If you’re an avid gardener or simply enjoy having a few houseplants in your home, you’ve most likely come across the pothos plant. This botanical beauty is known for its lush green leaves and low-maintenance nature, making it a popular choice among plant lovers. However, like any living thing, pothos plants can sometimes experience health issues, such as yellowing leaves. If your pothos is turning yellow, it’s important to understand the root cause and take the necessary steps to address the issue.
One of the most common reasons why pothos leaves turn yellow is overwatering. Although these plants do enjoy some moisture, too much water can lead to root rot and poor nutrient uptake. To avoid overwatering, it’s best to let the top inch of soil dry out before watering your pothos again. Additionally, make sure your pothos is not sitting in excess water in a saucer or under a pot, as this can also contribute to yellowing leaves.
Another reason your pothos may be turning yellow is due to a lack of nutrients. Like all plants, pothos require a balanced diet of essential nutrients to thrive. If the soil lacks these nutrients, your pothos may display yellowing leaves as a sign of nutrient deficiency. To combat this issue, consider fertilizing your plant with a balanced houseplant fertilizer on a monthly basis. This will help provide the necessary nutrients and keep your pothos healthy and vibrant.
In addition to watering and nutrition, pothos plants can also be affected by pests or diseases. A pest infestation, such as spider mites or aphids, can cause yellowing leaves as these insects feed on the plant’s sap. If you suspect a pest problem, examine your pothos closely for signs of infestation, such as webbing, tiny insects, or distorted leaves. If you find any pests, take immediate action to remove them and treat your plant with an appropriate pesticide.
Lastly, it’s important to consider the natural life cycle of pothos plants. Leaves that are old or damaged will naturally turn yellow and drop off as new growth emerges. This is a normal transition for pothos plants, and occasional yellowing leaves should not be a cause for concern. However, if your pothos is consistently turning yellow and losing leaves, it may indicate a more serious problem.
If you’re unsure about the specific cause of your pothos’ yellowing leaves, consulting with a plant expert or doing further research can be helpful. The team at Bloomscape, a leading houseplant retailer, offers a wealth of resources and expertise to help plant owners maintain their pothos and other houseplants. By taking action and addressing the issue, you can help your pothos return to its healthy, green state.
Why is my pothos turning yellow? The main reasons
If you have a pothos plant and you’ve noticed that its leaves are turning yellow, it is important to identify the cause in order to help solve the issue. Here are the main reasons why pothos plants may turn yellow:
One of the most common causes of yellowing leaves in pothos plants is overwatering. Pothos plants prefer to be watered when the top inch of soil is dry. Too much water can lead to root rot and nutrient deficiencies, causing the leaves to turn yellow.
On the other hand, underwatering can also cause yellowing leaves. Pothos plants require regular watering to maintain their health. If the soil becomes too dry, the leaves may start to turn yellow.
3. Lack of sunlight
Pothos plants thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. If your plant is not getting enough light, the leaves may turn yellow. Place your pothos near a window where it can receive adequate sunlight, but avoid direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves.
4. Nutrient deficiencies
Pothos plants require a balanced diet of essential nutrients to stay healthy. If your plant is not receiving enough nutrients, the leaves may turn yellow. Regularly feeding your pothos plant with a balanced houseplant fertilizer can help prevent nutrient deficiencies.
5. Diseases and pests
Pothos plants can be affected by diseases and pests, such as root rot, fungal infections, and mites. These issues can cause the leaves to turn yellow. Regularly inspect your plant for any signs of diseases or pests, and take appropriate measures to treat them.
6. Inadequate humidity
Pothos plants prefer a humid environment, and low humidity levels can lead to yellowing leaves. If your home has dry air, consider using a humidifier or placing a tray of water near the plant to increase the humidity.
By addressing these main causes, you can help your pothos plant regain its health and vibrant green color. Remember to observe your plant’s needs and make any necessary adjustments to its care routine.
1 Incorrect watering
One of the most common reasons why pothos plants turn yellow is due to incorrect watering practices. Proper watering is essential for the overall health and well-being of houseplants, and pothos plants are no exception.
When it comes to watering your pothos, it’s important to find the right balance. Overwatering or underwatering can both lead to yellowing leaves and overall plant distress.
