Why is My Pothos Drooping? (And How to Revive Wilting Pothos)

Last Updated on June 9, 2022 by Admin

Pothos leaves drooping and wilting can happen when the plant is not used to a certain environment. Thus, it can occur the moment you bring it home from the nursery.

But in many cases, droopy pothos happens when its living conditions as a houseplant do not coincide to what is has been used to in the wild.

As such, try to give the plant living conditions similar to its native habitat, or as close as you can to tropical forest environments.

Why are your pothos leaves drooping? Underwatering is usually the main culprit. But it is only one cause. Two other common possibilities is low humidity and nutrient deficiency.

Overwatering, incorrect lighting, low temperature, being pot bound and poor drainage all cause drooping and wilting as well.

Why is Your Pothos Drooping?

Lack of Water Can Cause Pothos Drooping

Pothos leaves drooping is usually caused by underwatering. While pothos plants like the soil to partially dry between waterings, avoid letting it go completely dry.

Allowing it to go bone dry especially for long periods of time will lead to dehydration.

This can eventually damage the roots if they happen too long or often enough.

An underwatered pothos plant will look sad and weak. That’s the easiest way to tell. The pothos plant will droop and wilt as well.

That’s because its long stems are filled with flowing water. And the turgor pressure caused by the water that pushes the cells against the cell walls keeps the stems firm.

Therefore, lack of water and the resulting lower turgor pressure will cause pothos leaves to wilt.

As with most plant issues, the first place you want to check are the leaves. Foliage often provide you with important clues on something’s wrong.

When a pothos plant needs water, you’ll see brown and yellow leaves. More importantly, the leaves will droop and wilt. Plus, they will feel dry and crispy to the touch.

If left like this, the dry leaves will eventually fall off.


How to Fix Pothos Leaves Drooping from Lack of Water

Water the plant.

But avoid drenching it will lots of water at once. That’s because it is coming from a very dry state and it will have a hard time if you give it tons of water immediately.

Instead, water slowly.

The best way to do this is by bottom watering or watering from below. To do so,

Place your pothos in a sink, large container or bathtub. Fill the sink or tub with water until about 3 to 4 inches.

The soil will slowly absorb the water through the holes at the bottom of the pot.

Since it does this on its own pace, it will take a while. This can take 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how big the pot/plant it.

Every 15 to 20 minutes, check on the plant. Sometimes, it may tip over or something may happen. So, just make sure nothing like that occurs.

Also, stick your finger in the soil. Once the top 2-3 inches of soil feels moist, you can take the pot out of the water bath.

In the meantime, you can go and do something else and just check back every few minutes.

Once you take the pot out of the water bath, let the excess moisture completely drain. Only return the plant to its original spot when the soil has completely drained.

In about 24 hours, you should see the plant start to perk right back up.


Overwatering Can Make Pothos Leaves Droop

Besides underwatering, overwatering can also cause pothos plants to droop.

But this time, it is more dangerous.

That’s because overwatering will cause the roots to drown due to too much liquid in the soil. As a result, they suffocate.

And when this happens, they won’t be efficient in absorbing nutrients, moisture and essential minerals from the soil.

This will cause lack of water and as a result low turgor pressure. So, you’ll see pothos leaves droop and wilt.

And it does not stop there.

If the roots stay in wet, soggy soil for too long with lots of excess moisture, they’ll eventually die from suffocation as they won’t be able to breathe due to all the water.

This leads to root rot.

Root rot causes healthy roots to turn smelly, black and mushy. Even worse, it means the roots don’t function any more.

And this will keep spreading through the root system as long as the excess moisture is not relieved.

Once too many of the roots have died and rotted, the plant is past saving. As such, it is important to spot and treat root rot if it does occur.

So, always be on the lookout of the symptoms of overwatering.

In most cases, you’ll see yellow leaves beginning with the bottom foliage closer to the soil. Additionally, the soil will feel wet or soggy even after it has been days since you last watered.

When you unpot the plant, you’ll almost immediately smell a stench of the rotten roots. And the roots will be black or brown in color and feel soft and mushy.


How to Fix Pothos Leaves Drooping from Overwatering

With overwatering, prevention is better than any fix.

So, regularly check the soil. It should be drying a few days after you water. If the soil stays wet, stick your finger down 3-4 inches.

If everything feels wet, it is likely best to unpot the plant and check the roots. Better safe than sorry.

Never water the plant when the soil is wet. Always wait until the top 2 inches of soil has completely dried before you add water.

On the other hand, if the soil feels wet and you suspect overwatering, take the plant out of its pot and inspect the roots.

If you’re lucky, there’s still no root rot yet. Instead, just overwatered or waterlogged soil.

Should this be the case, make sure you’re using well-draining soil. If not remove the soil and repot in new, well-draining soil.

If you’re already using well-draining soil, repot the plant, nevertheless.

Pot it up in fresh, dry, well-draining soil as this will allow the plant to immediately.

Of course, you can return the plant to its original pot without doing anything. Then just wait for the soil to dry before adding more water.

While this works, I don’t like doing it since anything can still happen while the soil takes its time to dry.

On the other hand, if there is root rot, prune the rotten roots.

Then repot the plant in fresh, dry soil.

Whatever method you end up doing, make sure to adjust your watering schedule after.


