Reasons Your Pothos Is Not Growing

In this article I’ll discuss the causes for the slow growth of the pothos plant (and how to go to remedy it). Pothos Plants do not develop when they’re either over or watered, or when they are exposed to too much or inadequate sunlight, temperature, or humidity.

The growth rate of pothos plants is also slowed or stopped when they are in their winter dormancy, and also when they’re afflicted by diseases and pests.

Pothos ( Epipremnum aureum) is an evergreen tropical plant species that is widespread throughout across the region of Asia Pacific. It is extensively grown as a plant for the home with a sprawling growth pattern and produces numerous stems as well as shiny, heart-shaped leaves, which often feature yellowish-white streaks of variegated.

Pothos plants are quick-growing and require minimal maintenance. Pothos plants do have an inherent dormancy time during winter, there are a variety of factors could cause them to slow down or not grow all at all:

  • Poor soil structures,
  • Unfavorable lighting and environmental conditions
  • nutrient deficiencies or imbalances,
  • and diseases, pests, and insects.

Let’s take a closer look at the causes of why your pothos plant doesn’t seem to be growing, and how you could help it get back to its health, energy, and attractiveness.


If the pothos isn’t growing the first thing to think about is whether the plant might be in a dormant state. In climates with temperate temperatures the pothos plants naturally go into dormancy during the cold winter months.

In case you’ve observed that growth rate of your pothos plant has decreased or stopped in the autumn or winter months, there is no reason to worry because it’s likely been dormant.

Pothos plants shouldn’t receive water during their dormancy unless the soil has dried out totally and plants exhibit indications of dehydration.

Although it might be tempting, it’s not recommended to use fertilizers to boost the growth of pothos plants in the time of dormancy. The plants do not require additional nutrition during their dormancy since they don’t produce new growth, therefore applying fertilizers is an unnecessary use of resources and time.

The application of fertilizers to dormant pothos plants could cause stress and damage to the plants since they will not be capable of absorbing the nutrients contained in the fertilizers. The application of water in dry and liquid fertilizers increases the risk of watering too much plants that are dormant.

Pothos Water Problems

Problems with watering are the most common reason for slow growth of pothos plants. Pothos plants require the soil to be moist, but not soggy. Pothos Plants also like their top layers of soil that dry out little between waterings.

The maintenance of these soil moisture levels for pothos plants is difficult, and is dependent on a variety of factors, including:

  • soil moisture levels
  • the time of year
  • plant size
  • Container size
  • The timing of the last watering

The over-watering of plants is more likely to trigger problems with growth in pothos plants than insufficient watering. If pothos plants are exposed to excessive amounts of water the soil can be soiled and cause harm to the plants.

The excess moisture in soil deprives the roots of pothos of oxygen, making them prone to fungal infections.

Pothos plants will not develop if they’re not watered. Pothos plants require humid soil since they have adaptable to tropical and forested environments. They also require adequate water in the soil to grow and keep their fleshy leaves and stems.

The symptoms of under-watering can be similar to the signs of excessive watering. Pothos plants that are receiving excessive or insufficient water typically have leaves that are brown or yellow and a decrease in turgidity of the leaves and stems and a slow or slow growth.

The easiest method to determine whether pothos plants are over-watered or are under-watered is to look at the factors that affect watering. Check the levels of moisture in the upper inch or two of soil.

If the soil appears and appears dry, but the plants haven’t had water in the past one week, or longer then that the plant is under-watered. If the soil is damp and hasn’t received any water for more than a week it is probably been over-watered.

Lack Of Nutrients

The slow or stunted growth of pothos is usually a sign that pothos is deficient in nutrients. Pothos plants are deficient in nutritional requirements, but they won’t develop effectively if they don’t have sufficient nutrition.

Pothos plants require access to small amounts of each 17 vital plant nutrients. Insufficient levels of these primary, and trace nutrients can affect the plant’s ability to fulfill the tasks required to develop new stems, roots, as well as lush, green leaves.

An absence of nitrogen is usually the reason for slow-growing pothos. Pothos plants require nitrogen to create new stems and leaf growth, therefore they won’t be able to grow as well when they’re not getting enough of this essential nutrients for plants.

In addition to slow or stunted growth you can tell if your pothos plants are deficient in nitrogen when the leaves that were growing on the bottom of the plant have turned yellow.

It’s generally easy to fix the deficiencies in nutrients of pothos plants in order to assist them recover their growth speed. By incorporating high-quality compost in the soil’s top layer is usually enough to supply pothos plants with the nutrients they require to develop quickly.

