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Why Are My Pothos Leaves Curling? (Causes+What To Do)

Pothos are undemanding and hardy plants. Though pothos can fight any diseases or illnesses, it will diminish their growth and health. They might become dull and delicate. Curling of leaves is one of the severe signs of ill pothos. But what causes curly leaves in pothos, and how can we fix it? Let’s find out!

Overwatering is the root cause of curly leaves in pothos. As the soil becomes waterlogged, your pothos’ roots can’t breathe and absorb nutrients from the soil, which leads to curly leaves. Apart from that, insufficient lighting, pests attack, excess nutrients, or environmental stress will also lead to curly leaves.

Something is definitely wrong when the pothos leaves start to curl.

For flourished pothos, you need to understand the specifics of your pothos needs. Just by following any other plant routine will not help.

It is not too challenging to ensure your pothos remains healthy if you love and care for them; they will love you back. We are here to fill you with the right knowledge and factors affecting your pothos.

Dominating environmental fluctuations is out of your hand but manipulating them is in your hands. So let’s not waste any more time and get right into it.



What causes curly leaves in pothos?

Pothos are low-maintenance and need some attentiveness related to their care routines. They get affected due to ignorance and environmental stress resulting in the curling of leaves.

There are different curling patterns, such as up curl, down curl or side curl leaves depending on the factors causing curled leaves.

Pothos signal stress when their leaves start to curl. If only old large leaves are curling and the entire leaves are whole and healthy, then it is all fine.

We have all the possible culprits to your pothos curled leaves put down for distinguishing the root cause.

Inadequate watering

Since we know there are different leaf curling patterns through which we can identify the real cause. Just by studying at your pothos leaves, you can tell if inadequate watering is the main issue.

Underwatering: In this case, you will see leaf margins of pothos are curling or drooping down. They tend to retain their moisture due to lack of water. They wilt and limp soon after winding due to a shortage of moisture in them.

Pothos are plants that grow even in an adverse situation; underwatering is agreeable to some extent. When they don’t get water and keep on drying due to heat, they will not keep their leaves healthy.

This happens mostly during summers as they get thirsty more often, and lack of water and too much heat will parch them.

Water is an essential element for any plant to grow and maintain its growth. Pothos also need water in decent intervals; they don’t want their soil to dehydrate.

So, water pothos in regular pauses, ensuring the soil is dry. Poke a finger or a skewer in the soil to check whether the soil is dry or moist.

Over-watering:- Leaves curling down or drooping beneath itself with yellowing are signs of overwatering. The major problem caused due to overwatering is root rot. Root rot is the root cause of various issues.

If only the leaves tips are curled, you are lucky as they are in the root rot’s primary stages.

You can simply let the soil and roots dry naturally and entirely by slowing down on watering. You can take out the root ball for a more thorough cure and sniff off the brown and mushy roots for faster recovery.

Overwatering leads to root rot, which affects the nutrients and water supply of pothos from roots and soil to the leaves and stems.

Roots of pothos become weak, ill, and waterlogged. They are not able to breathe freely and function properly.

The dysfunctioning of roots and soil leads to dehydration in leaves and stems, causing them to curl. For severe conditions, please take out the root ball and repot it in fresh and dry soil.

Also read: How often should you water your pothos?



Overfertilizing

Over-feeding is a prevalent issue as growers believe by giving their pothos more nutrients, they can speed up pothos’ growth rate.

Growers see their pothos curling or suffering tend to start supplementing them without knowing the curling pattern and diagnosis.

Usually, over-fertilizing pothos can be identified in pothos if their leaves appear smaller, curling downward, or discolored. Too much-fertilizing pothos will result in salt and nitrogen concentration in the soil.

By fertilizing, you boost your pothos’ metabolism, whereas, by over-fertilizing, you force metabolism on pothos. Pothos need to be fed only in summers, every 1-2 months.

Ideally, go for organic or homemade fertilizers or vermicompost for your pothos. They might take time to manifest maturity but will make the plant healthy and strong from within. You can also use liquid fertilizers on an alternative basis.

If you can see signs showing over-fertilization, the best way to eliminate excess nutrients in the soil is by repotting your pothos in fresh soil.

You can alternatively flush extra nutrients by drenching the soil with water thoroughly, to be done several times for a complete solution.

There are instances of curling of foliage due to lack of nutrients too.

Curling on middle or lower (older) leaves with patchy yellow are signs of nutritional issues. The veins of the leaves stay green, though, known as interveinal chlorosis.

Fertilize your pothos in this condition every two months in summer to supply them with the nutrients they lack.

Also read: How much fertilizer do pothos need?

Root rot

Overwatering often leads to root rot, which is the primary cause of many houseplant-related issues. Leaf tips curling is the initial signs of root rot, so if you are lucky enough to spot these signs, you can save your pothos.

Overwatering suffocates the soil and the roots, though increasing the water level under the soil exterior, reducing the water level above the soil surface i.e., in the foliage and stems.

Roots cannot function and supply the stems and leaves with water and nutrients as they are fighting to retain moisture and nutrients.

