Help! Why Are My Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow?

Pothos is one of the easiest plants to grow, even if you tend to kill everything you touch. Pothos are known for being durable and resistant to most diseases and abuse. So, when you find your pothos leaves turning yellow, you know there is something wrong with your lovely plant!

As is the case with any plant, yellow pothos leaves aren’t a good sign. It is an indicator that something is wrong. However, don’t panic! Yellow leaves don’t mean that your plant is meant to die within days. Most of the reasons are fixable. Let’s take a look at the reasons why pothos leaves turn yellow and how you can fix it.


6 Reasons Why Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow

1. Abundance of Sunshine

Some plants love an abundance of sunshine. Pothos is not one of those plants. Instead of direct, full sun, pothos requires only moderate sunlight. They do well in areas with low sunlight as well. You shouldn’t keep the plant in a location with constant, full sun.

One of the main reasons why pothos leaves turn yellow is that the plant gets too much sunshine in its current location. To remedy this problem, ensure your plant is not located near a southern facing window. Make sure you select a location away from the light or pick a different window. If you are limited with window options, put a curtain between the plant and the window to decrease the sunshine.



2. Lack of Fertilizer

You do need to fertilize your pothos plant; it is an important step for proper care. One reason that your pothos leaves turn yellow is due to too much or too little fertilizer. Potting soil doesn’t tend to have enough nutrients to ensure your plant continues to grow as it should. The plant itself doesn’t need any special nutrients or vitamins, but it does need some to keep growing throughout the year.

Fixing this problem is easy! Your plant needs a monthly feeding. Mark a date each month on the calendar to use a water-soluble, indoor plant fertilizer. There is a huge variety available in most stores.

3. Temperature Fluctuation

Pothos prefer to have moderate temperatures at all times. If you happen to leave your plant outside in the cold, yellow leaves could be a sign of cold damage. You should remove those yellow leaves and make sure your plant is in a warm spot inside of the house.If you didn’t change the location of your pothos, you might want to double check the air vent flow in the room. Sometimes, air that blows directly on your plant can cause yellowing leaves. Heat (or cool air) could cause damaged leaves.



4. Pythium Root Rot

One of the more serious reasons for yellow pothos leaves is root rot, which is a soil-inhabiting fungus. Root rot loves to live in soil that is overly moist. It is most common if you use poorly draining soil or crowd the plant, decreasing its chances at developing properly.

There are other signs that root rot is your problem aside from yellow leaves. Those yellow leaves will eventually fall off of the plant. The roots will appear black and mushy.



Getting rid of root rot requires a bit of patience and extra care. Your first step should be to ensure the soil is draining well by changing pots or changing the soil. There must be drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, and it shouldn’t sit in water.

The soil needs to be loose enough that water can flow down; clay-like soil doesn’t help root rot. Make sure the plant does receive sunlight throughout the day to help evaporate the water. Also, remember not to mist these types of plants because root rot loves extra moisture.

If the roots are crowded, the leaves will turn yellow. The best way to determine this is why tipping the pot over and checking the roots. If they are tightly root bound around the pot, your plant is crowded! It needs some space. So, the best solution is to purchase a larger pot with brand new soil. Pothos prefer not to feel crowded in their location.

5. Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny, nearly microscopic, insects that hide on the underside of leaves. Spider mites can infest a huge variety of plants in your garden, not just your pothos. If your pothos leaves are yellow and ragged, it is likely that spider mites are the issue behind the problem.



Getting rid of spider mites is tricky. First, you want to remove all of them from the underside of the leaves. You can do this by running lukewarm water down the leaves. Once all of the spider mites are gone, use an insecticidal soap to get rid of them completely. You will need to use the soap two times a week and mix with water. Then, you mist the infected plan to get rid of the spider mites. It is also important to remove any dead leaves to decrease the spread of the pests.

6. Natural Process

If you’ve ensured none of these issues is the problem, the last reason your pothos leaves turn yellow is that they need to shed the older foliage. Most houseplants go through a process when they need to get rid of older (often yellow) leaves. If these leaves are towards the bottom of your plant, you have nothing to fear. It is just the natural process and will end soon.


It can be frustrating to see your beloved plant turning yellow. You might have selected a pothos plant, assuming they are indestructible. Many people are stunned to see their pothos leaves turning yellow, but most of the reasons are fixable.

Houseplants are less prone to bacterial diseases. While it is a possibility, the higher chance is that an environmental factor is leading to the yellow color. Make sure to check the plant’s location, soil, roots and fertilizing schedule to ensure all is correct before assuming something else is wrong with your plant. Soon, your plant will be back to normal soon!

Help! Why Are My Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow?
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Tina Martino

My passion is gardening. Along with my husband and children, each year we grow a garden large enough to provide our family of five with over half of our needed produce. Besides vegetables and a small berry patch, I also focus my attention on beautifying our home with strategically placed flowers, herbs, and flowering plants. Gardening is more than just a hobby; it is a way of life.