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Pothos Drooping (Why And How To Revive)

Growing pothos in a non-native environment can sometimes bring some difficulties. The fact is that in nature, plants adapt harmoniously to external factors and survive this way. At home, the whole responsibility for surviving pothos falls on the owner and, as a result, trouble can happen.

One of the most prevalent causes of drooping or wilting Pothos leaves is dry soil. Pothos grows best in persistently moist soil. The leaves droop and may turn brown if the soil is too dry. It’s crucial to strike a balance between overwatering and underwatering your plant.

Why is my pothos droopy? Symptoms How to revive
Dry soil The leaves will droop and turn yellow. Water the pothos with a generous amount of water. Don’t let the soil dry out more than 2 inches.
Overwatering Leaves will droop and turn yellow or brown. Water pothos no sooner than the soil dries out a couple of inches.
Cold snap The leaves will droop and may turn black. Move the pothos to a warmer location.
Too dry air Leaves will sag, and dry patches will appear on them. Ensure an air humidity of 60%.
Water repellent soil Leaves droop from over or under-watering. Transplant the pothos into drained soil.
Insufficient container size The leaves will droop and may turn yellow. Move the pothos to a pot several inches larger than the previous pot.
Transplant shock The leaves will droop, turn yellow, and fall off. When transplanting, don’t damage the roots, move the pothos to a less bright place for a while.
Light issues The leaves will stretch out and droop. Place the pothos in a place with 8-12 hours of indirect but bright sunlight.
Insects The leaves will droop and you will see traces of the insects. Spray pothos with horticultural oil.
Disease infestation The stems will change color or the leaves will become blotchy and droopy. Spray pothos with fungicide.

Dry soil can cause pothos leaves to droop

Pothos drooping

Underwatered pothos drooping

Dehydration is often the reason why pothos leaves droop. The fact is that the potting soil dries out sometimes faster and sometimes slower, depending on many factors. If you are used to watering pothos once a week, the plant may not have enough water.

The potting soil has to dry out almost completely for the pothos leaves to lose their tension and start to droop. Another symptom is the yellowing of the leaves.

To avoid underwatering in the future, you should water the pothos when the potting soil is 2 inches dry, but no more. Sometimes the soil can dry out quite quickly, so check the substrate moisture as often as possible.

Water the pothos so that all the soil and roots are evenly moist. What you should not do is water frequently with a small amount of water.

Pothos drooping

Pothos drooping

Overwatering

Pothos drooping due to overwatering

Pothos drooping due to overwatering.

Too frequent watering or a lack of drainage holes in the pot will result in the roots being constantly exposed to water. As a result, the root system does not work properly and root rot develops.

If your pothos leaves are droopy and turning yellow or brown, check how moist the soil in the pot is. If it’s swampy, overwatering is most likely the problem. Also, an unpleasant odor may be oozing from the pot, and small flies may be appearing there.

To fix the overflow, pull the pothos out of the pot and remove the dirt from the roots. If there are rotten roots, remove them and plant the pothos in a new pot with clean, well-drained soil. The pot should have at least 4 large drainage holes.

Water the pothos moderately. The soil should dry 1-2 inches between waterings.

Cold snap

Pothos drooping

Pothos drooping

Lower temperatures can cause pothos leaves to droop. This sometimes happens if you take the plant outside. Temperatures can drop below 50°F at night or there can even be brief frosts. This will certainly leave a mark in the form of drooping leaves. If the frost has been severe, they may turn black.

The leaves may even get damaged if you place the pothos close to an air conditioner or other cooling device.

If the damage is already done, there is nothing you can do about it. You have to move the pothos to a place where it is warm enough. After that, remove any damaged leaves. To help the plant while it recovers, water it with liquid fertilizer.

In the future, do not take the pothos outside or on a balcony if the temperature drops.

Too dry air

Pothos drooped because of the dry air.

Pothos drooped because of the dry air.

Low humidity can cause leaves to droop or sag. In its native conditions, pothos is used to growing in a humid environment, growing it in a room we can’t always provide enough humidity. If you add summer heat to this, the leaves will become soft and saggy.

Various heaters or fans or devices that produce heat also reduce the humidity. If pothos grows near them, the leaves will suffer.

The first thing to do is to place the pothos in a place where it will not be affected by the aforementioned appliances. Then you can mist the leaves by hand, such as with a sprayer. Or you can install a humidifier near the plant.

Pebble trays placed near pothos work well. A humidity of 60-70% is ideal, but avoid a very humid environment for a long time. Pothos leaves can get fungal diseases if they are constantly wet.

Water repellent soil

Pothos drooping

Pothos drooping

The next problem is the soil. Some nurseries grow plants in peat and if you bought one of these, you may have problems with watering.

The fact is that if the peat dries out, it is very difficult to re-hydrate it. If you pour water into the pot all the water will run down the inside walls of the pot and will not get to the roots. As a result, the leaves will droop from dehydration.

