Help! Pothos is dying! Can anyone advise?

lindseylu(7 - New Mexico)October 2, 2006

Hello, everyone,

I feel really silly, but I've got a beautiful pothos which has suddenly taken a nasty turn and I don't know what to do. (I have had no problems with pothos plants in the past!) The leaves are turning yellow, starting with the oldest ones, and they are also developing brown cracks and holes. There has been no drastic change in the pothos' environment or water. Can anyone please help me save my pretty plant? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance,

Lindsey :)

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canttype(0b (Cold North))

Mine do the same thing so I'm thinking it's our watering habits. Yellowing leaves is cause from overwatering (especially in winter) Dry wholes and cracks is from underwatering.... They like to dry out but I think I must have over done it.... maybe you did too? Going from one extreem to another, letting it dry out too much then overwatering or letting the plant sit in the water, is the cause.

Not much to we can do now that the damage is done, but try to be more aware if their needs. My main Pothos is in a difficult spot to water, it is up high on top of the cupboards, so it doesn't get the attention it might deserve but even with loosing a few leaves , it still looks great!

I keep her trimmed, so she doesn't take over the counter, and am always rooting the cuttings and starting new plants. Doing this helps it start new vines from the pot as well as the tip ends.

Hope that helps,
Diane

If you can't see my picture, try my blog link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Diane's blog

    Bookmark   October 2, 2006 at 12:25PM
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lindseylu(7 - New Mexico)

Thank you so much, Diane, for the good advice! It really helps. I appreciate it! It was nice to see your "jungle" as well!

Take care,
Lindsey :)

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 4:41PM
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canttype(0b (Cold North))

You are very welcome Lindsey! I'm a tad surprised that no one else rang in with other ideas but no matter, I'm 95% sure that is what our problems are. Pick off the failing leaves and water less but not too much less:-) Wait till the pot is almost dry. I also mist mine quite often to humidify and to keep the leaves clean.

My jungle is growing....I should update my photos. Glad you enjoyed them!

Daine

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 5:28PM
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notanatural(z6 NY)

I don't have much input to give but I'm interested in, or rather, I 'need' to learn how to take care of a pothos. I've never had one before and I'm having to plantsit for someone and one of them is a pothos.
I really don't want her to come back and find a bunch of half dead plants.

Unfortunately I could only successfully id a few of her plants- the pothos, hibs and succulents. The other leafy plants- I have no clue what they are but I'm hoping that if I just stick to a schedule of 'wait till it dries before watering' they should be okay.

Diane, that's interesting what you said about the cracks on the leaves from underwatering- does that happen to other plants too, you think? One of my hibs has a few leaves that are completely slit in the middle and I often wondered what it was. Couldn't be bugs or mice- there aren't any here and if there are- why would they attack only that one hib?

Anyway, coming back to pothos- they don't require much light, I think I remember that from somewhere and I always considered them 'easy house plants' (I don't know where I got that one from since I've never had one) but I have no clue about watering it. I would've thought they would like being damp- but I guess not. Is there anything else i should know?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 6:53PM
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canttype(0b (Cold North))

I'm not sure but I would think so. A watering problem with one type of plant generally leads to signs of the same damage to others...Hibs do not like to dry out too much during the growing season and will show signs of stress if they have dryed too much.(Regular misting is a + with Hibs) Hoya's will loose lower leaves if watered too much.

Just don't dote on them! Pothos are a tough plant that will take a bit of abuse! (can't believe everyone doesn't grow at least one...I've got 3 different types:-) It's better to underwater these than over. Even when it's hot I wouldn't water these babies but once a week! Like most plants in winter, less.

As a 'general' rule of thumb, but not always,the plants away from the window are 'generally' gonna want less water than plants closer to the window taking more direct sun. (except for those succulents whom this time of year shouldn't be thirsty for quite awhile)

How long are they away for? How many plants?
I'm sure your friends plants will do just fine in your capable hands.
Good luck,
Diane

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 8:22PM
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notanatural(z6 NY)

Thanks Diane. I didn't count- but there are probably about 10-15 plants that I have to take care of. She's actually a co-worker and brought the plants over to work for me.

I gave her the succs and hibs, so I know how to take care of those, but the others- not really.

