Troubleshooting Pothos: Why Are Pothos Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?

Overview of Pothos plants and common issues

Pothos plants, with their vibrant green leaves and trailing vines, are a popular choice among plant enthusiasts. These hardy and versatile plants, also known as Epipremnum aureum, are native to the Solomon Islands and have become a staple in both indoor and outdoor gardens. With their ability to thrive in various conditions, Pothos plants are often favored by beginners and experienced gardeners alike.

However, like any living organism, Pothos plants can encounter problems that may affect their overall health and appearance. One of the most common issues that plant owners face is the yellowing of Pothos plant leaves. This can be a cause for concern as it indicates a disturbance in the plant’s well-being.

In this article, we will delve into the factors that contribute to Pothos plant leaves turning yellow and explore the various troubleshooting methods to rectify the issue. Whether you are a seasoned plant parent or a novice gardener, understanding the reasons behind this discoloration and learning how to address it will help you maintain the vitality of your beloved Pothos plants.

To begin our journey into the world of troubleshooting Pothos plants, let’s first explore the normal color and characteristics of Pothos plant leaves and the possible causes of yellowing leaves. By gaining a solid foundation of knowledge, we can better diagnose and treat the underlying issues affecting our plants. So, let’s dive in!

Understanding Pothos Plant Leaves

When it comes to understanding the health of your Pothos plant, it’s crucial to pay close attention to its leaves. The leaves of a Pothos plant can reveal a great deal about its overall well-being. The color and characteristics of the leaves serve as valuable indicators of its health and can help diagnose any potential issues that may arise.

Normal Leaf Color and Characteristics

Under normal conditions, Pothos plant leaves display vibrant shades of green, ranging from a deep emerald to a lighter, lime green hue. The leaves are typically glossy and have a smooth texture. Each leaf is heart-shaped with pointed tips, adding a touch of elegance to the plant’s appearance. The leaves grow on long trailing vines, making Pothos plants a popular choice for hanging baskets or as cascading indoor foliage.

Causes of Yellow Leaves

If you notice that the leaves of your Pothos plant have taken on a yellowish hue, it is essential to investigate the potential causes. Yellow leaves can be an indication that something is amiss with your plant’s health. Several factors can contribute to this color change, including overwatering, underwatering, lack of light, nutrient deficiency, pest infestation, and temperature extremes.

Overwatering is a common culprit when it comes to yellowing leaves. It can lead to root rot and deprive the plant of oxygen, resulting in the yellowing of leaves. On the other hand, underwatering can cause the leaves to turn yellow and dry out.

A lack of light is another factor that can cause Pothos plant leaves to lose their vibrant green color. Pothos plants thrive in bright, indirect light, and insufficient light can lead to yellowing and weakened growth.

Nutrient deficiency can also manifest as yellow leaves. Pothos plants require essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to maintain their health. A lack of these nutrients can cause the leaves to lose their green vitality and turn yellow.

Pest infestations, such as mealybugs or spider mites, can damage the leaves of Pothos plants. These tiny invaders feed on the plant’s sap, leading to yellow spots or a general yellowing of the leaves.

Lastly, extreme temperature fluctuations, whether it’s too hot or too cold, can stress the plant and cause the leaves to turn yellow. Pothos plants prefer temperatures between 60°F and 85°F (15°C to 29°C) and can suffer when exposed to extremes.

By understanding these potential causes of yellow leaves, you can take the necessary steps to troubleshoot and restore your Pothos plant to its vibrant, healthy state. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into each of these reasons and provide effective solutions to address them. Stay tuned!

Read more about pothos plant care to ensure your plant thrives!

Common Reasons for Pothos Plant Leaves Turning Yellow

When it comes to the vibrant and versatile Pothos plant, it can be disheartening to witness those lush green leaves turning a pale shade of yellow. But fear not, dear plant enthusiasts, for there are several common culprits behind this color transformation. In this section, we will delve into the various factors that can cause your Pothos plant leaves to turn yellow, including overwatering, underwatering, lack of light, nutrient deficiency, pest infestation, and temperature extremes. Let’s explore each of these issues in detail.


