How To Revive a Dying Pothos Plant?

Dying Pothos
Dying Pothos (Source: Wyldbyrds/ Reddit)

What would you do if you notice that your pothos plant is dying? I would never wish upon such a day to any plant lover!

Let us assume that your pothos plant appears to be dying. Well, did you know there are still a handful of ways you can save them?

The fact that pothos is low-maintenance plants can sometimes be harmful to them.

There are several cases where the plant suffers adverse conditions due to neglect, resulting in a pothos plant dying.

If your pothos plant exhibits early signs of death or deterioration, you can save them with a bit of love and proper care.

To start the revival process, remove the dead leaves and wait for the soil to dry out between waterings. However, if the plant seems beyond repair, there might not be much to do. Therefore, the best way to revive a dying pothos plant is to act upon the early signs.

Listen to this article here:

 Revive a Dying Pothos Plant
Pothos In A Pot (Source: Pixabay)

How can you figure out that your pothos plant is dying?

First and foremost, watch out for the symptoms of deterioration. Second, your Pothos might be failing due to various reasons; hence it is vital to figure out the cause.

I will tell you all about it in this article. Follow me!

Signs of a Dying Pothos

Pothos exhibit a number of signs if they are dying. You, as a plant parent, have to look out for them.

A Dying Pothos Plant(Source: Reddit)
  • A discolored and deformed stem that appears rough and lifeless. Sometimes, the stems might start going black or brown.
  • Yellow and brown leaves. The leaves may develop black and brown spots. They might lose luster and feel crispy.
  • Droopy leaves appear lifeless and feel squishy to touch. It is usual for leaves to seem limp and fall out at the bottom of the stem; however, it might indicate danger to the plant if this occurs at the top lengths.
  • Stunted or slow growth. Your Pothos might take a very long time to develop new foliage. And the foliage might not look healthy.
  • Curling leaves, especially at the top part of the Pothos plant.
  • The soil smells different or foul. Sometimes, root rot can make the soil smell unpleasant.

What Causes Pothos Plants to Die?

There might be numerous factors that are contributing to the death of your Pothos.

Now, let us quickly go through the possible reason that might be killing your Pothos and understand how to revive them.

1. Overwatering the Plant

Excessive watering reduces the oxygen levels in the soil. And, you can imagine the outcome. Less oxygen means an unhealthy plant.

The first signs of an overwatered pothos plant are droopy leaves.

Eventually, the stem starts to appear squishy and water-filled. One of the most common results of overwatering is root rot.

Prolonged exposure to wet and soggy soil causes discoloration in the stem and leaves. You will also see that the edges of your pothos leaves start turning brownish.

Immediate Steps to Revival

  • Do not water your pothos for a few days.
  • Water only when the soil is dry.
  • Prune away the dead leaves and stem.

Preventions

  • Water only when the topsoil is dry. Check the potting mix by sticking your finger 2 inches deep in the soil.
  • Make sure the soil is damp but not soaking wet.
  • Ensure that excess water drains out through the drainage holes in the pot.
  • Use pebbles at the bottom of your pot to avoid sogginess in the soil.

2. Underwatering the Plant

Underwatering is one of the uncommon reasons for your pothos to exhibit signs of stress. Pothos don’t require frequent watering and can go for a few days without water.

However, underwatering for an extended period can cause dehydration at the cellular level and affect your Pothos’ well-being.

Dry and brittle leaves are the first signs of underwatering. The leaves start turning yellow to brown. Additionally, you will also see cracks in the topsoil, some parts of the roots become visible, and your plant will appear frail and stringy.

Immediate Steps to Revival

  • Restore the moisture by watering the plant immediately until you see excess water running through drainage holes.
  • Mist the plant for a few days to give an extra hydration boost and help them recover.
  • Remove the damaged leaves and prune the dead stems.

Preventions

  • It is best to water your pothos once every 6-7 days depending upon their size.
  • If you are going away from your plant for a long time, you can set up a capillary water system to avoid water loss in your Pothos.
  • It is best to go for the bottom-up watering method.
  • Water more frequently in summers than in winter seasons.

