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Why Is My Pothos Not Growing? (Causes + What To Do)

Pothos, aka devil’s ivy are sturdy and easy to take care of. Pothos is an excellent choice for beginners; they usually don’t suffer many issues as other houseplants do. But if your pothos is not growing, there must be a real problem going on. You might be wondering why your pothos is not growing? Let’s find out!

Poor lighting, inadequate watering, and lack of nutrients are significant causes of stunted growth in pothos. Providing bright light, well-draining soil, and adequate watering will boost the growth of your pothos. It is expected to see a slower growth during winter as temperature goes below their normal range.

It could be any of these which can only be identified with proper inspection.

We know you must be stressed out already to see your pothos stagnant growth, and over that, you can’t find the culprit causing this condition.

For making things easier, we have jotted down all potential reasons that could be affecting the growth of your pothos, and we will also list down the possible solution of the same.

This will help you identify the main issue and give you better knowledge about the growing demands of your pothos.

No matter how you are growing your pothos, you just need to know the right practice or ways to keep them growing and flourishing.

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How fast do pothos grow?

If provided with the appropriate environment, pothos can grow anywhere between 12-18 inches every month.

Pothos can expand up to 40 feet high and up to 6 feet vast in ideal living settings. They develop swiftly in growing seasons, i.e., spring through summer.

They tolerate a wide range of conditions and grow considerably well in harsh conditions too. So you will see brand new baby pothos maturing and growing long and bushy in 3-4 months.

Also read: All about pothos growth rate and how to grow it faster

My pothos isn’t growing

Pothos could be a friend to you at one time and foe at another. This is because you are doing your part to keep things right, but you see no growth or the way you assume your pothos to grow.

Stunted growth is usually due to irregular cultural practice and care routines. You might not be practicing the right measures helpful for pothos growth, or the atmosphere and cultural needs are not fulfilled.

Pothos might have attracted some pests, or maybe it’s just stress bothering them, influencing their overall health and growth. Let us read more to get in detail.

Growing pothos at the wrong time of the year

Pothos grow moderately fast in summer. If you have just planted your pothos and it’s winter, it will give you a hard time to notice some growth.

Pothos and other house plants growth also somewhat depends on the season.

Spring and summer are the growing seasons. Autumn and winter are the dormant seasons.

Even the care routines slow down as pothos like to rest during dormant seasons, they need less water and less fertilizer.

By feeding and taking good care of pothos during spring and summer, you can keep your pothos healthy and growing during autumn and winter.

Though it is natural for them to slow their growth, you may hardly see any growth during the winter months. It is not a matter of concern until you take care of the minimal needs in this season.

So if you are bothered why they are not showing any growth even after giving your pothos, all they need is the incorrect time of expecting any growth out of them.

The humidity level is not ideal

The humidity level for your pothos should be kept moderate to high. Pothos won’t throw new growth if kept in low humidity levels for a long time.

They get crispy at first and then affect their growth when held around a low humidity level.

Pothos love humidity level highest to the level 90%, more than that will be equal to raining. So keep it under 90% and more than 50% for best results and uniform blooming.

Did you knew, misting your pothos won’t help with the humidity if the environment around them is dry. It would be best if you used a humidifier under such circumstances.

Your pothos is not getting enough light

Pothos do survive in low light conditions, but you will not notice the growth rate is slow. They need a proper balance of light, natural or artificial, for optimum growth.

Pothos flourish best in bright filtered light all day long. They can’t grow at their fullest in dark areas or too low light conditions. This also takes us to the point that you also need to be careful with direct sun exposure.

Sunburn, pale leaves are few signs of direct sun as it burns the leaves and dehydrates pothos.

For thicker, massive and variegated leaves, thick stem, healthy roots, and soil and long bushy vines place them near windows or balconies.

Ensure they are not burning with direct sun and use sheer curtains to keep them at a decent distance to reduce the light intensity.

Also read: How much light do pothos need?

You are under-watering your pothos

If your pothos is not growing consistently, check your watering practice. Overwatering is an enemy for you pothos without any doubt, but under watering after a point will not be tolerated. The best way is to water thoroughly.

Many people propose following a once a week watering schedule. Here we don’t suggest that you go deeper to understand what and when your pothos needs.

The irony is pothos grow well in water jars but can’t tolerate overwatering when grown in soil.

Watering should be done only when the soil is dry; by digging your finger in the top few inches of the soil, you can confirm that the soil needs water or not. This will neither dehydrate your pothos not drown the soil leading to root rot.

You can also follow the bottom watering method for giving just the right amount of water to your pothos.

No water what way your water your plants if you ensure that the excess water has drained out through drainage holes completely, you are on the right path.

Just water them right and see your baby pothos mature rapidly with bushier vines thoroughly.

Also read: How often should you water your pothos?

Lack of nutrients in soil

Pothos are quite good at surviving without much feeding. Many growers know that growing pothos in a decent soil mix will keep them healthy and feed them with the required nutrients.

Pothos will grow decently in such conditions, but if you do not see any visible growth, there are chances they need nutrients.

