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Pothos Dying? 8 Ways To Save Your Dying Pothos!

Have you noticed that your pothos plant is not looking its best, and you want to help it thrive again? In this blog, we will explore eight ways to save your dying pothos and bring it back to health.

To revive a dying Pothos, prune the damaged parts, ensure good watering and drainage, provide adequate light, maintain warm temperatures and humid conditions, and control infestations quickly. Add light fertilizer for healthy growth and quick recovery.   

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener, you will always come to a situation where your pothos plant is on the verge of death. Several reasons can kill the plant, and today, I’ll share these reasons along with some top tips to save the plant and preventive measures. 

Pothos plant dying

I have done my best to address all of your concerns in the article below. However, if you still have any questions or are confused about the article, you can receive personalized one-on-one assistance from me by leaving a comment below. I will respond to your comment within a few hours.

Please note: Simplify Plants is reader-supported. Some links in the post are affiliate links and I get a commission from purchases made through links in the post.

Your Pothos plant is dying – What should You know? 

Pothos is a low-maintenance plant. 

Hence, you will find this plant in many houses. 

You can start with Pothos if you are a beginner. 

However, improper care and frequent stress can lead to several issues, further killing your plant. 

Common problems behind a dying Pothos plant are: 

  • Environmental factors like cold temperatures, low humidity, and bad lighting conditions  
  • Poor drainage in the soil and pot
  • Improper watering practices 
  • Pests and diseases 
  • Incorrect fertilization 

Generally, Pothos can handle these issues for some time. 

But they will begin to suffer if the pothos plant stays stressed for too long. 

The issue will progress and kill the plant. 

Thankfully, you can save it if you diagnose and identify the problem. 

Here are some signs of a dying pothos plant that can help: 

Assess the issue using these visual signs and take the necessary steps to revive the dying Pothos. 

1. Save an Overwatered or Underwatered Pothos Plant  

Pothos enjoy consistent moist conditions but not soggy soil or stagnant water. 

Pothos would like the soil to dry out, around 1/3rd of the topsoil, before every watering session.   

Since the pothos plant loves moisture, it becomes easier to overwater them. 

When the soil is waterlogged, air cannot reach the roots. 

Roots suffocate, and your houseplant cannot absorb moisture and nutrients properly. 

Over time, the prolonged moist conditions invite fungus, causing root rot and killing the plant. 

While Pothos can endure some dry periods, prolonged underwatering can be detrimental. 

Dehydration will stress and kill them if continued for long. 

The leaves will become yellow or brown, dry out, wither, and fall off. 

Eventually, all the foliage will drop, and your pothos plant will die. 

To revive your pothos plant, fix the issue and adjust the watering frequency. 

Adjusting the watering habits and frequency 

Pothos plant watering

If you have overwatered your pothos plant, stop watering immediately. 

Remove the damaged leaves, and let the soil dry out. 

If needed, let your plants have bright sunlight and improved airflow. 

If you have underwatered the pothos plant, start watering the plant immediately. 

If soil hardens due to excessive dryness, it might repel water. 

Make holes with a fork or chopstick to let the water seep through and reach the roots. 

If this doesn’t work, consider bottom watering. 

Correcting watering problems will revive the plant within a few weeks. 

After that, make a good watering routine or adjust your frequency. 

Check the soil once a week, and water the plant only when the top few inches have dried. 

I water my Pothos plant every 5-7 days in the spring and summer and every 7-14 days in winter. 

You can go through our article How often to water Pothos to learn more about Pothos watering. 

Fixing root rot in Pothos 

If you have a root rot, you have to repot your pothos plant.

First, check for the roots without uprooting the plant, for example, from the drainage holes or removing some topsoil. 

Suppose you can’t smell the soil. If root rot has progressed, you will get a foul smell. 

The stems will also become mushy, and the leaves will have soft brown spots. 

