How to Revive Your Dying Pothos Plant

The reason why a plant dies pothos plant is typically due to overwatering and inadequate drainage. Pothos require well-draining potting soil, and they prefer to let the upper inches of the soil dry between sessions of watering. If the soil is always damp , the leaves of the plant become yellow and have an appearance of dying and drooping because of root rot.

Root rot may also cause the leaves of pothos to brown, giving them a curly appearance, and eventually shed the leaves.

Pothos vines can become leggy when they aren’t cut regularly or are shaded too much.

If the pothos is dying following the repotting process, it is typically due to root rot that is caused to soil that is compacted poor drainage, or simply because it is big and holds excessive water.

If the pothos isn’t expanding, it is typically due to winter dormancy or a deficiency of sunlight or nutrients.

In order to revive a dying pothos, it is vital to restore its original conditions of well-draining soil. Watering should only be done after the upper inch the soil is dry, and to place the pothos in direct, bright sunlight.

It is possible to cut off any roots that are suffering from root rot, and then grow the pothos from the remaining growth in order to ensure the plant’s survival.

Read on to learn how you can help save the struggling pothos (also called devils Ivy or golden pothos). Epipremnum pinnatum )…

Pothos turning yellow and brown with Drooping and Dying Appearance

  • Symptoms. The stems and leaves turn yellow often with patches or brown spots, with a droopy appearance. The leaves also turn yellow and begin to curl, and then drop.
  • Causes. Slow draining, overwatering or clay pots that are compacted and have no drainage holes at the base.

The reason that pothos leaves are becoming yellow, drooping and dying is due to excessive watering. Pothos requires the soil’s top inch to dry out between every session of watering. When the soil is constantly damp, pothos is susceptible to root rot, which makes the leaves yellow and has an appearance of dying, drooping.

Pothos can be indigenous to South Pacific islands where it is a climber through trees using their roots in draining porous, aerated soil.

That means that when you are cultivating pothos, it is essential to mimic certain aspects of their natural environment by using the light, well-draining porous soil, and by permitting the top inch of the soil to dry out between every watering.

Pothos generally does well under watering better than overwatering, which is often the reason for the dying plant.

If the roots of the pothos are constantly damp due to excessive watering and poor drainage, this creates conditions for the fungal disease known as root decay that is usually the reason for a dying pothos.

If root rot occurs it means that the roots are unable to function and move water and nutrients throughout the plant, causing the leaves to change from yellow to brown, and then droop.

When the soil appears particularly poor at draining or is compacted, it will have the same effect as excessive watering, which can cause the root to rot and the leaves to become yellow.

Pots with no drainage holes in their base, saucers, and the trays that sit beneath them all result in excess water accumulating in the base of pots. This creates conditions for root rot, which makes the pothos leaves brown and yellow with a drooping and looking droopy.

How to revive the appearance of a Pothos Plant that has yellow and brown, drooping leaves

