrigation until fresh leaves grow out. Only irrigate when the soil is dry 2–3 inches below the surface.
You should water your pothos so that the soil is relatively wet. It shouldn’t be overwatered or dry, and you can do a simple test to find that out. Simply insert your finger in the soil mix to check its dryness. If it feels too dry on your finger, then your pothos is droopy because you’re underwatering it.
When your pothos isn’t getting enough water, its leaves will start to curl up and droop because of the low turgor pressure. They’ll lose their firmness because they’re not getting enough water, and the tips may start turning brownish.
You may also see some dried leaves on the soil, which is a sign of defoliation.
How to Solve It
If your soil mix is too dry and the pothos is drooping, it’s time to soak the plant to revive it. Here are detailed steps:
- Fill your sink or tub with water up to 3–4 inches. Keep the water around room temperature.
- Remove the pothos pot from the drip tray and dip it in the sink so the water rises up the sides.
- The water will start seeping through the drain holes in the pot’s bottom. Leave it for an hour or until the soil feels moist to the touch until the pot’s bottom.
- When you’re done, drain the excess water and return the pot back on the drip tray.
- By the next day, the leaves should start improving bit by bit if you keep watering them regularly.
- Check the soil every four days for dryness. It should be moist down to 2–3 inches below the surface.
3. Poor Soil Drainage
If your potting mix is retaining too much water, it may be the reason your pothos are droopy. Generally, pothos do well in all potting mixes, but good drainage is necessary for their survival. Otherwise, they may experience root rot due to water retention.
To test the soil’s drainage, poke your finger through it after three days of watering. If the top surface is still wet, it’s a sign that the soil is retaining water.
When the soil holds on to the water, it eventually leads to root rot, and the air pockets get blocked. As a result, the leaves will start drooping and showing a pale yellow color.
How to Solve It
If you’re sure the soil is retaining water, the first thing to check is the draining holes on the bottom of the pot. If your pot doesn’t have drainage holes, throw it out and get a new one immediately. If it has, check if they’re blocked; they may be causing the water retention.
If they aren’t blocked, then the soil is definitely causing the problem.
In this case, it’s time to replace your potting mix with a new, well-draining one. Choose a combination that allows for some dryness between irrigation. This ensures the soil doesn’t get compacted.
4. Low Humidity
Pothos are native to tropical areas, so they need humid living conditions to survive. Needless to say, your house won’t be as humid as Asian jungle canopies. It becomes even harder to retain humidity in the winter when the air becomes drier than usual.
The same goes for the summer if you keep the air conditioner on most of the time.
When the pothos plants lose their humidity, their leaves start drooping, and their soil may dry out.
How to Solve It
Luckily for you, the low humidity issue is easy to solve. All you need to do is maintain more humidity around your plant, and there are multiple ways to do so:
- Keep misting the leaves frequently. The best time to do so is in the early morning and keep the water temperature lukewarm.
- Get a humidifier and place it in the room you’re keeping your pothos pot. Bear in mind to keep the humidity between 50–75% for a healthy atmosphere.
- Use a humidity tray and keep the plant on it for a while. You can use a pebble tray for this.
5. Small Pot
Pothos are invasive plants, so they need ample room for their roots to grow well. If your pot is too small for the pothos, the roots will only grow to a limit, and they won’t be able to take up nutrients as they should.
As a result, the pothos will become root-bound, and they’ll start showing emaciation signs. These include yellowing leaves and drooping.
If you want to make sure whether your pothos is root-bound, check if the roots are peeking out of the drainage holes on the pot’s bottom. On top of that, you may see roots wrapping around the pot’s inside, and they may even poke over the surface of the potting mix.
How to Solve It
When the issue is that your pot is small, the only solution is to simply get a new pot. As a rule of thumb, you should re-pot a pothos plant once every one or one and a half years. If you wait for more than that, the plant will become root-bound.
To re-pot your pothos, remove the plant carefully and put it in another larger pot with drainage holes.
When choosing the pot, make sure it’s at least an inch or two larger than the plant. If you have enough room, you can get it double the size of your last pot to leave enough room for growth.
To Wrap Up
Luckily, most problems that may occur with your pothos are easy to solve. Not only that, but most of them are also easy to avoid if you take care of the watering and humidity level around your plant.