Pothos Leaves Turning Brown: Causes, Solutions, and Prevention

Pothos leaves turning brown may be caused by overwatering or too much direct sunlight. Pothos is a popular houseplant known for its trailing vines and heart-shaped leaves.

However, when the leaves start to turn brown, it can be a sign of underlying issues. One possible cause is overwatering, as pothos prefers slightly dry conditions. Another reason could be too much direct sunlight, as pothos prefers bright, indirect light.

It is important to find the right balance of water and light to keep your pothos healthy and vibrant. We will explore the various causes of brown pothos leaves and provide tips on how to fix the problem. So, if you have noticed your pothos leaves turning brown, keep reading to learn more.

Pothos Leaves Turning Brown: Causes, Solutions, and Prevention

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Understanding Pothos Leaf Browning

Pothos plants, with their vibrant green leaves, are a popular choice for indoor gardening enthusiasts. However, if you’ve noticed your pothos leaves turning brown, it’s essential to understand the underlying causes and take prompt action. In this section, we will explore the symptoms of browning leaves in pothos plants, the importance of addressing this issue promptly, and the potential consequences of ignoring the problem.

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Table of Contents

Symptoms Of Browning Leaves In Pothos Plants

Identifying the signs of leaf browning is crucial to determine the appropriate course of action. Here are the common symptoms to watch out for:

  • Browning edges: One of the initial signs of leaf browning is the development of brown or yellowish-brown edges. These may gradually spread towards the center of the leaf, compromising its overall health and appearance.
  • Brown spots: Small brown spots or patches may also appear on the leaves, indicating potential problems. These spots can vary in size and intensity, and careful observation can provide valuable insights into the underlying issues.
  • Wilting and drooping: Browning leaves often start to wilt and droop, losing their natural vitality. This can be a clear indication that something is amiss and immediate attention is required.

Importance Of Addressing Leaf Browning Promptly

Dealing with leaf browning in pothos plants promptly is crucial for several reasons:

  • Preserving plant health: By addressing leaf browning promptly, you can help maintain the overall health and vitality of your pothos plant. Healthy leaves encourage proper photosynthesis, leading to sustained growth and vibrant foliage.
  • Preventing further damage: Brown leaves can potentially spread their discoloration to nearby healthy leaves if left untreated. By taking action early on, you can prevent the spread of the problem and protect the rest of your plant from potential harm.
  • Aesthetics and appeal: Pothos plants are cherished for their lush, green foliage, which adds a touch of natural beauty to any indoor setting. Promptly dealing with leaf browning ensures that your plant maintains its visual appeal, enhancing the overall aesthetics of your space.

Potential Consequences Of Ignoring The Issue

Ignoring leaf browning in your pothos plant can have undesirable consequences:

  • Decline in plant health: If left unaddressed, leaf browning can lead to further health issues for your pothos plant. Nutrient deficiencies, diseases, or pest infestations could be the underlying causes, deteriorating the overall condition of your plant over time.
  • Stunted growth: Unhealthy leaves hinder the plant’s ability to photosynthesize and produce energy. This can result in stunted growth, weak stems, and an overall lack of vigor in your pothos plant.
  • Risk of irreversible damage: In some cases, the causes of leaf browning can be severe and may cause irreversible damage to your plant. This could ultimately lead to the loss of your beloved pothos plant, requiring you to start from scratch.

By promptly addressing leaf browning in your pothos plant, you can prevent further damage, maintain the health and vitality of your plant, and enjoy its lush green foliage for years to come. Stay tuned to the next section, where we will explore common causes of pothos leaf browning.

Identifying The Causes Of Pothos Leaf Browning

Pothos is a popular houseplant known for its lush green leaves. However, it can be disheartening to see those leaves turning brown. In order to address this issue and revive your pothos plant, it is important to understand the various causes of leaf browning.

Here are some factors that may be contributing to the problem:

Inadequate Watering Practices

  • Overwatering: Too much water can lead to waterlogged soil, causing root rot and depriving the plant of oxygen. This can result in the browning of pothos leaves.
  • Underwatering: Conversely, underwatering can lead to dry soil and insufficient moisture for the plant to thrive. This can also cause the leaves to turn brown.

Improper Light Exposure

  • Insufficient light: Pothos plants require bright, indirect light to flourish. If they are placed in areas with low light levels, the lack of light can cause the leaves to brown and become dull.
  • Direct sunlight: On the other hand, exposure to direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, causing them to brown and develop patches of discoloration.