  • Reduce the amount of water you use to mimic the normal water cycle of the plant’s natural environment. The best method to water pothos is to soak it in generously to ensure that the excess water drips down the bottom of the pot. Then, allow the upper inch the soil dry before repeating the watering. This watering cycle ensures the pothos is in the right amount of moisture needed for the plant to thrive and also to prevent root decay.
  • Remove the pothos from the pot and examine the roots. Examine the roots for indications of root decay. If you notice that the roots appear soft and mushy, appear dark, and possess a foul smell and smell, then cut these roots all the way back to their healthy development (healthy roots are firm and white in texture) using the help of a sharp pair of pruning tools. Clean the blades of the pruners using a cloth that has been that has been soaked in disinfectant before each cut to avoid spreading fungal pathogens from the roots that are diseased to healthy roots.
  • Replant the pothos in a new well-draining, aerated potting soil. It is essential to plant the pothos in a new soil since the soil that was previously used could harbor pathogens of fungal infection that cause the roots to turn brown and the leaves to change color to yellow. Make a soil mix consisting comprising 2/3 of normal potting soil with 1/3 perlite or horticultural soil or pine back. This kind of potting mix mimics the typical porous, aerated soil conditions that are typical of the plant’s natural environment.
  • Cut back any stems that have turned yellow and look rotten. Healthy stems should be firm while a dying one feels soft and mushy, with an unpleasant smell. Cut off any stems that look diseased returning to normal growth or back to the root to the base. Clean the blades of the pruner with a damp cloth that has been soaked in disinfectant before each cut.
  • Cut back any trailing stems. If you cut down your pothos’s size by cutting the stems that have yellow leaves, you will have fewer leaves available for roots to provide support, which will help the pothos to recover. The stems can be cut back by about 2 inches from the base of the plant , which encourages new growth, or cut so that the pothos is shaped into an easier shape.
  • Repot the pothos in a container that has drainage holes at the bottom. It is also possible to reuse the pothos in the pot it came from (as long as it’s washed with disinfectant) however it is essential to ensure that any excess water drains effectively from the pot to prevent root rot. Clean out trays and saucers of any excess water frequently to avoid root decay.
  • Mist the pothos frequently after the repotting. Misting the leaves can help restore the humidity of the native habitat and decreases loss of water through the leaves, helping to reduce the effects of the effects of transplant shock. While trimming the diseased stems and roots is essential for pothos plant’s survival The interference with the roots may cause problems in bringing enough nutrients and water in the short-term So misting the leaves can reduce stress caused by water loss.
  • The pothos should be given a thorough soak after repottingit, be sure to allow the top inch of soil dry before watering it again, as this is akin to the normal cycle of moisture that occurs in the native habitat of the pothos plant.

It isn’t easy in reviving dying pothos when it is suffering from severe root rot because there are usually not enough healthy roots to absorb the water and nutrients needed to sustain the plant.

In this case, I strongly recommend that you propagate pothos from any healthy stems , since pothos is easy to propagate and could be the only option for saving the dying plant.

The process of propagating pothos is simple and cost-effective. Check out this YouTube video for tips on how to successfully grow pothos:

For a complete list of the reasons why leaves of pothos turn yellow and ways to prevent it , read my article on ways to keep a pothos plant that has the yellowed leaves.

Pothos Losing Leaves and Growing Leggy

  • Symptoms. The stems of Pothos become in height and are prone to losing leaves, especially near the base and the base. The leaves change color before disappearing.
  • Causes. Lack of light and not trimming the pothos stems regularly.

The reason pothos loses leaves and becoming leggy is due to the fact that it is a vine that climbs and concentrates its energy on the growth of long vines and new growth of leaves. The leaves at the bottom of the pothos begin to turn yellow , and then fall off as the plant grows.

The Pothos plant is indigenous of the tropical Solomon islands in the Solomon islands, where they thrive as an evergreen plant, often in the canopy of a forest.

To get enough light to thrive and grow The strategy of the pothos plant is to focus on growing their vines further up the canopy of trees, in the point in which they can have sufficient sunlight, space and resources to thrive.

Their vines therefore can develop very quickly for an indoor plant, which can result in a sagging appearance and leads to the lower leaves closer to the base, to become yellow and fall off, as the plant reroutes its energy to the support and growth of leaves higher up the vine.

Lack of light could cause the appearance of a pothos, and also create conditions that allow leaves to fall off.

Pothos is a vine that grows beneath the canopy of a forest in its natural habitat, so it is prone to scorching when exposed to too much light but if it’s in a shaded area it can cause the vines to become sagging as the plant seeks more sunlight.

The shade can cause the leaves to fall off because the pothos doesn’t have the capacity to sustain as many leaves , and also tries to save energy.

Pothos leaves can also drop when the plant matures particularly if the vines aren’t regularly cut.

Pothos plants are extremely hardy and durable, and you can quickly revive a limp pothos plant that has lost its leaves.