3. Bad Lighting Conditions

If you have placed your pothos out in the direct sun, your pothos cannot tolerate the heat. It is a medium-light loving plant that does best in indirect light.

Let them stay in the sun for a few hours, and you’ll give them burnt leaves!

Scorched Pothos (Source: Constança-Houzz)

The same goes with no light or dark spaces. Your pothos will not live very long in a dark room with zero light.

They will technically starve themselves to death due to lack of Photosynthesis. Stunting is one of the early signs that your Pothos needs more light.

Immediate Steps to Revival

  • Remove the pothos from extreme lighting conditions and place them in a bright spot with indirect light.
  • The best placement for your pothos is beside a window, where the glasses filter the harsh rays.

Preventions

  • Place your Pothos indoors. They love the indoor setting.
  • If your living space has no source of natural lights, invest in a good fluorescent light. Place it right above or beside your Pothos.
  • If you wish to place them on your balcony, keep them in a shady spot. Bring them indoors in winter.
  • Ensure that your hanging Pothos on the walls gets enough light from the top to avoid stringy plants.

You can find all about pothos plant and the light it requires in this article: Does Pothos like Direct Sunlight?

4. Pest Infestation

Although pest infestation is considerably uncommon in pothos, especially when kept indoors, other neighboring plants can still cause infections.

Spider mites, ants, mealybugs, scales, etc., can sometimes be the reason your pothos might be dying.

Some pests that thrive inside the soil might eat up the root and kill your plant immediately. At the same time, others may attack the leaves and stem tissues causing long-term damage.

Well, in any case, if left untreated, they will kill your pothos in a matter of a few weeks.

Immediate Steps to Revival

  • Trim the affected leaves and stems and burn them so that the infestation doesn’t spread.
  • Check the roots, remove the bugs and cut of infected roots.
  • Clean the roots carefully under running water and plant them in a new sterilized potting mix.
  • Isolate your pothos from other plants and keep checking your healthy plants for a few days.
  • Spray diluted neem oil or a natural insecticide on the leaves and stem. Keep spraying it twice a week for a few months.
  • Clean the leaves and stem using diluted apple cider vinegar once a week.

Preventions

  • Dilute dish-washing liquid with water and spray on the leaves and stems once a month. Do not spray on the soil or roots.
  • Place citrus peels on the topsoil to ward off any root eaters.

Are you worried about bugs on your Pothos? Read More: Do Pothos Attracts Bugs?

5. Unfavorable Temperatures

Extreme temperatures are the enemies of the pothos plant. Just as humans, they cannot stand too hot and too cold climates.

Inappropriate temperatures will cause your pothos to die in a matter of days. Shrunken leaves are the first signs of bad temperatures.

Immediate Steps to Revival

  • Immediately provide appropriate temperature to your plant. They will tolerate temperatures between 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Provide some water to your plant to help them recover fast.

Preventions

  • Change the location and positioning of your pothos according to the season. It might not be wise to place your pothos beside a window in chilly winters.

6. Excessive Use of Fertilizers

Too much of a good thing can be detrimental!

Pothos are not heavy feeders. If you still feed them with plant fertilizers and vitamins now and then, you are inviting death upon your pothos.

Excessive fertilizers can cause salts to build up in the soil and affect the absorption process of the roots.

However, if you never fertilize your pothos, there is nothing to worry about. They will flourish anyway!

Black and brown leaves are common indications for overfertilization.

Immediate Steps to Revival

  • Transfer the pothos plant to a new pot with fresh potting mix.
  • Trim the damaged roots and leaves.

Preventions

  • If you have to fertilize, make sure you do it once a month or less, depending upon the plant size.
  • It is best to use water-soluble vitamins and fertilizers that are slow releasing in nature.
  • Do not fertilize in the winter season. Spring seasons are best for the fertilization of pothos.

7. Low Humidity Levels

As pothos are native to sub-tropical climates, they love humid air. Lack of humidity will result in crispy leaves due to water loss.

You will also observe that the tip of the stem and leaves start turning brown. Eventually, the plant dies due to excessively dry surroundings.

