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Why Are My Satin Pothos (Scindapsus) Leaves Curling? (And How to Fix)

Indoor potted satin pothos leaves curling.

Satin pothos or Scindapsus pictus makes for an outstanding display in any space with its dark green leaves coupled with silver markings. But as a satin pothos owner, you must have seen its leaves curling up at least once.

Worry no more because this article will explain in detail all the possible reasons for your beloved plant’s leaves curling up.

Satin pothos leaves curling due to underwatering and temperature stress, insect infestation, direct sun. In addition, overfeeding of nutrients, low humidity can also cause satin pothos leaves to curl up. To solve this problem, you need to identify the problem first.

Read on to discover each of the causes in detail and how to remedy them to keep your plants thriving. 

Causes of Satin Pothos Leaves Curling


Underwatering is one of the common reasons for the curling up of your satin pothos leaves. Water helps in maintaining the structure of the plants by keeping the cells turgid.

If water quantity is not adequate, the cells of the plant will shrink as a result of dehydration. If not watered for too long, the leaves will curl, wilt, and eventually die.  

It is important to keep the soil in check. Once you see signs of the leaves curling, immediately take it as a cue to check if you are watering the plant regularly enough.

If detected early, proper watering will make the leaves perk up to normal in no time. 

The soil of the Satin Pothos plants also needs a decent amount of drenching regularly. At the same time, the soil also must dry between watering periods.

So, ideally, you should find a balance between keeping the soil dry and damp and water it accordingly.

Overfeeding with Fertilizer

The leaves of satin pothos will begin to curl if they receive excess nutrients. Some people make the common mistake of using too much fertilizer in their plants.

Feed your Satin Pothos on a monthly basis during spring through fall, with a well diluted fertilizer, but in small amounts so that it can maintain its foliage as well as the variegation on them. (Source: Missouri Botanical Garden)

Over fertilizing can cause salt and nitrogen build-up in the soil which subsequently leads to curling.

Some common signs of an overfed Pothos plant are leaves being smaller than their usual size, turning a darker shade of green or yellow and curling downwards at the tip.

Rotten roots, white or crusty soil as well as leaves falling off are also indications of an overfed plant.

To fix it, replace the current soil with fresh soil. Alternatively, you can also drench the soil repeatedly to rid it of the excess nutrients.

Temperature Stress

Temperature stress in layman terms is subjecting the plant to extreme temperatures. Too much heat causes Satin Pothos leaves to curl inwards.

You should keep it indoors as it is easier to manage exposure to heat and keep a check of temperature.

Indoors, a bright spot with indirect sunlight is what makes for an ideal spot for your Satin Pothos. 

Avoid direct sunlight at all costs as it may lead to leaf burn. Even within the house, place it where the temperature is moderate and there is no change of extreme heat or cold.

Ideally, Pothos plants thrive in temperature ranging between 65-85°F (18-30 °C). Anything below or beyond this range may make your Satin pothos unhappy.

Root Rot from Overwatering

When a plant receives or retains too much water, the soil becomes waterlogged causing the leaves to curl. The roots will start to rot when there’s poor drainage and water gets stagnant.

The rotten roots cannot supply essential nutrients and water up to the stem and leaves, leaving them dehydrated. 

In such cases, the leaves try to retain as much water as possible by curling. The good news is, if you are able to identify the cause of leaf curling as root rot at an early stage, you can save your plant.

Examine the roots by unpotting the plant and remove any brown sections as they are a sign of rotting roots. 

Leave behind only the healthy, white roots. Once you have done this, you can replant the Pothos in a fresh, well-draining soil so it can grow beautifully.

Water Quality 

The quality of water also plays a crucial role. The regular tap water, often called ‘hard water’, is often salty, causing an adverse effect on pothos leaves. It contains high amounts of chlorine, sodium and fluoride which attach themselves to the soil. 

It hinders water penetration, accumulates salt and consequently, turns the leaves inwards.

Use filtered water for your satin pothos to ensure its optimum health. You can also collect rain water to use it on your plant. 

If you do not have access to filtered water, you can collect tap water and set it aside for 24 hours.

This way, chlorine and fluorine dissipate from the water before you use it for your plants. 

Incorrect Exposure to Light

Exposure to incorrect amounts of light can also cause the leaves of Pothos plants to curl. In such situations, it is important to observe which direction the leaves are curling in.

If the plant receives too much light, the leaves will curl inwards (away from the light) or downwards. 

Too much light can compromise the health of the plant. Moving it to a less exposed area can help fix the problem.

But, if the leaves are curling up towards the direction of the light source, that is a sign of inadequate exposure. Moving the plant in a sunnier spot is the best solution. 

If the leaves of your Pothos plant do not curl but stay flat facing upwards toward the light source, it means that your plant is receiving the right amount of light it needs to stay healthy. (Source: University of Florida, IFAS)

Insect Infestation

Insects or pests tend to suck the plant sap from the plant’s leaves causing them to curl. Satin pothos are more prone to mealybugs and spider mites.

The best way to deal with them is to remove them as soon as you spot them. 

Moreover, you should routinely clean the leaves with alcohol to keep the insects away.

Similarly, you can use a store-bought insecticide (mild) or make a homemade insecticide (diluted dishwashing soap) to spray on the plants to keep them safe from pests.

Disease Problems

Satin pothos may face root rot disease due to overwatering. Root rot leads to various fungal issues and may even cause the plant to die.

It is also difficult to detect in its early stages. Only when the disease has spread extensively show signs such as brown stem, yellowing of leaves and curling leaves. 

A fungal infection is evident when the leaves develop black spots in clusters or sometimes forming circular rings.

