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Signs of Overwatering Your Pothos: How to Save It (2023)

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signs of overwatering your pothosAre you struggling to keep your pothos alive? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, overwatering is one of the most common mistakes made by gardeners when caring for their plants.

It can be tricky to figure out exactly how much water your pothos needs and it’s easy to give them too much – leading to an overwatered plant that could ultimately lead to its death if left untreated.

To help prevent this from happening, let’s talk about some of the signs of an overwatered pothos and discuss ways in which we can save it before it’s too late!

As a general rule-of-thumb for watering houseplants like Pothos: water when the soil is dry at least 2 inches down into the pot; never leave standing water in trays or saucers; reduce frequency during winter months; use high-quality well-draining soil mix & fertilize regularly with balanced fertilizer (once every two weeks).

By following these simple tips and being mindful about watering correctly, you’ll greatly minimize any chances of overtaking your precious Pothos plant with too much H2O!

Key Takeaways

  • Yellowing leaves
  • Brown edges on leaves
  • Limp leaves
  • Soggy soil

Signs of Overwatering Your Pothos

Signs of Overwatering Your Pothos
Have you noticed your pothos’ once vibrant, green leaves turning yellow or brown? This likely signals overwatering. Inspect for other telltale signs like soggy soil, limp or mushy stems and leaves, and curling or drooping foliage.

Soggy Soil

You’ll know you’ve overwatered your pothos if the soil stays soggy, especially in the top inch or two.

  • Lingering moisture
  • Mushy, muddy soil
  • Water pooled on the soil’s surface
  • Soil clings together when pressed
  • Unpleasant odor from the pot

Soggy soil deprives roots of oxygen. Allow it to dry out before watering again. A properly hydrated pothos has soil that is moist but not wet.

Yellowing Leaves

Didn’t you notice your pothos’ leaves turning yellow? This likely indicates you’ve been overwatering. Yellowing leaves diagnose overwatering. Revive yellow leaves through proper watering technique – soak thoroughly, then allow the soil to dry.

Prevent leaf discoloration by adjusting watering habits. Provide less frequent, deep waterings to encourage drainage and avoid saturating the roots. Follow the plant’s cues, not a rigid schedule. Distinguish overwatering from underwatering by inspecting soil moisture.

Brown Leaves

Check those leaves for browning if you suspect too much water. Overwatered pothos develop brown leaf edges that crisp over time.

  1. Allow the soil to fully dry out between waterings.
  2. Remove rotting roots and repot them in fresh, well-draining mix.
  3. Cut off severely damaged leaves.
  4. Move the plant to a sunny spot to encourage new growth.
  5. Water only when the top 2 inches of soil are dry.

The key is correcting soil moisture and ensuring those limp leaves perk back up. With attentive care, you can nurse a browning pothos back to full health.

Limp, Soft Leaves

Crinkly, limp leaves droop like a wilted flower on an overwatered pothos. Overwatered pothos develop limp, soft leaves that feel like wet paper. Excessive moisture causes the leaves to become saturated and unable to support themselves.

To revive an overwatered pothos, allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings and remove any damaged leaves.


  • Limp, drooping leaves
  • Leaves feel soft and paper-like
  • New leaf growth stunted


  • Excessive soil moisture
  • Waterlogged roots
  • Lack of oxygen in soil


  • Allow soil to dry out before watering
  • Remove damaged leaves
  • Water less frequently, improve drainage

Mushy Appearance

You’ve gotta watch out for mushy leaves on your pothos, or you’re in for trouble.

  • Leaves feel soft and limp.
  • Stems appear swollen and mushy.
  • Leaves easily fall off with gentle tugging.

An overwatered pothos develops a mushy appearance in its leaves and stems. This indicates that root rot may be present. Improving drainage and allowing the soil to dry out can help firm up the leaves.

Curling Leaves

If your pothos leaves start curling like an armadillo in fright, it could be crying for help from too much water. Curling leaves indicate that the roots are waterlogged. Let the soil dry out completely before watering again.

Test the soil moisture with your finger to prevent overwatering. Proper hydration keeps leaves flat and vibrant.

Assess curling by the degree:

Slight curl Serious curl
Marginal issue Significant issue
Adjust watering schedule Repot or propagate

Leaf revival requires remedying overwatering. Curling signifies overhydration, but pothos can recover through attentive watering and soil techniques for plant health.

