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Help, pothos turned yellow while I was gone!

Posted by kamak none (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 24, 13 at 1:32

Hi all, I just got back from a 6-day vacation. Right before I left I watered all of my plants as usual and my pothos was looking nice, full and healthy. I came back, and in the picture is what it looked like! I am not sure what happened or what to do. I do know that we left the blinds right next to the plant closed, but the room still gets a decent amount of light. Also, the temperature dropped outside pretty dramatically outside while I was gone, but we left the heat set at normal temperatures. None of my other plants look like they were affected. Any ideas? Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help, pothos turned yellow while I was gone!

Hi back! When you water "as usual" does water sit in the drip saucer? Your plant looks like it's been experiencing being too dry, then too wet. I think the damage was building and the leaves affected so far just happened to turn yellow while you were gone. Does that sound plausible?

They can't turn green again, so might as well remove them. If you pull them at the right angle, they should come away cleanly where the petiole attaches to the stem.

From what I can see, I would bet the pot is packed full of roots with nowhere left to grow. You could try to rehabilitate them through a repot, or you may feel it's easier to cut everything off and let the pieces make new roots. IME, Pothos really do best if propagated often, constantly growing new roots - unless you are trying to grow one of those around-the-room vines and never want to shorten anything. Not much length is lost that way, and assuming the conditions will be acceptable for growth (light, water, temp, soil,) this usually also results in the growth of additional stems at nodes that make new roots, as well as restored vigor to the original pieces. You have options.

I usually devote the lowest 2 nodes to roots, as shown below. The way I have the best results is to soften in water for a week or two, until you see some whiteness breaking through the brown root nub, then it's ready for soil, not necessary to bury very deeply.


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RE: Help, pothos turned yellow while I was gone!

Thank you! That's really helpful. So if I try to propagate now, then what happens to the current plant? I just discard it?


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RE: Help, pothos turned yellow while I was gone!

You're welcome. Hard to say what the old root mass would do without knowing the condition in the pot, or exactly where you would make the cuts.

Assuming the roots are ready for action, and light/moisture/temp continue within acceptable range... if you leave at least one leaf per stem, it's reasonable to expect it to keep growing. There are quite a few leaves right at the top of the pot, so it wouldn't really look naked, even when you first did the haircut. Also not something you have to do all at once, and not something that can't wait until spring, if you're a take the plants outside person.

But better than having separate, more sparse pots... Get a bigger pot and put the trimmed mama roots in the same pot with the cuttings. That's what I would do. About two weeks before you're ready for repotting, trim whatever vines you think should be trimmed and put them in water to soften the aerial root nubs (pic below of one with white growth breaking through the harder brown covering, same cutting as pictured above after soaking for about 10 days.)

The main point is that it's easy to make this plant conform to your expectations, either a few really long sparsely-leaved things, or a fluffy-looking pot of lots of close-together leaves. What I've been describing takes some sacrifice initially, and is for obtaining the latter, which if maintained well, can eventually be one of those hanging (or pedestal) plants with a solid shower of long things too numerous to count, not just a few.

The maintaining would be after the initial sacrifice of cutting most vines. Once it starts growing long again, occasionally remove the longest one and stick it back in the pot (after the brief soaking.) Shouldn't need another drastic haircut (which usually requires one to look at a bunch of cut ends for a while.) Repotting before the roots solidly fill the pot can help keep as many healthy looking leaves on the vines as possible. BUT when it is in a constant of renewal as described above, this kind of vining plant doesn't need repotting as often as upright, single-stem/trunk entities. At any given point, a lot of the roots are new, and there are always new vines coming from the top. Starting with a nice, big pot helps to keep the repotting episodes spaced as far apart as possible.

About the soil in the pot, what have you been using?


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RE: Help, pothos turned yellow while I was gone!

This is a great education for me. I am relatively new to keeping plants - I have killed several and am only starting to really try to learn how to maintain them better (hence finally using this account I created last year). I don't know too much about the soil. I got this plant from my parents this summer and I suspect they either haven't changed the soil since they got it, or used whatever soil they were putting in the beds in the garden. So I think in the spring I will need to change that. Is there a type of soil that would be versatile enough for most house plants?


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RE: Help, pothos turned yellow while I was gone!

I would eventually like a full, long plant so I will certainly follow this recommendation. I am relatively new to keeping plants - I have killed several and am only starting to really try to learn how to maintain them better (hence finally using this account I created last year). I don't know too much about the soil. I got this plant from my parents this summer and I suspect they either haven't changed the soil since they got it, or used whatever soil they were putting in the beds in the garden. So I think in the spring I will need to change that. Is there a type of soil that would be versatile enough for most house plants?


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RE: Help, pothos turned yellow while I was gone!

Woops, I guess I accidentally posted twice with the same thing. I am learning how to use this forum. Apologies!


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RE: Help, pothos turned yellow while I was gone!

Woops, I guess I accidentally posted twice with the same thing. I am learning how to use this forum. Apologies!


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RE: Help, pothos turned yellow while I was gone!

Woops, I guess I accidentally posted twice with the same thing. I am learning how to use this forum. Apologies!


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RE: Help, pothos turned yellow while I was gone!

Not your fault, there's some kind of gremlin today...

You may feel more informed about soil, why most people turn away from bagged potting soils of mostly peat after reading this link, and seeing some great pics of great mixes.


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RE: Help, pothos turned yellow while I was gone!

  • Posted by dsws none (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 24, 13 at 23:57

Potting media aren't exactly soil. I suspect that one reason commercial potting mixes lean so much toward peat is that it looks and feels more like soil than the media that people here favor, while not being quite as unsuited for potted plants as garden dirt would be.

I highly recommend the link purpleinopp posted. The one point where I think Al (tapla) overstated his case is drainage layers. As far as I'm concerned, a drainage layer is a wick. If it weren't, you couldn't water from the bottom and have it wick the water up into the pot. That's how I always watered before I understood the problem of salt accumulation, and it worked ok with every drainage layer I ever made. But I probably shouldn't go on about it any more here: the discussion is lower down in that thread. I'll just add that even though I like drainage layers perfectly well with the peaty materials I have on hand, the mixes Al recommends are obviously better if you're willing to find the materials and use them as recommended.

Here is a link that might be useful: that same link again


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RE: Help, pothos turned yellow while I was gone!

Hi, I have followed the instructions and left my cut pieces sitting in water for nearly 2 weeks. However, nothing is happening to the root area - it looks the same as the day I cut them (meaning no white roots breaking through). Should I keep leaving it there or go ahead and plant?


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RE: Help, pothos turned yellow while I was gone!

Hi Kamak,

If you live in a relatively northern latitude, things are likely to take longer at this time of year. Are the bottom ends (the ends in the water) of your cuttings still firm, not mushy or slimy? All is fine, then--it's just that weaker sunlight and cooler temps slow down growth. You can root pothos in soil (meaning you could go ahead and plant now), but. in my experience, they're a little easier to root in water, especially at this time of year. I'd give them a little more time in water. Just my opinion, though.

Amanda

This post was edited by asarumgreenpanda on Mon, Mar 4, 13 at 20:38


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RE: Help, pothos turned yellow while I was gone!

Kamak, can you add a pic of your cuttings?


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