Why Are The Leaves Turning Yellow? 8 Reasons Why Your Pothos Is Changing Color

Pothos plants have significantly increased in popularity over recent years, and it’s not hard to see why! These trailing plants grow quickly, come in many luscious shades of green, and they are particularly hardy. What more could you want? 

However, that isn’t to say that Pothos plants are indestructible. In fact, they are particularly sensitive to certain changes in the environment. If the leaves of your Pothos plant have turned yellow, it is likely that something has upset it. 

To learn about why the leaves of Pothos plants turn yellow, and thus, how to prevent them from doing so, check out our ultimate guide! We cover everything, from temperature requirements to root rot and everything in between.

Check it out below! 

Why Are The Leaves Turning Yellow? 8 Reasons Why Your Pothos Is Changing Color

About Pothos Plants

Pothos is a genus of flowering plants in the family Araceae, native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America, South America, and Madagascar. The name comes from the Greek word (pothos), meaning “desire”.

It was first described by Carl Linnaeus as Arum maculatum but later transferred to its own genus. There are about 250 species in this genus. The plant has been cultivated for many years as an ornamental houseplant. 

The appearance of different types of pothos plants varies considerably. Some will have dark green leaves with white markings on the underside.

Others may be non-variegated and be bright, light green in color. The leaves are generally thick and waxy, and they tend to be trailing plants. 

Reasons For Yellow Leaves 

Pothos plants are very popular houseplants. They are hardy, grow quickly, and add interest to any interior space. However, when something isn’t right, their leaves do tend to turn a yellow color.

To learn about why this might be, take a look at the information below! 

Too Much Sunlight

Even though Pothos plants love light, plants that get too much direct sunshine can get burned, and their leaves will then turn yellow. If you notice that your Pothos plant is turning yellow, we recommend moving your pothos plant out of direct sunlight. 

For the best results, you should move your Pothos plant to an area that gets sun at certain times of the day.

For instance, we like putting our Pothos plants on a windowsill that gets a good amount of sun in the morning, but far less during the hotter times of the day. 

Temperature 

Pothos are quite sensitive plants. In fact, they tend to react instantly to unwanted temperature fluctuations. If the leaves of your pothos turn yellow quickly, it might be due to a temperature fluctuation.

Place your Pothos in a consistently warm environment to prevent this. 

Pothos plants also dislike particularly hot or particularly cold environments. As discussed above, if a Pothos is situated in too hot an environment, this may burn the plant, and thus, cause the leaves to turn yellow in color. 

However, they dislike cold temperatures more so. In fact, Pothos plants can die if they are kept in an environment that is too cold for a long period of time. As such, if you experience harsh winters in your area, be sure to place your Pothos close to a heater. 

Overfertilization

Overfertilizing can draw the water away from the roots of your plant, and this can cause fertilizer burn. Fertilizer burn transforms the leaves into a brown or yellow color and fragile state.

If you apply fertilizer too frequently, the chemicals may build up in the soil and cause huge problems for your Pothos. 

Under Fertilization

Whilst overfertilization is more of a concern for the Pothos plant, it can also suffer from under-fertilization. If the soil in which your Pothos is rowing is deficient in nitrogen, this could turn the leaves of the plant yellow.

If this is the case, be sure to use a slow-release fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. 

Overwatering 

When you give a Pothos plant too much water or not enough light, it will struggle to absorb the water properly. If excess water begins to collect, the Pothos plant may suffer significantly. For instance, the plant is left more vulnerable to fungal diseases and root rot, which will turn the leaves yellow. 

To avoid this, it is important that you water your pothos plant properly. Before watering, it is necessary to ensure that the soil is completely dry.

To check, place your finger around an inch into the potting mix. If it is even slightly moist, you should wait a bit longer before watering the plant. 

Pests

Why Are The Leaves Turning Yellow? 8 Reasons Why Your Pothos Is Changing Color

Pothos plants are very hardy, but they’re not immune to pests. Mites and mealybugs can easily be spotted by looking closely.

They tend to appear as fuzzy spots on the leaves or in the plant’s crevices. If the infestation isn’t dealt with quickly, it can cause the leaves to turn yellow or wilt. 

To prevent further damage, gently remove the pests with a cotton swab that has been soaked with alcohol. Additionally, spray down the plant with water and use an insecticide soap or neem oil to prevent further infestations. 

Root Rot

As previously discussed, if a Pothos plant receives too much moisture, root rot could take hold. Root rot is a fungal disease that can be fatal for a plant. This happens as fungi prevent your plant from receiving the essential nutrients it needs to survive.

To avoid root rot, it is very important that you water your pothos plant sparingly and provide it with enough light. Too much humidity can also cause fungi to take hold, so ensure that the atmosphere is more on the dry side. 

Old Leaves

If you think that your Pothos is very healthy, and as such, you’re a bit confused by its yellow leaves, it might actually be a part of your plant’s aging process. Older leaves near the stem of the pothos sometimes turn yellow before falling off. 

This is a normal process and nothing to be concerned about! The plant is simply shedding the leaves that it no longer needs.

If you have checked your Pothos plant for the issues above, and everything seems fine, then your Pothos is likely just getting rid of unnecessary leaves!  

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Yellowing Leaves Always A Cause For Concern? 

No! As discussed above, sometimes the leaves of your Pothos plant will turn yellow once they have aged to a certain extent. However, yellowing leaves are also a sign that something is wrong, so it is always best to check before you assume that your plant is fine. 

Should I Cut The Yellow Leaves Off The Pothos? 

To keep your plants looking healthy, you should remove any yellowing leaves. You should also clean your scissors before cutting again.

However, it is important that you don’t remove too many leaves at once because this could cause problems with growth or even death.

Can Yellow Leaves Turn Green Again? 

If the leaves have turned green due to old age, they will not become green again. These will wilt off, and new, green leaves will grow in their place.

If the leaves have yellowed as a consequence of a problem, unfortunately, it is unlikely that the yellowing effect can be reversed.

Instead, you should snip the affected leaves off so that the plant’s resources can be directed into producing new, healthy ones. 

Final Thoughts

The Pothos plant is a wonderful house plant. It has a unique appearance that adds interest to any room. We hope that the information above helps you provide the perfect environment for your Pothos plant to thrive! 

Morgan Daniels

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