Environmental Factors Such As Temperature And Humidity

  • Extreme temperatures: Pothos plants prefer temperatures between 60-85°f (15-29°c). Exposure to temperatures outside of this range, especially extreme hot or cold conditions, can cause leaf browning.
  • Low humidity: Low humidity levels can result in the drying out of pothos leaves, leading to brown spots and leaf edges.

Nutrient Deficiencies Or Excesses

  • Lack of nutrients: Pothos plants require a balanced diet of essential nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. A deficiency in any of these nutrients can manifest as leaf browning.
  • Excessive fertilization: Conversely, over-fertilizing can cause nutrient burn, leading to brown spots on the leaves. It is important to follow the recommended fertilization guidelines to avoid excessive nutrient levels.

Pest Infestations And Diseases

  • Pests: Common pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects can attack pothos plants, causing leaf damage and discoloration. Treating the infestation promptly can prevent further leaf browning.
  • Diseases: Fungal or bacterial diseases can also contribute to the browning of pothos leaves. Proper hygiene practices and avoiding excessive moisture can help prevent these diseases.

By identifying the specific cause of leaf browning in your pothos plant, you can take appropriate measures to address the issue and restore the plant’s health. Remember to adjust watering practices, provide adequate light, maintain suitable environmental conditions, address nutrient imbalances, and promptly address pest infestations and diseases.

With proper care, your pothos plant can once again thrive, showcasing its vibrant green leaves.

Adjusting Watering Techniques

Pothos plants are a popular choice among houseplant enthusiasts due to their beautiful trailing vines and ability to thrive in a variety of conditions. However, it can be disheartening to see your pothos leaves turning brown. One of the factors that may contribute to this issue is improper watering techniques.

In this section, we will discuss how to adjust your watering techniques to ensure the health and vibrancy of your pothos plant.

Determining The Ideal Watering Frequency

To keep your pothos plant happy and prevent brown leaves, it’s crucial to determine the ideal watering frequency. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Check the moisture level of the soil before watering. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil – if it feels dry, it’s time to water.
  • Pothos plants prefer slightly moist soil. Avoid allowing the soil to become completely dry between watering, as this can stress the plant and lead to browning of the leaves.
  • Monitor the environmental conditions. Factors such as temperature, humidity, and sunlight can influence the plant’s water requirements. Adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

Avoiding Overwatering And Underwatering Pitfalls

Overwatering and underwatering are common mistakes that can cause brown leaves on your pothos plant. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Overwatering can lead to root rot and subsequent browning of the leaves. Ensure that the soil has proper drainage and avoid allowing the plant to sit in standing water.
  • Underwatering, on the other hand, can cause the leaves to dry out and turn brown. Pay attention to the plant’s water needs and provide enough moisture to keep the soil consistently moist.

Utilizing Well-Draining Containers And Soil

Choosing the right containers and soil for your pothos plant is essential for proper water drainage. Consider the following:

  • Opt for containers with drainage holes at the bottom to allow excess water to escape. This will prevent water from pooling and potentially causing root rot.
  • Use well-draining soil that retains moisture without becoming waterlogged. A mix of potting soil, perlite, and peat moss can help promote healthy drainage.

By adjusting your watering techniques, you can address the issue of brown leaves on your pothos plant and ensure its continued growth and vitality. Remember to determine the ideal watering frequency, avoid overwatering and underwatering, and utilize well-draining containers and soil.

With these adjustments, your pothos plant will thrive and maintain its lush green foliage.

Optimizing Lighting Conditions

Pothos Leaves Turning Brown: Optimizing Lighting Conditions

Have you noticed that your pothos plant’s leaves are turning brown? Don’t worry, it’s a common issue that can be easily solved by optimizing the lighting conditions for your plant. Pothos plants thrive in moderate to bright indirect light, so it’s important to assess and address any inadequacies or excesses in light exposure.

In this section, we will explore the ideal light requirements for pothos plants and how to position them near suitable light sources.

Assessing The Ideal Light Requirements For Pothos Plants

To ensure the health and vibrancy of your pothos plant, it’s crucial to understand its ideal light requirements. Here are the key points to consider:

  • Pothos plants thrive in moderate to bright indirect light, which means they prefer to receive light without direct exposure to the sun’s harsh rays. This makes them well-suited for indoor spaces with filtered light or areas away from windows.
  • Insufficient light can result in pothos leaves turning brown and drooping. If you notice your plant struggling under low light conditions, it may be time to find a brighter spot for it.
  • On the other hand, excessive direct sunlight can also lead to brown leaves, as the intense rays can scorch the leaves. It’s important to shield your pothos plant from direct sunlight by placing it away from windows or using curtains to filter the light.

