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Pothos Leaves Curling: Why, What to do + Revival Steps

What does it mean when pothos leaves curl? Finding your houseplant leaves curled up, down, or rolled isn’t surprising. Thankfully so, it happens sometimes. Finding out why this happens can shed light on corrective measures to revive and restore healthy and flush growth.

Here is why leaf curl occurs on pothos plants:

1) You Underwater your Pothos

The amount of water you give to your pothos can have a significant impact on their long-term health. Being a low-maintenance houseplant doesn’t mean it can be neglected anyhow.

While neglect can be an allowance slot it may translate to putting pothos health at stake.

Most pothos plant varieties prefer their soil to dry out between watering rounds. Watering them when an inch or so of topsoil is dry is the way to go. Ensure that you water your pothos evenly.

Your pothos plant will curl its leaves if it is underwatered
Leaves of a pothos plant curled up

Curling of the leaves is not always the first sign of underwatering. Leaf curl may start or accompany dry or crispy leaf tips.

Neglecting to water your houseplant means that it may dry up or die in the end.

During the summer, your houseplant will require more water and often will require watering.

The size of the plant will also affect watering schedules. The larger the pot the more likely it will lose less water. The larger the plant and smaller the pot, the more water your plant will need to drink.

Weather conditions and the time of the day may also affect the durations between your watering.

How to Save Underwatered Pothos

After having figured out that you’ve been underwatering your pothos, here are steps to help you out.

Fix 1: Shower your pothos thoroughly

You simply flush the pot for a few minutes such you allow excess water to flow out of the drainage holes.

Ensure to repeat this step three times. Allow excess water to drain completely then return your pot to a shady spot in your home.

If the water takes a significant amount of time to disappear, there could be a problem with soil status. To instantly check on this, poke the half depth of the potting soil with a chopstick.

Then allow more water to flow into the pot. If there is no change in the natural absorption of water, consider replacing your pot mix.

Fix 2: Remove any Dead Leaves & Vines

It’s important to reduce the amount of stress your pothos plant is under. In some cases, your plant could be expending excess energy trying to heal its damaged parts.

To reduce the stress, simply get rid of the damaged leaves and remove any dead vines. Before you begin pruning your pothos, be sure to wipe the blades with alcohol before use to sanitize properly.

This easy step will encourage new healthy leaves and vines to grow.

Fix 3: Boost individual plant Humidity

  • Cover your plant using translucent polythene bags.
  • If your plant has grown new foliage you can mist your plant in the early hours of the morning
  • Always apply a fine bottle of spray
  • Spray once every 2 to 3 weeks after recovery
  • Provide the right conditions for your pothos

Fix 4: Add Dilute Liquid Fertilizer

Unless your pothos has shown the green light for full recovery, adding fertilizer before is discouraged. Here are a few tips on how and when to use some liquid fertilizer:

  • When the vines have gained strength and vigor
  • Then add a liquid fertilizer formulated to provide a means of recovery.
  • DO NOT start feeding your pothos early before it has rejuvenated sufficiently

Scorching effects may kick in if you’ll rush to feed your pothos.

Fix 5: Replant your pothos plant

2 months after, it is safe to assume that your pothos has regained much of what it had lost. Below are signs to give a go-ahead repotting:

  • Your pothos has started to gain vigor again
  • New leaves are sprouting from the vines

Here is how to do it:

  • Wet the sides of the saving pot/vessel
  • Loosen the old soil around your plant
  • Gently pull it out of the vessel
  • Gently remove the excess soil around the root ball
  • Prepare or DIY fresh, well-draining potting mix
  • Without pressing, fill half-full your new 4’ porous pots
  • Carefully replant your pothos spreading out the roots
  • Fill in the remaining space with more potting soil

Then allow a 2-inch depth of space from the rim of the new pot.

If you want sustained growth and little growth setbacks, go for a commercial potting mix.

2) It’s Dry Indoors

Your pothos will wilt or droop if it is too hot and humid. However, when it is dry the leaves will curl. Rolling may also be evident if these dry conditions prolong.

Working closely with your humidity and temperature (portable) devices or apps can be a reliable way to solve dry air conditions.

3) Too Little or Intense Light

If your pothos plant is healthy, it should have wide, flat leaves that are naturally grown in a direction that faces the source of light.

Locate your pothos in spots with sufficient light

The direction of growth your pothos seems to take can say a lot. Below are signs that your pothos leaves are not exposed to sufficient hours of light.

  • Your pothos leaves curl toward the direction of light
  • the direction of the light,

Little or insufficient indoor lighting will result in retarded growth. Your pothos carries little or insignificant photosynthesis.