How to Save an Overwatered Pothos

How to Save an Overwatered Pothos
If you suspect you’ve overwatered your pothos, immediate action is required to save it. Reduce watering to allow the soil to dry out completely, consider repotting the plant to provide fresh soil, and make sure to properly hydrate the pothos moving forward by watering only when the top inch of soil is dry.

Reduce Watering

To save your overwatered pothos, you’ll need to reduce how much you’re watering it. Check the soil moisture before watering again. Allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out between waterings to prevent further overwatering.

Observe the pothos’ leaf condition to determine when it needs hydration. Adjust watering based on signs like wrinkled or drooping leaves. With proper pothos care, such as monitoring soil moisture and hydrating properly when the leaves indicate, you can get your overwatered pothos back to health.

Dry Out the Soil

After feeling the soggy soil, let your pothos sit bone-dry for a week or so. This soil revival allows excess moisture to evaporate and gives the thirsty pothos time for drought recovery. When rehydrating the soil, manage moisture carefully to prevent repeated overwatering.

A week without water helps revive soggy soil and prevents further damage to your overwatered pothos. With patience, your pothos can recover from overwatering if you let the soil dry out completely before the next watering.

Repot the Plant

You’ll need to repot the pothos in fresh, well-draining soil once you’ve removed any rotten roots. Repotting offers a clean slate for root development and removes pest and disease risks. Select containers with drainage holes and use a light, airy potting mix like peat moss, perlite, and orchid bark.

Healthy white roots are the goal; trim any brown, mushy roots before repotting. Repot every 2-3 years in early spring.

Hydrate the Pothos Properly

Once you’ve repotted the overwatered pothos, slowly start hydrating it properly again by watering only when the top inch of soil is dry. For example, you can stick your finger in the soil to check moisture levels before watering to avoid oversaturating it.

Gauge hydration needs by leaf color and texture. Adjust watering frequency and volume based on factors like sunlight, humidity, and season.

Is My Plant Overwatered or Underwatered?

Is My Plant Overwatered or Underwatered
Checking the soil and leaves of your pothos is the best way to determine if it is overwatered or underwatered. If the soil is dry and the leaves are limp, curling, and developing brown edges, it likely needs more water.

However, if the soil is soggy and the leaves are yellowing with brown spots, it is probably overwatered and needs less water.

Dry Vs Wet Soil

To determine if your pothos is over or underwatered, feel the soil. Dry, coarse soil suggests underwatering. Frequently soggy soil indicates overwatering. Next, check the texture of the leaves. Soft, limp leaves signal excess moisture. Crispy, stiff leaves point to inadequate hydration.

Adjust watering based on these observations. Provide a thorough soak for parched plants. Allow overly damp ones to dry out before the next watering. Signs like wilting do not distinguish overwatering from underwatering.

Limp Leaves Vs Dry Leaves

Your pothos is underwatered if its leaves feel dry or crisp, and overwatered if the leaves are limp.

  1. Leaves that curl inward signal underwatering.
  2. Overwatered leaves turn yellow or brown, starting at the edges.
  3. Limp, dull leaves need less water.
  4. Dry, papery leaves cry out for hydration.
  5. Carefully observe and frequently touch leaves to assess moisture needs.

When diagnosing moisture issues in your pothos, leaf texture provides critical clues. Limp foliage requires less water, while crisp, stiff leaves need more. Closely monitoring leaf condition prevents both overwatering and underwatering.

Leaf Curling

If the edges of your pothos’ leaves start curling downward, it likely needs more water. Check the soil moisture. If it’s dry and crumbly, give your plant a good soak, allowing excess water to drain away.

Proper hydration is essential for leaf health. Monitor soil moisture and leaf curling to determine the ideal watering frequency. Underwatered leaves often curl before other obvious signs appear. Catching curling leaves early prevents further decline.

Brown Spots on Leaves

There is something going on if your pothos has brown spots on the leaves. I noticed brown spots starting to develop on my friend’s pothos after she started watering it more frequently. The brown spots signal overwatering, which leads to poor soil aeration and fungal growth.

To revive an overwatered pothos with brown spots, allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings and remove any diseased leaves. Leaf care and maintaining the right moisture balance are key to pothos revival and preventing further fungal issues.

