Why Are Pothos Leaves Turning Brown?

Last Updated on August 25, 2022 by Stephanie

There are a variety of reasons why the leaves of your precious Pothos may change to a brown color.

Causes and Solutions for Pothos Leaves Turning Brown 

Causes may include:

  • watering issues, such as water quality, overwatering or underwatering 
  • a lack of humidity
  • sunburn 
  • pot size and transplant shock 
  • root rot 

Issues with Watering

Problems with water are among the main reasons why your Pothos could be changing Brown. Problems like excessive watering, underwatering or infrequent watering, along with poor water quality, could all contribute to the reason your Pothos leaves become brown.

Related: How Often Should I Water A Pothos Plant? 

Related: Why Are My Pothos Leaves Curling?

Overwatering a Pothos

The first thing you need to be aware of about the pothos you have in your Pothos is the fact that they will thrive in dry and warm conditions.

One of the main reasons the leaves of your Pothos turn brown is because of overwatering. The amount of water youll have to supply your Pothos with can vary significantly according to the size of your plant, the area of your home, and the general environment.

In the event that the larger pothos plant requires more water and a smaller plant should be supplied with less water. The most common rule of thumb when watering your houseplants is to soak the soil until it is wet.

Related: Types of Pothos - Varieties of Epipremnum Aureum

You can determine if you have provided enough water as the water flows through the drainage holes in the bottom of your pothos container.

Pothos Leaves

How To Fix Overwatering Problems

Fortunately, this rule is applicable to Pothos, too, though youll need to wait until the soil has dried completely before you replenish the water. You can check the soils moisture by inserting your fingers approximately 1 inch deep into the soil.

If your finger is feeling wet, or if wet soil is sticking onto your fingers, then you should allow the Pothos dry before watering again. You may also opt to purchase a moisture gauge to determine the level of hydration of the soil in your pothos.

If you allow the Pothos to dry out between every watering session, you will reduce the number of brown leaves that grow on your Pothos!

If youve adjusted the amount of water and you are still seeing brown leaves, its most likely due to something else.

Lets look at the other reasons for watering the leaves of your pothos that are turning brown.

Underwatering a Pothos or Irregular Watering 

It is important to let your soil dry between waterings it is essential to be consistent! Note down the time when you water your pothos plant, and do your best to keep a consistent timetable for watering. Pothos dont require any attention since they are durable plants.

By establishing and adhering to a regular timetable for watering, you can lower the risk that your leaves will brown. If you apply water to your Pothos with the right amount of water according to a timetable and stick to it, you will keep it healthy and happy!

How To Fix Underwatering Problems

This is giving your pothos water until water is completely drained from your drainage hole. It is obvious that the exact timing of watering will vary for the particular plant, however If you water your plant every week at least once this will be sufficient.

Keep an watch on your soil over the initial few weeks, and if its dry, you should water it right away. The plant will tell that its ready to be watered and you can develop a reliable watering schedule from there.

Water Quality Can Affect a Pothos

In general, Pothos plants dont care about how their water is treated. Because Pothos is a type of houseplant that can withstand some heft and a bit of stress, it is the perfect plant for novice or busy gardener.

The watering of your Pothos using tap water will be fine. If youve tried some of the alternatives and it does not blend the browning of leaves, you might want to look at the quality of the water you use.

Typically, tap water contains fluoride, salt and other minerals that could be harmful to the Pothos. Although this could be a very rare cause for the leaves turning brown but it is worthwhile to look into it as an reason.

How To Fix Water Quality Issues

If youre worried that the water from your tap is creating brown leaves on your Pothos Try switching to water that is filtered.

A water that is filtered to room temperature is ideal since it doesnt alter temperatures of the Pothos excessively.

Lack Of Humidity can Affect Pothos

We will now examine the ways in which humidity affects the pothos plant. It is crucial to test the humidity of the place where youve placed your Pothos.

While Pothos is able to thrive in low-humidity environments however, they prefer areas that have higher humidity because theyre native to more humid climates.