Addressing Inadequate Or Excessive Light Exposure

Now that you understand the ideal light requirements for pothos plants, let’s delve into how to address inadequate or excessive light exposure. Consider the following points:

  • If your pothos plant is not receiving enough light, try relocating it to a brighter spot. Look for areas in your home that receive indirect light, such as near a north or east-facing window.
  • If natural light is limited in your space, you can supplement it with artificial light sources. Place your pothos plant near fluorescent or led lights, ensuring that it receives the recommended 12-14 hours of light per day.
  • On the other hand, if your plant is exposed to excessive light, such as direct sunlight, it’s crucial to shield it from the intense rays. Consider moving your pothos plant to a spot where it can receive bright but filtered light, away from windows or using sheer curtains to protect it.
  • Keep in mind that pothos plants are adaptable and can tolerate a range of light conditions. However, finding the right balance is essential to prevent browning leaves and maintain the overall health of your plant.

By assessing the ideal light requirements for your pothos plant and addressing any inadequate or excessive light exposure, you can ensure that your plant thrives and maintains its lush green foliage. Remember to provide moderate to bright indirect light, make necessary adjustments to the positioning of your plant, and be mindful of protecting it from direct sunlight.

With these optimization strategies in place, your pothos plant will flourish, and you’ll enjoy its beauty for years to come.

Managing Environmental Factors

Pothos plants are popular indoor plants known for their beautiful green leaves. However, if you notice your pothos leaves turning brown, it can be a cause for concern. Brown leaves on a pothos plant are typically an indication of environmental stress.

In this section, we will discuss how to manage environmental factors to keep your pothos plant healthy and thriving.

Maintaining An Optimal Temperature Range

  • Pothos plants thrive in temperatures between 65°f to 85°f (18°c to 29°c).
  • Avoid exposing your pothos plant to extreme temperatures, as both hot and cold temperatures can cause the leaves to turn brown.
  • Keep your pothos plant away from air conditioning vents, heating sources, or direct sunlight, as these can lead to temperature fluctuations.

Ensuring Adequate Humidity Levels

  • Pothos plants prefer moderate to high humidity levels.
  • Place a humidifier near your pothos plant or use a pebble tray filled with water to increase humidity.
  • Mist the leaves of your pothos plant regularly with clean water to provide additional moisture.
  • Avoid placing your pothos plant near heaters or vents that can dry out the air.

Protecting The Plant From Drafts Or Sudden Temperature Changes

  • Pothos plants are sensitive to drafts and sudden temperature fluctuations.
  • Keep your pothos plant away from doors, windows, and areas with high air circulation.
  • Be cautious when moving your pothos plant to a different location, as sudden changes in temperature can stress the plant.
  • If you notice drafts in your home, consider using draft stoppers or sealing any gaps near windows or doors to protect your pothos plant.

By taking these measures to manage environmental factors, you can ensure that your pothos plant stays healthy and vibrant. Remember to maintain an optimal temperature range, provide adequate humidity levels, and protect the plant from drafts or sudden temperature changes.

With proper care and attention, your pothos plant will continue to thrive, displaying its lush green leaves for years to come.

Providing Appropriate Nutrients

Identifying And Addressing Nutrient Deficiencies Or Excesses

Pothos leaves turning brown can be a sign of nutrient deficiencies or excesses. Here are some key points to help you identify and address these issues:

  • Nutrient deficiencies: When the leaves of your pothos plant turn brown, it could indicate a lack of essential nutrients. Common nutrient deficiencies in pothos plants include nitrogen, iron, and magnesium. Look out for pale or yellowing leaves, stunted growth, or weak stems.
  • Nitrogen deficiency: Lack of nitrogen can cause older leaves to turn yellow and eventually brown. To address this, consider fertilizing the plant with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
  • Iron deficiency: If new leaves show signs of yellowing between the leaf veins, it could indicate an iron deficiency. Treat the plant with an iron supplement or iron-rich fertilizer.
  • Magnesium deficiency: Yellowing leaves with green veins suggest a lack of magnesium. Apply a magnesium-rich fertilizer to replenish the nutrient in the plant.
  • Nutrient excesses: While nutrient deficiencies are commonly associated with brown leaves, excess nutrients can also cause browning. Over-fertilizing your pothos plant can lead to salt buildup in the soil, causing leaf burn and browning.
  • Excessive nitrogen: Too much nitrogen can result in dark green leaves with brown edges. Ensure you are not over-fertilizing with nitrogen-rich fertilizers.
  • Excessive salts: Over time, salt buildup can accumulate in the soil, causing browning and burning of leaves. Flush the soil regularly to prevent salt accumulation.

