Many people love the Pothos as a house plant because it is easy to grow and requires minimal maintenance. If your Pothos leaves start turning yellow, you might wonder what on earth is wrong with it! This article will explain why this happens, how to fix it and how to prevent yellow leaves in the future.
Why are my Pothos leaves turning yellow? Yellow leaves on a Pothos can be due to:
- Too much direct sunlight.
- Too much or poor-quality fertilizer.
- Root rot due to overwatering.
- Fungal disease.
- Exposure to cold or hot temperatures.
- Renewal of older leaves.
The good news is that even if your Pothos has yellow leaves, you can revive it by identifying and fixing the cause of the problem. Below we’ll discuss the reasons why Pothos plants get yellow leaves and what you can do to help your beloved plant.
7 Reasons Why Pothos Leaves Turn Yellow
1. Too Much Exposure To Direct Sunlight
While Pothos, like all other house plants, require a certain amount of sunlight, they don’t actually like direct sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can actually result in the leaves showing signs of burning.
You can grow Pothos indoors, or even in a shady area quite successfully, however, you need to ensure that it gets sufficient bright, but indirect light. The fact that the Pothos is a low-light plant makes it even more popular as a house plant.
You don’t need to position your Pothos in a stream of sunlight or right by a window. Simply place it in a room that receives sufficient natural light on a daily basis.
If your Pothos is set in the sun and the leaves are changing color, move it to a shadier spot. Alternatively, you can hang a sheer or voile curtain in the window to filter the amount of light that the house plant gets.
2. Too Much Or Poor-Quality Fertilizer Can Result In Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow
While fertilizer is not strictly required when growing a Pothos in a decent potting medium, some plant-lovers do like to boost growth with it by enriching the soil every few months.
It is best to use fertilizer every 2-3 months during the growing season for the best results. Any good quality, balanced houseplant fertilizer can be used, but it is important not to use too much or to use one that has the incorrect nutrients for your plant.
Too much fertilizer can actually have serious adverse effects and stunt plant growth. If you use fertilizer too frequently it can build up in the soil and start affecting the plant negatively. When this happens, the leaves often turn yellow.
If you suspect fertilizer buildup, you can drench the soil several times with water and let it drain. Alternatively, you can remove the Pothos from the pot and then replant it with fresh soil.
3. Overwatering Can Lead To Root Rot And Yellow Leaves
If yellow leaves are found all over the plant, overwatering is a likely culprit. Poor drainage and too much water results in the soil remaining wet. The roots of the Pothos will start to rot if this happens too frequently.
Once the roots start to rot, the absorption of water and nutrients is negatively impacted. This means that your house plant won’t get the food and nutrients it needs to thrive and grow. With a lack of fluids, the leaves will start to turn yellow and might even fall off.
To stop this from happening, it is best to let the soil dry out before you water the plant again. To test if the plant is ready for watering, push your index finger halfway into the soil. If it comes out wet, don’t water the plant just yet.
If your finger is dry (and the soil too), you can water the plant. Allow the soil to drain into the saucer and then dump the excess water. Letting the plant sit in a saucer of water can also lead to root rot.
When you first plant your Pothos, make sure that you use a well-draining soil medium. If you are worried that the soil might not drain correctly you can think about including some perlite to improve drainage.
To check if root rot is the cause of yellow leaves, remove the plant from the pot to inspect the root system. If the roots are white, they are healthy and without root rot. This means that there is another cause of the yellow leaves.
If they are turning brown, you will need to prune the rot off the plant. Prune all of the rotten roots off, leaving only healthy roots remaining. You will need to repot the Pothos in fresh healthy soil and disinfect your pruners or shears.
4. Fungal Disease Can Make Pothos Leaves Yellow
If you tend to over water your Pothos or allow the soil to remain damp, soil fungi may very well make its home there. Growth of the fungi can result in poor quality nutrition, contribute to root rot, and cause the plant to start withering away.
Another way that your Pothos can get fungal disease that leads to yellowing and dropping leaves, is by keeping the leaves and stem damp. This often happens to house plants that are regularly misted.
Avoid misting your Pothos house plant and allow the soil to dry out between watering. This particular type of plant doesn’t need to have constant access to moisture. If it does, it can quickly become a host to fungi.
5. Exposure To Cold Or Hot Temperatures Can Turn Pothos Leaves Yellow
Pothos thrive in a temperature that is fairly regulated. It grows best between 70°F and 90°F, but is known to stay healthy even at temperatures that drop to 50°F. Of course, 50°F is already not ideal growing conditions for a Pothos. Anything below that temperature or above 90°F can lead to the house plant’s leaves turning yellow.
In many cases where temperature is an issue, it is from placing the plant too close to a cold window. The plant will then be exposed to cold drafts. Another cause is placing the plant too close to a fireplace or heater where it becomes too hot. Be mindful about where you place your house plant and you can avoid yellow leaves from fluctuating temperatures.
If you have unpotted the plant and checked the roots only to find no root rot, the leaves of your house plant could be turning yellow because it is underwatered.
The symptoms of overwatering and underwatering a house plant are very often similar. When water is lacking, a plant will start to conserve supplies and energy. In most instances, this leads to the leaves yellowing and then dropping off the plant.
7. Yellow Leaves Can Be Due To Renewal Of Older Leaves
Sometimes yellowing leaves is not a sign of a serious problem – it could be completely normal. When you see yellowing leaves, check to see which leaves are yellowing and dropping off.
Many house plants, not just Pothos, shed older leaves to make way for new foliage. This is okay and should be considered normal if it is the older leaves, near the bottom of the stem that are yellowing and then falling off.
When you first notice that your Pothos house plant has yellowing leaves, get straight to work trying to find the underlying cause. While Pothos plants are easy to grow and are fairly durable, they require immediate attention when they are unhappy.
To reverse the problem of yellowing leaves, you may only need to do something as simple as moving your plant to a different area or changing your watering and fertilizing strategies. Be prepared to act fast to ensure a healthier and happier Pothos. You may also be interested in my article about how to make your Pothos plant grow faster.