How to revive the Pothos Plant which is losing leaves and becoming leggy

  • Cut back the majority of long leggy vines to 2 inches above soil the soil line. Pothos is a tough plant that is tolerant of tough pruning.
  • Cut only half of the leggy vines at a moment, as if you cut all the vines at one time it could be too for a shock to the pothos. Pruning back can stimulate the growth of new plants.
  • When new growth has emerged from plants that were pruned and you are able to safely cut the remaining vines that are leggy. This will completely rejuvenate plants that are leggy with only a only a few leaves.
  • The ideal time to cut back is during growth and preferably in Spring. Pothos is more tolerant when it is growing at a rapid rate than in winter dormancy.
  • Apply a general fertilizer for houseplants at half strength every month in the Spring and Summer to aid in rejuvenating the pothos. Pruning helps stimulate sprouts, pothos’s need for nutrients rises, and fertilizers can aid in fuelling the growth of new plants and improve its appearance. Pothos is a bit sensitive to excessive fertilizer that is why I suggest making use of a fraction of the recommended amount.
  • Maintain the pothos vines cut to the size you prefer to allow more leaves to develop. The pruning of your pothos as is necessary will help keep it in shape, avoid the appearance of a leggy look and encourages the growth of leaves.
  • Place the pothos in an area with bright, indirect lighting. Pothos are tolerant of rooms with shade however they tend to become in height, so they need to be cut back more frequently and don’t develop as quickly. A room with a bright light is ideal to grow pothos, provided it’s not placed on the window sill with direct sunlight. The bright light stimulates the leaves to sprout and also prevents it from getting as large as it could be, but it will still require trimming to keep its size.

Pruning can be performed at any time during the year, but it’s recommended to prune in times of the growth phase, especially in spring, since this encourages new growth. Additionally, the pothos will regain its appearance by displaying plenty of lush, green leaves.

Pothos Leaves Curling

  • Symptoms. Leaves may turn yellow and curl when soil is damp or curl because of dry conditions.
  • Causes. Overwatering, underwatering, too high sunlight, low humidity, compacted soil, abrupt change in temperature.

The most frequent reason for the leaves of pothos curling is that the soil is damp due to overwatering as well as poor drainage. If the leaves of the pothos plant are becoming yellow and curly it means that root rot is taking place because of root rot as a result of the potting soil that is saturated.

Pothos needs the upper inch the soil to dry out between every watering session to keep it healthy and stop the leaves from becoming yellow and curving. Pothos soil may be too moist for a variety of reasons:

  • Do not water the pothos enough (let it dry prior to the watering).
  • The soil in the potting area is not sufficiently compacted (pothos requires porosity).
  • The pot is not equipped with drainage holes in its base.
  • Trays or saucers placed under the pot can prevent water from draining efficiently.

These factors all can cause the soil to remain damp for a long time which creates conditions for root rot, which causes curly leaves that become yellow, and then drop off.

But pothos leaves may also begin to curl due to excessively dry conditions that are caused by:

  • Too much direct sunlight.
  • Insufficiently watering or not watering enough.
  • The high temperatures are caused by indoor heating.
  • Low humidity.

Pothos plant species require direct, bright light and may dry out too fast due to excessive sun.

The leaves of pothos begin to curl to decrease the surface area of the leaf , which decreases the amount of water that leaves to help conserve water.

Pothos is also native to a topological, humid climate.

The humidity inside is typically about 10%, whereas the humidity in the natural surroundings is usually higher than 30 percent.

Low humidity may begin to drain too much water from the leaves of pothos, that causes them to curl.

Low humidity in the indoor environment is frequently caused by wintertime the heating of indoors and sudden rises in temperatures that can cause the leaves to curl. The ideal temperatures for pothos is between 55degF to the 80 degree range (12degC to 27degC).).

It is important to note that pothos needs a thorough irrigation, so that any excess moisture drains away out of the bottom in the bottom.

If the pothos is watered to light, just the upper inch, or more, of soil is wet, and the water will not get to the root where it is needed.

How to revive a dying Pothos by Curling Leaves

If your leaves become yellow and curly even after regular watering, it is likely that the issue is root rot. In this you should follow the steps in the previous paragraph under the first section of this article, as the same process applies.

To prevent pothos leaves from becoming yellow and curling, it is crucial for…

  • Make sure that the top inch of soil is dry before you begin watering. Pothos is not a fan of consistently wet soil, so you should examine the soil’s moisture using your fingers to see if that top layer of the soil is dry. If the soil is moist, it is best to put off watering for a while. If your soil is feeling a bit dry, it’s the ideal moment to water your pothos.
  • Plant pothos in well-draining pots in potting soil that drains well. If the soil is compacted, then the water will not drain effectively, which can cause the conditions that cause root rot. Repot pothos using 2/3 of regular potting soil, and 1/3 pine bark-based orchid potting mix to improve drainage and mimic the soil’s porous, aerated conditions found in the native pothos environment
  • Pots for pothos should have drainage holes at the base, and empty containers and saucers frequently. This will ensure that water will be drained efficiently from the base of the pot, so that the soil will dry out between every round of watering to mimic the normal cycle of soil water in the plant’s natural environment.