Fertilize your pothos if they are undergoing a deficiency for fulfilling nutrients needs. This will boost their growth.

For maintaining consistent growth, fertilize pothos with a water-soluble fertilizer (organic preferably) for even distribution of nutrients. For best results, fertilize every 1-2 months in summer.

During dormant periods let your plant inner parent rest for a while i.e., no fertilizing during this time is required.

You can choose any fertilizer you find suitable for your pothos but always follow the instructions on the packaging to feed with the right amount.

TIP: You can check your pothos’ nutrients requirements by using soil testing kits available in gardening stores.

Also read: How much fertilizer do pothos need?

Growing pothos in wrong type of soil

It is quite exciting and fun to grow pothos as you have two options for growing them, in soil or water, or both. They enjoy growing in soil and water and give you equally bushier plants in both the conditions.

When growing in the soil, your pothos doesn’t like to compromise with the soil’s quality. Your pothos might not be growing because the soil is lacking nutrients and heavy.

High nutrition and aerated soil mix is premium for your pothos. They prefer a soil pH level between 6.1 to 6.5 though amenable with some variation. This will keep them thriving, even in unsuitable living conditions.

If your soil mix does not fulfill these requirements, it’s urged to change it to peat-based soil. Choose a well-draining pot and a porous pot for the best results.

Garden soil is a very heavy option for your pothos. Any soil mix formulated for indoor plants in stores will make the right choice.

Re-potting again and again

Repot, for bigger plants and repotting frequently is a no for any plant. You cannot keep repotting your pothos every year and expect them to keep growing the same way.

If you are one of those growers who think repotting will boost your pothos growth rate, you are not completely right. Repotting stresses any plant; you should wait for 2-3 years every time you repot your pothos.

Repot when you see roots growing extensive, vines growing long. When roots come out of the drainage holes, it is a good sign for you to repot them. Let the roots get strong and bound around the soil for healthy pothos.

Repotting, again and again, affects the roots as they will lack in nutrients and become weak. So pace down and repot only when they need it, or they are very ill.

Go for pruning whenever you see your pothos having long trails; this will get them in shape and reduce the soil’s burden and roots to support them. Also, roots and soil will be able to function well after pruning your pothos.

Also read: How Do I Know If My Plant Needs Repotting?

Pests attack on pothos

Scales, thrips, mites, and mealybugs, and other bugs attack pothos but not too often. Pothos are vigorous plants and cannot be easily affected by any adverse situation.

These bugs suck on pothos leaves and stems, damaging leaves tissues and making them weak and distorted.

But when pests invade, they need to be treated as soon as possible. You need to suspect your pothos to find out if they are infected with pests. That is a possible reason for the stunted growth of your baby pothos.

Treat pothos by wiping them with rubbing alcohol. You can use insecticides to kill these bugs. Make homemade insecticides by mixing one spoon of liquid soap to a liter of water and spray all over.

Also read: Do pothos attract bugs?

Your pothos is stressed out

Reasons for stress in your pothos could be:

  • Lack of sufficient nutrients
  • Underwatering
  • Overwatering
  • Low light
  • Direct sun
  • Over-fertilizing

All above are the reasons for your stressed pothos. One or many or all that you need to find out.

Overdoing or over caring will not help push new growth in pothos. In fact, it will stress them to such an extent that they will suffer from severe diseases.

Over-fertilizing might help throw new growth initially, but with time they will make the plant weak and leggy and then no growth at all. 

Overwatering and over-fertilizing causes root rot. Root rot can be the root cause of your pothos not displaying any new growth. 

Just the right amount or slightly flexible routines will keep your pothos going good and happy.

How can I make my pothos grow faster?

There is no shortcut to growing big, dense pothos. There is always a routine and patience required to produce healthy and bushier pothos. 

Pothos being quintessentially low maintenance plants need some attention for faster growth.

  1. You can check your watering routine. Watering only when they are thirsty is the only way to prevent over and underwatering.
  2. Dig your finger in the top 2-3 inches of pothos soil and check the moistness. If it’s still moist, wait till it gets completely dry. 
  3. This way, you can fix water issues and supply your pothos required nutrients without starving or drowning the soil. When watering with tap water, try to let tap water sit overnight for more sanitary water and less chlorine.
  4. Dappled sun for 6-8 hours fulfills the light needs of pothos. Bright filtered light is very essential because it helps to dry out moist soil, carry out the photosynthesis process, make stems, leaves strong and thick, and retains variegation of their foliage.
  5. Fertilize every 2-3 months with organic fertilizer during spring and summer only. Make sure the soil mix has high nutritional value and well-draining. This combination of soil and fertilizer mostly helps your pothos to grow rapidly.
  6. Keep them in the warm environment i.e., temperature levels ranging between 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity level to be maintained at least more than 60% for optimal growing pothos. 
  7. At very low-temperature levels, the plant freezes and stops growing. During winters, try to maintain high temperatures with the help of a wood furnace or stove.
  8. Mist around the pothos or use a humidifier for raising humidity levels. Prune every few months for better performing pothos and bushier vines.

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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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