Choosing The Right Type And Amount Of Fertilizer

When it comes to fertilizing your pothos plant, selecting the right type and amount is crucial. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Type of fertilizer: Pothos plants thrive with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer. Look for a fertilizer with a ratio of equal parts nitrogen (n), phosphorus (p), and potassium (k) such as a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer.
  • Slow-release fertilizers: Consider using slow-release fertilizers that provide a steady supply of nutrients over an extended period. This can help prevent over-fertilization and reduce the risk of nutrient imbalances.
  • Organic fertilizers: If you prefer an organic approach, opt for organic fertilizers such as compost or well-rotted manure. These natural fertilizers not only provide nutrients but also improve soil structure and promote overall plant health.
  • Amount of fertilizer: Avoid over-fertilizing your pothos plant as it can lead to nutrient imbalances and burn the leaves. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for the recommended dosage and frequency of application.

Implementing A Regular Feeding Schedule

Establishing a regular feeding schedule is essential for maintaining the health of your pothos plant. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Frequency: Pothos plants generally benefit from regular feeding during the growing season, which is spring and summer. However, during fall and winter, when the plant enters dormancy, reduce or pause fertilization.
  • Balance: Aim for a balanced approach when feeding your pothos plant. Applying fertilizer too frequently can result in nutrient imbalances, while infrequent feeding can cause nutrient deficiencies. Find a balance that suits your plant’s needs.
  • Observation: Pay attention to the condition of your plant and adjust the feeding schedule accordingly. If you notice slow growth, pale leaves, or signs of nutrient deficiencies, consider increasing the frequency or strength of fertilization.
  • Watering before fertilizing: Always water your pothos plant thoroughly before applying fertilizer. This helps prevent fertilizer burn and ensures the nutrients are effectively absorbed by the roots.

Remember, providing appropriate nutrients is vital for maintaining the health and vibrancy of your pothos plant. By identifying and addressing nutrient deficiencies or excesses, choosing the right fertilizer, and implementing a regular feeding schedule, you can help prevent your pothos leaves from turning brown.

Tackling Pest Infestations And Diseases

Pothos plants are popular houseplants known for their easy care and attractive foliage. However, one common issue that many pothos plant owners encounter is brown leaves. While there can be several factors contributing to this problem, one of the main culprits is pest infestations and diseases that affect the plant’s health.

In this section, we will delve into recognizing common pests that affect pothos plants, employing natural or chemical pest control methods, and preventing and treating fungal infections.

Recognizing Common Pests That Affect Pothos Plants

  • Mealybugs: These white, cottony pests can be found in the leaf axils and along the stems of pothos plants. They suck sap from the leaves, resulting in stunted growth and yellowing of the foliage.
  • Spider mites: These tiny pests are often found on the undersides of leaves, causing yellow speckling and the appearance of webbing.
  • Aphids: These small insects can be seen in clusters on new growth, causing distorted leaves and stunted plant growth.
  • Scale insects: These pests appear as small, shell-like bumps on the stems and leaves of pothos plants. They feed on the plant’s sap, leading to weakened growth and yellowing leaves.

Employing Natural Or Chemical Pest Control Methods

  • Natural pest control methods:
  • Use a mixture of water and mild soap to wipe off mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids from the plant’s leaves.
  • Introduce beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings that feed on pests.
  • Neem oil can be sprayed on the foliage to control pests effectively.
  • Chemical pest control methods:
  • If the infestation is severe, chemical insecticides specifically formulated for indoor plants can be used. Follow the instructions on the label and apply as directed.

Preventing And Treating Fungal Infections

  • Fungal infections, such as root rot and leaf spot, can lead to browning of pothos plant leaves.
  • Preventive measures:
  • Ensure proper drainage by using well-draining soil and pots with drainage holes.
  • Avoid overwatering the plant and allow the top inch of the soil to dry out before watering again.
  • Provide adequate air circulation by keeping the plant away from excessively humid areas.
  • Treating fungal infections:
  • Remove affected leaves or stems to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Apply a fungicide specifically formulated for houseplants according to the instructions on the label.
  • Adjust watering practices to maintain optimal moisture levels for the plant.

By recognizing common pests that affect pothos plants, employing natural or chemical pest control methods, and taking preventive measures against fungal infections, you can ensure the health and vitality of your pothos plant, preventing brown leaves and promoting lush, green foliage.