Humidity levels are usually one of the environmental variables that gardeners who live in indoor environments often overlook when they are taking care of their plants. Your Pothos will flourish and grow to the fullest extent when you supply them with the humidity levels that are closest to the natural conditions they live in.

Uncontrolled humidity can affect the levels of transpiration in your Pothos. The water that is loaded with nutrients is absorbed by root systems of Pothos and any extra water escapes through the tiny pores.

The tiny pores on the pothos plant are known as Stomata. It is found on the lower part of the leaves once your plant has taken in the nutrients.

In the event that your Pothos is in an area with low humidity, itll be in a state of shock and will not fully let its pores open. In the end, transpiration will decrease, and the general condition of the Pothos will begin to decline.

Since a pothos is a fairly robust plant, it is unlikely to exhibit any signs immediately of health issues worsening however, its overall performance and growth will slow down. It is at this point that youll be able to see the edges of the leaves becoming brown, which indicates the air is dry.

Humidity refers to the amount of humidity that the air in a particular region can store. The more extreme the temperature is higher, the more moisture is within the atmosphere. However, its not always that simple, since even in a climate that is dry and hot, the humidity could remain low.

This is especially true in desert areas. This is due to the fact that there need to be a mix of warmth and moisture to create humidity. In the event that youve got a heating system inside your house and there is no moisturein the air, it is going to dry out and humidity levels will decrease.

If there is moisture in the vicinity but the warmer air will be able absorb it, and levels of humidity will increase. It is essential to do your best to keep the levels of moisture that best suit your Pothos most.

It may sound a bit complex, but if you make sure you have the right humidity levels, youll find the Pothos as a much healthier and attractive Plant!

How To Fix Humidity Issues

Misting The Pothos Leaves

Misting is a method of increasing humidity levels, and has been used for a long time! Gardeners who have plants that suffer from low humidity may spray their leaves with the aid of a water sprayer.

It will immediately affect the plants and increase temperatures and humidity. Recent research has also proven that misting technique is among the most effective ways to control humidity.

Related: Should I Mist A Pothos Plant?

Pebble Tray

To allow the humidity levels to increase it is necessary to have an water or moisture source that the air can draw humidity. While water bowls and aquariums are able to do the job but there is an simpler alternative!

A plant saucer that is filled with pebbles and placing your plant in it will raise the humidity levels of your plant.

This allows this process to occur within the vicinity of your Pothos!

Give Your Pothos A Shower

Pothos is the perfect shower plant to trail through. It is possible to place the Pothos in a bright or in a room with a moderate amount of light.

Your Pothos will take in any moisture that is present in the air. It will require only occasional water to addition. This will help with any dryness issues, since your shower is an ongoing source of moisture!

Move Your Pothos To The Bathroom

In general, bathrooms are the ideal place to house any plant in your home, not just Pothos. Pothos plants are guaranteed to thrive in the humid levels.

The damp atmosphere created by your bath or shower implies that there is nearly every single area in your bathroom thats drying out over the course of the day.

Get A Humidifier

Humidifiers are devices that are specifically designed to boost the levels of moisture within the atmosphere. They are easily accessible and are sold on the internet, in a variety of other stores, as well as at local garden centers.

Usually, humidifiers have an electronic thermostat that displays the temperature, as well as an integrated hydrometer.

This allows you to make them so that they only activate when the air is at or below the required humidity.

In addition, humidifiers are available in a variety of costs and styles, so it is advisable to research your options prior to buying any items.

It is important to know the exact size of the space you wish to plant it within and the amount of plants to be within the space.

Sunburn Can Be an Issue for a Pothos

If you place your Pothos on an area that receives direct sunlight could be a catastrophe. A lot of sun exposure could cause the leaves of your Pothos to brown and even cause them to burn. In time, excessive sunlight exposure can kill your Pothos.

How To Fix Sunburn

If you believe that the cause of your Pothos leaves turning brown is due to sun exposure Keep an watch on the amount of daily sunlight your Pothos receives. If you suspect that this might be the cause of the cause, you should move the Pothos to a spot that is shaded, and employ disinfected cutting shears or blades to get rid of the sun-burned leaves.

