Causes of Pothos Leaves Turning Brown

Any person who owns a pothos tree is aware of how difficult it can be when leaves begin to turn brown. In this instance there are a variety of aspects at play and all of them are easily fixed. Your plant will be as lively as ever following some minor changes.

Pothos leaves turn brown as a due to poor watering. This issue can result from both excessive watering and the submersion of soil. Pothos leaves may turn brown due to a myriad of causes, including pests and fungal diseases, inadvertent fertilizer application excessive or too little sunlight, and many other environmental conditions.

This article will show you how to recognize the signs of browning Pothos leaves, and also the reason and treatment. Learn how to prevent the browning of Pothos leaves, as well as some general Pothos maintenance suggestions.

How to Identify Browning Leaves on my Pothos

This is logical. If your leaves are brown, this is the way to determine whether you are experiencing browning leaves. However, there are some other things you can look for when you first notice the leaves turning brown.

The yellow leaves that appear on the tips of the leaf, or from the center, which extends outwards is the first indication of the browning of Pothos leaves. It is also possible that your leaves feel dry to the touch, or that the plant appears droopy generally.

If you notice an orange or brown leaf that looks like this, take it off the leaf. This will enable your plant to concentrate on healthy leaves and increase the general health and overall condition of the Pothos.


Causes of Pothos Leaves Turning Brown

In this article I’ll go over the specifics to help you identify the root of the problem prior to taking any measures to counteract it.

Watering Issues


The Pothos plant thrives in warm, dry conditions. This means that watering too much plants is the primary reason for browning leaves.

The method you use to take care of your Pothos will differ based on the size of the plant, their location within the home, and the surrounding. Smaller plants will require less water than its larger neighbor.

The general rule of thumb for watering your houseplants is to soak the soil until it is wet. It will be evident that the plant is well-watered when water flows through the drainage hole at the base of your plant.

This is a good idea for Pothos plants too. However, you should not water till the soil is dry. some time to dry out.

Test the soil by putting your finger approximately one inch (2.54 centimeters) in the dirt. If the soil feels damp, or if soil that is wet sticks to your fingers, then Pothos requires a little longer for drying before watering it again.

It is also possible to use an instrument to measure the levels of hydration in your Pothos.

The process of allowing the Pothos to dry a bit between waterings will reduce the amount of brown leaves.

If you have adjusted your watering but are still experiencing browning leaves, it could be due to some other issue. Here are a few more reasons why the leaves of your Pothos are turning brown.

This article provides more details on the importance of preserving overwatered Pothos and the best way to properly water your garden.

Watering using tap water

Pothos plants don’t care regarding how they drink their water. It is a plant that can withstand some abuse (making it an excellent option for the beginner or active gardener).

Tap water is safe to use for the Pothos plant. However, if you’ve tried other problems listed on this list but discover that you still have brown leaves, look into the water.

In the majority of cases, tap water contains added fluoride, minerals, and sodium that could cause harm to plants. Although this is not a likely reason for your browning Pothos leaves, it’s worthwhile to not write off as a possible cause. (Source: University of Missouri Extension)

If you suspect that tap water may be causing the brown leaves, be brown, try using water that has been filtered for your plants. The ideal temperature for your plants is room temperature as it doesn’t alter temperatures of your plant too much.

Irregular Watering

While it’s important to allow your soil to dry at times between the watering sessions, consistency is crucial. Keep track of the timeframe your Pothos plant appears to be on, and then try to keep a regular schedule of irrigation.

Pothos plants are tough and do not require any special care. However, establishing a regular watering schedule can reduce the risk of leaves turning brown.

If you’re watering your Pothos in the correct amount according to an established schedule, this will help keep your Pothos plant content. This means that you should water your Pothos until the water flows across the drain holes at the base of your pot.

The exact timeframe will differ depending on the plant’s needs, but the average of watering once per week is sufficient. Be sure to keep an eye on your soil during the first couple of weeks, and when the soil remains wet after a week, allow it to dry for a few days.

The plant will inform you when it’s time to water to be watered, and you can develop a routine for watering from there.

Pest Infestation

Mealybugs and scale insects are the most frequent invaders of Pothos plants. Scale insects appear as small yellow blobs. Sometimes, they have an black spot in the center.