So, what exactly is the correct way to water your pothos plant? One general rule of thumb is to water your pothos when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. This means that you should stick your finger into the soil and check its moisture level.
If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water your pothos. However, if the soil feels moist, it’s best to wait and give the plant some time to dry out before watering. Remember that overwatering can lead to root rot and other diseases, which can cause the leaves to turn yellow.
Another important factor to consider is the type of water you use. Pothos plants prefer slightly acidic water with a pH level around 6-6.5. If your tap water is hard or has a high mineral content, it may affect the health of your pothos plant. In this case, consider using filtered or distilled water instead.
Avoid using water that has been treated with water softeners or water that has passed through a water softener system, as these can contain high levels of salt that can harm the pothos.
Lastly, be mindful of the saucer or drainage tray underneath the pothos pot. These trays are designed to catch excess water that drains out of the pot, but leaving stagnant water in the tray can lead to root rot and yellowing leaves. Make sure to empty the saucer regularly and never let the pot sit in standing water for a prolonged period of time.
If you’re unsure about your watering practices, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from experts or consult professional resources. Websites like Bloomscape, Hortology, and The Sill offer valuable information and guidance on plant care.
By providing the right amount of water, using suitable water quality, and ensuring proper drainage, you can help your pothos stay happy and healthy, with vibrant green leaves instead of yellow ones.
2 Poor drainage
If your pothos plant is turning yellow, one possible cause could be poor drainage. Pothos plants, like many other houseplants, prefer to be kept in well-draining soil. When water is unable to properly drain out of the pot, it can lead to waterlogged roots and cause yellowing leaves.
To maintain good drainage for your pothos, make sure you are using a well-draining potting mix. Avoid compacted soil that retains too much moisture. Adding perlite or sand to the soil can also help improve drainage.
Signs of poor drainage:
- Yellowing leaves, particularly on the lower parts of the plant
- Wet or soggy soil
- Stunted growth
How to improve drainage:
- Choose a pot with drainage holes
- Use a well-draining potting mix
- Avoid over-watering your pothos – water only when the top inch of soil feels dry
- Consider using a layer of rocks or gravel at the bottom of the pot to help water drain more effectively
- Elevate the pot on feet or a tray to allow excess water to escape
By ensuring proper drainage for your pothos plant, you help prevent waterlogged roots and create a healthier environment for your plant to thrive. Remember, each plant is unique, so it’s important to pay attention to its specific needs.
3 A change in light levels
Changes in light levels can also be a sign of why your pothos is turning yellow. Garden and houseplants, like pothos, regularly transition from outdoor to indoor environments. This change in light can cause stress to the plant and result in yellowing leaves.
According to Debbie Neese, an expert on houseplants from Ohio, neon pothos in particular are sensitive to changes in light levels. They prefer bright, indirect light, so if you’ve recently moved your plant to a location with lower light levels, it may start to experience yellowing leaves.
Your pothos relies on photosynthesis to produce energy and maintain health. The plant’s variegation, or the pattern of green and white on its leaves, helps it capture more light and nutrients. When light levels are too low, the plant may not be able to produce enough energy, resulting in yellow leaves.
If you think a change in light levels may be the cause of your pothos yellowing, there are a few steps you can take to better manage the situation:
- Assess the current light levels: Check the area where your pothos is placed and evaluate the amount of light it receives. If the light is too low, consider moving the plant closer to a window or providing supplemental artificial light.
- Adjust gradually: If you’re transitioning your pothos from an outdoor to an indoor environment, do it gradually. Start by placing the plant in a location with slightly lower light levels and gradually move it to its final position over a few weeks.
- Water according to light levels: Remember that lower light levels generally result in slower growth and reduced water needs. Adjust your watering schedule accordingly, allowing the top few inches of soil to dry out between waterings.
- Monitor for pests: Changes in light levels can also make your pothos more susceptible to pest infestations. Keep an eye out for signs of pests, such as mealybugs or spider mites, and take appropriate action if necessary.
By paying attention to the light levels your pothos receives and making adjustments accordingly, you can help prevent yellowing leaves and maintain the overall health of your houseplant.
