Skip to Content

How To Revive A Dying Pothos Plant?

Devil’s ivy aka pothos, is very easy to grow and care for. They can even flourish in unfavorable conditions. Though easy to grow, sometimes you can struggle to keep them alive. You might feel like this is the end, but maybe there is a hope to revive the dying pothos. Let’s find out!

To save a dying pothos, you need to first identify the problem in your plant. The most common causes include overwatering, intense or direct sunlight and inadequate fertilization. Start by moving your plant to a medium-light spot followed with an appropriate watering schedule. Also, add a small amount of fertilizer as needed.

Even if your pothos looks dead, that doesn’t mean it’s over.

There is a possibility that you can revive your dying pothos with the right resources.

Your pothos may also be suffering due to inappropriate temperature, low humidity, pest infestation, poor soil, dry climate, etc. All these issues need to be identified.

Let’s find out the proper diagnosis for your plant problem.


If you are looking to buy a lot of houseplants to brighten up your space and that too on a budget, try out Cellardoorplants. They offer a wide variety of plants, delivered right to your doorstep, and that too for every budget. If you haven't checked them yet, Try them now!


Signs of a dying pothos

Before we begin with the process of identifying the problem, we need to understand the signs of a dying pothos plant. These signs includes:

How to save dying pothos?

There are several ways to save your dying plant, depending upon the reason for your plants’ dying conditions.

Identifying the reason, It’s possible solutions, and preventing further from getting into such a situation, all you can learn by reading below.

Overwatered pothos plant

An extra dose of water to your pothos plant suffocates the soil making it hard for the soil to breathe properly and thrive. Overwatering causes a wide range of problems.

Possible problems: 

  • Root rot.
  • Pest infestation.
  • Brown leaves.
  • Pale leaves.
  • Leaves fall off.
  • Brown edges.

Solutions: 

  • Prune the damaged leaves (if any)
  • Stop watering for a few days
  • Water again only when the soil is arid.

Prevention:

  • Water only when the soil is dry.
  • Check by sticking your finger in the soil up to 2-3 inches.    
  • You can use a stick or skewer also to check if the soil is dry or not.
  • If you are unsure about the same use a hygrometer.
  • If the soil doesn’t stick to your finger or a stick, that indicates it needs water.
  • Make sure water is draining out completely from drainage holes.
  • Don’t let the roots sit in water.
  • Don’t make any watering schedule, water when demanded
  • Watering needs changes with the season
  • Wait for the soil to tell you the watering calls.
  • Let the water sit overnight before watering your plant.

Also read: How often should you water your pothos?



Under watered pothos plant

Though the pothos plant doesn’t need a lot of watering, it can thrive without water for a few extra days. But underwatering for an extended period will affect your plant.

Possible Problems: 

  • Soil pulling away
  • Leaves turning brown
  • Discoloration
  • Slow growth
  • Droopy leaves
  • Stressed leaves
  • Brown edges

Solution:

  • Remove damaged leaves.
  • Firstly water your plant to regain its moisture.
  • Water the plant until you see it coming out from the bottom and water once again.
  • Mist around the plant to improve the condition of the plant.
  • Draining water is essential.
  • Use under watering/bottom watering method.

Prevention:

Since the plant is regained, you need to follow simple rules to prevent such problems in the future.

  • Water your plant when the soil is dry.
  • Usually, watering every 5-6 days is advised.
  • Don’t follow any watering schedule. It ultimately depends on cultural conditions.
  • Season affects the watering requirements of the plant; water accordingly.
  • Drench the soil after watering to avoid any sogginess in the soil.
  • Go easy with watering.
  • The bottom watering method is also an excellent way to water your plant.
  • You can take a tray fill with pebbles and pour water, ensuring that the pot’s bottom doesn’t touch the water.
  • Through the capillary method, the soil will water itself.

Also read: Overwatering vs. Underwatering

Lighting issues

Pothos loves indirect bright light. They can thrive in low light, but they should be provided with proper light conditions. Otherwise, your plant may suffer. Overexposure to direct sunlight can also burn the leaves, which will eventually kill your plants.

Possible problems:

  • Droopy leaves
  • Brown leaves
  • Sunburn

Solution:

  • If you are stressing your plant with too much direct light, stop.
  • Find a place where the plant will get bright indirect sun.
  • Keep near a window; the window glass will help decrease the intensity of the sunlight.
  • Keeping in the balcony is preferred as far as the plant does not receive direct sunlight for more than 3 hours.
  • If your plant is suffering due to lack of light, move the plant in a spot to receive bright light immediately.

Prevention: 

Prevent your pothos from getting sunburn or brown leaves by following simple steps.

  • Keep your plant indoors, preferably.
  • Keep in a spot where the plant is exposed to good indirect bright light.
  • It will even thrive in low light conditions.
  • Any natural or artificial light source is suitable as long as it’s not too much light.
  • It usually grows in dappled sunlight or partial shade.
  • Early morning sun with late afternoon sun is the best source for your plant.
  • If kept outdoors, keep under a shade.
  • If your plant is hanging on the wall, make sure it gets an abundance of light.
  • Also, check the wall hanging plant is getting light on the top as well; otherwise, the plant may get bald on the top.

Also read: Lighting requirement of pothos

Root rot

Root rot can harm your plants, giving your plant a hard time. Let us find out what we can do to revive your plant.

