Why Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow?

If you take pride in caring for your indoor plants, you’re probably familiar with the popular pothos plant. It’s an easy-to-maintain houseplant that adds a touch of nature to any space. However, even though plants like pothos can sometimes have issues, like yellowing leaves. But don’t worry! In this blog post, we’ll discuss the reasons behind yellow pothos leaves and how to diagnose and treat them. Let’s get ready to restore your pothos plant to its vibrant best!

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    If you see that the leaves of your pothos plant are turning yellow, you should first find out what kind of pothos it is.

    Some kinds naturally have yellow leaves or a greenish-yellow color like Golden Pothos and Neon. So, if your pothos is one of these kinds, it’s normal for the leaves to be yellow.

    Mostly older leaves of pothos often turn yellow and fall off. This is a natural thing that happens as the plant grows. It doesn’t mean there is a problem with the plant. New healthy leaves will continue to grow as the older ones fall off. This keeps the plant healthy and looking nice.

    Yellow Pothos Leaves: A Common Issue With Many Causes

    Pothos plants, with their stunning foliage and air-purifying qualities, have become a staple in homes and offices worldwide. They’re hardy, resilient, and relatively low-maintenance, making them the perfect choice for both beginners and experienced plant enthusiasts. However, even the most robust plants can encounter issues, and one of the most common concerns Pothos owners face is the dreaded yellowing of their leaves. In this blog post, we’ll explore the various causes of yellow Pothos leaves and how to treat and prevent this issue.

    Natural Leaf Drop

    Let’s start with the good news: sometimes, yellowing leaves are entirely natural. Pothos plants, like all living things, age, and as they do, their older leaves may turn yellow and eventually drop off. If only a few lower leaves are yellowing, and the rest of your plant looks lush and green, there’s likely no cause for concern.

    Environmental stress

    Environmental stress, such as fluctuations in temperature or humidity, can have a negative impact on plants. This can cause your pothos plant to turn yellow.Houseplants, especially during the winter months, can be particularly vulnerable to these changes. The use of heaters in winter and air conditioners in summer can create a gust of air that plants may find challenging. Tropical plants, in particular, may experience yellowing and leaf drop as a result of temperature variations inside your home. Leaves can also discolor if the plant is exposed to drafts from windows, doors, or air vents, which cause sudden temperature changes.


    If a couple of leaves are turning yellow, don’t panic. Make sure you’re taking all the necessary steps to keep your pothos healthy. If you are, stay calm. Most likely, this resilient plant will bounce back in the spring. Consider investing in a hygrometer to track the humidity levels for your plants.

    During the winter, it can be challenging to maintain adequate humidity, especially in heated areas. Placing a humidifier nearby or grouping plants together on pebble trays can help increase the humidity. Pothos plants thrive in higher humidity levels, surpassing the average of 50 percent. The more humid it is, the better it is for the comfort of your pothos – ideally, aim for 50 to 70 percent humidity. This makes them a great choice as bathroom plants.

    Underwatering and Overwatering

    due to over watering pothos leaves turning yellow

    One of the most common reasons for yellowing Pothos leaves is a water-related issue. Both underwatering and overwatering can lead to stress, causing your Pothos to display its displeasure with yellow leaves.

    Underwatering: If your Pothos isn’t receiving enough water, it may become dehydrated, resulting in yellowing leaves that may also appear dry and crispy. To remedy this, water your Pothos thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

    Overwatering: On the flip side, overzealous watering can lead to root rot, a fungal disease that can cause yellow leaves, wilting, and a foul odor. To prevent this, ensure your Pothos is not sitting in water and allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.


    Ensure that your pothos plant’s pot has a drainage hole. This allows excess water to escape and prevents the roots and soil from becoming waterlogged, which can lead to root rot and damage. If your plant is already in a pot with drainage but still appears to be overwatered, reduce the frequency of your watering.

    Only water the pothos when the top few inches of soil are completely dry to the touch. Additionally, moving your plant closer to a window can aid in drying out the soil, as increased sunlight provides more energy for water processing.