4 Nutrient deficiencies
1. Iron deficiency
A common nutrient deficiency in pothos plants is iron deficiency. Iron is an essential micronutrient that is necessary for the synthesis of chlorophyll, which gives leaves their green color. When a pothos plant doesn’t get enough iron, its leaves can start to turn yellow.
Signs & Symptoms: The leaves of a pothos plant with an iron deficiency will typically turn yellow, starting from the youngest leaves and progressing to older leaves. The veins may remain green while the rest of the leaf turns yellow.
What to do: To remedy an iron deficiency, you can purchase iron supplements specifically designed for houseplants and follow the package instructions to apply them to your pothos plant. You can also try adding iron-rich fertilizer or organic compost to the soil.
2. Nitrogen deficiency
Another common nutrient deficiency in pothos plants is nitrogen deficiency. Nitrogen is an essential macronutrient that is responsible for promoting leaf and stem growth. When there is not enough nitrogen available, the plant may exhibit stunted growth and yellowing leaves.
Signs & Symptoms: Pothos plants with a nitrogen deficiency will have leaves that appear pale green or yellow, especially on older leaves. The leaves may also be smaller than usual.
What to do: To address a nitrogen deficiency, you can use a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen. Be sure to follow the package instructions for application rates. Alternatively, you can also incorporate organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, into the soil to increase nitrogen levels.
3. Potassium deficiency
Potassium is another essential macronutrient that plays a crucial role in overall plant health. It is responsible for strengthening cell walls, regulating water movement within the plant, and promoting root development. When a pothos plant lacks potassium, its leaves may turn yellow and exhibit signs of overall poor health.
Signs & Symptoms: Pothos plants with a potassium deficiency will display yellowing leaves, regardless of their age. The leaves may also have brown or necrotic spots, and the overall growth of the plant may be stunted.
What to do: To address a potassium deficiency, you can use a potassium-rich fertilizer specifically formulated for houseplants. Follow the package instructions to ensure proper application. Additionally, you can also use banana peels as a natural source of potassium by burying them in the soil around the plant.
4. Calcium deficiency
Although less common, a calcium deficiency can also affect pothos plants. Calcium plays a vital role in cell wall structure, enzyme activity, and overall plant development. When a pothos plant lacks calcium, its leaves may show signs of distortion, browning, and stunted growth.
Signs & Symptoms: Pothos plants with a calcium deficiency may have distorted or misshapen leaves, along with browning or necrotic spots. The overall growth of the plant may be stunted.
What to do: To address a calcium deficiency, you can use a calcium-rich fertilizer that is suitable for houseplants. Additionally, you can also incorporate crushed eggshells into the soil, as they are an excellent source of calcium.
5 Environmental stress
Environmental stress can also contribute to the yellowing of pothos plants. Here are some common environmental factors to consider:
- Light levels: Pothos plants thrive in bright, indirect light. If your plant is not receiving enough light, the leaves may turn yellow. Place your pothos plant near a window where it can receive the perfect amount of light.
- Temperature: Extreme temperatures, especially cold drafts, can stress pothos plants and cause yellowing of the leaves. Avoid placing your plant near drafts or in locations with fluctuating temperature levels.
- Humidity: Pothos plants prefer moderate to high humidity levels. If the air is too dry, it can lead to dry, yellow leaves. Consider using a humidifier or placing a tray of water near the plant to increase humidity levels.
- Overwatering: While pothos plants like to be watered regularly, overwatering can lead to root rot and yellowing leaves. Ensure that the soil is well-drained and allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.
- Fertilizer: Lack of nutrients or excessive fertilizer can also cause yellowing of pothos leaves. Follow a regular fertilizing schedule using a balanced houseplant fertilizer to provide the necessary nutrients for your plant.
If you notice any yellowing leaves on your pothos plant, consider these environmental factors and make any necessary adjustments. Maintaining a healthy environment for your pothos plants will help prevent yellowing and promote vibrant, green foliage.
6 Pests or diseases
If you notice that your pothos plant is turning yellow, it could be a sign of pests or diseases. Here are six common issues that can cause your pothos leaves to turn yellow:
Pest infestation: Pothos plants can be susceptible to pest infestations, such as spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. These pests can feed on the leaves of your plant, causing them to turn yellow and deteriorate. Taking action to control and eliminate these pests is crucial for the health of your plant.