Once youve done this, make sure you keep an eye on your Pothos to determine if its regular vibrant green leaves appear back. Another indication to tell if your Pothos is receiving too much exposure to the sun is when the variegation rapidly decreases in contrast.

The lighter colored areas of a plant with a variegated color dont produce chlorophyll when exposed to excessive sunlight.

When Pothos suffer the strain of excessive sunlight, the beautiful leaves will begin to fade.

Pot Size Can Affect a Pothos

Another reason the Pothos could turn Brown could be due to the size of your pot. If you observe any of the roots in your Pothos growing through drainage holes, or the lower leaves are turning brown with brown tips the Pothos could be rootbound.

In the event that you suspect that your Pothos has roots, you will notice additional signs like slow growth, curling of leaves and drooping, or dropping and curving. Also, be aware for signs that your Pothos becomes sagging.

How To Fix Pot Size Issues

It is recommended that you replaced your Pothos in the spring to correct this issue.

Select a new container or pot that is 2 to 3 inches larger or the one that is appropriate to the size of your root ball. Be sure to leave room for growth. If your Pothos has begun to brown because of being rootbound and is not in the growing season that is in full swing you should put off until winter or early spring to plant your Pothos.

Nutrient Deficiency

Browning leaves of pothos can be a sign of nutritional deficiencies. Pothos that arent receiving sufficient essential nutrients like nitrogen, iron, phosphorus and potassium, may also show brown spots.

The patterns of your plants browning may provide clues to the kind of mineral deficiency it suffers from. For instance, if your leaves are turning yellow at the edges, but remain being green throughout, then your Pothos may be suffering from an insufficient magnesium level.

If the stems and veins of the plant appear to remain green, but the rest of it is an eerie brown color this could indicate that your Pothos requires iron or zinc.

If the lower leaves in your Pothos are becoming brown, this is a direct indication to a deficiency in nitrogen. If the upper leaves are becoming brown the Pothos requires sulfur.

How To Fix Nutrient Deficinecy in Pothos

If a nutritional deficiency is the reason it is an ideal time to supply your Pothos with a fertilizer.

The majority of plants will gain when you fertilize them at least once throughout the year, but ideally in the spring and summer months. Fertilizers with magnesium and iron are the ideal choice.

Transplant Shock in a Pothos

If you observe your Pothos changing Brown after recently transplanting, repotting, or even moving the plant, it could be experiencing transplant shock. The plant is adapting to the new container or space and isnt functioning like it normally.

How To Fix Transplant Shock 

When you are repotting or transplanting, make sure to limit damage to the roots as much as you can. Make sure your soil surrounding the root remains damp and that the conditions are optimal until the plant is fully recovered.

It is possible to sterilize your garden shears , or an edged blade, trim the brown areas, and then cut entire leaves if they are affected.

Plant Rust on Pothos

Its unlikely that youll think about the rust on your plant when youre trying to figure out the reason your Pothos is changing Brown. It is more likely to worry about the rust of your car rather than your Pothos.

But the rust on plants is a problem thats worth talking about! The majority of the time, rust is located on leaves closest to the soil, and is generally not higher in your Pothos.

If youre Pothos is rusty there will be tiny spots under the leaves , and maybe perhaps on your stem.

The brown spots will develop slowly, and then grow into huge masses of brown-colored messes similar to the rust.

If youre certain that your Pothos is rusty and you suspect that it is rusty, you must act quickly before the problem gets worse. Rust thrives in moist, warmsand low-light zones like wet and humid air.

How To Fix Rust

It is possible to treat any rust-related issues that occur on the surface of your Pothos by watering it early in the mornings. This will ensure that your Pothos can have all day to dry themselves out in the sunshine. Try your best to remove any infected leaves that are visible so that they dont be spread to other parts of your Pothos.

You can also buy an anti-fungicide spray that is bio-based to help treat the condition if it has been too severe for you to treat by yourself.

Bio-fungicides are affordable and can be found in a variety of garden stores and nurseries. Also, remember that you shouldnt put out your affected Pothos as you could spread the and rust will only increase!

