It’s a worrying prospect to discover that your pothos is looking under the weather. And it’s a natural response to reach for your phone and quickly search up ‘why is my pothos droopy’. When the results appear you’re then faced with a whole barrage of reasons as to why your beloved house plant is not looking its absolute best. Believe me, I’ve been in that very same boat and so I’ve put this article together to dispel the myths and cut the wheat from the chaff.
But enough of this chat, let’s dive in with all you need to know about the best way to fix a droopy pothos.
Why is My Pothos Droopy?
I’m going to cut to the chase here. There are four primary reasons as to why pothos become droopy:
- Too much or too little water
- Unsuitable soil conditions
- Not maintaining sufficient temperatures
- Insufficient humidity
When the balance of one or a combination of any of these elements is not right then you’re going to have yourself a pretty sorry-looking plant. If you can relate to the above as I did when I needed to know the answer to that simple question ‘why is my pothos droopy’, then read on.
How Do You Fix A Droopy Pothos
If you want to fix a droopy pothos you need to get three simple care steps exactly right. First, get the watering schedule right. Next, address any issues with the soil conditions. Then, make sure the temperature and humidity are right. Without these three component parts, you’ll never fix a droopy pothos. However, getting these factors spot on will ensure the longevity and health of your pothos for years to come.
In terms of getting the watering schedule right start by asking yourself a few questions:
- When was the last time I watered my pothos?
- How much water did I give it?
- How did I water it? By this I mean did you leave it in it’s decorative pot or did you stand it over the sink and allow water to run through the drainage holes?
- Do I water my pothos on a regular basis each week or do I check the moisture levels in the soil before watering it?
A good watering schedule for a pothos is based on testing the moisture levels in the soil. To do this place two fingers into the soil around your plant. If the top two inches of soil is dry, then you have the green light to water your pothos. If you can feel moisture in those top two inches then hold off watering and check again in a few days. Simple!
When you do water your pothos I recommend using room temperature water and removing it from its decorative pot and placing it in a sink or over a bowl. It’s really important that you give these plants a good soak and allow the water to drain through the drainage holes. Only place it back in its decorative pot once excess water has stopped running dripping through the drainage holes.
This leads me nicely to the next care step that needs to be spot on if you want a thriving plant and something you should always address if you need to fix your pothos. The roots of Pothos need oxygen and this can only be achieved if the soil in which your pothos is planted has a chance to dry out.
Planting your pothos in well-draining soil is one way to increase airflow so that the roots receive enough oxygen, but you can encourage this further in other ways too. Here’s what you need to know:
- Make or buy a well-draining soil mix. Use a peat-based potting soil mixed with perlite or vermiculite and charcoal or bark. There are lots of commercial ready-mixed house plant composts available. Just remember to add extra grit, perlite or vermiculite to ramp up the drainage.
- Plant your pothos in a pot or container that has good-sized drainage holes. This allows excess water to drain from the pot faster and prevents excess water pooling at the bottom of your plant’s decorative pot which could later be absorbed back into the soil meaning that soil remains damp unnecessarily.
- Plant your Pothos in a fairly shallow pot or container. Planting it in a pot that is too big will just encourage the soil to remain moist for longer.
The third care step you’ll need to check if you need to fix your pothos is the temperature and humidity in which it lives. Unlike many tropical houseplants Pothos is marginally less fussy about temperature and humidity in order to thrive. These guys need temperatures to be maintained year-round at between 65°- 85°F. They won’t tolerate a sudden dip in temperature, so it is best to grow them indoors if outdoor temperatures are likely to drop below 65°F at any point.
As far as humidity levels go, they will do will when levels are between 40-50%. If you don’t live in a particularly humid climate then there are various ways to increase humidity levels for your pothos.
Consider positioning it in a bathroom or kitchen as typically, these rooms are the warmest in the house and are prone to those extra water particles in the air that are cause by steam from hot showers or baths and cooking.
You could also consider positioning your pothos next to other humidity loving plants. This serves to create a miniature micro-climate that your plants will love.
Placing a pebble tray underneath your pothos’ pot and filling it half full with water will also help to increaseh humidiy levels.
Alternatively, you might want to consider investing in a humidifier.
You may find that you just need to address one of these factors. Alternatively, you may need to revise your whole pothos care plan. While you are establishing how to fix your droopy pothos I recommend you hold off with any watering until you’ve established to root cause of the problem.
Why Is My Pothos Droopy After Watering?
Your Pothos can become droopy after watering if excess water is not given the opportunity to drain off before replacing in the decorative pot. This causes water to be retained in the soil and too much can be absorbed by the roots. This restricts airflow to the roots and can cause roots to become rotten and as a consequence, your plant will become droopy.
To avoid this, when you water your pothos I recommend removing it from its decorative pot and placing it in a sink or over a bowl. It’s really important that you give these plants a good soak and allow the water to drain through the drainage holes. Only place it back in its decorative pot once excess water has stopped dripping through the drainage holes.