How to Fix Low Light

If you live in regions receiving low light intensities, you can invest in grow lights. If you live along the tropics, you can move your pothos to a brighter spot. Additionally, you can fix light filters to the west and east-facing windows. Shield your pothos against strong and direct light.

Along with a lack of sunlight, a lack of nutrients causes the same issue. Once the nutrients in the soil are used up or washed out, there is no way for the plants to access the essential nutrients they need to grow successfully.

  • Avoid overexposure to direct light
  • Buy grow lights that produce 10,000 and 20,000 lux

Intense light may also have a negative growth on your pothos. Leaves may produce scorching effects – burnt leaves with distinctive areas with unnatural green. The leaves may start to curl up as the plant tries to offer self-protection.

In extreme temperatures, the leaves will start drooping even if you have fixed watering issues.

How to Deal with Intense Lighting

  • Fix light filtering curtains, blinds or awnings if you live in tropical regions
  • Relocate your houseplant to alternative spots away from direct sunlight
  • During the summer, move your plants 1 foot farther off the windowsills
  • Provide a temporary shade over the individual pothos plant
  • Use grow lights if you plan to be away for sometime
  • Rotate your plant when it kind of starts stretching towards light source

4) You Fertilize More Frequently

Fertilizing often or too much for a sustained period will lead to leaf curling. Excess application is toxic and harmful to your pothos plants.

Solving Fertilizing/feeding Problems

Remember to avoid fertilizing when your pothos is dormant in winter and fall. At this point, it can’t absorb as much water and nutrients. If your regular or silver pothos leaves curl as a result of fertilizing, cut back on your applications.

It is safe to only fertilize your pothos in the spring and summer. Dilute to ½ strength, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer. Apply every 2 to three weeks. For those young and tender ones just dilute to half-strength the recommended rates.

5) Pothos Pests + Infestation

The two most common pothos pests are spider mites and aphids. Although pests don’t cause leaves to curl, the health status of the plant may resist the effects of the attack.

Pest infestation and immense attacks are two issues that can lead to serious leaf curling.

Young and tender pothos are more vulnerable to pest destruction and damage.

Pothos plant leaf with initial signs of pest damage

How to Fix + Get Rid of Pests

The best way to deal with pest infestation is to prevent them from reaching your houseplant. Start with regular plant care updates.

The cheapest yet preventive means to get rid of spider mites is keeping your garden pest free. The basics to seeing to start with the application of homemade insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils. These products will rid your pothos growth issues due to pests.

Try these natural interventions to keep the population checked or at bay>

a) Why are essential oils great? They are so effective to repel pests.

  • Strong ones are peppermint, thyme and spearmint
  • Peppermint is the most effective against sucking pests

b) Try Wood mulch. A few drops of a piece of wood such as pine bark mulch in the plant vessel

c) Be vigilant more often than not. Keep checking the leaves and stems of your plant; do check in particular under the leaves.

d) Decongect you r indoor garden. Avoid places that are too humid or badly ventilated; these will encourage pests.

e) A mixture of dried petals and spices of strong aromas do good work by discouraging pest colonization.

Many of these work by suffocating those sap-sucking pests and as well as prevent them from hatching.

To do it, dampen a soft clean piece of cloth. Then wipe down your pothos leaves and stems.

Other Leaf Curling-related Concerns (Answered)

There are yet those issues feared when it comes to problems with pothos growth and health.

Will my Pothos Leaves Uncurl Naturally?

Without withdrawal or application of the proper fixes of the cause or issue leading to it is highly unlikely that your pothos will not uncurl. In some cases, yes, the uncurling may be self-mediated.

Usually when watering and lighting issues are corrected the pothos leaves will uncurl in a few hours.

Does Over-watering my Pothos Cause Leaf Curling?   

Drooping pothos and sickness are typical of overwatered pothos. Leaves will yellow persistently or turn brown. If you flood your pothos pot consistently, the plant will eventually die.

How can I stop my Pothos from Curling and Drooping?

  • Water your pothos less frequently during the winter and autumn
  • Create a bit humid environment during the cooler months
  • Move your plant to a new location where it can receive sufficient light
  • Replant your pothos less often
  • Work with your temperature-monitoring portable device or apps
  • Appropriately prune or trim your pothos plant when it has overgrown
  • Fertilize your pothos plant during the active months of growth
  • Replant your Pothos plant when it has overgrown its current pot size

Keep in mind that without your intervention, problems that cause leaf curling will not resolve on their own.

References and Sources

  1. Epipremnum. ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/epipremnum. Accessed online 15 May 2023
  2. Pothos: location, cultivation & winter care. Plantura Garden. https://plantura.garden/uk/houseplants/pothos/pothos-overview. Accessed online 15 May 2023
  3. Aphids. ALMANAC. https://www.almanac.com/pest/aphids. Accessed online 15 May 2023

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