Water is undoubtedly vital for the health of any plant, but too much of a good thing can have adverse effects. Overwatering is a common mistake that many plant parents make, and Pothos plants are no exception. When Pothos plants receive more water than they need, their roots become waterlogged, leading to root rot and a yellowing of the leaves. It’s crucial to strike the right balance between hydration and proper drainage to keep your Pothos thriving.


On the other end of the watering spectrum lies another potential culprit for yellowing Pothos leaves: underwatering. If your Pothos is not receiving enough water, its leaves may begin to turn yellow and wilt. This is a cry for help from your plant, indicating that it’s thirsty and in need of a good drink. Remember to monitor the soil moisture level and provide your Pothos with regular watering to keep its leaves vibrant and green.

Lack of Light

Pothos plants are known for their adaptability to different lighting conditions, but they do have their limits. Insufficient light can cause the leaves of your Pothos plant to lose their deep green hue and take on a yellowish tint. Pothos plants thrive in bright, indirect light, so if you notice your plant’s leaves turning yellow, it may be an indication that it needs more exposure to sunlight. Consider moving your Pothos to a brighter location or providing additional artificial lighting.

Nutrient Deficiency

Just like humans, plants require a balanced diet to stay healthy and vibrant. A nutrient deficiency can manifest in Pothos plants as yellowing leaves. Specifically, a lack of essential nutrients such as nitrogen, iron, or magnesium can lead to yellow discoloration. To ensure your Pothos receives the necessary nourishment, consider fertilizing it regularly with a balanced and appropriate plant food.

Pest Infestation

Ah, the dreaded pests that can wreak havoc on our beloved plants. Pothos plants are not immune to these tiny intruders, and an infestation can manifest itself through yellowing leaves. Common pests that may attack your Pothos include spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids. These creatures feed on the plant’s sap, causing damage and discoloration. If you suspect a pest infestation, take swift action to eliminate the invaders and save your Pothos from further harm.

Temperature Extremes

While Pothos plants are fairly resilient, extreme temperatures can take a toll on their well-being. Exposure to excessively hot or cold conditions can cause stress and lead to yellowing leaves. Pothos plants prefer temperatures between 60-85°F (15-29°C), so it’s essential to keep them away from drafts, air conditioning vents, or radiators that may subject them to extreme temperature fluctuations.

Understanding these common reasons behind Pothos plant leaves turning yellow is the first step towards nursing your cherished plant back to health. In the next section, we will delve into the diagnostic process, equipping you with the knowledge to identify the specific underlying issue causing the yellowing leaves. Stay tuned for valuable insights and practical solutions to revive your Pothos back to its lush green glory.

Diagnosing the Problem

When it comes to troubleshooting your Pothos plant, diagnosing the problem is crucial in finding the right solution. In this section, we will explore the various factors that can contribute to the yellowing of Pothos plant leaves.

Observing the Yellow Leaves

The first step in diagnosing the issue is to carefully observe the yellow leaves. Yellowing leaves can be a sign of distress in Pothos plants, but it’s important to note that not all yellow leaves indicate the same problem. By closely examining the leaves, you can gather valuable clues about what might be causing the issue.

Look for any patterns in the yellowing, such as whether it is occurring at the tips, along the edges, or throughout the entire leaf. Take note of any accompanying symptoms like wilting, browning, or spots. These observations will help narrow down the possible causes and guide your troubleshooting efforts.

Checking Soil Moisture

One of the most common reasons for yellowing leaves in Pothos plants is improper watering. To determine whether your plant is receiving too much or too little water, it’s essential to check the soil moisture.

Gently insert your finger about an inch into the soil near the base of the plant. If the soil feels soggy or overly wet, it indicates overwatering. On the other hand, if the soil feels dry and crumbly, it suggests underwatering. Finding the right balance is crucial for the health of your Pothos plant.