Once the issue is confirmed, here’s what you should do: 

  • Remove the plant from the pot and remove maximum soil around the roots. 
  • The white and firm roots are healthy, whereas the brown and mushy roots are rotten. Trim off the rotten roots. 
  • If maximum roots need removal, you can’t save the plant. Instead, collect some good parts and propagate. 
  • If fewer roots are rotten, you can save it. 
  • Spray some fungicide to the roots to prevent the spores from further spreading. 
  • The old pot and soil mix are infected. So, take a new pot 1-2 inches bigger than the existing one and make a good potting mix. Ensure good drainage in both. 
  • Plant the Pothos back in the pot and water it. 
  • Don’t fertilize for a few weeks until you see new growth. 
  • Provide bright, dappled sunlight and good humidity. Protect from cold drafts and ensure good ventilation. 

Expect your pothos plant to recover within a few weeks. 

2. Rescuing a Pothos Affected by Cold Drafts 

Pothos can survive temperatures within 55-85°F but thrive best when the temperature remains around 70-90°F. 

The pothos plant belongs to tropical regions and suffers when temperatures are below 50-55°F.

The leaves will become brown, beginning from the tips and edges and then spreading to the entire leaves. 

Over time, these leaves fall off, and the plant dies. 

Cold drafts from the balcony and open doors and windows hamper their health more and kill them. 

On the other hand, temperatures above 90°F are also harmful for Pothos. 

High temperatures evaporate the moisture and make the plant dehydrated repeatedly. 

If the leaves seem curling, they try to protect themselves from the high heat. 

If your pothos plant is near any window for sunlight, the hot drafts from the outside will harm them more and eventually kill them. 

Correcting the temperature range 

Move your pothos plant away from drafty areas, like open windows, doors, and balconies. 

Shift your Pothos to a room that provides a temperature of around 70-85°F. 

You can keep them in rooms containing heating or cooling systems, but maintain at least 10-12 feet of distance between your plant and the systems. 

Do not let the temperature go below 55°F or above 90°F. 

Increase watering during the hot temperatures to keep your plant cool.

High humidity can provide a bit of an insulating effect. 

Since these pothos plants are sensitive to cold, increasing the humidity during cold weather can keep them from dying. 

3. Save a Pothos by Correcting Lighting Issues

Pothos plant in direct sun

Pothos love bright indirect sunlight for around 8-12 hours. 

Pothos will not tolerate exposure to direct sunlight

That would burn the leaves, stress the pothos plant’s health, and eventually kill them. 

The leaves will turn brown from the tips and edges and slowly spread over. Slowly, all the leaves wither, fall off, and the plant dies.

Low light is another issue. 

Pothos can tolerate low light conditions, but shady areas are not right. 

The leaves become yellow, and the stem becomes sparse as lack of sunlight affects photosynthesis and chlorophyll. 

If kept like that for too long, your plant will slowly succumb to death while constantly trying to sustain itself. 

Light conditions for Pothos 

If your pothos plant is getting too much sunlight, move it 8-9 feet away from the windows receiving direct sunlight. 

Put up curtains or Venetian blinds to filter the light. 

While moving it away from the window, since the distance is too much, ensure the pothos plant receives some partial light. Complete blockage won’t do any good.

You can increase or reduce the distance as per your preference and the plant’s requirement.  

If your plant is in a dark room with no light, shift it to a bright location with dappled sunlight or use fluorescent or LED lights. 

An east-facing window is an ideal place for the Pothos plants. 

You don’t have to put up any filters or use fluorescent lights. 

The direction will provide perfect and gentle bright light throughout the day without the risk of sunburns. 

4. Restoring a Dying Pothos with Proper Humidity

Pothos belong to tropical regions where they receive high humidity, around 70-80%. 

But such high humidity levels can be uncomfortable indoors. 

At least 60-70% of humidity must be provided. 

If the humidity is too low, the leaves will lose moisture faster, dry out, and turn brown and crispy. 

