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Why Pothos Losing Leaves-A Guide to Happy Leaves

Hold up, don’t panic just yet! It’s natural for Pothos to drop a leaf here and there, but a sudden shower of leaves spells trouble. Until the cause is addressed, the Pothos will suffer from poor growth and vulnerability to disease and pests. And in the worst cases, severe stress can even lead to its death.

Take action! Assess the environment first. Is Pothos getting enough sunshine and sips of water? Is the soil too wet, or are the roots clogged?

These could be the culprits behind the leaf drop. Too much cold or sun can also stress Pothos out. Time to save the day!

1- Frigid Temperatures: A Threat to Your Pothos Leaves

Pothos is a tropical plant that can tolerate a chill up to 41°F, below that it begins to wilt.
Pothos is a tropical plant that can tolerate a chill up to 41°F; below that, leaves turn yellow and fall off.

Pothos is a tough cookie, but even it has its limits! This tropical plant can handle a chill, but only up to 41°F. Below that, it starts to shiver and drop its leaves.

To keep Pothos looking lush and green, aim for a toasty temperature of 50°F or higher, with a sweet spot around 59°F.

Remember, it’s a rainforest native and loves warm, moist, and well-ventilated air. So keep it cozy, and it’ll reward you with its beauty!

What to Do When Pothos Leaves Drop Due to Cold Weather?

  • Wait a few days for the soil to dry, then water your plant during the warmest part of the day.
  • Keep your Pothos at least 3-6 feet away from windows overnight and in the morning to avoid the chill.
  • Fertilizing is optional during this time.
  • Ensure your Pothos gets good airflow by using a fan in a closed room.

Stay vigilant of the weather forecast and move your plant to a warmer spot with less watering if temperatures dip below 60°F.

Aim to keep your Pothos in temperatures no lower than 46°F and ideally around 50°F. Be mindful with watering – the plant grows slower in the cold, so keep it to a minimum.

Over-watering can lead to root damage, so use a watering gauge and only water when the soil is dry. Avoid the mistake of over-watering or neglecting to water.

2- Pothos Leaf Drop: Root Clogging & Soggy Soil

Clogged roots in Pothos can lead to stunted growth and nutrient deficiency in leaves.
Clogged roots in Pothos can lead to stunted growth and nutrient deficiency in leaves

When the roots are damaged, the plant struggles to get the essential nutrients and water it needs to keep its leaves healthy.

Roots are like the plant’s delivery truck, carrying vital nutrients and hydration to all the right places.

But they can’t do their job when they get clogged or waterlogged. This leads to the leaves falling off and looking sad and colorless.

Root damage can be caused by a few things, like a clogged root system or too much love (aka overwatering), causing soggy soil.

If your Pothos hasn’t had a change of scenery (read: been repotted) in over two years, it could feel cramped in its pot, or the soil might have gone bad, causing root damage.

Beware of hot floors in the summer too! Placing the pot directly on a warm surface after watering could create a steamy sauna inside the pot, damaging those roots.

The same goes for cold weather in winter – if the plant is left in a chilly environment with water still in the pot, it could cool down the roots and cause damage. 

Time To Fix That With A Little Root Un-Clogging And Soil Moisture Control

When the soil is soggy, give it some space to dry out completely. Then, place your plant in a bright and breezy spot (with a bit of afternoon sun if possible). No need to give it any extra fertilizer.

If you see roots peeking out from the bottom of the pot, it might be time for a new home (read: repotting).

And if it takes a long time for water to soak into the soil after watering, it’s time to improve the soil’s draining abilities.

3- Pothos in the Sun? A Recipe for Leaf Drop Disaster!

Long-term direct sun exposure can cause Pothos leaves to become sunburned and crispy.
Long-term direct sun exposure can cause Pothos leaves to become sunburned and crispy

Pothos might be a plant, but too much sun is not its friend! So you see, Pothos is a little bit different than other plants when it comes to sunlight.

While most plants love soaking up the sun, too much sun can fry pothos’ leaves, causing falling off.

That’s because Pothos is a vine plant originally from tropical rainforests where it grows under the protection of big trees, getting just the right amount of sunlight.

But be warned, if you leave Pothos out in direct sunlight, especially in the summer, it will get burned – and not in a good way. We’re talking about leaves looking crispier than a potato chip almost 100% of the time.

Burnt leaves are more than just a cosmetic disaster; they’re a real problem for your Pothos! Those crispy brown patches can’t do what leaves are supposed to do: photosynthesize.

That means the leaves aren’t helping the plant get energy, and, as a result, the whole plant might feel weak and shed leaves.

What To Do When Pothos Leaves Get Damaged By Too Much Sun? 

Don’t worry; it’s fixable!

  • First things first, take a look at where the plant is located. If it’s getting blasted by direct sun, move it to a spot with dappled light or use a shade cloth.
  • And beware of moving your Pothos from a dark spot to a sunny one. Ease it into the sun by starting with a bit of light, then gradually increasing.
  • If it’s an indoor pothos, give it a sunny window with bright, indirect light. And for outdoor Pothos, aim for shade or semi-shade, with a gentle kiss of the comforting afternoon sun.

With these tips, your Pothos will return to looking their best in no time!

4- A Physiological Process

Yellowing of old Pothos leaves is a normal process that redirects energy to new growth.
Yellowing of old Pothos leaves is a normal process that redirects energy to new growth

Sometimes, plants shed their old leaves to save energy and nutrients for new growth.

But don’t be surprised if leaves fall off even when your plant seems happy and healthy. That’s just how it goes sometimes.

Usually, only leaves near the bottom of the plant will drop. But if you’re seeing new leaves fall off, that could mean there’s an issue with direct sunlight, root damage, or pests and diseases.

And if the leaves look sticky, have white powder, or look like a spider’s web, beware! Your plant might have some creepy crawly pests like spider mites or fungal disease munching away.

When Pothos Goes Through Physiological Changes & Loses Its Leaves

If your Pothos is saying goodbye to a couple of its oldest leaves, don’t worry, it’s just part of its growth process. But if it’s shedding new leaves, too, it’s time to investigate other reasons.

Key takeaways

Take a close look at your Pothos, think about how you’ve been taking care of it, and then check out these seasonal tips:

  • Spring to Fall – If roots are peeking out of the bottom of the pot, time to repot! And if temps rise above 68°F, bring your plant to the shaded great outdoors for optimal growth.
  • Summer – Beware of sunburn and sizzling soil. If the pot is basking in direct light or sitting on a hot surface after watering, leaves and roots can take a severe hit.
  • Winter – Keep the pot away from frost and avoid exposing it to windowsills during the coldest parts of the day. Watch out for dry air, nix pests ASAP, and don’t over-water or over-fertilize just because your plant seems sluggish.

So there you have it, folks! A variety of reasons why your Pothos might be losing its leaves, so go ahead and find the root of the problem.

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