If the leaves of the pothos are curly, but not changing color or showing any other signs of root rot, then dry conditions are typically the norm, and in that the case…

  • Make sure to water the pothos thoroughly to ensure that the excess water drips off the bottom in the. This will ensure that the water is reaching the roots at the point where it is needed. Make sure to ensure that all the upper inch the soil is dry before watering it again in order to maintain an optimal balance of moisture.
  • In the event that soil really dry, it could block any water that is on the soil, instead of allowing it to penetrate the soil until it reaches the roots. In this case, soak the root ball in a bowl that is filled with water and let it sit for approximately 10 mins in order to allow the water to soak in. This is usually necessary in the event that you haven’t been able to water your pothos for a while.
  • Increase the amount of humidity you can achieve by spraying the leaves of the pothos once every couple of days. Misting the leaves can help create a humid micro-climate that replicates the conditions of the humid tropical climate of the pothos. The increased humidity can slow the loss of water which eases the stress of drought which causes leaves to curled. It is possible to increase the frequency it is necessary to mist the pothos during winter, when the air tends to be less humid because of indoor heating.
  • The pothos should be moved so that it isn’t directly near a source of heat. Pothos is able to tolerate the temperatures of a typical home, however indoor heating can accelerate the rate at which soil gets dry and cause leaf curls, so relocate the pothos to an area far from the heat source.
  • Find the pothos in a place that receives direct light that is bright and brighter than full sun. Direct sunlight can burn leaves and dry out the plant, which could cause the leaves to curled. A lot of shade can result in the growth becoming excessively slender, so the ideal balance is bright and indirect light to encourage healthy growth.

Pothos is able to recover much more quickly in dry conditions than excessive watering, so if your leaves are curly due to drought stress, then the plant will easily recover when the conditions are changed to make it more suitable.

Pothos Dying After Repotting

  • Symptoms. Pothos plants tend to droop, or may even turn yellow and lose their appearance following the repotting.
  • Causes. The soil in the pot is not draining effectively, the pot doesn’t have drainage holes in its base, or the pot is too big and holds excessive moisture, which results in root decay.

The reason why pothos dies after repotting is typically due to the fact that the soil in which it is repotted holds excessive moisture. Pothos requires well-drained soil, and it is not able to tolerate constant moist soil. When the soil becomes not sufficiently moist, after repotting, the leaves of pothos become yellow and have an appearance of drooping and dying because of root rot.

Pothos is a natural plant that thrives in well-draining porous soil, which retains some moisture, but allows the excess moisture to flow away from the roots in a timely manner.

The soil in the pot can be too wet for the plant to endure for a variety of reasons.

  • The soil has been pushed around the roots of the pothos by excessive force. This forces air out of the soil, leading to less porous soil that is able to remain wet over a long period of time.
  • This new container is considerably bigger than the previous one. The larger pots have a higher capacity to hold more soil, and, consequently, a higher capacity to hold in water. This means that the larger pot can hold too much moisture for a long time, and can cause root rot that turns leaf color to yellow.
  • The new potting mix may also hold moisture for longer than the old mixing mix, which creates conditions that encourage root decay.
  • The new pot might lack drainage holes at the base, which could cause water to accumulate around the roots, causing root decay.

How to Revive a Dying Pothos Plant After Repotting

  • Always plant pothos in the pot that is one size bigger than the pot previously. This will ensure that the potting soil is drying at the same speed to the pot before it and reduces the chance from root rot.
  • Repot pothos plants using an edible mix of potting soil that mimics the environment of the pothos plant’s natural habitat. Typically , 2/3’s normal potting soil is mixed by 1/3 orchid mix, or succulent and cacti potting mixes can replicate the ideal conditions of a well-drained soil to reduce the chance of root rot as well as the pothos dying following the repotting.
  • Make sure that the new container has drain holes at the base. Also, empty the trays and saucers which are under the pot regularly. This will ensure that water does not accumulate on the root of the plant in order to prevent root rot following the repotting.