Pothos Root Rot and Soil Issues

Root rot is a possible cause, youll have to take action quickly. Root rot particularly can cause you to shift your focus from the browning of your pothos into why is my pothos dying?.

To ensure the soil is properly prepared, ensure that your plant is in a well-drained soil. If you notice a root rot, it is necessary to take the plant out and then repot the plant in fresh soil. Make sure to cut off the roots that are rotten, and then treat healthy roots with hydrogen peroxide, and then sterilize the pot. This will prevent the recurrence of root rot within the pothos.

Related: Why Your Pothos is Dying

Related: Pothos Root Rot Causes and How to Fix It


If you believe that the brown spots on your pothos are the result of fertilization overuse The solution is also simple. Its about flushing out any excess fertilizer.

It is best to do this with the help of a plant pot that has drainage holes or you could create your own holes. The pothos should be watered until the water flows freely to the base of your pot. If you are concerned about overfertilization . Remember to allow the soil to dry.

Pest Infestation on a Pothos

There are a lot of insects be aware of in relation to the pothos plant you love dearly. If your Pothos is infested with pests, this is the reason for them changing color to brown.

Pests that sap plants like scale insects, spider mites mealy bugs, spider mites, and Aphids are likely to attack your Pothos particularly when it is weak because of other problems. These pests can suck the juices out of your Pothos and eventually deprive the plant of water and nutrients.

Certain pests can introduce toxins in your Pothos. They can appear as stationary, flying or moving dots or bumps. Certain species have waxy bodies. In addition to the browning spots or spots, certain pests may cause a ruffle, curl, or mishap or even twist leaf leaves on your Pothos.

Other signs include leaves falling down, drooping and a general slowing of the development of the Pothos. If you are looking over the Pothos to look for insects, be aware of the signs of each bug and know what to be looking for:

Whiteflies, aphids and mealybugs and scale insects - honeydew and sooty mold over your Pothos.

Whiteflies are tiny moth-like winged insects with soft bodies stuffed with powder.

Scale insects are oval-shaped, fat fluffy bugs that dont move.

Aphids are dome-shaped, stationary bugs typically black, green brown, red, yellow, or grey in color.

Spider mites are visible as webs on your plant.

If youve successfully proven that your Pothos is infested with pests You must separate them from other pests.

How To Fix Pet Infestations

Clean your Pothos to get the bugs off. If you encounter mealy bugs, youll have to wash all the foliage of your Pothos with cotton balls that have been that have been soaked in ruby alcohol.

If you are suffering from a serious infection and you only notice that it has gotten worse, youll require additional measures.

It is possible to use neem oil as well as insecticidal soaps, also horticultural oils. These insecticides are all readily accessible and essential for the health for your Pothos.

Lighting Issues

If you think that excessive or insufficient light is the reason for the black or brown spots appearing on the leaves of your pothos, theres a simple fix for this.

Simply move your pothos to an area that isnt in direct sunlight. The ideal position is in an area or room with a consistent amount of indirect light.

Useful Information on Pothos Leaves Turning Brown

Should I Cut The Brown Leaves Of My Pothos?

If you need to cut or remove the brown leaves of the pothos plant is contingent on how serious the issue has gotten.

If more than half your pothos leaves are severely affected, taking out the affected leaves is the best choice. Leave any healthy leaves in order to increase their chances of survival.

If the issue isnt too severe and only a small portion leaves are affected, you dont need to take the affected leaves off. Instead, you can take the option of determining and treat the root of the problem in the above sections.

What Causes Brown Lines Or Stems On Pothos?

If you see lines of brown on the part of your Pothos the stem, its an obvious sign of a disease. While this isnt a typical problem, keeping it in the forefront of your thoughts will benefit you.

Why Is My Pothos Leaves Yellow With A Hint Of Brown?

Leaves that are yellow with some brownish hints are indicators of overwatering, pests or a disease. It is possible to use the above-mentioned symptoms to identify the root cause and then take the appropriate steps.

Related: Why Are My Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow?



Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)