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Overwatering a Pothos Plant: Signs and How to Fix Them

If you're a plant lover, chances are you have a Pothos plant. It's an incredibly popular houseplant known for its hardiness and ease of care.


However, even the toughest plants, like your Pothos and snake plants, can suffer from overwatering. Understanding how to spot the symptoms of overwatering and prevent it from happening can make all the difference for your beloved plant's health.


Here are some signs that your Pothos may be suffering from too much water and how to fix the problem.

water pothos plant

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Signs You're Overwatering Your Pothos Plant


How to Save an Overwatered Pothos

10. Improve the Soil - Repot your Plant

 

1. Soggy Soil

What is the simplest way to tell if you have an overwatered or underwatered Pothos? Feel the soil.

An overwatered pothos will have moist, soggy soil.

  • Insert your finger into the soil. Does it feel wet? Does the damp soil stick to your finger?

  • Lift the pot. Does water leak out of the bottom?

  • Is there stagnant water in the dripping tray?

Yes to some or all of the above? Your Pothos is overwatered.

 

2. Yellowing Leaves

An obvious sign of overwatering is yellowing leaves.

If the leaves of your Pothos are turning yellow and feel mushy to the touch, you're likely watering too much.

There can also be a few other reasons your Pothos have yellow leaves.


Determine if the yellowing is caused by overwatering by:

  • Looking for signs of root rot (wet, mushy, foul-smelling roots).

  • Checking the moisture levels in your soil (use a moisture meter).

 

3. Wilting/ Drooping

Another sign of overwatering is wilting, droopy, limp foliage. To identify this, check the overall stance of your plant.

An overwatered plant will have the following:

  • Droopy leaves hanging away from their stems.

Why?

Excessive water can cause the roots to rot, making it difficult for the plant to absorb nutrients and water. Without nutrients circulating throughout the plant, the leaves will wilt and die.

 

4. Water Blisters on Leaves

It's common for the leaves of overwatered Pothos to develop water blisters or brown spots.


This is known as leaf edema. When the pothos' roots consume more water than the leaves can use, it causes the cells to rupture, which results in water blisters or water-soaked brown spots.


This is usually seen on the underside of the leaf.

 

5. Leaves Falling off

When old and new leaves start falling off your plant, you probably have an overwatered Pothos.


Overwatering leads to a lack of oxygen and nutrients getting to the plant's leaves, causing them to wilt, turn yellow or brown, and eventually fall off.


Tip: Remove the fallen leaves from the surface of the plant's soil. This will decrease the chance of fungal problems.

 

6. Root Rot

Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can be deadly for your Pothos.

Your Pothos may be suffering from root rot if you notice that the roots of your plant are:

  • brown

  • mushy

  • have a foul odor

Why?

Root rot occurs when the plant's roots are continuously soaked in water. As a result, the roots rot, which means your plant can't absorb enough water and nutrients anymore, leading to the death of the plant.

 

7. Mold, Fungus, and Pests

Excess moisture can lead to mold or fungus growth on the soil surface. If you notice any mold or fungus growing on top of the soil, it's a sign that you're overwatering your Pothos.


Why?

The excess water in the soil provides an ideal environment for mold and fungus to grow. These problems thrive in damp, warm, and humid conditions, often a byproduct of overwatering.

Mold and fungus also require a source of organic material to feed on, such as dead plant matter or decaying roots.


When a Pothos has been overwatered, it puts undue stress on the plant, making it susceptible to attacks from pests and fungi. These pests love to attack plants when weak and unable to fight off the attackers.

 

How to Save an Overwatered Pothos

8. Adjust and Reduce your Watering Schedule

If you're overwatering your Pothos, the first step is to adjust your watering schedule.

You must water your Pothos less frequently to allow the soil to dry out between waterings.


Why?

This guarantees the roots have enough time to absorb nutrients and water before being exposed to more moisture.


How often should you water your Pothos plant indoors?

The frequency with which you should water your Pothos plant indoors can depend on several factors:

  • The size of the pot.

  • The amount of light and humidity the plant is exposed to.

  • The temperature of the room.

Pothos plants generally prefer to be kept consistently moist but not soggy.

  • Allow the top two inches of soil to dry out before watering again.

  • Use a moisture meter to check the moisture level before watering.

  • When watering, thoroughly saturate the soil and allow excess water to drain out of the pot to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom.

Depending on the conditions in your home, this could mean watering your Pothos once a week or every two weeks.

 

9. Check the Drainage

Make sure your Pothos is planted in a container with proper drainage.

If your potting soil is too compacted, the water won't be able to pass through, and this could lead to an overwatering problem.


To check if your soil is properly draining:

  • Poke a few small holes in the bottom of your container.

If they fill with water rather quickly, this may indicate that the soil isn't draining efficiently and needs more air openings.


If the pot doesn't have drainage holes:

  • Consider repotting your plant into a container that does.

  • Poke some holes in the bottom of the container you're using (only if you can do so without damaging the plant).

This allows excess water to drain out of the pot, preventing it from accumulating in the soil and causing overwatering.

 

10. Improve the Soil - Repot your Plant

When it comes to overwatering, it pays to pay attention to the growth rate of your Pothos.

If your plant has stopped growing or has visible shriveling leaves, it could be a sign that it's time to repot with fresh, well-draining soil and more adequate drainage holes in the container.


Also, trim away any soggy, damaged roots.


Why?

Better soil and trimmed roots guarantee the plant has access to the nutrients in the soil without being exposed to excess moisture.

 

11. Reduce Humidity

Pothos prefer a humid environment, but excessive humidity can contribute to overwatering. Make sure the air around your Pothos is not too moist by:

  • providing adequate ventilation

  • using a dehumidifier

Why?

Ventilation helps to prevent excess moisture from building up around the plant. As such, a consistent evaporation rate helps prevent overwatering.

 

Can an Overwatered Pothos Recover on Its Own?

An overwatered Pothos can recover independently depending on the overwatering levels. However, once you realize that you have been overwatering your Pothos, don't assume the plant will heal on its own.


For example, if you have only overwatered the plant once or twice, it should have no problem snapping back from too much water as long as you have corrected the issue.

If the overwatering has continued for some time, you must intervene to save your Pothos.

 

The Bottom Line

Paying attention to the signs of overwatering and adjusting your watering routine can keep your Pothos healthy and thriving. Overwatering most often occurs when you don't understand your plant's water needs or have an inconsistent watering schedule. Luckily, both of these can be easily fixed!

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