Use room temperature water to avoid causing shock to your pothos and always choose a pot that has decent sized drainage holes.
Planting your pothos in well-draining soil is another way of preventing a droopy pothos after watering as this will increase airflow so that the roots receive enough oxygen. You can make or buy a well-draining soil mix. I tend to use a good quality succulent and cactus potting mix just because they already contain minerals such as grit or perlite and this allows for more aeration and better drainage. Espoma Organic Cactus Soil is my go to. Its made with a blend that includes sphagnum moss, humus, perlite and limestone as well as forest product to boost the nutrients that my pothos needs to absorb to stay healthy.
What Does An Overwatered Pothos Look Like?
Long story short an over-watered pothos will look ‘sad’. It certainly won’t look its perky, vibrant, lush green-leaved self. I recently inherited this variegated ‘Epipremnum Aureum N’Joy’ Pothos.
As you can see, it’s just not as vivacious-looking as it should be, its leaves are beginning to curl and droop and it’s starting to display a couple of yellow leaves near the base of the plant.
Droopy or yellow Leaves (either both at the same time or individually) can also be a sign of an overwatered pothos, especially if older leaves or leaves that are near the base of the plant turn yellow. This happens when the roots of the plant are unable to absorb oxygen and nutrients and are therefore unable to function correctly. Typically, this happens when roots have been kept moist and can cause root rot.
Leaves with brown spots may also be a cause of overwatering. To truly diagnose this you need to look closely at the spots. The brown spots of an overwatered pothos will initially look like swollen spots or blisters on the surface of the leaf. The surface of these blisters will eventually burst and leave brown wound-like markings.
Diagnosis is not always straight forward but a good starting point is checking the moisture levels in the soil. If it’s damp and has been that way for a while or it continues to remain damp for a few days after you have checked then chances are you have an overwatered pothos.
How Do You Tell If Pothos Is Overwatered?
Long story short an overwatered pothos will look ‘sad’. It certainly won’t look its perky, vibrant, lush green-leaved self. Diagnosis is not always straight forward but a good starting point is checking the moisture levels in the soil. If it’s damp and has been that way for a while or it continues to remain damp for a few days after you have checked then chances are you have an overwatered pothos.
In terms of what your pothos might look like, a sure sign of an overwatered pothos is where older leaves or leaves that are near the base of the plant turn yellow. This happens when the roots of the plant are unable to absorb oxygen and nutrients and are therefore unable to function correctly. Typically, this happen when roots have been kept moist and causes root rot.
Leaves With Brown Spots are also an indication of an overwatered pothos. To truly diagnose this, you need to look closely at the spots. The brown spots of an overwatered pothos will initially look like swollen spots or blisters on the surface of the leaf. The surface of these blisters will eventually burst and leave brown wound-like markings.
How Often Should Pothos Be Watered?
A good watering schedule for a pothos is based on testing the moisture levels in the soil rather than diarising a date and time for when to water it.
This is because your pothos plant will absorb differing amounts of water depending on atmospheric temperature, levels of humidity, and the time of year. Just like us, your Pothos will need more water when the outside temperature is warm and during its growing season and less when the weather is cooler and during its dormancy in the winter months.
To check if your Pothos needs water place two fingers into the soil around your plant. If the top two inches of soil is dry, then you have the green light to water your pothos. If you can feel moisture in those top two inches then hold off watering and check again in a few days.
How Do I Know If My Pothos Has Root Rot?
An indication that your pothos has root rot is droopy and yellow leaves. The soil of your pothos is also likely to remain soggy for long periods of time. This is a sign that the roots are saturated and no longer able to absorb moisture.
Pothos need a good deal of airflow in their soil as this helps them absorb vital oxygen and nutrients. In turn they will produce energy that is then distributed to the remaining parts of the plant.
Root rot can have a detrimental effect on the plant’s health if not dealt with quickly enough and unfortunately, it’s not always easy to spot since the roots are below soil level.
Well-draining soil is a good place to start to avoid root rot in the first place and regularly checking the health of roots as and when you repot your pothos will also help.
When you are checking roots for disease, first remove your pothos from its pot and brush away as much soil from around the roots as possible. Carefully examine the roots and look out for any brown or black and soft and mushy areas of the roots. These are rotten and will need to be removed immediately.
When removing rotten areas of the roots, always use sterilized and sharp pruning tools and re-sanitize between each cut you make. All traces of the disease needs to be removed until you are just left with creamy-white and firm roots. Allow the roots to dry before replanting in a clean pot with good-sized drainage holes and always use fresh well-draining soil mixed with extra grit or perlite.
Why Is My Pothos Droopy and Yellow?
Droopy and yellow leaves on a Pothos can be a sign that the roots are not functioning properly and are no longer able to supply nutrients and oxygen to the rest of the plant. This usually happens if the soil is too damp for too long.