Fungal diseases: Diseases like root rot and leaf spot can also cause yellowing leaves. Root rot occurs when the plant’s roots become waterlogged, leading to fungal growth and yellowing of the leaves. Leaf spot, on the other hand, is a fungal infection that leads to the appearance of dark spots on the leaves, which later turn yellow. Proper watering and maintaining good drainage can help prevent these diseases.
Nutrient deficiency: If your pothos is not receiving the proper nutrients, its leaves may start to turn yellow. Lack of essential minerals, such as nitrogen, iron, or magnesium, can cause yellowing. Providing a balanced fertilizer can help ensure your plant receives the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.
Low light levels: Pothos plants prefer bright, indirect light. If they are placed in a location with insufficient light, their leaves may yellow and the variegation may diminish. Moving your plant to a spot with more light can help alleviate this issue.
Extreme temperatures: Pothos plants are sensitive to extreme temperatures. If they are exposed to very hot or cold conditions, their leaves may turn yellow. Keeping your pothos in a temperature-controlled environment will help prevent this problem.
Overwatering: Overwatering can lead to yellowing of pothos leaves. The roots of the plant need oxygen to function properly, and excessive watering can suffocate them. Allowing the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again is generally recommended. Additionally, make sure your pothos has proper drainage.
If you’re unsure about the cause of your pothos leaves turning yellow, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from experts in the field of horticulture. They can help diagnose the issue and provide specific recommendations to address the problem. By taking appropriate action, you can help your pothos regain its health and vibrant green color.
7 Natural causes and leaf variegation
When your pothos leaves change color and turn yellow, it isn’t always a cause for concern. There are natural factors that can contribute to leaf variegation and yellowing, and it’s important to understand these causes before jumping to conclusions. Here are 7 natural causes of leaf variegation:
- Changes in light exposure: Pothos leaves aren’t only green, they also have variegation patterns of white or yellow. If you notice that the yellowing leaves aren’t only yellow but also have more vibrant variegation, it may be due to a change in lighting. Pothos plants prefer bright, indirect light, so moving your plant to a spot with more or less light can impact leaf coloration.
- Root health: However, if the yellowing is uniform and the entire leaf is turning yellow, it’s likely that the root health is the main cause. Overwatering or inadequate drainage can lead to root rot, which affects the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients. This lack of nutrients can result in yellowing leaves.
- Low nutrient levels: Pothos plants are generally easy to care for, but they still need a little help to thrive. Regularly feeding your pothos with a balanced houseplant fertilizer helps ensure it gets the necessary nutrients.
- Watering issues: Overwatering or underwatering can both contribute to yellowing leaves. Pothos plants like to be evenly moist, but not wet. Make sure to water your pothos when the top inch of soil feels dry, and ensure that there is proper drainage to avoid waterlogged roots.
- Ambient humidity levels: Pothos plants prefer a humid environment, so if the air in your home is too dry, it can lead to leaf yellowing. You can increase humidity by placing a water-filled saucer near the plant or by using a humidifier.
- Temperature fluctuations: Pothos plants are happy in typical indoor temperatures, but extreme fluctuations can stress them out. Avoid placing your pothos near drafts or in rooms that are too hot or cold.
- Seasonal changes: In winter, pothos plants naturally go into a state of slower growth, often resulting in yellowing leaves. This is a normal transition, and as long as new leaves continue to grow, it’s nothing to worry about.
These natural causes of leaf variegation and yellowing are common among pothos plants. By understanding these factors and addressing them appropriately, you can help your pothos remain healthy and vibrant.
Should I remove yellowing leaves on pothos
If you have a pothos plant at home, you may have noticed that some of the leaves are turning yellow. This is a common issue that many pothos owners face, and it can be quite concerning. However, before you start plucking off those yellow leaves, there are a few things you need to consider.
1. Natural leaf aging
One of the main reasons why pothos leaves turn yellow is because of natural leaf aging. Just like humans, plants also age, and as a part of this process, the older leaves of the plant may turn yellow and drop off. This is a completely normal and natural phenomenon and should not cause alarm.
