Why Are My Satin Pothos Leaves Curling – How to Fix Scindapsus Leaf Curl

Satin Pothos are best known for their beautiful silver variegations. They are likewise easy plants to care for.

That said, if you notice your pothos leaves curling it can be a cause of concern. In this article, I’ll explain in detail why curling leaves can happen and how to fix it.

Why are your Satin Pothos leaves curling? Satin Pothos leaves curling is usually a sign that the plant is underwatered. It does this to slow down water loss due to transpiration.

Other causes of curling Pothos leaves include low humidity, over fertilizing, temperature stress, root rot, insufficient lighting, pests and diseases.

It is important to correctly diagnose the issue before trying fix it.

Reasons Why Your Satin Pothos Plant Leaves are Curling

Satin Pothos leaves curling may be caused by a few things. Therefore, is it very important to properly diagnose what is happening.

Below, I’ll go through the reasons why leaves of your Satin Pothos may be curling. For each potential cause, I’ll explain what is happening and how you can fix it.

Chart of Why are My Satin Pothos Leaves Curling Causes
Chart of Why are My Satin Pothos Leaves Curling Causes

 

Underwatering Your Satin Pothos Can Cause Curling Leaves

Underwater is the most common reason why your Satin Pothos leaves are curling.

In general, Satin Pothos can tolerate dry periods. However, there is a limit to what it can tolerate. When you see its leaves start curling, it usually means that the soil has very little or no water at all.

Often, it will be completely dry and probably has been dry for a while.

The reason why your pothos leaves curl is that they do so to reduce their surface area. By doing so, they are able to slow down the rate of transpiration, when water escapes from the pores of the leaves into the air.

This helps it conserve as much water as it can because it does not have much left stored away.

Unfortunately, the longer this goes, the more dehydrated the plant gets. So, over time, you’ll see the leaves become limp and begin to wilt.

The good news is an underwatered Pothos is simple to fix. However, you want to avoid leaving it dehydrated for extended periods of time or repeated as dehydration will ultimately damage the plant the more it happens.

The best way to fix Pothos leaf curl from underwatering is to give the plant moisture. Once you do, it will quickly recover, usually in about 24 hours or so.

To avoid underwatering your Satin Pothos, make sure to check the soil once a week by sticking your finger to a depth of about 2 inches. If the soil feels dry a that depth, add water.

 

Overwatering and Root Rot Can Cause Pothos Leaves to Curl

Another cause of Pothos leaves curling is overwatering. Although this is less common compared to underwatering, it is a much more serious problem.

That’s because curling leaves due to overwatering usually means the presence of root rot.

Overwatering can occur in a few ways. It may be from watering too frequently, using heavy waterlogged soil or lack of drainage.

Whatever the reason is, they can all lead to root rot as the plant’s roots end up sitting in water for prolonged periods of time.

When this happens, your pothos’ roots become deprived of oxygen because the tiny air pockets in the soil are clogged by moisture. This leads to root rot.

Similarly, excess moisture also increases the risk of infection. In this case, fungal root rot can set in.

The problem with root rot is that is spreads quickly. And when roots rot, they cease to function. Therefore, they won’t be able to absorb water or nutrients from the soil no matter how much you water the plant or add fertilizer to the soil.

As a result, you pothos will become dehydrated and its leaves will begin to curl.

This is why it is very important to avoid overwatering. If you suspect that you tend to water often, try to adjust your watering routine by always checking the soil before adding any water.

By waiting until the soil is dry at least on the top 2 inches from the surface, you’ll be able to avoid overwatering.

 

Too Much Fertilizer Cause Satin Pothos Leaf Curl

Another cause for Satin Pothos leaf curl is applying too much fertilizer. This can happen if you apply too much or apply fertilizer too often.

Pothos don’t necessarily need fertilizer to grow. That’s one of the reasons why they are very easy to care for.

However, feeding it with plant food is a good idea as it helps keep the plant healthy and improves growth.