Are Yellow Leaves A Sign Of Overwatering?
The most likely cause of yellow leaves on your pothos is overwatering. The first leaves to turn yellow are usually those around the base of the plant or older leaves. This indicates that the plant’s energy is focusing on new growth or the growth that is most exposed to the light.
How Do I Fix Yellow Leaves On My Pothos?
To fix yellow leaves on a pothos, I recommend that you first remove all of the affected leaves. However, if more than one third of the leaves on your plant are yellow then you should remove them gradually over 2-3 weeks rather than all at once. This is because vigorous pruning may shock the plant and cause further damage.
When removing yellow leaves, always use sharp and sterile pruning tools. It’s likely that the stem that the yellow leaves are attached too will also be yellow so make your cut approximately one inch clear of the yellow area or as near to the base of the pothos as possible.
It’s really important to re-sanitize your pruning tools after each cut. This will help to minimize the spread of disease to healthy parts of your plant.
It’s also worth checking the condition of the roots of your pothos if you suspect that the yellow leaves are due to overwatering or a lack of well-draining soil. When checking root health, you are looking for creamy-white roots that are firm to the touch. Any brown or black mushy roots need to be removed. Again, always use sterile pruning tools after each snip.
Let the roots dry out a little before repotting and revising your plant’s watering schedule.
Can Yellow Pothos Leaves Turn Green Again?
It is possible to revive yellow leaves back to their luscious and vibrant green colour but only if you treat the overwatering issue early. By this I mean that only one or two leaves have started to turn yellow.
How Do I Know If My Pothos Is Healthy?
A healthy pothos will have lush, green leaves, regular new shoots during the growing season and an adequate trail of foliage that cascades over the sides of the pot.
Yellow, drooping or wilting leaves, slow or leggy growth are all indicators that your pothos is in trouble and needs some TLC.
Why Is My Pothos Droopy After Repotting
It’s quite normal for a pothos to display signs of shock such as drooping after repotting. Thankfully they will usually bounce back to their perky selves within a few weeks. There are a number of things however, you can do to help reduce the risk of shock and the subsequent drooping that often occurs after repotting.
Make sure your plant is in the best possible health before you repot it. If it’s lacklustre before you repot it, chances are it’ll stay that way once you’ve rehomed it and it could start to display other symptoms such as losing leaves and take even longer to recover.
Bear in mind that young plants with an established root system tend to fare better than fully mature plants. This is because these young plants put out more growth than older plants and so their ability to bounce back is greater.
Drooping leaves are often a result of damaged root tips. These root tips are where the majority of water is absorbed and when these become damaged during the repotting process your plant needs time for these to recover or new tips to emerge. To avoid this, make sure your pothos is sufficiently hydrated before you repot it, be as gentle as possible when lifting your pothos from the old pot and when brushing off old soil.
Do You Water Pothos After Repotting?
I like to sprinkle a few inches of potting mix into the bottom of the pot and give it gentle water before I place the repotted plant into the pot. I then backfill the pot with more potting mix before modestly watering the top layer of soil.
I just find that repotting into dry soil seems to dry roots out a little too much otherwise and this also helps to prevent my pothos from drooping.
Droopy Pothos Cutting
You may have heard or already know that propagating pothos is easy. It’s true, but it is still possible to get it wrong and end up with a droopy pothos cutting. Here’s all you need to know to avoid it:
Only take a cutting from a healthy plant. This means one that is disease free, has no yellowing leaves and is not showing any signs of wilting or drooping.
Make sure you are propagating while your plant is actively growing. There is no point trying to cultivate any plant while it is dormant as your plant just won’t be growing much.
Select the healthiest vine you can find and use a sharp and sterile pruning tool to take a cutting that is between 4 to 6 inches in length. Be sure to make the cut just below a node. The ideal scenario here is that you end up with just one node at the end of your cutting.
As soon as you’ve made the cutting, pop it in a jar of water or in a propagation station and place it in a bright, warm spot with no direct sunlight and away from any drafts.
Other than changing the water regularly and being patient, that really is all you need to do.
Can You Propagate A Wilted Pothos
I wouldn’t recommend propagating a wilted pothos. Plants need to be as healthy as possible to stand any chance of successful propagation and a wilted pothos is a sign of an unhealthy, often dehydrated plant.
Only use healthy cuttings for propagation purposes.
Can Pothos Live In Water Forever?
If a pothos has been grown from a cutting in water then it can continue to grow into a fully mature plant in water. Switching from water to soil or vice versa is too much of a shock for pothos and the change to a totally different environment is likely to kill them.
Why Is My Pothos Droopy Final Thoughts
So there you have it, my guide to understanding why your pothos may be droopy. It can be baffling, alarming, and confusing to whittle down the possible causes especially when you have invested time, money, and a whole load of love into caring for your precious plant.
Believe me, it’s an investment that is well worth the effort and will stand you and your pothos in good stead for many years to come.