Browning Edges

Browning leaves mean you gotta check how often you’re watering your pothos. If the edges start turning brown, your plant is likely parched. An underwatered pothos desperately needs a good, deep drink. After watering thoroughly, mist the leaves and move it to a shadier spot until it recovers.

Browning edges are a classic sign of underwatering. Prevent this by checking soil moisture and watering when the top inch feels dry. Proper fertilizing, humidity, and sunlight will also help prevent those crispy brown edges on your pothos.

Can Overwatered Pothos Recover on Their Own?

Can Overwatered Pothos Recover on Their Own
You can revive your precious pothos if you act promptly to remove soggy soil, trim rotting roots, and replant it in fresh, well-draining mix. Though pothos are resilient, overwatered plants need intervention to recover fully.

Reduce watering frequency to allow the soil to dry out. Check for root rot and trim any mushy roots. Rinse remaining roots in hydrogen peroxide before repotting in a sterile potting mix.

Move the repotted pothos to indirect light. Avoid fertilizing during recovery. Monitor soil moisture carefully when watering again. With this proper care, your pothos can bounce back from overwatering, relying partly on its natural healing abilities.

But soggy soil and excess moisture inhibit its growth, so prompt action gives it the best chance to thrive once more.

Should I Repot an Overwatered Pothos?

Should I Repot an Overwatered Pothos
Following previous advice on signs of overwatered pothos, the natural question arises: should I repot an overwatered pothos? The simple answer is yes.

First, it allows inspection of root health to check for rot. Trimming any dead roots stops their spread.

Second, repotting uses fresh, well-draining soil optimal for pothos. This corrects the overly moist soil causing overwatering issues.

Finally, repotting itself disrupts the watering cycle. This mythic reset lets you implement improved watering habits going forward.

In summary, repotting not only enables inspection and revival of distressed root systems, but facilitates ongoing vigor through better soil and watering practices. Repotting is thus highly recommended for any overwatered pothos to get it back on track.

Watering Best Practices to Avoid Overwatering

Watering Best Practices to Avoid Overwatering
Y’all can prevent overwatering your pothos by checking soil moisture regularly and watering thoroughly only when the top inch is dry. Don’t water ’em on a set schedule. Instead, check the soil with your finger to see if it’s dry before adding more water.

Make sure the pot has drainage holes so excess water can escape. Consider bottom watering so the roots suck up only what they need. Look for signs of overwatering like yellow leaves or soggy soil. If the dirt is always wet, the roots could rot.

Let the soil dry out completely between waterings for proper hydration. Adding perlite to the potting mix improves drainage and airflow. Signs like stunted growth or moldy smelling soil mean it’s too wet. Adjust watering amounts and frequency based on the season and your plant’s needs.

Healthy soil and proper watering prevents issues.

Signs of Overwatering Pothos

Signs of Overwatering Pothos
If the leaves of your pothos feel soft or limp to the touch, it is a clear sign of overwatering. Additionally, the vine and foliage may start to appear shriveled and mushy, indicating that root rot has likely developed.

Soft or Limp Leaves

Feel those limp, pathetic leaves to know you’ve overloved your pothos. Soft or limp leaves typically indicate overwatering. The leaves can’t support themselves and will droop. Give your pothos a chance to dry out.

Check the soil before watering again. Let the top inch become dry first. Then give the roots a good soak.

  • Inspect leaves daily.
  • Allow soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Water only when the topsoil is dry.
  • Repot if needed to improve drainage.

Shriveled and Mushy Appearance

You’ll notice your pothos’ stems and leaves becoming mushy or shriveled if it’s getting too much water. This shriveled and mushy appearance indicates overwatering. To save your overwatered pothos, let the soil dry out completely between waterings and remove any damaged roots.

Monitor leaf condition and soil moisture carefully when trying to revive an overwatered pothos. Healthy pothos stems and leaves should feel firm, not soft and mushy. Adjust your watering to prevent further wilting and other signs of overwatering.

Steps to Saving an Overwatered Pothos

Steps to Saving an Overwatered Pothos
Overwatering can cause serious issues for your beloved pothos plant, but don’t lose hope; recovery is possible! Gather some essential supplies like fresh potting mix, pruning shears, and hydrogen peroxide, then follow a few straightforward steps to get your plant thriving again.