If your leaves are becoming increasingly yellow and the vines appear to be falling over with a deathly appearance Follow the steps in the first section of this article to treat root rot and keep the pothos.

Revive Pothos Plant That is Not Growing

The reason why a plant like the pothos is not growing is typically because the plant is in dormancy during winter, which slows its growth rate , or because of the combination of cold temperatures, a lack of sunlight, insufficient water, and insufficient fertilizers in soil to allow for the growth.

Pothos generally slows its growth due to shorter hours of sunlight, lower light intensity , and lower temperatures in Winter. The leaves may begin to drop off due to less light.

In the winter months of dormancy, it is essential to decrease the frequency of watering the pothos since the need for water diminishes with shorter hours of sunshine.

The roots of the pothos draw up less water when the plant isn’t actively growing , so the soil in the pot generally drys out slower when compared to Summer, Spring and fall.

Make sure that the top inch of soil is dry prior to water to minimize the chance of root rot in Winter.

It is also essential to not apply fertilizer in Winter, as it can cause harm to the plant.

In the spring, with longer hours of sunlight Pothos begins expanding, and at this it is possible to apply fertilizer to encourage the growth.

If the pothos isn’t growing in Spring or Summer, then you should relocate the pothos to an space with more sunlight (avoid direct sunlight since this could cause scorching of the leaves).

Remove the pothos from the pot to determine if the roots are bound to the pot.

If they are not pot bound, the roots don’t have access to enough nutrients, and that is the reason the plant’s pothos isn’t expanding.

Repot the pothos in a container that is one size bigger than the pot previously used and then repot with a new, well-draining pot soil since the previous pothos is likely depleted of nutrients.

Apply a general fertilizer for your houseplants with half the strength twice every month to encourage growth during the spring and summer.

Always ensure that the pothos is watered with a thorough soak to ensure that the that the soil remains evenly wet since drought stress can affect its growth rate. Also, ensure that you water the soil regularly as soon as the top inch of soil is dry.

Pothos thrives in the range of temperatures found in the majority of homes, however, avoid placing the pothos too close to an area of heat source as it can suck up the moisture too fast or be placed on the window sill which is too cold and drafty, because this could cause the growth slowing.

After you’ve adjusted the conditions, the pothos will begin to grow vigorously again in the spring and summer.

Key Takeaways

  • The most common reason why a pothos is dying is due to the soil being too wet from excessive watering or poor drainage. Pothos plants require well-drained soil, with the top inch of soil drying between every watering. If the soil is wet, the leaves of pothos become yellow and start to droop with the appearance of dying because of root decay.
  • The reason that pothos leaves are becoming sagging is due to the vines of pothos aren’t pruned regularly enough, or because of the lack of sunlight. Pothos are climbers which naturally produce in leggy vines. Pruning the vines frequently is a good way to maintain the plant’s compact appearance and avoid an appearance of leggy.
  • The reason why pothos leaves are curving is typically due to dry or overwatered conditions. The overwatering of roots can lead to their dying that result in curling leaves turning yellow. When the pothos is in dry conditions, with less humidity, leaves will curl to decrease their surface and limit the loss of water.
  • The reason pothos plants are failing after repotting is typically root rot caused by the soil being compacted, or the pot’s size being too large or having inadequate drainage. Pothos needs the upper inch of soil to dry out between waterings. If the soil in the pot is always damp after repotting because of poor drainage, the leaves of the pothos turn yellow and have the appearance of dying.
  • The most common reason for the pothos to not grow is that the plant has gone dormant in winter due to shorter hours of sunlight and less intense light source. The pothos will begin to grow again in the spring. Poor soil nutrition as well as cold temperatures and the inability to get enough water could be the cause of the pothos plant’s inability to grow.
  • To bring back an old pothos, recreate its natural habitat by misting the leaves in order to increase humidity and allow the soil’s top inch to dry out before replenishing the water and then place the pothos in bright indirect sunlight. Cut any diseased vines and roots back to green and healthy growth, and aid in reviving the pothos.


Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)