Pothos, righteously called “Devil’s Ivy,” is a plant that regains life no matter how many times you cut it.
Though Pothos are fearless and versatile plants in many adverse situations, overwatering scheduled can destroy the heart-shaped leaves.
Generally, overwatering in Pothos results in limpy and soft parts, brown spots on leaves, moldy growth in the soil, and an unpleasant fishy odor due to root rot. To save from overwatering, there needs to improve soil drainage, refraining the Pothos from watering and repot them.
Many amateur plant growers can easily overwater their Pothos because of the plant’s tropical nature and requirements.
However, in the case of watering a Pothos, even less is more, so you have to be careful and know when your plant needs a drink.
Hence, if you don’t want Pothos to perish due to overwatering, then follow the article to learn about the symptoms and ways to solve the issues.
Table of Contents
- Signs of Overwatered Pothos?
- How to Fix An Overwatered Pothos?
- Tips to Prevent Overwatering in Pothos
Signs of Overwatered Pothos?
The tropical habit of Pothos necessitates well-draining moist soil with plenty of surrounding moisture.
However, the plant dislikes its root from being wet for too long!
This is why the effect of overwatering begins from the roots and slowly progresses upward to the plant leaves.
But, balance is the key to watering your Pothos, and you should not keep your plant under-watered as well.
Hence, take help from the table below to look out for the signs of underwatering and overwatering in Pothos.
|Signs of Overwatered Pothos||Signs of Underwatered Pothos|
|Yellowing of the leaves.||Pothos may show signs of dehydration like droopy leaves.|
|Leaves may develop soft brown spots.||The lower leaves of the plant starts to turn yellow.|
|Leaves become limpy or droopy.||Vines of the plant also appear hanging.|
|Leaves of the entire plant become pulpy.||Leaf edges and tips become brittle and brown.|
|Leaves of the plant curl upward or outward.||Whole plant appears to be weak and wilted.|
|The underside of the leaves forms water-soaked blisters, called edema.||Leaves curl inwards.|
|Whole plant looks barren due to dropping of leaves.||Growth of the plant stops.|
Although both conditions harm the plant, it is easier to take care of under-watered Pothos than overwatered ones.
Thus, as a responsible plant grower, it is essential to check the signs of overwatering quickly before it can do further harm. Below are the symptoms that you may need to consider!
1. Brown and Yellow Leaves in Pothos
As Pothos leaves dedicate themselves to giving aesthetic décor, any yellow or brown patches in them can diminish their quality.
However, sometimes deficiency of nitrogen also causes the yellowing of leaves.
If the older leaves at the base of the plant start to turn yellow, then the overwatering is the source.
Besides, Anaerobic conditions in the soil also cause the leaves to get unusually yellow, which may worry you.
Anaerobic conditions arise when you keep Pothos in the soil containing excess water. In simple terms, you are smothering your plant.
However, brown patches at the leaf’s edge show that the plant is pushing too much water into the leaf, causing the veins to burst open.
2. Rotting of Healthy Roots
Overwatering may also bring out the serious issues of root rot that happen when you keep the waterlogged conditions in the potting soil.
Root rot occurs below the soil, and the visual symptoms can miss out even from the keen eyes of experienced plant growers.
Waterlogging forms breeding ground for the fungi Pythium, Fusarium, and Phytophtora which are the major cause of root rot in Pothos.
If you are 100% sure that your Pothos has root rot, you can uproot the plant and check for the damage.
You can learn this by observing the dark brown coloration and the slimy texture of the roots. A healthy root will be light brown in color.
Also, it is ideal for checking whether the root will break easily or not. If firm, then the root is healthy.
Additionally, if you want to give your nose a little exercise, you can also smell the roots. Root rot is nothing but decaying; hence a rotten root will have a foul and unpleasant odor.
3. Limping or Softening of Leaves
Pothos don’t like “wet feet,” so ensure you are watering it right with a well-draining growing medium.
