pothos yellowing

stormchaserDecember 13, 2011

I have 2 small pothos plants that I divided over 4 months ago and have been doing well with the exception of yellowing leaves. Everyting I water them (every other week) some of the leaves turn yellow. I know it is not from overwatering so this is baffling to me. I have even gone to the extent of waiting until the leaves start to "droop" a little before watering.

Should I start watering them from the bottom?

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Watering from the bottom ensures an accumulation of salts in the soil. Ideally, when you water at least 10-20% of the total volume of water applied should exit the drain hole & carry away accumulating salts from fertilizer & tap water. Are older leaves yellowing? Younger leaves? How have you been fertilizing (how often? with what? what strength?)?


    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 12:43PM
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Watering every 2 weeks....suggests you are watering the plant on a schedule you have determined is by the clock.
Plants don't grow by rote, they grow according to their natural habit. Their taking of water through the roots, to the foliage occurs with many natural barriers as to the amounts they require. How much sun they receive; how much water the roots can properly ingest, how much water the foliage can take up, and of course, the temperature of the water and what kind of water it is given.
The above poster pointed out that water contains certain amounts of salts...and the reason why we like our plants to drain well gets rid of the some of the salts that, overtime, can cause problems.

You are definitely overwatering. Put your plants on a schedule they require---not one you set up.
As winter days go by the plant is receiving less and less sunlight. (blame it on the Earth's tilt) Sunlight is the one thing that causes our plants everywhere to grow according to their natural habit.
As the sun returns in February/March the plant will take up more and more sunlight and be encouraged to grow--ergo, will use more and more water.
Don't put your plant on a different schedule according to the calendar--or the clock. Instead, let your finger be your guide. If you feel dampness down by the second knuckle, let your plant go unwatered for another day or so...a week maybe. If you feel its dryness, then water--to drainage; dump the excess and let the plant dry down between waterings. Let the plant tell you when to water....not the calendar.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 11:09AM
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Like I stated, I have been waiting until the leaves actually droop or start to wilt before watering and that is about every 2 weeks. If I wait until the plant is almost dead, it might not come back.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 7:25PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

"I have been waiting until the leaves actually droop or start to wilt before watering

Were they drooping due to lack of water? To check if watering is needed I use the finger method mentioned above (hmmm, perhaps I could have worded that differently) or I go by pot heft. Leaves can droop for a number of reasons.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 7:36PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I water my Pothos about every 10 days to 2 weeks depending on when I think of it.

Yellowing on a Pothos tends to be from overwatering or bad drainage. Does the pot have a hole & is your mix fast draining or peaty? I suspect the problem is in the kind of mix being used.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 7:52PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'm not sure you missed my questions or just didn't reply, but there's a good possibility your answers would provide the hints needed to diagnose a probable, or at least possible cause. W/o additional input, a SWAG is about the best anyone could do for you.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 7:47AM
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You should never use 'wilting' as a means to decide whether your plant needs water....continued wilting only causes damage to a plant that may not recover from.
Its much better to know the habit of your plant and when it needs water by the simple finger method....or failing that, if you don't wish to have dirty fingernails, use a moisture meter.
You have yellow leaves. That should be your cue to find out why.
The reasons are there for you to decide which:
too much water/too little water.
Too much fertilizer/too little fertilizer
Too much heat..especially during nighttime
A lousy plant location.
To that, simply move your plant to a better location.
Drafts, such as coming from a heat vent or in direct line of doors being opened letting the soil surface being affected abruptly.
That may bring about an abrupt change which you figure is wilting.

Your plant is being overwatered--definitely--by the manner which you give it water...every two weeks.
A plant, properly watered, should be able to go much longer than 2 weeks in periods when the sun doesn't have such an effect.
Too much heat can come from the plant's location too close to the window glass.

Plants that have wilted...should perk up almost immediately when given water.
Wilting is a normal reaction to any of the above and you should find out which one or more of them is causing the problem.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 5:36PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Given the choice between allowing a plant to suffer the regular effects of the drought stress that occurs from wilting or watching it decline due to chronic over-watering, I'll take the wilting every time because it's by far the lesser of the evils.

A plant that can go 2 weeks without water is being limited by the combination of over-watering and a soil too water-retentive. There is no way to get around that fact. If vitality and root function is of any concern to the grower, no plant should be in a soil that allows much longer than 2 week intervals between waterings, unless the plant is well-adapted to dry conditions and the interval is a result of intentionally keeping the plant dry - not wet. IOW, leafy plants like pothos in soils that remain wet for 2 weeks or longer on a single watering, are being severely limited in growth and vitality by virtue of the fact that the soils must be very soggy after watering.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 6:43PM
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