Mealybugs are fuzzy and white. They reduce the immunity of the plant when they take the juice out of it, resulting in the leaves turning brown.

Cleaning your plants can help to prevent pests from forming. Clean your leaves using an everyday cloth to ensure that your Pothos free of pests!

If you suspect that there is an infestation or have observed insects on your Pothos, there are methods to eliminate the pests. Neem oil, insecticide soap, and rubbing alcohol can be all efficient methods.

The soap and the neem oil will kill bugs upon contact through suffocation. Apply it to your leaf, and the job is completed.

To use rubbing alcohol, gently clean each leaf using an alcohol-soaked towel or cotton ball to stop the infestation.

You may also like: Pearls and Jade Pothos care

Pothos Diseases


Bacterial wilt diseases can impact the Pothos plants health. It is more prevalent in the industrial production. If you notice leaves turning brown shortly after you bring your plant home , this could be the reason.

The first indication is the appearance of wilted leaves and brown color and black veins that run across the stem and leaf. If you suspect that your plant is suffering from bacterial wilt disease, you can remove one stem and put the stem in water.

If the stem is infected, you’ll notice bacteria sprinkling into the water. There may also be an oozing area at the bottom of the stem, where the stem was cut.

If you recognize the illness in the early enough time, an easy bactericide will be able to help.


Fungal infections can trigger a variety of problems for Pothos, such as browning leaves. If you suspect that you have a fungal infection , the most important thing is to act quickly to ensure that the infection does not spread.

Southern Blight is a serious fungal disease that affects Pothos plants. In addition to having brown leaves, you’ll often notice the white, slender strands that grow out of the soil and up the stem.

The disease can spread quickly when the temperature is high and the ground is damp.

It is necessary to eliminate the affected parts of the plant. Then, place the healthy plant in the new pot. The fungus may survive in the pot, and then re-infect the plant.

Be on the lookout for your plants for signs of re-infection. If the southern blight is spreading to a large portion of the plant, start over.

Root Rot

The root Rot is a common illness that affects many species of plants, including Pothos. It usually occurs because the soil is too compact or overwatered, or there is there is not enough drainage within the pot.

If there isn’t the chance that the soil drain correctly and dry out, mold can develop in the damp environment. The Pothos leaf will appear yellow when they are infected by root rot.

A lot of people suggest throwing plants with root decay away (in the container) however, there are a few methods to save your plant before you do this.

A fresh pot with clean soil can bring about a dramatic reduction in the chance of re-infection. You can wash your pot and soil however, if you can afford to not risk it, this is the best way to take.

Remove the soil that was once there and get rid of the mushy or brown roots. They are not salvageable. Cleanse those with healthy (white and hard) roots and let the root system dry out.

This is the most important step to avoid the occurrence of Root Rot issues. After it has had the chance to dry, replant the Pothos in the soil that is clean and the pot, and keep track of the amount of water you use to ensure it does not occur again.

This article provides more details about how to keep pothos free of root decay.

Light Issues

Excess Light

Pothos plants thrive in light to moderate levels. If they are exposed to too much sun, it can cause the leaves to become scorched, and the leaves to brown.

The first step to determine whether this is a problem with the Pothos plants is to observe the lighting in the space the plant is.

Ideally you’ll find that your Pothos is supposed to produce around 150 to 500 footcandles. (One footcandle is the measurement of a one-foot radius the sphere that is filled with light.)

Footcandle measurements in an image. (Source: Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences)

A lot of direct sunlight can burn your Pothos leaves, causing the leaves to brown and dry .

If you believe you’re Pothos plant is receiving too much sunlight It’s as easy as moving it to a place that is a new location. A room that is a constant source of indirect sunlight is ideal.

Lack of Light

It is also possible to go too far in the opposite direction, and provide your Pothos plant the wrong amount of sunlight. The first indication the plant may be receiving less light is the leaves to turn more green.

The plant is trying to compensate for the light it could have received from the sunlight. If it is left in this condition for too long, the leaves will start to turn become brown as the plant ages.