Maybe sometime during the next two months I might be able to take pics and upload them here for id.

I can't even remember now, what each plant looks like- but one that I can recall is a small foliage type plant with pink veins on the leaves. I know I've seen them in grocery stores before.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 8:10AM
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joel_bc(z6 BC)

I've had this problem in the past with a couple of pothos plants. After a while, they seem susceptible to over-watering symptoms (yellowing leaves that thicken, get soft, then fall off). However, the age of the plant may be a factor in its becoming so sensitive to slight over-watering.

Other factors may come into play, of course. I'm convinced that most indoor plants need a light, rather spongy, airy "soil". So now I've replanted all my plants into a medium made up of coir, finely-ground bark, and perlite.

Plants need enough light, and if they don't get enough (not too much for the individual species, mind you) they will not process either water or soil nutrients well.

I just saw a lovely pothos plant at a friend's place last week. It's lush and it trails about 16 or 18 feet across a room. It's planted in a big pot (must be a 4- or 5-gallon pot) and is in a light soil like I described. Day-time light in the room is moderate, but definitely not too dark.

Hope this contributes something to the general discussion.

Joel

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 10:54AM
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birdsnblooms

Lindsey, like everyone says, make sure the soil dries before watering. As for the brown, it could be lack of humidity. Can you mist your new Pothos on a daily basis? I'd give it a try and see how it does..Toni

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 4:14PM
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lindseylu(7 - New Mexico)

Thanks for the additional advice, Toni! Much appreciated! "Lack of Humidity" ought to be the name of the city in which I live :) so I will definitely start misting and see if that helps. I've moved the pothos to another locale and am letting it dry out a bit.

THANK YOU, EVERYONE! :)))
Lindsey

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 1:19AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Sigh. Please note that misting your plants does NOT benefit the plant by raising the humidity (any longer than it takes for the water drops to dry). Pothos can thrive in the average non humid indoor environment, unless it is toooooo inhospitable. At that point, it's probably unhealthy for you, too, and a humidifier ought to be a consideration. If you have any suspicions that your plant may have a fungus disease or insect infestation, misting is the worst thing you can do.

If you are allowing your plants to dry out before watering, then you'll need to be very careful that you water very thoroughly when it's watering day. A dry peat-based planting medium becomes a bit hydrophobic, and permanent dry pockets can form unless the soil volume is really drenched and maybe even soaked. What will happen is that the water will run right though little channels, leaving the plant pretty much dry, even though it may 'look' moistened on top. Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 11:47AM
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birdsnblooms

Rhizo, I agree whereas a plant that has fungal disease, misting and added humidity should be considered, but I disagree that misting isn't necessary.
I notice a big difference when I mist daily as to getting lazy and stopping. I also disagree that misting hurts if a plant has infestation.
Misting also cleans dusty leaves, unclogging pores. It's much better than using a leaf shine product.
Of course this is a matter of opinion, but I find it works best for my plants..Toni

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 5:08PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Well, I might as well throw my 2 cents in too! I have never misted my plants, so I can't say if it helps, or not. However, I can assure you that Pothos do just fine without humidity. Where I live is EXTREMELY dry, (not counting this week where we have had record amount of rain, LOL) and my pothos grow like weeds. Mine have had those symptoms before, when I ignored them too long and then didn't thoroughly water them. I also agree that the peat based planting mediums contribute to the problem, but haven't seen the finely ground bark before. Where do you find that?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 5:59PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I agree that strong misting can clean the leaves. But that is really and truly the only benefit. Just be sure that the surface dust doesn't wash to the underside of the leaves, because that's where most of the stomata are.

Spray droplets can and will carry fungal spores (as 'most' fungal diseases are spread by and must have standing moisture to propagate). Misting can even carry spider mites from one plant to another, if they (plants) are in close proximity to one another.

Not opinion here, just simple facts. As a matter of fact, the only real opinion I have about misting is that I think misting is highly beneficial and theraputic for those who are DOING the misting. ;-) No one should stop if it brings a sense of accomplishement and prevents one from feeling lazy. But I'm not going to be passive about anyone suggesting that a daily mist can improve the health of a plant.