Possible problems:

  • Discoloration of leaves.
  • The plant may die.
  • Mushy roots.
  • Wilting and droopy leaves
  • Stunted growth.
  • Leaves are falling off.
  • Yellow leaves.

Solution: 

  • Prune damaged leaves
  • If there are many damaged leaves, don’t prune at one go; prune about 50% of them.
  • Check the roots.
  • Get the plant out of the pot, remove all the soil from the root ball.
  • Make sure not to damage feeder roots while removing old soil.
  • Wash the roots under running water for a few minutes (can use dish soap to remove the dead roots and kill bacteria and fungus stuck in the roots)
  • Let the roots dry in fresh air for one whole day, at least.
  • You can dip the roots in the solution made with a mix of 10 ml of hydrogen peroxide with 200 ml water for a few minutes.
  • Take the pot of such a size so that the roots and soil don’t suffocate.
  • Line the pot’s bottom with pebbles to soak the excess water that sits in the soil while watering.
  • Repot the plant in the pot with a proper drainage system and healthy soil.

Prevention: 

Thorough detection of the plant is crucial for the prevention of any diseases or problems.

  • Spend quality time with your plant and keep inspecting the roots.
  • Keep the soil healthy by taking proper care.
  • Good drainage helps to keep roots and soil away from fungus and bacteria.
  • Make a soil mix that doesn’t hold too much water, preferably a combination with less coco peat in it.
  • Repot in a larger container than before, preferably 2-inch diameter.

A Quick Tip:

  • Sterilize the scissors with rubbing alcohol after using it in the affected plant. 
  • Always keep cuttings before repotting. You can call it as plant insurance in case you kill your plant while repotting.

Also read: Root rot in pothos: Signs+How to get rid

Pest Infestation

A few pests may infest your plants like spider mites, mealybugs, and scales. Sometimes these can be invasive. You can still save your plant. Let’s find out how.

Possible problems:

  • Speckled leaves
  • Unattractive leaves
  • Leaves fall off

Solution:

  • Firstly it’s essential to cut off the affected parts of the plant.
  • Isolate the plant to save other plants from getting infected.
  • Spray neem oil diluted with water on the plant.
  • Spray, especially under the leaves and base of the stem and in between the nodes and just where the leaves start.
  • Spray properly every other day till you get rid of the infestation.
  • Few drops of dish soap and one teaspoon neem oil mixed with 1 cup of water can also be used on the plant.
  • Dip a cotton ball in isopropyl alcohol and rub it on the affected parts of the plant.
  • Remove any bug you see physically with a wet cloth or cotton swab.
  • Spray the solution in the late evening to let the solution work on the plant without disturbing the plant’s activities.
  • Wash the plant with plain water the next day.

Prevention:

  • You can spray neem oil every month to avoid any pest attack.
  • Don’t overwater. This will create a perfect environment for the pests to spread or invade.
  • Keep inspecting the plant every few days.

Also read: Do pothos attract bugs?

Inappropriate temperature

Pothos plants grow in areas where the humidity and temperature are constant. 

The inappropriate temperature may cause the plant to suffer. 

The right balance of sun, water, and temperature are ideal for this plant’s growth.

Possible problems: 

Solution:

  •  If the plant leaves or stems are affected, cut the affected parts.
  • Provide the plant with a temperature above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If exposed to direct sunlight, keep the plant in a spot where it will be exposed to partial sunlight.
  • If the temperature drops down below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, immediately move the plant to a warmer spot.

Prevention:  

  • Always maintain the temperature ranging from 50 degrees Fahrenheit up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Below 30 degrees Fahrenheit temperature levels may stress the plant, making it hard for the plant to survive.
  • Change the position of the plant according to the season to provide the ideal temperature.
  • Prefer to keep in high-temperature levels.

Humidity issues

Pothos loves humidity. Although they can survive in low humidity levels, it is always better to maintain high humidity for longer life. 

They can go through a few issues if not provided with a proper humid atmosphere.

Possible problems:

  • Dried Leaves
  • Brown tips

Solution:

  • Keep the humidity levels above 60% around the plant.
  • Misting occasionally around the plant will help.
  • Keep your plants with a group of humidity-loving plants.
  • Don’t expose the plant to direct sunlight for a long time.
  • You can use a humidifier as well to maintain the humidity levels.

Prevention:

  • Maintain high humidity levels around the plant to avoid any problem.
  • Avoid too much direct sun.
  • Keep the pot under a pebble tray filled with water, making sure the water doesn’t fill the pot bottoms.
  • Underwatering will also worsen the condition.

Also read: Do pothos like to be misted?


If you are looking to buy a lot of houseplants to brighten up your space and that too on a budget, try out Cellardoorplants. They offer a wide variety of plants, delivered right to your doorstep, and that too for every budget. If you haven't checked them yet, Try them now!


Last words

Following the required steps will help to revive your plant once again.

Keep good care and inspect your plant from time to time. Groom your plant, so it doesn’t get crowded. That will also prevent legginess and will expose each part of the plant to light.

You can always revive your dying plant from any branch that is still alive and green by taking cuttings and planting in healthy soil.

Keep rotating for even growth. Maintain required cultural conditions, and your plant will always be by your side.


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