When your Pothos plant becomes more green, the leaves begin to turn brown

It’s time to move your plant. An area with more sunlight (indirect light sources are the best) will aid your plant to get its energy quickly.


Pothos plants are great plants for beginners to garden. They can withstand a wide range of living conditions. Temperatures are no exception.

Although this is the case however, it is true that the optimal temperatures for Pothos plant is between 70degF (21degC) and 90degF (32degC). That means that if your Pothos is too cold or hot for a long period of time , it could be in a state of shock.

It can occur in any direction, but it is more prevalent at lower temperatures. The point at which is where the Pothos plant is at ease is high enough so that the plant is more likely suffer discomfort from heat.

If temperatures fall below 70 degF (21degC) on an ongoing basis, it could cause browning of the leaves on the Pothos plant.

If you suspect you’ve noticed that the Pothos plants are suffering from dark spots due to repeated exposure to cold temperatures then turn up the heat. If this isn’t possible, installing a space heater in the area the plant is located in (don’t place it near the plant) can also help.


Pothos isn’t a fussy plant in regards to the humidity levels. It is a native of in the South Pacific, so you might think that it requires humid conditions to thrive. However, it is actually able to survive quite well in dry environments.

Maintaining a consistent temperature for your Pothos will aid it in the most. Rapid fluctuations in humidity or temperature levels can cause leaves to turn brown.

If your temperature stays consistent and you are noticing that your plant isn’t getting enough water, it could appreciate a spray. Misting your plants once per week can help maintain an environment that is consistent.

Improper Soil Usage

Pothos plants require drainage-friendly soil. This is essential in permitting plants to dry out between every watering. When the soil becomes not sufficiently compact, it will be difficult to avoid overwatering.

All potting soils are not the same. The plant will thrive when you use top-quality soil. For Pothos plants, that’s a lot of aeration and the potential to drain.

If you believe that your browning leaves originate from the soil, you can very gently repotte your Pothos.

If you’re doing this, ensure that you have a good drainage system in the bottom of your pot. Pebbles or plastic recycling broken pieces from an earlier pot.

This lets water flow through the drainage hole more easily and decreases how much water is that is in the soil.

After you have made your pot , you can then fill it up with the soil that has been aerated and then include your Pothos plant.

Make sure that the conditions are in the same way as they were prior to repotting. Pothos plants are able to adapt. Pothos plant is able to adapt to the new soil if it isn’t shocked by changes in temperature or a new place simultaneously.

Fertilizer Issues

It’s possible that the browning leaves could be the result of fertilization that is not properly. Most likely, this means that you’re applying excessive fertilizer.

A lot of fertilizer can cause burning of the fertilizer, a different type of scorching. The plant is shocked because it’s getting too many nitrogen salts, and can eventually end up killing your plant. Browning leaf tips is the first indication that you may be over-fertilizing.

Pothos plants require a little of fertilizer every month. The amount of fertilizer depends upon the dimensions of the plant. A good fertilizer selection, and using it according to the directions will prevent burning of fertilizer.

Fertilizer burn may result in the pothos to become black. This article will help determine the causes of the problem and the best way to address it, too.

Natural Causes

Plants don’t live forever, unfortunately. If you have addressed the issues above issues and experiencing browning leaves, it may be due to natural reasons.

The average lifespan of the Pothos plant is between five and 10 years, with no diseases or infestations.

This isn’t to convince you to abandon your plant. It’s for you to remember that even if you feel like you’ve tried everything but your Pothos leaves are brown, it’s not you.

Be on the lookout for it, but be aware that it could be your plant that is participating in the cycle of life.

It’s hard to let go of an entire plant, particularly one which you’ve invested so much effort into. Be aware that plants won’t last for ever. This is not related to the skills you have as a gardener.

You might also like: Snow Queen vs. Marble Queen Pothos (Differences and similarities)

Preventing Brown Leaves

The ability to find resources that can help your plant recover if you do experience brown leaves is a great thing. A checklist that can help keep your Pothos leaves from turning brown in the first place is more beneficial!

Here are some suggestions to help you avoid brown leaves appearing on your Pothos at all.

