Pothos, also known as Scindapsus or Devil’s ivy, is a tropical vine with shiny, heart-shaped leaves with splashes of yellow. It is native to southeastern Asia and belongs to the Arum (Araceae) family.
It’s considered a fast-growing and easy-to-care plant perfect for growing indoors or adding aesthetic appeal to cozy homes. Also, it makes a fabulous and versatile choice for hanging baskets, plant stands, bookshelves, creating beautifully long trail vines that can grow up to many feet long.
While pothos plants enjoy a wide range of environments, many newbie gardeners have been wondering how to revive a pothos plant. If you share the same concern, this article will reveal some desirable facts and tips to bring your plant back to life.
What Causes A Dying Pothos?
Before examining several practical ways to save a pothos, it’s crucial to be aware of some common causes for a dying pothos plant.
Generally speaking, unavoidable stress from improper care or environmental factors are some reasons for the dying pothos. Besides, other external factors like root rot also contribute to damaging pothos.
Indeed, the pothos will not be able to tolerate the unfavorable over an extended period.
- Excessive watering
Similar to other members of the Arum family, pothos plants often require minimal water to maintain, which means they are likely to suffer from adverse reactions such as yellowing and brown foliages or drooping stems.
- Inadequate watering
When a pothos receives little or no water, the leaves start to curl in an attempt to retain moisture. Shortly after curling, the leaves tend to become limp, turn yellow with some crispy brown spots on additional leaves.
This is an inherent sign that your pothos plant shows signs of stress, which leads to the death of the plant.
- Inappropriate lighting
Although pothos plants thrive in indirect bright light, they can adapt to low light conditions. However, a dark corner is not an ideal place for the pothos’ growth and vibrancy. In fact, the leaves can lose their distinct patterns or color and die eventually.
On the other hand, overexposure to direct sunlight can burn the leaves and cause them to curl, droop or fall over.
- Incorrect temperature
The pothos plants often flourish in temperatures that relate to their native environment. Therefore, the ideal temperatures range from 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 26°C).
Since pothos plants are not desert plants like cacti, they cannot tolerate scorching temperatures and display discoloration. On the flip side, freezing conditions are not suitable for them either. So in case you notice your pothos start to turn black, this could be due to cold temperatures.
- Wrong humidity level
Although pothos plants can do well in low humidity environments, they prefer higher humidity since they are tropical plants.
With that, low humidity can cause the pothos leaves to wilt and become brown on their edges, followed by browning and dying leaves.
- Pest infestation
Note that sick or stressed pothos can be susceptible to insect infestations, especially mealybugs and scale, causing various issues from yellowing leaves, wilting, discoloration, browning, or the plant to die at an unexpected rate.
- Root rot
Root rot, caused by overwatering, is a pivotal culprit for a dying pothos plant. Unfortunately, fighting with root rot is often challenging because it happens in the root system, beneath the soil surface.
However, it’s likely to detect root rot of a pothos by some recognizable symptoms such as leaf discoloration, mushy roots, yellowing, droopy leaves, or stunted growth.
In sum, some visible and recognizable signs to detect a dying pothos include:
- Yellowing or browning leaves
- Stunted growth
- Foul odor from soil
- Droopy leaves or leaves falling off
- Shriveled, yellow, wilted, or brown edges on leaves
- Mushy roots
- Discoloration and deformed stems
- Overall wilted, dry, and crispy plant
How To Revive A Pothos Plant?
Nurturing pothos at home often requires the owner to have understanding and control over the plant. Fortunately, foolproof instructions below can help you to revive your dying pothos plant. Just practice preventative care routine and supply the necessary elements required for the plant’s healthy growth.
Depending on the examined causes, start your treatment progress as soon as possible to avoid extensive damage.
When your pothos plant is damaged, it’s vital to separate it from other healthy plants and remove any affected sections.
- Gently remove the plant from the pot.
- Remove affected roots and clean the root system under running water.
- Allow the roots to dry in fresh air for a couple of hours or a whole day.
- With a clean pair of garden shears or scissors, prune away damaged or unhealthy elements of your dying pothos plant.
- Cut shriveled leaves and damaged stems. Importantly, removing and discarding any dead, diseased, or heavily browned leaves.
- Trim off the wilting vines about 2 inches from the soil’s surface to boost healthy growth.
Then, examine the remaining leaves and observe any sign of a cottony substance on the underside of leaves, indicating mealy bugs’ presence. It is the most common and perhaps the most impactful pest that infests pothos plants. Other pests also feed on your plant include spider mites, caterpillar worms, and scales.
- Use cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol and apply it to the affected parts.
- Remove any visible bugs by hand with a wet cloth or cotton swab. Dispose of them appropriately.
- Spray neem oil diluted with water or insecticide soap on the plant, especially under the leaves and the stem’s base where insects tend to reside.
- As a home remedy, a mixture of one cup of water and one teaspoon of neem oil with a few drops of dish soap can also be applied to the plant to treat pest infestation.
- Take chemical insecticide into consideration or replace it with organic solutions since chemical substances often create a buildup of adverse reactions to human health and the environment.
- Spray neem oil on foliages in the morning or evening when beneficial bugs are present. Avoid applying the spray in the middle of the day or during sunny conditions as harsh, direct heat and sunlight could burn the foliages.
- You can also spray neem oil every month to avoid any pest attack.
When your pothos plant is profoundly damaged, consider repotting the plant for fresh growth. Besides, a general rule of thumb is to repot a houseplant every 12 to 18 months in spring when the plant leaves its dormant period.
- Get rid of the old potting mix and repot the plant with fresh soil, adequate drainage, and increased capacity for root growth.
- Add in perlite and vermiculite, or peat moss to increase drainage.
- Place the pot in a drip tray to hold excess water.
Note: Choosing the correct pot size is crucial to nourishing the plant and preventing diseases and stunted growth. Bear in mind that an oversized pot is not ideal for pothos because extra soil might retain water and soak the roots, while too small of a pot could inhibit growth.
2. Care and prevention
Fostering your green thumb with some essential tips below for a young and healthy vine. Significantly, ensure to supply appropriate nutrients, water, light, and the proper environmental conditions that adapt to the plant’s requirements.
- Start by practicing watering appropriately. Ensure to water the pothos only when the top 2 inches of the soil’s surface dry out. Also, discard any excess water in the saucer or drip tray.
- Move the plant to a medium-light spot and away from the window to prevent direct bright light. Rotate the plant occasionally to ensure all parts are evenly exposed to the lighting sources.
- Maintain the temperatures ranging from 60°F to 80°F and change the plant’s position according to the seasons.
- Ensure the humidity levels are above 60% around the plant. Mist the foliages regularly in the morning and effectively boost humidity with a humidifier to increase moisture. However, avoid excessive misting as it would promote certain bacterial or fungal diseases that lead to plant death.
- Fertilize the pothos plant every 4-6 weeks during the growing season to ensure adequate soil nutrients. However, do not over-fertilize this houseplant because excessive fertilizer could cause vulnerable plants and decreased growth.
- Use a damp cloth to wipe leaves every few weeks to encourage fresh foliages.
- Keep pothos and other houseplants out of reach of small children and pets.
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The Final Words
You’ve reached the end of the article. Optimistically, after reading some comprehensive and practical tips above, you can now take care of your pothos plant with ease and prevent it from negative consequences.
Although pothos can withstand unfavorable conditions and do not require routine care and maintenance, they can show signs of tension and die off when experiencing unpleasant states for so long. Hence, it’s vital to examine your pothos plant regularly and ensure to provide it with sufficient water, humidity, lighting, pest, and root rot treatment for its growth and longevity.
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