    3. Insufficient Sunlight

    Pothos plants are known for their adaptability to low-light conditions, but they still require some degree of light to thrive. If your Pothos isn’t getting enough light, it may develop yellow leaves. Move it to a spot with more indirect sunlight to revive its vibrancy, but avoid exposing it to harsh, direct rays that can scorch the leaves.


    To prevent leaf yellowing, try to gradually acclimatize your plants to their new environment. If possible, decrease the light levels over a week’s time.According to Debbie Neese, for ideal conditions, Pothos plants require a northern or eastern window. Placing your Pothos three feet away from a window with minimal indirect light can cause the leaves to turn yellow. Even plants that can tolerate low light still benefit from being near a northern or eastern window.

    4. Nutrient Imbalance


    A lack of essential nutrients or an imbalance in the soil can result in yellowing leaves. Pothos plants benefit from occasional feeding with a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season. Follow the recommended dosage on the fertilizer label to keep your plant healthy and green.


    Try giving your houseplant a small amount of general houseplant feed to see if it revitalizes. For optimal growth, we suggest fertilizing your pothos every two to three months in the spring and summer. It is not necessary to fertilize during the winter when the plant receives less light and enters a dormant phase.

    5. Root Problems

    Root-related issues can also cause yellowing leaves. Pothos plants can become root-bound, meaning their roots outgrow the pot and struggle to absorb nutrients and water effectively. Repot your Pothos into a larger container with fresh potting mix to give it more room to thrive.

    Pythium Root Rot

    One of them is root rot, also known as Pythium Root Rot. When this happens, the roots become black and soft, and the mature leaves turn yellow and fall off. You may also notice water spots with yellow halos on the undersides of the leaves, indicating bacterial leaf spot disease. Root rot is usually caused by soil that is too wet, which can happen if the plant is overwatered, if the soil doesn’t drain well, or if the soil is heavy.


    If any roots appear black, mushy, or have a foul odor, cut them off and remove the soil from the root ball. Then, place your pothos in a new pot with fresh soil. It would be beneficial to use our Root Supplement when watering to aid in the healing of the roots.

    6. Pests and Diseases

    Yellowing leaves can sometimes be a sign of pests like spider mites or mealybugs or diseases such as bacterial wilt disease, southern blight, or manganese toxicity. Inspect your plant carefully for signs of pests or unusual growths and take appropriate measures to address the issue.

    Bacterial wilt disease

    It is more likely to occur when infected cuttings fail to root properly. This leads to the development of bacterial wilt. The veins and stems of the plant turn black, and the bacteria, known as Ralstonia solanacearum, can contaminate the water in which the cuttings are placed. This harmful microorganism can prevent the plant from reproducing effectively.


    For treating bacterial wilt on a small scale, for just one plant, you can cut the infected stem near the soil level. Then, place the cut stem in a clear vase and allow the milky substance to drain out. If there is an outbreak, make sure to bag and remove all plants, pots, and soil from the area. Disinfect surfaces and gardening tools as well. Similarly, in the case of southern blight, it is important to properly dispose of both infected plants and their pots. For healthy plants, treat them with a fungicide solution containing pentachloronitrobenze (PCNB) or flutolanil as active ingredients.

    Southern Blight

    Also known as Sclerotium rolfsii, is a fungal disease that tends to occur more frequently in warmer southern climates.The symptoms of southern blight and bacterial wilt can worsen rapidly during the warm months of the year. This fungus thrives in wet soils and hot temperatures, allowing it to grow quickly. The first indication of southern blight is the discoloration and wilting of lower leaves. Additionally, white fungal threads may be observed on both the stems and in the soil. This fungus produces enzymes such as pectolytic, cellulolytic, and oxalic acid, which cause the degradation of the plant’s cell walls.


    Southern Blight: Keep your plant and its surroundings clean and dry to prevent this fungal disease. Isolate infected plants and consider using fungicides if needed.