The problem is many growers tend to be overly generous with fertilizer. The belief is that the more plant food they give their pothos, the faster it will grow.

And while this may work temporarily, it will soon cause more harm that good. That’s because fertilizer contain salts which are used to transport nutrients.

Once the plant absorbs the nutrients from the fertilizer, the salts are left as byproducts in the soil.

So, the more you apply fertilizer, the more salts accumulate in the soil. Unfortunately, plants hate salt. And when there’s enough salt build-up, it becomes toxic to the plant.

This is why fertilizer burn occurs.

Here, curling can occur in two different stages.

The first is during the earlier stages when the leaves turn yellow due to overfeeding. New leaves also tend to be smaller and the you’ll see many leaves curl downwards at the tips.

The second possible time leaf curl can happen is more problematic because it happens later on when the roots have sustained damaged. This prevents the roots from absorbing moisture and nutrients because they cease to function.

Therefore, as the plant gets dehydrated, your Pothos leaves will curl.

So, it is important to always be on the lookout for excess fertilizer. Here are some of the symptoms of overfertilizing to watch out for:

  • Yellow or brown leaves
  • The surface of the soil will have white particles or get crusty
  • Leaves start dropping off
  • Root rot (usually you’ll smell a foul odor coming from the soil)

If you notice any of these symptoms and suspect overfertilizing, flush the soil by running water through it for 5 to 10 minutes. This will dissolve the fertilizer salts and wash them away along with other tiny debris from the soil.

Do this every few months. And make sure to adjust your feeding schedule to avoid this from happening again.

 

Improper Light Exposure

Like other plants, Satin Pothos need light.

Indoors, it does best under bright, indirect light. Outdoors, it thrives in partial shade.

However, depending on where you live, you may get more than sufficient light or not enough light. A lot really depends on how many windows your home has and what directions those windows are facing.

That said, when it does not get the proper lighting it needs, you will see Pothos leaves curling.

More importantly, the direction they curl towards will give you an idea whether they are getting too much or too little light. This will help you adjust their position.

If you notice that your Satin Pothos leaves are curling or reaching towards the light source, it means it is not getting enough. The plant will do this in hopes of getting as much light as it possibly can.

To fix this, you have two options.

  • Move the plant closer to the light source or increase access to the light source.
  • If you the window or opening just does not get more light, you can supplement the natural light with artificial lighting like grow lights.

On the other hand, if the leaves are curling away from the light and drooping, it usually means that the plant is getting too much light.

Excess light can be caused either by the amount of light, the hours of exposure or the intensity of the light. Therefore, check whether it is getting direct sunlight or if it is exposed to the sun during the hottest times of the day (11:00 a.m. to 3:30 a.m.).

To fix excess sunshine, move the plant to a less bright location. It will take some time but the plant will eventually recover on its own.

 

Placing it Somewhere That’s Too Hot or Too Cold

Temperature stress occurs when the plant is place somewhere that is too hot or too cold for it.

Satin Pothos have an ideal temperature of between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This is where it is most comfortable. It also grows the fastest when kept in this environment.

However, because the seasons change, it can get colder or warmer depending on the time of year.

Summers is usually when you may see your Pothos leaves curl because the hot temperature can cause more evaporation. As the plant loses water, its leaves will begin to curl.

That said, Pothos can tolerate hot weather. But you have to make sure it gets enough moisture. This is what causes leaf curling.

A better solution is to move the plant somewhere cooler and with good ventilation.

However, avoid overdoing this.

That’s because the Satin Pothos is not cold hardy. That is, it cannot tolerate temperature below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, keep it away from cold draft and air conditioning.

While this does not cause leaf curl, it does put the plant at more risk of harm.

That’s because it can suffer cold stress, injury or damage.

 

Related

 

Tap Water Quality

Pothos generally don’t have problems with tap water. Therefore, most people can use the tap to safely water their plants.

However, some locales may have more chemicals and minerals added to their tap water. If your tap has “Hard Water”, you may want to monitor your pothos to see whether they’re okay with it.