We've agreed to disagree on this matter a few dozen times in the past, and I expect we'll do so again! LOL! ((((Toni)))))

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 8:19AM
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Pat

Would orchid soil be suitable, since it has the perlite and charcoal and wood chips? Why can I grow orchids but my pothos never look lush?
Pat

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 4:04PM
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sls_2012

I found this thread because my pothos was exhibiting the exact same symptoms as yours. The leaves appeared as if something was chewing on them, then when I started to water more frequently the leaves turned yellow and dropped off. One of the suggestions is to re-pot your pothos in a lighter soil. This is a great suggestion, because it works. When I re-potted my plant I found it was root-bound as well. I don't know if changing the soil or giving the plant more room was the cause but new leaves do not suffer the strange holes.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 1:13PM
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nguyenhg

I have to disagree with the overwatering diagnosis. Pothos is one of the most water-tolerant plants. In fact, you can grow it out of fish bowls or aquaria (and you can't overwater any more than that ;-). I have done it many times. Usually you should cut and replant it every 6 months or so (by that time the roots would become so dense that they would obstruct your fish). I would favor the nutrient depletion/root bound diagnosis instead.

Here is a link that might be useful: My AeroGarden fish bowl with pothos

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 8:05PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hi nguyenhg! Your fish is so pretty! Thanks for sharing your pic.

A waterlogged soil (which can rot roots) is not the same thing as a bowl of water (which does not rot roots for plants that will accept this condition.) Many plants that can grow for years in just water would soon be killed in a pot of soggy soil. It's an apples'n'oranges comparison.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:59AM
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tropicbreezent

Not necessarily. I have several plants in pots in soil sitting in water in ponds. And they're growing quite well. It all depends on which plant it is. I also just took a plant out of a very large pot that it had grown too big for. Very healthy and producing flowers constantly. The soil in the pot was soggy, you could squeeze water out of it. I've had to put that plant into the ground now and a different one in the pot. Not all plants are the same, it's a matter of "horses for courses".

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:59PM
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nicole888

I would also probably suggest repotting your pothos. If you have changed nothing about your care, then it could be that it has become rootbound, and thus drying out much faster and absorbing less nutrients.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:50PM
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ken2256(5b)

My pothos is growing in hydroton clay in a net pot, i sink it in the solution every day once or twice , plus mist the leaves heavily, it is thriving real well, all the leaves are pointed straight up.,, so appears to be happy..

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 1:12PM
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Daplanegone(6)

Mine did the same thing but all the leaves fell off now all I have is beautiful long green stems, Iwwould like to know will they grow leaves back, or what should I do?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 12:00PM
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tropicbreezent

Any reason all the leaves fell off? They're not normally deciduous so it suggests a major problem.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 7:59PM
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ssuarkc(3a)

Well ... the only time my pothos turned its leaves brown was when I accidently forgot to water the poor thing and it got really dry and wilted. It then made known to me that it was most displeased by my poor caretaking performance, turned some leaves yellow, then dry brown.

So, after my pothos patiently trained me on what it does and does not like, I never let it get droopy. It also let me know that it is quite pleased to sit just to the side of my east window where it gets some filtered/dappled morning sunlight. I water it about once a week when the soil feels dry when I dig my finger in deep enough to cover my fingernail. I also fertilize it with dilute 20-20-20 every 2-3 weeks. So now, my golden has leaves that about 7-8 inches long and about 5 inches wide, lots of gold and cream, and the last time I measured the vine it was about 16 feet long. I have to keep lifting the ends up and looping it back up over the top and then some months later, it's down to the floor again. They grow rather quickly!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 8:46PM
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jameya(zone 5/ central indiana)

I just bought one of these and it has really long vines. I brought it home and have it hanging in a south facing window. Im having the yellow leaves at the top and then falling off. But here is a question i have, and i hope someone can give me their thoughts. My house is super humid. I dont have central air, and have only one window unit in a room that is quite a ways away from my plants. Ive noticed that the soil is not "drying" out like it should and im wondering if it is because its so humid. I do have a dehumidifer in the basement and there is no door blocking the basement to the kitchen area where i usually keep my plants. Could this be an issue?? I did go out and buy this small fan that i am going to be putting in the kitchen, to get some "air flow" going. I also bought the plant about a month ago, so i am not quite sure what it like and what it dont. I have killed a couple of these babies before, but i am hoping i can get it right this time. I am making some 5-1-1 mix and was thinking about potting it in this. But im wondering if i should wait a few more weeks to let the plant adjust and get over the shock of being at the store to my home. Any thoughts??
Thanks :)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 3:09AM
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MsGreenFinger GW(8 Ireland)