    7. Ethylene Damage

    Ethylene damage is not a disease, but it can look like one. It happens when certain fungicides are used, causing the leaves to turn yellow and beige. This kind of damage usually occurs in cooler seasons like fall and winter.

    Ethylene, a natural plant hormone, can cause yellowing of Pothos leaves when present in excessive amounts. Keep your Pothos away from sources of ethylene, such as ripening fruits and certain household appliances like stoves and heaters.

    Similar to manganese toxicity, Ethylene damage is not considered a disease. Ethylene is a type of gas that occurs naturally. It is produced when plant material starts to break down, and can also be a result of improper airflow caused by faulty greenhouse heaters that only provide heat without proper circulation.


    For treating Ethylene damage, ensure that greenhouse heaters have proper air supply and are functioning well prior to winter.

    Manganese Toxicity

    Manganese toxicity is a concern for pothos plants. It mostly affects older plants and is caused by too much manganese in the soil. Excess manganese can make the plant appear sickly. This problem is more commonly seen in nursery plants that absorb high levels of manganese from commercial fertilizers.

    To address manganese toxicity, cease utilizing fertilizers containing manganese (look for ingredients like maneb or mancozeb), and also avoid those with trace elements. Incorporating lime into the soil promotes plant health.

    How to Treat Yellowing Leaves on Pothos

    To treat yellowing leaves on your pothos plant, start by addressing any root rot issues. Disinfect a pair of scissors using a mixture of 1 part bleach and 9 parts water, then trim off the yellowing leaves. Remember to disinfect the scissor blades after each cut to maintain cleanliness. Carefully remove the plant from its pot and cut away any mushy or brown roots. Clean the pot, rinse the roots with water, and replant the pothos using fresh potting soil. Ensure that the plant is positioned where it receives partial sunlight or shade, the soil has good drainage, and it’s not overwatered. Avoid misting the plant, as the fungi that cause root rot thrive in moist conditions.

    • Trim away yellowed leaves: Pruning yellow leaves not only improves the plant’s appearance but also redirects energy to healthier growth.
    • Adjust your care routine: Identify the specific cause of yellowing and adjust your watering, lighting, and fertilization accordingly.

    In conclusion, while yellowing Pothos leaves can be distressing, they are often a symptom of easily manageable issues. By understanding the potential causes and taking proactive steps to address them, you can keep your Pothos thriving and vibrant, enhancing your indoor space with its lush greenery. Remember, a little care and attention go a long way in ensuring the health and beauty of your beloved Pothos plant.

    Tips to promote healthy Pothos leaf color

    To promote healthy Pothos leaf color:

    • Provide bright, indirect light.
    • Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
    • Use well-draining soil and pots with drainage holes.
    • Fertilize regularly with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.
    • Maintain moderate temperatures between 60-85°F (15-29°C).
    • Avoid exposing the plant to extreme temperature fluctuations or direct sunlight.
    • Keep the plant away from cold drafts or hot air vents.
    • Regularly inspect for pests and treat them promptly.
    • Ensure good air circulation around the plant.
    • Avoid overwatering and provide proper drainage.

    Effective remedies for yellowing Pothos leaves

    Several remedies can help address yellowing Pothos leaves:

    • Adjust watering habits: Ensure proper drainage and allow the soil to dry out before watering again.
    • Check for pests: Inspect the plant for signs of pests and treat them with organic insecticidal soap or neem oil.
    • Improve lighting conditions: Find the ideal balance of bright, indirect light to prevent scorching or pale leaves.
    • Address nutritional deficiencies: Fertilize regularly with a balanced plant food to provide essential nutrients.
    • Treat fungal or bacterial infections: Remove affected leaves, improve cultural conditions, and apply appropriate fungicides.
    • Repot if necessary: If the plant is root-bound, repotting with


    Why are my pothos leaves turning yellow?

    Pothos leaves can naturally be yellow depending on the variety. Golden Pothos and Neon have yellow and green variegated leaves, respectively. It is important to identify the variety before assuming there is a problem.

    Is it normal for pothos leaves to turn yellow and fall off?