Over time, all the leaves will turn brown and dry and fall off, ultimately killing the pothos plant. 

The roots are more susceptible to drying out during low humidity levels.

Extremely high humidity levels are also harmful because they increase moisture and invite fungal diseases

To prevent these issues, you must adjust the humidity and let it stay consistent. 

Humidity adjustment as per pothos plant

Understanding whether humidity is the issue is not easy. 

That’s why most gardeners use hygrometers at home for the accurate humidity level. 

If the humidity levels are low, install humidifiers, mist your pothos plant regularly, put the plant over pebble trays, or group multiple tropical plants together. 

While grouping, ensure good airflow around the pothos plant and don’t let the leaves touch each other. 

If the humidity seems high, maintain distance between the plants, run a fan near the plant, open the window, or install a dehumidifier. 

Your Pothos should revive and start new growth after some weeks. 

5. Saving a Dying Pothos by Addressing Improper Drainage

Drainage is one of the most critical factors for a healthy pothos plant. 

If the soil or pot cannot drain the excess water, it remains stagnant. 

Pothos suffers from overwatering and root rot despite correct watering.

Your pothos plant will exhibit signs of overwatering and root rot, eventually leading to its death. 

When drainage is the issue, you must change the soil and the pot. 

Ideal potting mix for Pothos 

Pothos plant soil

You must use well-drained, loose, and nutrient-rich soil for the Pothos plant. 

Use peat-based soil for good drainage and retention. 

The soil will drain the excess water while retaining the required moisture. 

Add perlite or coarse sand to your potting mix to improve drainage and aeration. 

If you want to create your own potting mix for your pothos, consider these two options: 

  • 2 parts peat or coco coir, 1 part perlite, and 1 part pine bark fines
  • One part cactus potting mix and one part compost 

For pre-mix potting soil, here are two options: 

Learn more about pothos soil requirement from our in-depth guide.

Pot considerations 

Make sure the pot has a drainage hole at the bottom. 

If you have the habit of overwatering, use terracotta or earthenware pots. Their porosity will wick away moisture faster. 

If you underwater the pothos plant often, use plastic or glazed ceramic pots. They can hold moisture for a long time. 

6. Reviving a Pothos Affected by Pest Infestations

A pest infestation can kill your pothos plant if you don’t control its population. 

Pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and whiteflies extract plant sap, leading to dehydration, weakening, and eventual death. 

Sometimes, these pests also carry harmful diseases, further deteriorating the plant’s health and killing it. 

You need to inspect your pothos plant regularly and take immediate action to eliminate and control these pests. 

Controlling Pests 

Here’s what you need to do to save your dying pothos plant: 

  • Remove the infected plant from other plants to avoid spreading. 
  • Remove the badly affected leaves. 
  • Spray some neem oil on the suspected areas, especially under the leaves. Apply it every 7-10 days until all the pests are gone. 
  • Take a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol and wipe the suspected areas.
  • For whiteflies, use yellow sticky traps
  • Release natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings. 
  • If the infestation is large, use chemical insecticides and pesticides to kill them. Use them once a week or every 2 weeks until the bugs are gone. 

While using chemical products, follow the instructions on the label. 

7. Steps to Revive a Pothos Afflicted by Diseases

Pothos plant disease

Several diseases can attack your Pothos plant and deteriorate its health quickly. 

Bacterial wilt, powdery mildew, leaf spot, blights, and root rot are common diseases. 

Conditions that lead to such fungal diseases are poor airflow, soggy soil, high humidity, and extreme temperature levels. 

Signs of diseases are: 

  • Browning and wilting
  • White spots 
  • Black spots with lesions 
  • White feathery spots on the soil 
  • Foul smell from the soil 

Pothos disease control 

If your pothos plant has fungal infections, here’s what to do: 

  • Isolate your plant and remove the infected leaves. 
  • Spray homemade fungicide by mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 135 oz of water, and ½ teaspoon of liquid or insecticidal soap
  • If this doesn’t work, use chemical fungicides or copper-based fungicides. 
  • For root rot, I have already shared earlier what to do.