Moreover, new leaves also appear to have dark patches of black spots. Sometimes, the new growth wilts as soon as it appears. 

A bacterial infection is another reason why the satin pothos may experience root rot.

It has almost similar symptoms as a fungal disease but the bacteria damage the tissue. This results in leaves turning yellow

The best way to avoid this disease is by abstaining from overwatering the plant.

If your satin pothos gets infected, immediately cut off the diseased part of the plant and do not water it for a few days.

Within a few weeks, you will notice it regaining strength and perking up. Remember, any new healthy growth is a sign that the satin pothos has revived. 

Applying bactericides and copper fungicides are some others ways to fix disease problems based on what kind of disease your satin pothos is suffering from.

This article share more detailed information about causes and and saving pothos form root rot.

Low Humidity

As mentioned earlier, Pothos soil needs drenching to stay healthy. In extreme cases, low humidity and dry soil may lead to the leaves curling or even yellowing.

Frequently, spraying the plant with water is one way to ensure that the condition is humid enough for the plant to flourish. 

You can group with another plant to increase the humidity level around the plant. Another one is to invest in a humidifier to ensure that the plant retains its required moisture.

But it is also important to remember that too much moisture is a breeding ground for pests. As the plant owner, it is your job to strike a balance and maintain appropriate humidity levels.

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How to Prevent Satin Pothos Leaves Curling

Below are some helpful tips to prevent the leaves on your satin pothos from curling. 

Maintain The Right Temperature

  • Keep them at the desired temperature between 65-85°F (18-30 °C)
  • Protect them for sudden and extreme temperature changes.
  • Especially in extreme summers, keep them away from direct, sweltering sun rays from windows and high airflow from air-conditioning.
  • In winters, avoid keeping the plant near heaters and the fireplace.

Water The Right Way

  • Water the plant only when the top part of the soil becomes dry. Check the top 2 inches of the soil. If it is completely dry, your plant is ready for watering. 
  • Remember that in summers, plants need more water because of high temperatures as compared to winters.
  • Avoid tap water as it may be salty. Use distilled water.
  • To avoid overwatering, place the plant pot in a tub of water for a few minutes. This way, the roots at the bottom drink only as much water as they need. 

Prevent Insect Infestation

  • Wipe the leaves regularly with alcohol to keep insects away. You can also use water if you don’t have rubbing alcohol on hand. 
  • Spray a mild insecticide occasionally to keep the pests and insects at bay.
  • Cut off the yellow or brown leaves. The rule is to get rid of the dead foliage as soon as possible because it could serve as a breeding ground for pests. The same goes for the leaves developing brown spots

Tackle The Root Rot Disease Effectively

  • If you suspect root rot, immediately move your satin pothos away from the rest of your houseplants. You don’t want it to spread to your other houseplants. 
  • Examine the roots and clean them with water. Repot the healthy roots in fresh medium and discard the black/brown rotten portion of the root ball. In a few weeks, you will see it perking up. 
  • In case if you find the entire root ball mushy and rotten, get cuttings of the healthy stems from the plant before discarding it.

Remember, silver satin pothos are easy to root in both soil and water. So there is still hope folks!

Just stick in the cuttings in a jar of water or a pot of fresh potting soil. Within a week, new roots will establish and the plant will begin thriving. 

Check Light Exposure

  • Keep an eye out for the pothos leaves. They should lie flat. In case they are curling inwards or outwards, you need to fix the light exposure.
  • Put your satin pothos in your house at a spot which receives bright indirect sunlight. 
  • Rotate the satin pothos from time to time to ensure uniform light exposure. 

Avoid Overfeeding The Plant

  • Dilute the fertilizer in water before adding to the plant. 
  • Use fertilizer rich in nitrogen to maintain the silvery satin like foliage of scindapsus.
  • Keep a plant journal and make entries in it every time you fertilize your Scindapsus. This is especially useful when you have more than one houseplant to take care of. 
  • Do not fertilize in the winter months because that is the resting period for plants.

Maintain Humidity

The minimum rate of humidity for pothos to thrive is at least 40%. To maintain this level of moisture in the room, you can use the following methods:

  • Pour filtered water in a spray bottle and lightly spray over the plant every day.
  • Invest in a room humidifier to keep the room atmosphere humid.
  • Keep the plant in a relatively humid space of your house such as the kitchen or a bathroom.
  • Take a tray and put some pebbles on it. Mist them with water and put your Pothos plant beside it. This will allow for the evaporation process to happen to cause the leaves to remain moisturized in a natural manner.

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Choose The Right Pot Size And Potting Medium

  • Use the right pot size for your silver satin pothos. Keep in mind: Bigger pot needs more soil which means it will retain moisture for a longer period of time. This shall contribute to problems because of overwatering which cause root rot.
  • Consider using terracotta pots because of their porous material which can absorb excess moisture in the soil thus preventing root rot. 
  • When transferring your plant to a bigger pot, always go one size bigger. For instance, repot your plant from 4inch pot to 6inch pot only. 
  • Satin Pothos prefer a well- draining soil. Considering adding extra pearlite to your potting soil to make it light and airy

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my Satin pothos leaves turning yellow?

The satin pothos leaves turn yellow for various reasons including overwatering, inadequate soil moisture, very low light exposure and insect infestations.

All of these lead to the plant losing its moisture rapidly and that in turn leads to yellowing of leaves.

How can you save Overwatered Satin pothos?

To save an overwatered pothos, the first step is to remove all the wet soil. Next, clean the roots by cutting out all the soft and soggy ones.

Let the plant stay bare overnight to get rid of all the excess moisture. In the morning, repot the pothos plant into a new container.

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