  1. Check your light levels. Pothos need regular, indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause scorching and scalding, while not enough light can cause the plant to consume more energy than it is consuming.
  2. Maintain a warm temperature and keep it normal. Be aware of the weather conditions so that you are prepared for any days that are outside of in the 70degF (21degC) and 90degF (32degC) range. If it’s likely to be cold, move your plant into an area that is warmer or install an electric space heater. If it’s going to be too hot, try to keep your plant at the coolest temperature you can.
  3. Keep your plant clean! Every time you dust your Pothos will provide you with the chance to look for insects and eliminate the pests if you find any.
  4. Water Smart. This means that you water your plant regularly and using clean water and ensuring that you are giving your Pothos in the right amount. Don’t forget that overwatering is the most common reason for browning leaves.
  5. Prioritize drainage. As you are aware, Pothos plants are prone to being overwatered. This will be a bigger problem when you do not use a good soil. You should have a good drainage in the base of the pot, and you should use soil that is not too dense to ensure that water drains.
  6. Examine for signs of the presence of. Like humans who need regular periodic check-ups with their doctors and your plant will also benefit from a periodic check-up every once in a while to check for signs of disease. Plants with diseases is able to be saved, but it is imperative to act quickly. Monitoring your plant regularly will increase the likelihood that to detect any possible diseases earlier.
  7. Cutaway dead leaves quickly. If the leaf is brown, it’s dead. However, that doesn’t mean you have to abandon the entire plant. Eliminating the dead leaf as fast as you can will enable your plant to supply nutrition to healthy areas of the plant faster.
  8. Enjoy your Pothos. Pothos plants do not require any special care to thrive However, providing your plant with a bit more attention can aid in its growth. Regular fertilization and weekly misting will help to ensure that your plants are as healthful as it can be.

You May Also Enjoy: Why Are My Satin Pothos Leaves Curling? (And How to Fix)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the reason why do the tips of my Pothos leaves becoming brown?

There are a variety of reasons why the leaves of your Pothos plant are turning brown at the tips. It is most likely caused by overwatering or direct sunlight. It could also be due to fertilizer burn.

Pothos plant thrives in rooms with indirect sunlight. You should water your Pothos plant according to a timetable (about every week) However, ensure that it is dry before the next watering. Pothos require only a little of fertilizer every month.

What is the reason why are the stems on my Pothos leaves becoming brown?

It could be a warning indication of the presence of. Pothos plants are susceptible to various diseases, including root decay, bacterial wilt disease as well as southern blight. If you suspect that your plant may be suffering from something, it’s best to take action swiftly.

The first step is to determine what is causing the problem. Remove the affected part, wash the rest of the plant, and then repot it in a fresh, healthy soil and a brand new pot. If you give it a little TLC, your Pothos plant will be able to heal.

What is the reason my Pothos stems split?

This could be a sign that the Pothos is suffering. Examine the environmental conditions to ensure that everything is in line to the Pothos plant’s requirements.

It could indicate it is experiencing temperatures shock or is overwatered. Examine the amount of water in the soil as well as the temperature in the area to determine what is most likely to cause problems.

Should I trim the brown leaves?

The removal of brown leaves can help the remaining plants stay healthy. If the leaves that are brown remain attached, they are still getting nutrients from the stems, but they are not living anymore.

If you remove the brown leaves, the nutrients will go to the healthier parts of Pothos which can improve the overall health of the plant.

Where should I place the pothos plant? Pothos plant?

Pothos plants can be placed wherever you want in your home so they are not directly exposed to sunlight. They require warmth, and any room that is warm will work well.

A lot of people utilize Pothos as a plant to hang at home, but Pothos can also be placed on a counter, desk, or even a table.

Pothos plants can be harmful for both cats and dogs It is therefore essential to ensure that they are in a place of your home where your pets won’t be attracted to.

Are Pothos Plants an awful amount of work?

This article is packed with a wealth of information, however when you really think about it, the Pothos plant is an excellent low-maintenance plant.

It may take a little amount of time to prepare however once you have your Pothos plant established, and you have established a maintenance schedule, you will realize that it needs very little.

A nicely lit room (out of direct sunlight), good drainage, regular watering/cleaning/health inspections, and you will be well on your way to a long and happy relationship with your Pothos plant!



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