Cities add chemicals like chlorine and fluoride to the tap in order to make it safe for humans to drink. But, some municipalities will add more than others.

The problem is that plants don’t like excess minerals and salts. When there’s too much added to their soil, it becomes toxic to them and can damage their roots.

Thus, if you struggle to figure out why your Satin Pothos leaves are curling or turning yellow, check the quality of your tap water.

If you find that there’s a lot of added chemicals, salts and minerals there, your best option is to use purified or filtered water. You can likewise use rainwater if you live somewhere with consistent rain.

Another option is to use tap water. But before you water your plants with it, allow it to sit at room temperature overnight to 24 hours. This will allow the chemicals to evaporate first.

 

Pest Infestation Can Also Cause Pothos Leaves Curling

Pests and disease are another potential cause Pothos leaves to curl. This usually happens when the problem has grown into an infestation.

For the most part, Pothos are not pest magnets. And when healthy, they are quite good at resisting pests.

However, when your plant is under stress, shock or weak, the pests can feel it. This is when they take advantage of the situation and attack your Pothos.

The most common pests that do so are sap sucking insects including mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, thrips and scale.

Unfortunately, when they suck the sap of your plant, they’re effectively robbing it of moisture and nutrients. So, as the number of pests grow (when they turn into an infestation), your Pothos loses more water and nutrients.

The water loss is what causes its leaves to curl. It does so to conserve as much moisture as it can by slowing down the rate of transpiration.

But this won’t fix the problem since the pests will continue to keep taking its sap until the plant dies.

Therefore, it is important to spot any insects or bugs early and immediate get rid of them.

When there are few pests, you can spray them off with a stream of water. You can likewise use insecticidal soap spray or neem oil.

The bigger the pest population, the harder it is to get rid of them. It also takes longer up to several weeks to do so.

 

How to Fix or Prevent Satin Pothos Leaves Curling

The best way to fix or prevent Pothos leaves curling is to give it the care it desires. Thus, if you see curling leaves, it means the plant is not happy about something.

Your goal is to diagnose the cause of the problem and find a solution.

Here’s a quick checklist of how to fix curling leaves on Pothos plants.

  • Give it the right amount of water – too much or too little water can both cause leaf curl. Often, it is an underwatered Pothos that have curling leaves. Therefore, avoid letting the soil go completely dry. However, of the two, overwatering has more serious consequences. Therefore, always check the soil before adding more water. Wait for the top 2 inches of soil to dry before watering again.
  • Address root rot – root rot is usually caused by overwatering. Once root get damaged or rot, they cannot absorb moisture or nutrients from the soil anymore. This causes your Pothos leaves to curl as they begin to lack moisture. The only way to try and save a plant from root rot is to repot it in fresh, dry soil.
  • Sufficient humidity – pothos need humidity to thrive. Ideally, keep humidity at 40% and above. if it drops under this level, mist the plant or get a humidifier. Low humidity can not only slows down growth but also causes leaves to curl, turn brown on the tops and get crispy.
  • Proper Lighting – too much or too little light are both problematic for pothos. Try to keep it somewhere with medium to bright, indirect light exposure.
  • Avoid Overfeeding – while your Satin Pothos needs fertilizer to grow optimally, avoid overfeeding as this increases the risk of fertilizer burn due to the accumulation of salts in the soil. Too much salt will eventually damage the roots of the plant causing leaf curl.
  • Maintain ideal temperatures – pothos grow best in temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees. Avoid too much heat as it can cause dryness and dehydrate the plant. This leads to curling leaves. More importantly avoid very cold conditions as this can damage your Pothos.
  • Inspect for pests regularly – pests are a natural part of houseplant care. Unfortunately, they can be very damaging to plants. So, it is important to check regularly for any pests or signs of pest damage. If you spot any, treat them immediately.
Checklist of How to Fix Satin Pothos Leaves Curling
Checklist of How to Fix Satin Pothos Leaves Curling

 

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