Keep a close eye on your plant’s symptoms and take timely action to maintain its overall well-being. Remember, a healthy pothos plant is a happy plant!

Preventing Pothos Leaf Browning

Pothos plants are known for their lush green leaves, which can add a touch of nature to any indoor space. However, it can be disheartening to see those leaves start to turn brown and wither. Don’t fret! With some careful attention and proper care, you can prevent pothos leaf browning.

Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Regularly Inspecting And Monitoring The Plant’S Health

Regularly inspecting your pothos plant is essential to catch any early signs of leaf browning or other problems. Here’s how you can effectively monitor its health:

  • Keep an eye out for brown spots or edges on the leaves, as they can be an indication of stress or improper care.
  • Check for any pests such as spider mites or mealybugs, which can weaken the plant and lead to leaf browning.
  • Monitor the moisture levels in the soil. Pothos plants prefer slightly moist soil, so make sure not to overwater or let it dry out completely.

Following Proper Care And Maintenance Practices

To maintain the health and vibrant green foliage of your pothos, it’s crucial to follow proper care practices. Here are some tips to prevent leaf browning:

  • Provide adequate light: Pothos plants thrive in bright, indirect light. Place them near a window where they can receive filtered sunlight. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves.
  • Water correctly: Overwatering or underwatering can stress the plant and lead to leaf browning. Water your pothos plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Ensure proper drainage to prevent waterlogging.
  • Fertilize regularly: Pothos plants benefit from regular fertilization to maintain their lush foliage. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
  • Prune damaged leaves: If you notice any brown or withered leaves, remove them promptly to redirect the plant’s energy to healthy growth.

Creating A Suitable Environment For The Plant To Thrive

Creating an optimal environment for your pothos plant is vital for its overall health and to prevent leaf browning. Consider the following factors:

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  • Temperature: Pothos plants prefer temperatures between 65-85°f (18-29°c). Keep them away from drafts or areas with extreme temperature fluctuations.
  • Humidity: Adequate humidity levels can prevent the leaves from drying out. Mist the leaves occasionally or place the plant near a humidifier.
  • Soil and potting: Use well-draining soil to avoid waterlogged roots. Choose a pot with drainage holes to prevent water accumulation.
  • Avoid drafts: Pothos plants are sensitive to drafts, which can stress them and cause leaf browning. Keep them away from doors, air vents, or windows with a draft.

By regularly inspecting and monitoring the plant’s health, following proper care practices, and creating a suitable environment, you can significantly reduce the chances of pothos leaf browning. These simple steps will help ensure your pothos remains vibrant and healthy, bringing natural beauty to your indoor space.

Frequently Asked Questions For Pothos Leaves Turning Brown

Why Are My Pothos Leaves Turning Brown?

Pothos leaves can turn brown due to various factors. Overwatering, underwatering, low humidity, excessive sunlight, or nutrient deficiencies can cause leaf discoloration. It’s important to assess the watering schedule, provide appropriate light levels, maintain humidity, and ensure the plant receives proper nutrition to prevent browning of pothos leaves.

How Can I Prevent Pothos Leaves From Turning Brown?

To prevent pothos leaves from turning brown, follow these steps. Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy, provide indirect or filtered light, maintain a humidity level of 40-60%, avoid placing the plant near drafts or heating vents, and regularly inspect for pests or nutrient deficiencies.

Following these guidelines can help maintain healthy green pothos leaves.

What Should I Do If Pothos Leaves Start Turning Brown?

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If pothos leaves start turning brown, take the following actions. First, check the soil moisture and adjust watering accordingly. Trim any damaged or dead leaves. Assess the light levels and provide appropriate shade if necessary. Provide humidity by misting the leaves or placing a water tray near the plant.

Finally, ensure the plant receives proper nutrition to promote leaf health.


If you notice your pothos leaves turning brown, it’s important to take action to ensure the health and vitality of your plant. Brown leaves can be a sign of several underlying issues that need to be addressed. First, evaluate the amount of sunlight your pothos is receiving.

Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, causing them to turn brown. On the other hand, if your pothos isn’t getting enough light, it may result in poor growth and brown leaves. Additionally, check the moisture levels of the soil.

Overwatering or underwatering can both lead to brown leaves. Adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Lastly, consider the humidity levels in your home. Pothos plants thrive in humid environments, so if the air is too dry, it can result in browning leaves.

By addressing these factors and providing proper care, you can help your pothos regain its healthy, green foliage.

Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark, a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences. Social Profile: LinkedIn  YouTube  Pinterest Facebook