Assessing Light Conditions

Another factor that can contribute to yellowing leaves is inadequate light. Pothos plants thrive in bright, indirect light, and insufficient light can cause their leaves to turn yellow.

Take a moment to evaluate the location of your plant. Is it placed in a spot with enough natural light? If not, consider moving it to a brighter location or supplementing with artificial lighting. Proper light exposure is essential for the photosynthesis process and overall leaf health.

Examining for Pests

Pests can also be responsible for the yellowing of Pothos plant leaves. Common culprits include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. These tiny invaders can sap the nutrients from the leaves, causing them to yellow and eventually die.

Carefully inspect the leaves, especially the undersides and along the stems, for any signs of pests. Look for small webs, cottony masses, or tiny crawling insects. If you spot any pests, it’s crucial to treat the infestation promptly to prevent further damage to your plant.

By diligently observing the yellow leaves, checking soil moisture, assessing light conditions, and examining for pests, you’ll be well on your way to diagnosing the problem with your Pothos plant. Understanding the root cause is the key to implementing the appropriate troubleshooting solutions.

Continue reading to learn about the specific troubleshooting strategies and solutions for addressing yellow leaves in Pothos plants.

Troubleshooting and Solutions

When it comes to troubleshooting issues with your Pothos plant, there are several factors to consider. From adjusting your watering routine to regulating the temperature, each aspect plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and vibrancy of your plant. Let’s delve into these troubleshooting techniques and explore the solutions to common problems faced by Pothos plant owners.

Adjusting Watering Routine

One of the most common culprits behind yellowing leaves in Pothos plants is improper watering. Overwatering can lead to root rot and suffocate the plant, while underwatering can cause dehydration and stress. To address this issue, it is important to find the right balance.

To adjust your watering routine, start by checking the moisture level of the soil. Stick your finger about an inch deep into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water your Pothos plant. On the other hand, if the soil feels moist, hold off on watering until it dries out a bit. Remember, it’s better to slightly underwater than to overwater your plant.

Providing Adequate Light

Insufficient light can also contribute to yellowing leaves in Pothos plants. These plants thrive in bright, indirect light, and lack of proper lighting can hinder their growth and vitality. Lack of light can cause the plant to become weak and leggy, leading to yellow leaves.

To provide adequate light for your Pothos plant, place it near a window where it can receive filtered sunlight. If you have limited natural light in your space, consider using artificial grow lights. These lights mimic the full spectrum of sunlight and can ensure that your Pothos plant receives the necessary light it needs to flourish.

Fertilizing the Plant

Another factor that can contribute to yellowing leaves is nutrient deficiency. Pothos plants are relatively low-maintenance, but they still require proper nourishment to thrive. Nutrient deficiency can manifest as yellowing leaves and stunted growth.

To address this issue, consider fertilizing your Pothos plant. Choose a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer and follow the instructions on the packaging for the correct dosage. Apply the fertilizer every four to six weeks during the growing season, which is typically spring and summer. This will provide your plant with the essential nutrients it needs to maintain its vibrant green foliage.

Treating Pest Infestations

Pest infestations can wreak havoc on your Pothos plant, causing leaves to yellow and wither. Common pests that can attack Pothos plants include mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids. These tiny intruders feed on the plant’s sap and weaken its overall health.

To treat pest infestations, start by inspecting the leaves and stems of your plant for any signs of pests. If you spot any, gently wipe them off with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. For more severe infestations, you may need to use an organic insecticidal soap or neem oil spray. These natural remedies can effectively eliminate pests without harming your plant.

Regulating Temperature

Extreme temperature fluctuations can also impact the health of your Pothos plant. Temperature extremes, such as cold drafts or hot, dry air, can stress the plant and lead to yellowing leaves. It’s important to provide a consistent and suitable environment for your Pothos plant.

Avoid placing your plant near drafty windows or heating vents. Instead, choose a location with a stable temperature between 60-80°F (15-27°C). If your environment is particularly dry, consider using a humidifier or misting the leaves of your Pothos plant to increase moisture levels.

