Pothos plants are an excellent way for beginner gardens to start out with their hobby. With a bit of love and care, they can grow several feet tall.
Not only are pothos low-maintenance, but they’re also stunningly beautiful with big, broad leaves that can add an amazing green flourish to any space.
That’s why it’s a shame when you notice a pothos wilting. It just looks like life is draining out of the area.
So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons behind limp pothos leaves and what you can do about them.
Limp Pothos Leaves
The reason why the pothos is such a common houseplant is that it’s easy to grow. That’s why it can be confusing when you see it wilting.
Generally, leaves are one of the biggest indicators of health in a plant. So if anything is wrong, chances are that’s where you’ll notice it first.
For one, limp pothos leaves could mean that plant cells are no longer able to maintain their shape and rigidity. This obviously affects the overall look of the plant, but it’ll also affect the pothos’ survival ability.
The leaves need to be flat and point straight up to gather sunlight. Without this configuration, the plant won’t be able to use photosynthesis to create food.
So, when a gardener doesn’t address the issue right away, they risk losing their pothos altogether.
Pothos Wilting: Common Reasons & Simple Solutions
In order to save your pothos plant, you need to understand what’s causing the issue in the first place.
Here’s a collection of some of the most likely culprits and how you can address them.
1 – Unbalanced Water Content
Pothos plants are predominantly water, just like many living organisms. So, it stands to reason that water content plays a major role in its well-being.
Even though the plants don’t have a strict watering schedule, you still need to meet their needs.
In most cases, they’ll need about a cup of water every one to two weeks. Any shift in the moisture content may lead to limp leaves.
Not Enough Water
As soon as you see wilting leaves, your initial thought is the plant needs water. Odds are, your instincts are right.
Pothos plants can survive without water for a while, but after that, they start to struggle.
The liquid allows the cells to maintain their shape and rigidity. So, when the moisture content decreases, the leaves turn flaccid and droop.
Figuring out whether this is the issue is simple, though.
Just Dig your finger about three inches into the soil. If it’s dry to the touch, the plant needs water.
On the other hand, moist soil means the issue is somewhere else.
Too Much Water
Believe it or not, giving the pothos too much water can have the same effect as not enough. This time, the problem stems from the roots.
If the soil is constantly wet, the roots will start to soften and break down. In severe cases, this may even lead to root rot.
When that happens, the pothos won’t be able to absorb water from the soil, and fixing this issue is a little trickier.
You need to move the plant to a pot with better drainage. It’s also a good idea to add a fresh batch of dry soil.
2 – Environmental Humidity
The primary way plants absorb water is through their roots. However, that’s not the only method they use.
Pothos leaves are porous, meaning they have tiny holes across their surface. These openings allow water to pass in and out of the plant.
So, when you place a pothos plant in a dry area, the leaves will dry out.
However, this is only a major issue if you live in an area with almost no humidity. Usually, the average household dampness should be adequate.
The easiest solution to this problem is to use a humidifier. Leaving the device running for a couple of hours a day can bring your pothos’ leaves back to life.
3 – Root Overgrowth
Generally, pothos plants start out their lives in pots. This makes it much easier to transport and display the foliage.
As the pothos grow, so do their roots. At some point, they twist over each other, restricting the plant’s ability to absorb water.
Unfortunately, this problem isn’t easy to diagnose. You can’t tell how large the roots are until you depot the plant.
So, if you notice the structures pushing against the pot in multiple positions, it might be time for a new vessel.
4 – Infections
Another common cause of pothos wilting is bacterial or fungal infections that can affect the plant’s ability to survive.
For example, bacterial leaf spots may cause foliage to discolor. As a result, the deep green turns into a sickly yellow, which impacts photosynthesis.
Another cause may be the bacteria spreading down the stem. When this happens, the structure can no longer support the leaves’ weight and wilt.
Regardless of the type of infection, the course of action will be similar. To start off, you’ll need to cut out the contaminated area and make sure to remove any traces of the infection to avoid re-growth.
After that, fill a new pot with fresh soil and re-plant the pothos. This is the only way to ensure the plant is free of disease.
5 – Malnutrition
Even though plants rely on photosynthesis for energy, they still need other nutrients. This includes nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
With a deficiency in any of these, pothos leaves will wilt.
The most obvious physical signs of this issue are uniformly yellowing leaves. When the whole plant slowly loses color, you need to add fertilizer to the soil.
Ideally, you want a fertilizer with NPK 10-10-10. That means it has an equal amount of each of the three main nutrients.
Adding one teaspoon of the chemical to the soil every couple of weeks should do the trick by reintroducing any nutrients that the plant may be missing.
Now, this isn’t an easy fix for the problem, though. Even with fertilizer, the pothos may need a few weeks to recover.
6 – Pest Infestations
If you’re noticing big chunks missing from your wilting pothos leaves, you may have uninvited guests. Pests can be a variety of spider mites or microorganisms feeding on your plant.
As you can guess, this isn’t exactly healthy. After a while, the leaves won’t be able to hold themselves up.
In this case, the first step is removing the plant from its spot. Of course, you want it to be as far away as possible from the infestation site.
Then, it’s time to pick out the pests.
Doing it by hand is the only way to ensure you remove all traces. Just don’t forget to wear gloves.
Finally, fill a spray bottle with a mixture of water and a few drops of soap to shower the pothos with a gentle mist once a week. This should drive away any pests to avoid having to go through the whole process again.
7 – Repotting Stress
Although repotting is the solution to a few wilting problems, it can also cause leaves to droop. This is because plants go through an adjustment period.
When they move to a new space, the roots will take a while to resettle and grow again. During this time, the leaves will go limp in an effort to conserve water.
Usually, the issue will resolve itself within a couple of weeks. You can try to pack down the soil to make the process go faster.
However, if the problem persists, you may need to check that the roots are still healthy.
When dealing with pothos wilting, a few factors may be at fault.
First off, check on the plant’s water content. Too much and too little moisture can lead to limp pothos leaves.
Other than that, the issue could be a lack of humidity, overgrown roots, infection, infestation, or malnutrition. Finally, after repotting pothos, the plant could wilt and take a couple of weeks to recover.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.