The use of general-purpose dry or liquid fertilizers can also help to address the lack of growth of pothos plants. Because of the light-feeding characteristics of pothos plants, it is recommended to apply the fertilizer at a 50% portion of the recommended rate of application and then wait to see how the plants react before applying the fertilizer again.

Improper Light

Light that is too bright or insufficient could be another cause why the pothos plants aren’t growing. Pothos plants are used to being in light-dense environments, that are shaded by the canopy of trees and therefore, they require indirect light in order to thrive.

Pothos isn’t a good choice for growing in direct, intense sunlight or weak indirect sunlight..

Pothos are a fan of light intensity ranges (measured by foot candles) that ranges from 75ft-c to 200ft-c.The seasons, the local climate and weather can affect how much indirect sunlight that plants of the pothos need to flourish.

Pothos plants are more vigorous when exposed to higher amounts of light, if the light intensity is too high the plants begin to suffer burnt leaves, and slower increase in growth. If your pothos that is growing slowly is located in the direct light, then it will need to be moved into indirect light.

However the pothos you have might not grow because it’s not getting enough light. Pothos prefer shade however, without sufficient sunlight, it isn’t able to produce photosynthesis and the energy required to grow new leaves and stems.

If the plant’s pothos is located in the dark part of the room that is far from the closest window, it must be moved to direct light and brighter to the window. Finding the location that has the most indirect light for pothos may need some trial and error.

The use of light meters in photography can be helpful to accurately measure the level of light across the room. But, as long as pothos aren’t exposed to direct sunlight or very small amounts of indirect light, the plant will develop well.


Pothos plants can tolerate a wide temperature range, but they won’t develop properly if the climate is too cold or hot. They prefer warmer temperatures, with ideally 65F in the evening and 75F during the daytime.

Pothos plants will cease to grow when temperatures fall below 55F or if they rise above 85F.

The temperature is an important element in the growth of pothos plants since it affects how much photosynthesis as well as respiration. Photosynthesis is the process by which pothos plants make sugars and starches, and respiration allows the plants to convert the nutrients they produce into fuel to aid in creating new tissues cells.

If temperatures are too cold the pothos plants won’t be able to photosynthesis efficiently, and aren’t able to create the starches and sugars required to power the growth of the plant.

temperature gauge vintage three

If the temperature of the pothos plant gets too hot, it can also result in the growth of the plants to slow down or cease completely.

As temperatures rise and the rate of respiration also rises. The excessive heat can lead to problems with growth if pothos plants don’t get enough sunlight because they won’t be capable of generating enough energy from photosynthesis to offset the higher rate of respiration.


Insect pests can trigger growth issues for E. aureum, but pothos plants are not often affected by problems with pests. Pothos plants may be vulnerable to infestations by insects when stressed by exposure to adverse temperatures, light or conditions in the soil.

Pothos plants cease to grow and go into the survival mode. They must divert energy to create new tissue in order to protect themselves from the pests and diseases they spread.

The most frequent pests of insects that are found in pothos are spider mites as well as mealybugs. The spider mites can be described as tiny orange or red insects which feed on sap of plants and are typically evident on the undersides of leaves. At the point of advanced development spider mite webbing begins appearing on leaf’s top.

Mealybugs are bigger insects which are white and have fuzzy margins. They are much more visible than spider mites, and are typically found on the stems of the plants. Mealybugs leave behind a white powdery residue , as well as an odourless material (called honeydew) which is an important food source for black mold that can cause disease.

Ideally, plants like pothos must be planted in a favorable environment to ensure their health and to ensure that they aren’t vulnerable to attacks by insects.

If an infestation of insects has grown to the point of impacting the growth rate of your pothos plant urgent action is required to protect the plant.

Get rid of spider mites on pothos plants using an easy pesticide. Get rid of mealybugs manually. Clean up the traces that mealybugs leave on pothos stems using a variety of plant-friendly disinfectants, such as vinegar and water and hydrogen peroxide.

Stunted Leaves On Pothos

Insufficient sunlight is the most common reason for stunting in leaves of pothos. If the plants of pothos don’t get sufficient sunlight, their rate of photosynthesis is reduced, which results in less starches and sugars to sustain the production of leaves that are large.

Pothos plants can also produce smaller or stunted leaves in the absence of adequate nutrients. If plants receive sufficient sunlight, but aren’t producing large leaves, they may be having a nutritional shortage. Most of the time, plants aren’t getting enough nitrogen to produce large leaves.

It’s simple to fix the issue of pothos plants that are stunted or have disproportionately small leaves. If the issue appears to be due to a lack of light, move the pothos plants in a spot that is brighter.

The problem of nutrient deficiencies can be addressed by using a small amount of general-purpose fertilizer that has nitrogen.