By addressing these common issues and implementing the appropriate solutions, you can troubleshoot yellowing leaves in your Pothos plant and restore its vibrant green beauty. Remember, regular monitoring and proper care are essential for the overall health and longevity of your beloved Pothos plant.

Continue to Prevention Tips to learn how to avoid these problems in the future.

Prevention Tips

Proper Watering Techniques

To prevent Pothos plant leaves from turning yellow, it is crucial to employ proper watering techniques. Overwatering or underwatering can both lead to leaf discoloration and other issues. It is essential to find a balance and provide the plant with the right amount of moisture.

When watering your Pothos plant, it is advisable to thoroughly saturate the soil, allowing excess water to drain away. This will help to prevent waterlogging and the subsequent root rot that can result in yellowing leaves. It’s worth noting that the frequency of watering may vary depending on factors such as the size of the pot, humidity levels, and the overall environment. Therefore, it’s important to regularly check the moisture level of the soil before watering to ensure it is not too damp or too dry.

Providing Optimal Lighting

Another key aspect of preventing yellow leaves in Pothos plants is providing them with optimal lighting conditions. These plants thrive in bright, indirect light. Therefore, it is recommended to place your Pothos plant near a window where it can receive filtered sunlight throughout the day. However, it’s important to avoid exposing the plant to direct, harsh sunlight as it can scorch the leaves and cause them to yellow.

If you are unable to provide sufficient natural light, you can also use artificial light sources such as fluorescent lights or grow lights. These can help supplement the light requirements of your Pothos plant and prevent yellowing leaves. Just make sure to position the lights at an appropriate distance from the plant to avoid heat damage.

Regularly Inspecting for Pests

Pests can wreak havoc on your Pothos plants and contribute to the yellowing of leaves. Therefore, it is crucial to regularly inspect your plant for any signs of infestation. Common pests that affect Pothos include spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids.

To detect pests, take a close look at the leaves, stems, and undersides of the plant. Look for any visible signs such as tiny webs, small insects, or sticky residue. If you notice any of these indicators, it is important to take immediate action to prevent further damage. You can try using natural remedies like neem oil or insecticidal soap to eliminate the pests and protect your Pothos plant.

By implementing these prevention tips, you can ensure the health and vibrancy of your Pothos plant, keeping its leaves lush and green. Remember, proper watering techniques, optimal lighting conditions, and regular pest inspections are key to maintaining a thriving plant.


In conclusion, understanding why pothos plant leaves turn yellow is crucial for maintaining the health and vitality of these beautiful houseplants. By examining the common reasons for yellowing leaves and learning how to diagnose and troubleshoot the problem, you can ensure that your pothos plants thrive in any environment.

Remember that overwatering and underwatering are often the primary culprits behind yellow pothos leaves. Finding the right balance of moisture is essential for promoting healthy growth. Additionally, providing adequate light, addressing nutrient deficiencies, and preventing pest infestations are all crucial steps in maintaining the overall well-being of your pothos plants.

By following the prevention tips outlined in this article, such as proper watering techniques, optimal lighting, and regular inspections for pests, you can minimize the risk of your pothos leaves turning yellow and keep your plants looking vibrant and lush.

Keep in mind that pothos plants are not only aesthetically pleasing but also offer various benefits, such as purifying the air and adding a touch of greenery to any space. With proper care and attention, your pothos plants will continue to thrive and bring joy to your home or office.

If you’re interested in expanding your knowledge of pothos plants, you may want to explore topics such as pothos propagation, pothos varieties, and pothos plant care. These resources can provide you with valuable insights and tips for nurturing your pothos plants to their fullest potential.

Remember, a little TLC goes a long way when it comes to your beloved pothos plants. With the right care, your pothos will continue to flourish, showcasing its stunning foliage and enhancing your living space with its natural beauty. So go ahead, embrace the world of pothos plants and create an oasis of green in your home. Happy gardening!