Trim dead roots, rinse the roots, replant in aerated soil, avoid direct sunlight, and use proper watering techniques in the future to help save your oversaturated pothos.

Gather Necessary Items

To start saving your overwatered pothos, you’ll want to gather some clean shears, hydrogen peroxide, and fresh, well-draining potting soil. Select containers with drainage holes and quality soil, such as a chunky mix of potting soil, perlite, and orchid bark.

Pruning tools will be handy for removing rotten roots and leaves. Finally, have hydrogen peroxide on hand to disinfect the roots before replanting them in the fresh soil.

Follow Simple Steps

First, check the soil moisture and leaf texture. Soggy soil and limp, soft leaves likely mean you’ve been overwatering.

Next, allow the plant to dry out completely. Don’t water it again until the top few inches of soil feel dry to the touch.

Also, trim off any rotting roots and repot the pothos into fresh, well-draining soil.

Finally, provide bright, indirect light while avoiding direct sunlight as the pothos recovers.

With prompt intervention, your overwatered pothos can bounce back to good health! Following proper hydration techniques will prevent future issues.

Should You Use a Watering Schedule?

Should You Use a Watering Schedule
Consider embracing a more flexible approach to watering your plant to ensure its health and vitality. Instead of sticking to a rigid schedule, check the soil moisture regularly and look for visual cues from your pothos.

Adjust the frequency according to season, temperature fluctuations, sunlight exposure, and other environmental factors.

Water thoroughly only when the topsoil becomes dry, using preferred methods like bottom watering. Let the cues offered by your plant, such as drooping leaves or overly damp soil, guide you. Remember, overwatering encourages fungus gnats, moldy soil, and potential root rot.

With a tuned-in, observant watering approach, you can keep your pothos hydrated just right for lush growth.

Signs of Underwatered Pothos

Signs of Underwatered Pothos
Have you noticed your pothos’ leaves becoming crisp or papery? This, along with brown tips on new or old leaves and slow growth, indicates that your pothos is likely underwatered.

Crisp, Papery Leaves

Feel those crisp, papery leaves – your pothos is begging for water.

  1. Check the soil moisture daily by sticking your finger in the top few inches.
  2. Water thoroughly until it drains from the bottom when the top 2-3 inches are dry.
  3. Move to a spot with more indirect light if the leaves remain papery.
  4. Mist the leaves daily to increase humidity while reviving your pothos.
  5. Adjust the watering frequency based on factors like light exposure and temperature.

Leaf hydration is crucial for reviving an underwatered pothos. Monitor the moisture balance through soil checks and leaf health to prevent crispy leaves.

Brown Tips: New or Old Leaves…or Both?

Tsk, brown tips on your pothos’ once luscious leaves mean it’s crying for water. Deep down, those brown leaf tips are a plea for hydration resuscitation. Don’t fret, just soak that pot thoroughly now and adjust your watering habits going forward.

Pothos needs consistently moist soil, not parched periods followed by floods. To keep those leaves looking lively, check soil moisture often and water when the top layer feels dry. With the right hydration, those tips will eventually turn green again. Monitor moisture.

Slow Growth

Your once lush and leafy pothos has barely grown at all lately, making you fret over its sad state of deprivation. When pothos receives insufficient water, its growth slows dramatically. Increase watering frequency, providing a deep soak when the top inch of soil is dry.

Ensure proper lighting as well, situating it in bright indirect sunlight. Consider propagating cuttings in water to invigorate your plant. With attentive care addressing hydration, light, and propagation, your pothos will revive with lush new growth.


It’s no wonder that overwatering pothos is such a common mistake – the signs of overwatering are often subtle, and the consequences can be devastating. Wilting, yellowing, limp, and soft leaves, as well as curling leaves, are all signs that your pothos has been overwatered.

If you’re unsure whether your pothos has been overwatered, look for dry vs wet soil, limp vs dry leaves, leaf curling, and brown spots on the leaves. While it can be tricky to distinguish between overwatering and underwatering, you can save your pothos with the right steps.

Reduce watering, dry out the soil, repot the plant, and hydrate your pothos properly – then you can be sure your pothos will be healthy and vibrant for years to come.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.