Wet feet occur when you keep your Pothos in excess water for a long time. This can cause the leaves of the Pothos to turn soft and weak, and root rotting is a source of this.
But, there is confusion among the plant growers that underwatered conditions also soften the leaves of your Poths.
If you want to confirm the true cause, all you need to do is to check the soil for moisture.
If the moisture is high, the limpy leaves are due to overwatering.
4. Shriveled and Mushy Appearance of the Pothos
Pothos is a delicate plant in terms of watering, and the more you give it, the more likely it gets waterlogged, which can lead to root rot.
Rotting slowly spreads from roots to the stem, turning them mushy or pulpy to the touch, and maybe the plant needs urgent attention.
Similarly, the plant’s leaves also look shriveled and struggle to keep their original looks.
It is because the roots can already be dead far before you know it, and the plant cannot pull enough water from the soil.
Hence, it becomes important to have a look at your plant once in a while during watering sessions.
5. Curling of Leaves in Pothos
When you are thirsty, you don’t throw the water, but drink it or keep it for later use, isn’t it?
The curling of leaves is the same for Pothos as it struggles to retain moisture.
Thus, the direction of curling is the thing that you want to watch out for. Pothos curls the leaves inwards to save water when it is getting more than usual. Sounds unusual, right?
When there is too much water in the soil, roots are unable to breathe and take the nutrition from the soil.
This makes the plant curl the leaves inward to save the remaining water so that it doesn’t dry up rapidly.
6. Wilting of the Plant
Of all the symptoms, wilting is the one you must worry about the most as it is the final sign that your Pothos will show before it dies.
Wilting can also occur by underwatering, but the only difference is that you can reverse this by giving the plant adequate water.
In the case of overwatered wilting, the damage to the roots is already done, and the situation of the plant becomes far beyond saving.
Oxygen is necessary for the plant to absorb water from the soil. When water is more than usual, it fills in between the soil particles, displacing the oxygen.
Without the oxygen, your Pothos suffocates from inside and cannot absorb more water.
As a result, the whole plant begins to droop and wilts after that.
7. Mold Growing on the Soil
The root rotting conditions in your Pothos which I mentioned earlier, result from molds or fungi growing on the potting mix.
Molds are long, white, thread-like growth and extremely irritating because they spread quickly and cover the entire soil surface within a few days.
They can even grow on the base of your Pothos’ stem.
Furthermore, molds exist in highly moist soil conditions where their spores flourish.
Hence, if your Pothos soil has uninvited guests as molds, you can easily guess that your plant is tolerating overwatering issues.
8. Pest Infestations
It is not just the bad luck that might love your Pothos, but fungus gnats are also the culprits.
These annoying pests love moist soil conditions, and overwatering settings suit them perfectly.
Moreover, the decaying roots caused by overwatering provide their larvae with the food they require to thrive even more.
Additionally, powdery mildew can also make a home in the potting soil if there are frequent strikes of overwatering that can slowly pass from the soil to the upper parts of the plants.
Hence, if there is a vigorous increase of these annoying pests or fungi around your Pothos, it is time to look closely for the signs of overwatering.
How to Fix An Overwatered Pothos?
You can rejuvenate an overwatered Pothos by starting to water the plant properly. Your plant can perk up again within two weeks under the optimum care requirements.
Saving your Pothos requires a careful understanding of the overwatering symptoms and the measures to take after the symptoms appear.
But, before you start to water your plant again, you need to follow these steps to save your Pothos.
Step 1: Terminate Watering Your Pothos Immediately
This is the vital step that you must take to save your Pothos.
Any more addition may worsen the situation even further. You must check the water present in the soil constantly between watering sessions.
Use moisture meters or finger dip tests to check the dryness of the soil. If the few inches of the top soil feels dry, then you must water your Pothos again.
Another way of checking the soil water is by picking up the pot. A pot with enough water will feel heavier than a pot with dry soil.
Step 2: Place Your Pothos in a Shaded or Low-light Area
Moving your Pothos to a shaded area will cause less harm to the foliage.