To fix this you have to put the pot in a bucket of water and let the water penetrate to the roots and get the peat well wet. Or you can transplant the pothos into regular potting soil by adding some clean, quality compost.

The second type is heavy and poorly drained soil. Water will stagnate in such a substrate and the roots will rot. As a result, you will get leaf drooping from overwatering.

The solution to this problem is to transplant the pothos into a well-drained substrate. You can find special soil mixes for aroids on the market.

Insufficient container size

Pothos drooping

Pothos drooping

If your pothos has been growing in a pot for many years without replanting, the root system may have outgrown the size of the pot. You will end up with a ball of roots that will be hard to handle.

The soil in the pot will dry out too quickly and more frequent watering will not solve the problem completely. The roots will also be less able to absorb the fertilizer. All of this will cause the leaves to droop.

To avoid this situation, you should repot the pothos every two years in a bigger pot. The container should be at least 1 inch wider and deeper than the previous one, and it should have drainage holes.

Transplant shock as a cause of pothos drooping

Pothos drooping because of transplant shock

Pothos drooping because of transplant shock.

Replanting is always stressful for the plants. No matter how carefully you transplant your pothos, it can still get stressed even if the roots are intact. Sometimes moving to another room can have negative consequences.

Transplant shock occurs because the plant needs to adapt to the new environment. During this time, the leaves sometimes droop and some may even wither.

In most cases, you don’t have to worry too much about this. A few dead leaves are no reason to panic.

All you have to do is to make sure that the soil of the new pot is sufficiently moist and that the pothos is not exposed to any direct sunlight. To make it easier to adapt to a new container, you can move the pothos to a more shady location for a few days or weeks. Also, don’t let the soil in the pot dry out more than an inch.

To avoid this in the future, try to transplant the pothos in early spring or fall, not during the growing season.

Light issues

Pothos drooping due to lack of light

Pothos drooping due to lack of light.

Lack of light will cause pothos leaves to elongate and become softer. This will cause the leaves to droop downward. Other symptoms may be spots from fungal diseases.

This often happens if pothos is placed in a northern room or a windowless bathroom. Also, pothos can suffer from a lack of light if placed too far away from a window.

A second case is an exposure to direct sunlight. Direct sunlight burns the leaves and they become crispy at the tips and edges. In addition, the leaves may droop, turn yellow, and fall off.

To avoid such problems in the future, place the pothos in a spot with bright but not direct sunlight all day long. The best place for this is on the side of a south-facing window. If you don’t have a suitable place, install an LED light.

Insects

Pothos drooping

Pothos drooping

Another cause of droopy leaves can be sucking insects. They attach themselves to various parts of the plant and feed on its sap. As a result, the leaves will curl, droop, turn yellow, and fall off.

The most common pests of pothos are mealybugs, aphids, thrips, scales, and mites. All of them can cause considerable damage if they spread very widely. In addition, some of these pests can spread viral diseases.

If your pothos leaves are drooping, take a good look at the plant. Look on the opposite side of the leaf for traces of insects. Most insects are fairly easy to spot except for mites as they are very small. Use a magnifying glass to locate the mite.

Spraying with horticultural oil works well against insects. Several treatments may be necessary. To get rid of mites you need to use acaricide.

Disease infestation

The disease caused pothos to droop

The disease caused pothos to droop.

Finally, I want to tell you about pothos diseases because they, too, can cause leaf drop. First of all, it is root rot, which I already told you about in the chapter on overwatering.

Next comes stem rot. As the name implies, it affects the stalks and petioles of the pothos as a result the leaves start to droop and turn yellow. It also changes the color of the stems to red or brown.

Stem rot is difficult to treat, and it is much easier to avoid it by buying a healthy plant and not overwatering it. Some fungicides can help with this.

Fungal diseases can also infect your pothos in the form of spots on the leaves. If the infestation is too widespread, the leaves may droop.

This type of disease is relatively easy to treat. Provide the pothos with enough light and good ventilation and spray the leaves with a fungicide.

Pothos drooping

Pothos drooping

Key Takeaways:

  • Both underwater and overwatering can cause pothos leaves to droop. Water the plant no sooner or later than the potting soil is 2 inches dry.
  • A sudden cold snap can cause the leaves to droop. Avoid taking the pothos outside during cold weather.
  • Dry air is not the best environment for pothos. Mist the leaves from time to time.
  • Improper soil can cause pothos to droop. Plant the pothos in well-drained soil. The pot should be large enough to give the roots room to grow.
  • Lack of light can lead to droopy pothos. Place the plant in a location with plenty of indirect bright light.
  • Diseases and pests can cause the leaves to droop. Spray pothos with fungicide or horticultural oil as appropriate.
  • Replanting disturbs the root system, which can cause the leaves to droop. Transplant the pothos carefully and shade it for a while.