8. Reviving a Pothos with Corrected Fertilization Practices

Pothos don’t need fertilizers in the wild because they receive adequate nutrients from the soil and surroundings. 

But indoors, they don’t get access to rain, groundwater, or rotting corpses. Therefore, you need to feed your pothos plant with appropriate fertilizer.

An under-fertilized pothos plant will decrease its growth over time and suddenly stop growing. 

It will stay like that while slowly absorbing the leftover nutrients from the soil, other plant parts, and old leaves. 

Eventually, your pothos plant will die when no nutrients are left to absorb. 

On the other hand, excessive fertilizer is not the right thing to do. 

Too much fertilizer accumulates salts in the soil and burns the roots. 

If overfertilization continues for too long, maximum roots get damaged, and your pothos plant dies. 

Modifying the fertilization schedule 

Feed immediately if you haven’t fertilized your pothos plant for too long. 

Begin with a liquid, balanced fertilizer (20-20-20 NPK) for a quick boost. 

Once your pothos plant recovers, you can either continue with the liquid fertilizer or choose a slow release if you’re worried about over-fertilization. 

For slow-release, apply it 1-2 times per year during the active months. 

If you use liquid fertilizers, apply them every 4-6 weeks throughout the spring and summer. 

If you have overfertilized your pothos plant, stop feeding it for a few months. 

If you see the pothos plant reviving, you can start feeding with small doses again. 

You can even flush off the soil by deep watering 2-3 times until fresh water comes out of the pot. 

You can even remove your pothos plant and maximum soil from the roots if you have substantially used more fertilizer. After that, repot the plant. 

To prevent fertilizer burns, use all-purpose fertilizer every 4-6 weeks by diluting it to half the strength. 

Pothos plant care tips and preventive measures 

  • Pothos enjoy 8-10 hours of bright indirect sunlight throughout the day.
  • Pothos grow best when the soil remains consistently moist and almost dries before every watering session. 
  • Take the drainage of the soil and pot into account because Pothos hate to sit over soggy soil. 
  • Feed the pothos plant monthly or every 4-6 weeks throughout the growing season with a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer. Dilute it to half the strength. 
  • Maintain 60-85°F temperature and 60-70% humidity levels. Avoid drafts. 
  • Prune your Pothos when they overgrow to maintain their shape and compactness as an indoor plant and improve ventilation. 
  • Repot the plant every 1-2 years. 
  • Check out for pests and diseases, identify the signs of infestations, and take immediate action to prevent your plant from suffering too much and dying. 

Final thoughts 

Several reasons can kill your pothos plant. Common reasons are incorrect watering practices, extreme temperatures, poor light conditions, bad humidity levels, wrong type of soil and pot, pests, diseases, and inadequate fertilization. These will not kill your plant immediately. But neglecting the plant and letting it like that will escalate the problem more, eventually killing it. 

To fix these issues, improve your watering habits, use well-drained soil, protect it from extreme temperatures, provide dappled sunlight, maintain 50-60% humidity, and fertilize with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks. Use a pot with drainage holes. Choose the suitable pot material based on your watering habits, whether you tend to overwater or forget watering.

If the damage is more than 50-60% and you can’t save the pothos plant, collect some healthy cuttings and propagate them to get more new Pothos plants. Follow the care tips I shared to prevent your plant from suffering any issues and dying. 

Will the discolored leaves turn back green?

The discolored leaves are not going to be green again. They will fall off on their own. You can trim them off. It will improve appearance and help the pothos plant to focus on new growth.

Can I propagate a plant that died from a disease?

Avoid propagating a pothos plant affected by disease; there’s no guarantee the issue won’t recur. Discard and burn the plant instead.

Reference: Pothos plant Wikipedia 

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