For saving your pothos, instantly work on repotting your pothos. Wear gloves and take sterilized scissors, take out the root ball from the pot. Prune any brown and soft sections of the roots and wash the entire plant thoroughly.

Please dispose of the current soil or let it dry out completely. Sterilize the soil or use fresh well-draining soil and replant your pothos.

Also read: All about root rot in pothos and how to fix it.

Temperature stress

Temperature stress (too much heat) attributes to the curling of leaves of pothos. They make the leaf tips or margins curl upward and fold.

Due to too much heat and wind stress, the leaves curl to save themselves from heat exposure or reduce the foliage’s surface for photosynthesis.

Such high-temperature level in the environment reduces transpiration or causes dehydration in pothos.

It is said that environmental issues contribute to 90% of the problems in plants.

Move your pothos indoors to reduce heat or wind stress. If already kept indoors, monitor the placement of your pothos, keep them in a place where they are safe from direct sun or too much heat, even from artificial light.

Don’t keep pothos adjacent to windows to avoid hot drafts. It will take time to get back your leaves to normal shape, so keep patience.

If only fewer leaves or lower leaves are curling and the younger shoots are healthy, you don’t need to bother.

Also read: Brown leaves in pothos (Causes+What to do?

Pest infestation

The development of curled leaves in pothos can be due to unwanted guests such as mealybugs, spider mites, scales, thrips, etc.

If you see leaves of pothos curling, wrinkling with yellow patches, and an unhealthy look, then it might also be due to pests infestation.

These pests suck on the sap of leaves and stems of pothos, making them weak. The leaves and stem also grow irregular and distorted.

For getting rid of pests, you can use pests repellent available on the market. Follow the given guidance until your pothos are entirely relieved from the pests.

Homemade remedies are getting popular and useful also in treating pests. Using dishwasher solution, neem spray, garlic spray, etc.,can be used to treat pests, and even if the dose gets a bit more than needed, they won’t harm your baby.

For making above mentioned remedies:

Blend 1 teaspoon neem oil with 1.5 liters of water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray over the pothos every week once till all the creepy bugs vanish completely.

You can prepare and use garlic and dish wash spray in the same way as given above.

Also read: Do pothos attract bugs?

Inadequate lighting

To keep all other needs of pothos to work out systematically, your plant needs light. If the light condition is not fulfilled, other requirements will also suffer. Everything is interrelated.

Pothos need 8-10 hours of bright light to absorb nutrients and water, supply nutrients and water, carry out photosynthesis, and preserve variegation.

Lower pothos leaves tend to tumble off, leaf margins curl, and legginess due to low light conditions. Due to climate changes, the light’s intensity also reduces; this transition affects pothos very fast.

Grow light is a great alternative to help your pothos with low lighting issues. They need brilliant refined light for exceptional results.

Move them to a place near a window, balcony, or under a lamp for enough exposure of light.

For situations where your pothos is suffering due to excessive light, their leaves will curl downward, get a sunburn. Soil gets dry too fast, dehydrating your pothos. This leads to curled and wilted leaves.

Move them to a shaded space or use sheer curtains to filter hot sunlight, water them thoroughly to set them back to normal conditions.

Also read: How much light do pothos need?

How to prevent curly leaves in pothos?

It is possible to save your pothos from pain and diseases with proper care. 

Understanding the when and what needs of your pothos will eliminate the anxiety of any plant-related issues. Here are a few things you need to take care of.

  • Provide your pothos in temperature levels between 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They can survive in dark areas for a few days only if the temperature level outdoors is high.  
  • Take time to consider the required factors for your pothos good health. They like the dappled sun all day long and humidity levels high. See if the atmosphere and the placement of your pothos are fulfilling it or not.
  • You can use homemade pesticides as preventive measures against pests, fungal, or bacterial infections.
  • Shedding off stems and even exposure to the sun will help new growth. You can propagate the clipped stems on the same pot for bushier pothos. They shoot new leaves fast.
  • Keep your plants away from windows in winters. Especially at night, this will prevent the curling of leaves.
  • Feed with nutrition-rich fertilizer every 2-3 months during summers for fulfilling nutrients needs and regulating faster growth.

Tips for healthy growth in pothos

Always inspect newly bought pothos and isolate them for a few days till you are sure they are absolutely healthy.

We propose you take out some time to know your pothos; this will naturally help you to sense their needs and stress if any they are going through.

You will take better care of your pothos and tell everything they need more than any research can tell.

Light, water, and fertilizer are all foods of pothos for consistent growth and healthy plants.

Dapples sun, letting the soil dry between watering, fertilizing every 2-4 months are general recommendations and all that your pothos need to maintain their health.

You can place your pothos near an aquarium if you have one; this will maintain the humidity needs of your pothos. Otherwise, using a humidifier will also help a lot.

Also read: 9 Ninja tricks to grow your houseplant faster


Sources: Study of Pest in PothosCommon insect pests and diseasesUniversity of Florida Research, Effects of Different Pot Mixtures on PothosPothos water need study

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