2. Lack of nutrients or overwatering
Another common cause of yellowing leaves in pothos plants is a lack of nutrients or overwatering. If the plant is not receiving enough nutrients, either due to poor soil quality or infrequent fertilization, the leaves may start to turn yellow. On the other hand, if the plant is being overwatered or the roots are sitting in water for too long, this can also lead to yellowing leaves.
3. Environmental factors
Environmental factors can also play a role in the yellowing of pothos leaves. If the plant is placed in a spot where it is receiving too much direct sunlight or if it is exposed to cold drafts, this can cause stress to the plant and result in yellowing leaves. Additionally, moving the plant frequently between different locations or rooms can also cause the leaves to turn yellow.
4. Pest infestation or disease
In some cases, yellowing leaves may be a sign of a pest infestation or disease affecting the plant. Common pests that can affect pothos plants include spider mites, scale insects, and mealybugs. These pests feed on the plant’s sap, causing damage and discoloration to the leaves. If you suspect a pest infestation or disease, it is important to take action to prevent further damage to the plant.
Should you remove yellowing leaves?
Ultimately, the decision to remove yellowing leaves from your pothos plant depends on the cause and severity of the yellowing. If the yellowing is due to natural leaf aging, it is best to leave the leaves alone and let them drop off naturally. However, if the yellowing is caused by a nutrient deficiency, overwatering, or some other environmental factor, it may be necessary to remove the affected leaves to promote the plant’s health.
If you do decide to remove yellowing leaves, make sure to use clean and sharp pruning shears. Cut the leaf close to the base of the stem, being careful not to damage the surrounding healthy leaves.
It is also important to address the underlying issue causing the yellowing in the first place. Adjust the watering schedule, provide the plant with proper nutrients, and ensure it is placed in an optimal location with the right amount of light.
If you are unsure about the cause of the yellowing or need further assistance, consider reaching out to a plant expert or consulting reputable online resources for advice. They can provide personalized guidance to help you restore your pothos plant to its healthy and vibrant state.
Can yellow pothos leaves turn green again
Yellowing leaves on a pothos plant can be a cause for concern, as it may indicate that the plant is not receiving the proper care or that there is an underlying issue. However, if you take action and address the problem, it is possible for the yellow leaves to turn green again.
Identifying the cause of yellowing leaves
Before taking any action, it is important to identify the cause of the yellowing leaves. Overwatering is one of the main reasons why pothos leaves turn yellow. If you have been watering your plant too frequently or if the soil is retaining excess moisture, the roots may become waterlogged and the leaves may begin to yellow.
On the other hand, if you aren’t watering your pothos enough, the plant may become dehydrated and the leaves may turn yellow as a result.
Another possible cause of yellowing leaves is a lack of nutrients. Pothos plants require regular fertilization to maintain the health and color of their leaves. If your plant is not receiving enough nutrients, it may start to show yellowing leaves.
In some cases, yellowing leaves are a natural occurrence as the plant ages. As the leaves age and mature, they may change color and develop a yellow hue. This is generally not cause for concern.
Taking action to revive yellow pothos leaves
If you notice that your pothos leaves are turning yellow, here are some steps you can take to bring them back to life:
- Check the soil moisture: Make sure you are not overwatering or underwatering your plant. Stick your finger into the soil; if it feels dry an inch below the surface, it’s time to water.
- Fertilize your plant: Use a balanced houseplant fertilizer and follow the recommended instructions for application. This will provide your pothos with the necessary nutrients for healthy green leaves.
- Adjust lighting: Pothos plants prefer bright, indirect light. If your plant is in a spot that is too dark or receives too much direct sunlight, consider moving it to a more suitable location.
- Inspect the roots: If you suspect root rot due to overwatering, carefully remove the plant from its pot and check the roots. Trim away any soft or mushy roots and repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil.
Consulting with experts
If your efforts to revive your pothos leaves are not successful, consider seeking help from experts. There are many resources available, such as online plant communities, gardening forums, and local horticulture experts in your area. By submitting a sample or describing the issue, you can get expert advice tailored to your specific situation.
In summary, yellow pothos leaves can turn green again with proper care and attention. By addressing the root cause of the yellowing, adjusting watering and lighting, and providing the necessary nutrients, you can help your pothos plant regain its health and vibrant green color.