Immediate Steps to Revival

  • Add some moisture to the soil.
  • Spray some water immediately to the stem and leaves.

Preventions

  • The humidity levels should always be above 60%. Anything below 50% can be life-threatening to your pothos.
  • Occasional misting promotes the health of your indoor plants.
  • Invest in a good humidifier, and place it beside your plant.
  • Or, DIY a budget-friendly humidifier by filling a bowl with water and placing it beside your pothos.
  • Position your pothos away from air conditioners and heaters.

8. Fungal Infection

Fungal infection is prevalent in house plants. Especially if you place your pothos in a dark corner without much light and airflow, they tend to develop fungal infections.

The fungal infection mostly starts from the roots and spreads upwards to the stem and leaves.

One of the common signs of fungal infection in your pothos is tiny holes in the leaves.

It spreads quickly, and they sometimes affect the plant at cellular levels. Hence, treat them immediately if you want to save your pothos.

Immediate Steps to Revival

  • Trim away the infected leaves and stems.
  • Check the roots. If you see any unhealthy roots, carefully prune them.
  • Use a fungicide. If the fungus has affected the roots, add some fungicide to the soil. If leaves are the victims, clean them with fungicide.

Preventions

  • Do not keep the soil wet for too long. Fungus loves a warm and damp environment.
  • Add Perlite to your potting mix for quick and efficient absorption of water. It also makes the soil airy and dry.
  • After misting your pothos, wipe the leaves and stem with a clean cloth.

Have you noticed any hole on your pothos’ leaves? Find out more: Why are there Holes in my Pothos Leaves?

9. Root Rot

Mushy roots and frail-looking plants are indications of root rot. Root rot can even cause the stunted growth of plants.

Immediate Steps to Revival

  • Prune the damaged leaves. If there are a lot of damaged leaves, don’t prune them all at once; prune roughly half of them.
  • Examine the roots
  • Remove the plant from the pot and all soil from the root ball. When removing old dirt, be careful not to injure feeder roots.
  • For a few minutes, wash the roots under running water (can use dish soap to remove the dead roots and kill bacteria and fungus stuck in the roots)
  • For a few minutes, dip the roots in a solution made from a mixture of 10 mL hydrogen peroxide and 200 mL water.
  • Take a pot that is large enough to keep the roots and soil from suffocating.
  • And Finally, repot the plant in pot with proper drainage.

Prevention

  • Spend time with your plant and inspect the roots frequently.
  • Take adequate care of the soil to keep it healthy.
  • Drainage is important for keeping fungus and bacteria away from roots and soil.

10. Other Reasons

Poor Drainage

Is your soil wet and soggy all the time even though your watering schedules are far apart?

Revival tip

It is time to drill in a few more holes at the bottom of your pot. Also, add some perlite to your potting mix. It is best to use terracotta or clay pots.

Wrong Pot Size

Is your pothos stunted? Are some of the underground roots poking out? Well, if yes, your pothos is root-bound!

Revival tip

You can quickly revive your pothos by repotting them in slightly larger pots. It is best to repot once every two years.

Pothos Revival Summarized

Revival TipAction Point
WaterOnce a week (depending upon the plant size). Keep it moist but not wet.
Potting MixSterilized and well-draining pours soil with perlite.
TemperatureAvoid temperatures below 70 °F and higher than 90 °F.
LightingBright indirect light or fluorescent light.
HumidityHumidity should be above 60%.
FertilizersNot a necessity. However, if required, use slow-releasing ones.

And Finally…

Keep all these steps in mind, and save your dying pothos. With a little bit of patience, your pothos will be as good as new in a few months.

However, if you feel that your pothos is beyond repair and nothing can save them, try propagating the healthy parts.

If the entire root system has been damaged, your pothos will not revive. The best thing you can do is clip off the healthy vines and propagate them to get new healthy plants.

Lastly, take good care and inspect your plant timely; your pothos will always be by your side.

Have a great time reviving your dying pothos!

Do you want to know about the lifespan of Pothos . Read more ” How long can Pothos plant live?

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