How to Save Overwatered Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)

Overwatering is the leading issue that affects the pothos root system. Potted pothos plants are more vulnerable to overwatering due to the limited space for diffusing water. Every houseplant enthusiast needs to master proper watering techniques when growing pothos plants.

Here are quick tips on how to save overwatered pothos:

  • Drain excess water
  • Stop watering the plant for some days
  • Dig and overturn the potting soil
  • Trim off the damaged leaves
  • Repot the pothos plant

Water is a crucial element for plants to grow. It is ideal to learn how to regulate the amount of water the plant receives. It is the vital factor determining the success of growing and caring for the pothos plant.

The information in this article provides detailed tips on how to save your overwatered pothos plant. I have also shared common overwatered pothos signs and tips on how to water pothos plants. Let’s find out that together now:

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Common Overwatered Pothos Signs

Wilting Pothos

Overwatering will make your pothos plant wilt. It is usually a sign of a dying pothos plant due to root damages. The root rot inhibits water transport to various parts of the plant.

Soaking the potting soil will help to reverse a wilting pothos plant due to under-watering. But you cannot apply the same technique when dealing with overwatered pothos.

Fungus in Soil

Mold is a type of fungi that thrives in a damp environment. It usually results in a white powdery coating on the potting soil surface.

Overwatering makes the mold spores grow and spread rapidly. The potting soil will release an unpleasant smell in the long run.

Pothos Plant Root Rot

A damp environment limits oxygen supply around the pothos plant root systems. The suffocated roots fail to undertake their physiological activities.

Affected roots have brown patches and release awful odor. Trim off these patches and treat them with a copper fungicide.

Pothos Leaves Curling

Overwatering is the reason behind the pothos leaves curling problem. The leaves curl downwards due to limited water supply.

The rot on the root systems inhibits water uptake to the leaves. Curling is an attempt to conserve the remaining amount of water in the plant.

Pothos Leaves Wrinkled

Wrinkled leaves on pothos plants are due to overwatering. The pothos leaves begin by forming tiny blisters and later develop deformed surfaces.

The brown leaf tips will also wrinkle due to overwatering. These deformed surfaces will affect the general appearance of your pothos plant.

Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow

The yellowing of pothos leaves is another sign of overwatering. It usually affects the old leaves close to the potting soil surface when the root rot begins.

The rotten roots will no longer absorb nutrients and water from the soil. Lack of nutrients and moisture stress tends to cause the yellow pothos leaves.

Brown Spots on Pothos Leaves

Brown spots on pothos leaves occur due to several reasons. Excess water is the number one reason for brown spots forming on the leaves.

These spots are a result of swelling leaf cells due to excess water. The brown lesions on the leaves tend to have yellow rings.

Shriveled and Mushy Appearance

Overwatered pothos would look droopy and soft. You would experience a mushy feeling when touching the brown portion with your finger.

Mildew smell from the brown portion is an indicator of rotting. The unpleasant odor is prevalent among overwatered pothos plants.

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How to Save Overwatered Pothos (Step-by-Step)

Assess the Extent Damage

Assessing the severity of damage is the first crucial step to consider. It will dictate the next action plan to save an overwatered pothos plant. 

Drain Excess Water

Inspect the pot drainage holes at the bottom and confirm their functionality. Poke the holes to see if there is stagnant water in the pot. These holes help to eliminate excess water from the soil.

Stop Watering the Plant

Withdraw watering your pothos plant for several days. Place your pothos plant in bright indirect sunlight to encourage faster evaporation.

Dig and Overturn the Saturated Soil

Digging and overturning the saturated soil with water will enhance proper root aeration. It also improves soil structure by creating more spaces for oxygen circulation.

Overturning will expose the wet soil and allow more exposure to air. Besides that, it will help dry the soil faster.

Trim the Rotten Roots and Damaged Leaves

Trimming off the yellow or brown leaves will help the plant conserve energy. It also helps keep the pothos plant beautiful.

Cut off the roots with brown patches with a sterilized blade. The technique is ideal if you are looking to re-pot your pothos plant.

Treat with a Fungicide

Treat the entire root system with copper fungicide. It helps to protect the roots from rotting after the transplant process.

Re-pot the Overwatered Pothos

Re-potting is the best practice for saving overwatered pothos. Pull the plant from the pot and trim the affected roots. Dry the roots and re-pot them to a new pot with fresh potting soil.

Follow the ultimate pothos care routine and avoid overwatering it. These basic care requirements will determine the success of your pothos.

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How to Water Pothos Plant (Devil’s Ivy)

Water from Below or Top

Watering from below is the most efficient method and minimizes the risk of overwatering. Allow the pot to sit in a container with water until it gets saturated.

Watering from the top is the classic method for hydrating your pothos. Use a jug with a long snout to avoid wetting the leaves. The water around the pot until excess water drains via the drainage holes.

Watering Frequency

Watering frequency is determined by humidity, temperature, and light. Always inspect the soil moisture content before watering your pothos.

Reduce the watering frequency during winter and when humidity is high. Hydrate your pothos plant more often during summer and spring.

Water Quality

Tap water is harmful to the pothos plant. It results in an excess salt buildup in the soil and causes severe roots damage. Use rainwater or distilled water to hydrate your indoor pothos plant.

Amount of Water

The plant and pot size will determine the amount of water supply. Juvenile pothos plants will require less water when compared to their mature counterparts.

Use a tight pot to grow pothos plants and avoid overwatering issues. Increase the watering frequency as the plant grows to maturity.

Time of Application

Water the pothos plant during the early morning due to physiological activities. Do not water your plant at night due to the low evaporation rate. It will also increase the risk of overwatering.

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Underwatered Vs Overwatered Pothos

Too much or too little water is detrimental to your pothos plant health. The watering pothos plant is a crucial element to master and avoid diseases.

Inspect the pothos plant appearance and soil moisture content before watering. Unhappy pothos plants are due to low moisture content in the potting soil.

Underwatered pothos plant would look limp and crispy with brown leaves. The dehydrated condition will force the plant to utilize the conserved water.

Prolonged drought conditions will kill your pothos plant. I recommend soaking the potting soil to rehydrate the houseplant.

An overwatered pothos plant has soft and limp leaves turning brown. The available water is more than the plant minimum requirement.

It results in flooded conditions where the submerged roots fail to access oxygen. The roots suffocation is the reason behind the plant death and root rot issue.

Related Questions

How Often to Water Pothos?

Once a week when 2-3 inches of topsoil is soil. Pothos plants consume more watering during spring and summer. Remember to reduce watering frequency during winter.

Why Is My Pothos Losing Leaves?

Inappropriate watering and low humidity are the reasons behind pothos losing leaves. Correct the watering problem and use an electric humidifier to boost the humidity level.

Why Is My Pothos Droopy and Yellow?

Improper soil moisture is the leading reason for pothos droopy and yellow leaves. Provide proper and consistent soil moisture to combat the issue.

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Final Thoughts

It is easier to revive an under-watered pothos than an overwatered counterpart. Mastering a proper watering routine will help save overwatered pothos plants.

Appropriate watering and trimming will make your pothos beautiful and bushier. Pothos is a tropical plant and the soil should be left to dry before watering again.

Pothos plants need regular watering during hot summer months. Reduce the watering frequency during late fall and winter to avoid overwatering issues.

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