The best place to consider is the one that receives dappling sunlight or in front of a window sill covered with transparent drapes.
The foliage is unable to cool down to increasing temperature because the decaying roots cannot take enough water to the top most parts of the plant.
Additionally, the leaves are more vulnerable to quick drying and getting sun-burned much more easily if kept in direct sunlight.
Step 3: Get Rid of the Top Growth, Dead or Damaged Parts
After moving your Pothos to a suitable lighting place, you must now remove some of the top growth and dead or damaged parts.
Furthermore, new growth, brown and dry leaves, or dead leaves and stems demand a lot of energy from your plant.
The plant is already stressed enough due to overwatering, and you do not want to stress it beyond the limit.
So, you better guide your Pothos to utilize its energy in a more productive place.
To complete this, all you need is a clean scissor or a set of pruners and some disinfectant.
Make clean cuts to remove those damaged areas and little of the healthy portions to divert all energy for survival instead of maintaining new growth.
Step 4: Retain Aeration, Remove the Old Soil and Decayed Roots
Help your plant by changing the old soil, removing the decayed roots, and retaining the aeration for its roots.
Tap gently around the container pot a few times to loosen the root ball, after which you can grab the plant by the base of the stem and pull it from the pot.
Give your Pothos a new pot with drainage holes if it has outgrown its current pot.
However, you can skip this part if the plant is happy with its current container.
Instead, you can free the soil from the roots by placing it under the running water, after drying it over a cooling rack for a few hours.
You can use pruning tools to remove the mushy, dark, and slimy roots and keep the roots that are sturdy or firm to the touch and white in color.
In any case, never forget to sterilize the pruners.
Step 5: Repotting Your Pothos
Take the initial step of repotting and prepare a suitable potting mix for your Pothos.
Your plant shall like its soil to be well-draining and slightly acidic; hence keep those crucial priorities in mind.
Prepare a balanced potting mix by blending the following ingredients – 4 parts peat moss or coco coir, 2 parts perlite, 1 part vermiculite or sand, and 1 part shredded bark.
After that, you can take a new container with drainage holes. Any terracotta or plastic pot will do the best, but ensure that it is at least two inches wider than the previous one.
However, you can use the same container, but ensure washing and scrubbing the container with bleach and water (1:9) solution before repotting.
Also, you need to continue with the following!
- Add a layer of pebbles at the base of the container to improve the drainage, and add the mix at the top.
- Hold your Pothos in the middle of the pot and pour the soil around the root zone all the way up to the base of the plant.
- Lightly sprinkle water or Chamomile tea over the potting mix to dampen it. Chamomile tea has mild fungicidal and antimicrobial properties that protect your plant from damping.
Tips to Prevent Overwatering in Pothos
You can avoid the mistake of overwatering your Pothos by going along with these tips.
- Only water your plant when the top inch of the potting soil is dry. Check this by using moisture meters or chopsticks by taking a moisture-dip test.
- Throw away the excess accumulated water in the pot’s saucer every time you water your Pothos.
Pothos plants need once every seven days in Spring and Summer and once every 10-14 days in Winter.
- Avoid misting if there is high humidity (70 percent) in the surroundings.
- Reduce the watering sessions if the plant gets less heat and light during the winter.
- Always consider the size of the plant while watering. Younger plants require less frequent and less water than mature plants.
- Remember to water your Pothos when the temperature goes high to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Avoid watering at night when the evapotranspiration rate is low.
- Try to provide water from a bottom-up approach by letting the plant pot sit in a container containing water.
- Develop a routine of giving water to your plant in the early morning if you are letting the plant sit in the direct sunlight the whole day.
The heart-shaped foliage of Pothos is always under threat from overwatering. However, you can easily solve this by giving the plant sufficient water under the correct frequency.
If you find any of the signs or symptoms above in the article, do not wait for your plant to revive itself. I have mentioned everything for you to restore a Pothos suffering from overwatering issues.
After all, if you show the plant a little heart by giving it a proper amount to drink, it will open its heart for you.