    Yes, it is normal for older leaves of any pothos variety to turn yellow and drop off. This is a natural process, and typically the healthy leaves remain intact.

    How can I prevent my pothos leaves from turning yellow?

    Providing adequate light, water, and proper care is essential for maintaining healthy pothos leaves. Avoid overwatering as it can lead to root rot and yellowing leaves. Ensure the plant is placed in an area with indirect sunlight.

    What can I do if my pothos leaves continue to turn yellow excessively?

    If your pothos leaves are consistently yellowing and falling off in large numbers, it could be a sign of underlying issues such as overwatering, nutrient deficiencies, or pests. Consider adjusting your watering routine, fertilizing the plant, or inspecting for pests.

    Can I save my pothos if the leaves have turned completely yellow?

    If a majority of the leaves have turned completely yellow, it may be challenging to revive the plant. However, you can attempt to trim away the yellow leaves and provide proper care to encourage new growth. If the root system is healthy, there is a chance for the plant to recover.

    Is overwatering the reason behind Pothos leaves turning yellow?Y

    Yes, overwatering can be one of the factors leading to yellowing Pothos leaves. Pothos plants are relatively low-maintenance, and they prefer to dry out between waterings. When the soil is consistently too wet, the roots can suffocate, leading to stress and nutrient deficiencies. This stress can manifest in yellowing or browning leaves.

    Are there any specific lighting conditions that cause Pothos leaves to turn yellow?

    Pothos plants thrive in bright, indirect light but can tolerate lower light conditions as well. However, exposing them to too much direct sunlight can cause their delicate leaves to scorch and turn yellow. On the other hand, if they don’t receive enough light, their leaves may become pale or develop yellow veins. Striking a balance and providing sufficient, well-filtered light is key to maintaining healthy Pothos leaf color.

    Does temperature affect Pothos leaf color?

    Temperature fluctuations can indeed impact the coloration of Pothos leaves. These tropical plants prefer temperatures between 60-85°F (15-29°C). When exposed to extreme cold or hot temperatures, their leaves may turn yellow as a sign of stress. Avoid placing your Pothos plant near drafty windows or in areas with significant temperature variations.

    Are there any nutritional deficiencies that cause Pothos leaves to turn yellow?

    Yes, nutritional deficiencies can cause Pothos leaves to yellow. Two common deficiencies include nitrogen and iron. A lack of nitrogen can result in overall pale leaves, while iron deficiency can cause yellowing between the veins of new growth. Regularly fertilizing your Pothos plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer can help prevent these deficiencies and maintain vibrant green leaves.

    How do I identify and treat pests that can cause yellowing Pothos leaves?

    Pests infestations, such as spider mites, mealybugs, or scale insects, can lead to yellowing of Pothos leaves. Inspect the undersides of leaves, stems, and along leaf veins for signs of pests like webbing, small dots, or cotton-like clusters. To treat these pests, start by isolating the affected plant to prevent the infestation from spreading. Use organic insecticidal soap or neem oil, following the instructions on the product label, to eliminate the pests. Repeat the treatment as necessary until the infestation is under control.

    Can fungal or bacterial infections cause Pothos leaves to turn yellow?

    Fungal or bacterial infections can contribute to yellowing Pothos leaves. The most common infections include root rot caused by overwatering or improper drainage, and leaf spot diseases caused by excessive moisture or poor air circulation. To prevent and treat these infections, ensure your Pothos plant is potted in well-draining soil, avoid overwatering, and provide adequate airflow. If an infection occurs, remove affected leaves, improve cultural conditions, and consider applying a fungicide specifically formulated for houseplants.

    When should I be concerned about yellowing Pothos leaves?

    While some yellowing is a natural part of a Pothos plant’s growth cycle, there are instances when the yellowing should raise concern. If the yellowing extends beyond a few older leaves or occurs rapidly, it could indicate a problem. Pay attention to other symptoms, such as wilting, browning, or visible pests, which may suggest an underlying issue. If you notice abnormal or widespread yellowing, it is recommended to investigate and take appropriate measures to resolve the problem.