Lack of Humidity

Pothos are native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. That region is best known for its hot weather and high humidity because of its proximity to the equator.

As such, pothos plants are accustomed to high humidity.

Ideally, the enjoys humidity between 50% and 70%. And while they can tolerate humidity of about 40%, low humidity or dry air environments can give it problems.

The most common symptoms of this are brown and crispy leaf edges and tips.

Additionally, pothos leaves drooping will likewise occur as the plant loses or does not have enough moisture.

So, if you’ve checked watering and both over and underwatering are not the cause of your pothos drooping, then the wilting could be from lack of humidity.

Another thing to keep in mind is that air conditioners, heaters and radiators will make the air very dry in the room. So, don’t keep your pothos plant in these areas.

Very dry summers and cold winters likewise bring down humidity considerably. Therefore, watch out for both.


How to Fix Pothos Leaves Drooping Due to Lack of Humidity

Insufficient humidity can be fixed by misting your plant regularly.

However, be careful not to overdo it. Over misting such that there are water spots left on the leaves increase the risk of fungal diseases.

Additionally, you can give your pothos a shower every now and then.

Again, make sure to pat down the leaves and let the soil drain after

Other options are getting a humidifier or setting up a pebble tray.


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Drainage Issues

Poor drainage is usually caused by soil that retains too much water.

Pothos don’t like sitting in water for long periods of time. When this happens, the roots eventually suffocate. So, never use heavy soils or water-retentive soils.

Instead, always choose a well-draining soil.

This will allow excess moisture to drain quickly so the roots stay dry.

If they stay wet for long periods, you’ll see leaves begin to turn yellow, wilt and droop. The symptoms will be similar to overwatering because waterlogged soil is just another way of overwatering the plant and its roots.

Again, this puts your pothos at risk of root rot.

In addition to soil drainage, don’t forget about pot drainage as well.

The pot you use for your pothos should have drainage holes at the bottom. Otherwise, even if you water properly and use well-draining soil, the potting mix will still end up wet.

That’s because all the excess liquid that drains from the soil is stuck at the bottom of the pot with nowhere to exit.

This will accumulate in time and drown the roots as well.


How to Fix Pothos Leaves Drooping Due to Poor Drainage

In addition to always checking the soil and only watering when the top 2 inches have dried out, make sure to use well-draining soil and a pot with drainage.

Good drainage will ensure the soil does not hold excess moisture. And the holes at the bottom of the pot will allow water to drip out.

Also, check for any obstruction that may prevent water from draining through the holes.

Sometimes, soil can get stuck and cover the holes. Or other things can happen.

Also, if you keep a saucer under your pot, throw the excess liquid away.

Any pooling liquid on the saucer will be reabsorbed by the soil if it is left there.


Your Pothos is Pot Bound

Once you’ve checked the potential issues above and all of them look okay, consider checking whether your pothos is pot bound.

A plant that is overcrowded in its pot can cause droopy leaves as well.

That’s because when the container is too small and the roots have outgrown it, they will take over the pot.

This means less soil and air.

Less soil also means that there won’t be enough substrate to hold water or nutrients.

Therefore, the roots won’t be able to get enough to drink. Nor will it get sufficient nutrients.

This will cause pothos leaves drooping and wilting due to lack of moisture and nutrients. You’ll likewise see yellow leaves.

The easiest way to check whether the pothos is pot bound or not is to look at the holes under the pot. If there are roots poking out from the holes, it is likely pot bound already.

Similarly, roots can pop out from the surface of the soil or through the creases in the soil especially in the edges of the rim between the pot and the soil.

When you take the plant out of its container, you’ll see roots wrapping themselves around the root ball many times over.


How to Fix Pothos Leaves Drooping

Pothos don’t need regular repotting. In most cases, you only need to repot every 2-3 years.

But once the plant gets root bound, it is time to repot.

You don’t want to let the roots get overcrowded in the pot.

To repot, prepare some fresh, well-draining soil. And have a pot that is 2 inches larger than the current one.

Then unpot the plant and untangle the roots.

Fill the new pot with the fresh soil until about 40% of the way. Then place the root ball in and fille the rest of the pot with soil.


Pothos Drooping After Repotting

Sometimes, your pothos will droop and wilt soon after repotting it.

This can happen due to the change in environment.

Something as little as moving it to a new home with different soil can do this.

In the same way, transplanting the plant outdoors from indoors and vice versa can cause this.


The plant gets stressed or goes into shock.

The same is true when you first bring the plant home from the nursery.

Stress or shock occurs when changes in light, soil, temperature or anything in its environment happens.


How to Fix Pothos Leaves Drooping

In most cases, you don’t need to do anything. And the plant will recover on its own in a few weeks as it gets adjusted.

However, there are a few things you can do to help prevent this.

One is to use the same kind of soil when repotting. Also, avoid changing its living environment since it is already adjusting to the change in pots.

Try to make sure to plant the pothos in the same height as it was in its previous container. This will make it feel more comfortable.

Also, repot during spring or summer which is the plant’s growing season.

Once repotting stress or shock sets in, it is usually a waiting game.

However, make sure to keep the plant in ideal living conditions and give it proper care as it gets accustomed. This will help it come out of this state sooner.

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