Humidity is good for plants. If the soil stays wet for too long, it is definitely a drainage issue. First of all, water less. Then repot as soon as possible. These plants are hardy so don't worry about shock.
Also you can cut the long vines and simply put them in a cup of water. They will develop roots in a few weeks time and you can put the plantlets back to their mum's pot.
In your case yellowing leaves are probably the sign of overwatering.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 8:47AM
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jameya(zone 5/ central indiana)

I bet my issue is the soil. I have had the plant for about a month, so i am sure some of it is "shock" from being brought home from the store and then putting in my house. But i have only watered the plant 2 times in the month because the soil dont seem to dry out. I am in the process of getting materials to make a batch of Al`s 5-1-1 mix so when i get all the materials, then i will repot in this and im sure it would help. I do have a couple questions:
I had one of these plants a couple years back, i had one of these plants and i repotted it. Ive read when you repot you want to get all or most of the dirt off the roots of the plant, i had a lot of trouble getting the soil off of these because the plant seemed to root itself along the vines into different places instead of just "down" so what can i do that would be helpful in replantting this one?? My other one died, and im sure soil was one issue but it never got over the "shock" of transplanting it and i think i might have ruined some of the roots that had sprouted along the vine parts into the soil....is there any tricks or easy way to replantting these??
And i had no clue that you can just cut off some of the vine and place it in water, and it will grow roots!!! This is awesome because mine looks a bit leggy and i would like it to appear a bit fuller so that it a great idea for me to try. I have some clean clear old mason canning jars i can use..how much of a vine should i cut off the "mom" plant and do i just stick the end i cut into the water and sit it on the window sil in regular water and just watch for the roots to form before i plant it?? It sounds so easy, but i tend to kill everything, so i want to know any tricks or things to do, or not to do!!!
Thanks :)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 5:49PM
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MsGreenFinger GW(8 Ireland)

Pothos roots easily in water. Just cut off the end of the vine. Leave 2-3 leaves on the cutting. The best is if it has the little brown bumps or aerial roots on it. Let the cut callous over for a few hours then put it in a glass of water. I used bottled water because tap water is hard and fluorided in my area. The brown bumps should develop into roots and you can plant them in a pot. Cuttings can also survive in plain water for a long time. Don't put it in direct sun, just bright indirect light. Change the water 1-2 times a week.
When you repot use a well draining soil, pothos can take a good deal of mistreat but their roots die in perched water. Soak the entire pot if needed, but get rid of the old soil. Doesn't matter if you lose some of the roots, they will regrow in an optimal soil.
I grow mine in a soilless hydroponic system in which I use only clay pellets, water and some fertilizer. Very easy.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 9:57AM
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Daplanegone(6)

Spider Mites, pothos can grow anywhere in soil, water, just about anywhere except for lots of dry heat, direct sunlight or freezing cold. Heck I have 4 little clippings that I put in used plastic water bottles just till the roots came out so I could transfer them to pots, well I kept putting it off now I have a jungle on my counter top Lol!! But yea the first thought was mites expecially when you said brown spots a dead giveaway. Careful mites travel by air the slightest breeze can move those little guys around quickly. Read up on how to remove them and your all set. Sorry about the photo but it just wouldn't load right!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:15PM
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Daplanegone(6)

Spider Mites, pothos can grow anywhere in soil, water, just about anywhere except for lots of dry heat, direct sunlight or freezing cold. Heck I have 4 little clippings that I put in used plastic water bottles just till the roots came out so I could transfer them to pots, well I kept putting it off now I have a jungle on my counter top Lol!! But yea the first thought was mites expecially when you said brown spots a dead giveaway. Careful mites travel by air the slightest breeze can move those little guys around quickly. Read up on how to remove them and your all set. Sorry about the photo but it just wouldn't load right!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:16PM
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nomen_nudum

Plant acclimation in a kitchen is a tough thing for any plant to do as they have to acclimate for every meal thats cooked.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:09PM
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