Root-Bound Pothos Not Growing

Pothos plants will not grow as well when they’re placed in pots that aren’t big enough and are then bound by roots. They won’t be able to produce new leaves and stems when their roots don’t have enough enough space to expand.

Pothos that is root-bound also ceases to grow due to the roots becoming stressed unhealthy and prone to diseases.

The most straightforward way to determine whether a plant in a pothos container is root-bound is to check if roots are sprouting out through the drainage holes in the container. If you see roots sprouting out from into the base of your container then it’s time to move the pothos plant to the larger container.

To determine whether your plant’s pothos isn’t growing due to the fact that it is root-bound, look at the overall shape and size of the plant in relation to the dimensions that the pot has.

If the pothos plant that is slow growing appears to be too heavy on top (more than double or triple the size and height of the pot) It is likely that it requires repotting.

If you can, take the pothos plant from its container in order to examine the roots. It is easy to determine whether the plant is root bound when the roots appear to be brown and wilted, and if the roots circle around the container like they’re seeking a place to go.

To encourage vigorous growth in pothos plants that are root bound cut the roots prior to placing the plant back in the same pot.

Alternately, the plants could be relocated to a bigger container, which can provide an additional growing medium to help the plant, and also give its roots the space they need to grow.

If you are repotting a pothos root-bound plant, make sure to disinfect the new container. To prevent problems with over-watering make sure to not plant the plant in a container which is larger than the container originally. Containers should be at least two inches larger than the container that was previously used.

What To Do If Your Pothos Is Not Growing

If your plant’s pothos is growing slowly , there’s no reason to be concerned. Pothos plant are robust and can respond to the correct interventions. Here’s a brief overview of what you can do if your pothos’ growth is slow or reduced.

Identify The Cause Of The Problem

First, you must identify the reason why your plant’s pothos is not growing. Examine the season to eliminate the possibility that your plants are in a dormant stage. If it’s the middle of the summer season for growth it is important to think about possible reasons for the slow growth that your plant is experiencing.

If your plant’s pothos isn’t in a state of dormancy, it may not be growing due to the soil and environmental conditions the plant is subjected to. The following aspects should be taken into consideration:

  • soil moisture levels,
  • nutrient levels,
  • light exposure,
  • temperature,
  • The presence of insects as pests
  • Container size.

Take Appropriate Action

If the soil is excessively dry or wet due to improper methods of watering, decrease or boost the amount of irrigation in line with this. Examine the results to determine whether the plant begins to grow with greater vigor.

If your plant is suffering from an insufficient supply of nutrients then amend the soil using compost, or sprinkle a tiny amount of liquid or dry fertilizer. Repotting the plant using amended soil can also increase the pothos’ nutritional supply. See what the plant reacts prior to applying the fertilizer.

If your plants are receiving too much or not enough light, move them to an area with the best lighting levels. Examine whether the plant begins to grow quickly after a couple of weeks and then relocate it if needed.

If the pot isn’t big enough for your pothos plant , and it is becoming root bound, you can repot it in a larger pot using the tips provided earlier.

When the temperatures are too hot or cold, move the plant in a place which is between 65F to 75F. In extreme situations artificial cooling or heating (or container filled with cold or hot water) could be required to assist the plant maintain an appropriate growth rate.

If you find evidence of insects on your pothos plant take them off by hand If possible, or using an organic pesticide that is mild. Be sure to get rid of insects’ eggs, larvae, as well as other leftovers.

Check your pothos plant over the following week to make sure that the pests are eradicated successfully.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pothos

Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions regarding pothos plant growth.

How Do You Propagate Pothos?

Pothos plants are simple to propagate using stem cuttings. Cuttings can be submerged into a rooting solution before being put directly in the soil.

Alternately, you can soak the cuttings in water until the roots begin to develop and then place them into the ground.

How Do You Make Pothos Leaves Bigger?

Pothos plants grow tiny leaves when they don’t get enough sunlight. Hence, you can help them to develop larger leaves by putting them in an area which receives more sunlight.

Pothos can also produce tiny leaves when they don’t contain sufficient nutrients. When your plant appears be deficient in nutrients, you can include compost or a all-purpose fertiliser to your plant. The pothos plant will begin growing larger leaves in the next few weeks.

Is Pothos Toxic?

Pothos is moderately harmful to pets and humans when eaten. The plant’s sap contains calcium oxalate, which can cause irritation to the stomach and esophagus. The mineral also causes skin rashes after contact.

But, this substance is present only present in the sap, so it is safe to handle pothos plants with care.

Although pothos is usually used for decorative reasons and has a mild toxic, the plant has an array of medicinal advantages and are used as a traditional remedy in Indonesia to treat conditions like dysentery and rheumatism..



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