Why Are Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow – Should I remove them?

Prominent for its hardiness, pothos require low maintenance in terms of sunlight, water and fertilizer.

But, this doesn’t mean that you should completely ignore this houseplant.

Pothos leaves start to turn yellow due to stress. It can be due to direct sunlight, overwatering, underwatering, too much fertilizing or not giving enough nutrients.

Apart from this, leaves of pothos turn yellow as a natural aging process. When you notice discolored lower leaves then possibly it is because older leaves don’t get enough sunlight and plant decides to drop them.

Epipremnum aureum, Devil’s ivy, or better known as pothos, golden pothos, and even money plants in most places, is a flowering plant and the easiest houseplant to grow.

While some consider it a symbol of prosperity and wealth, others like to keep it a showpiece. It is easy to maintain and easy to grow. However, there are specific problems seen with the leaves of the pothos plant, the most common of which is the pothos leaves turning yellow. 

This is a commonly faced problem that demands immediate solutions. While it is easy to take care of and could be grown in moist or dry soil types, the leaves turning yellow are not a good sign per se.

As we proceed, we will unfold the significant causes of leaves turning yellow, followed by some tips that would prevent and fix the yellow leaves on pothos. Without further ado, let’s begin.

Why Are My Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow?

pothos leaves turning yellow

You might have seen your pothos plant leaves starting to turn yellow, right? What is the reason for this?

You will be surprised to know that there are not one or two or three reasons contributing to this, but there are 15-16 reasons that we would be stating today to help you know what is leading to the development of that yellow or brownish thing on your money plant leaves. 

Further, understanding these reasons can be a primary step in understanding the solutions.

1. Repotting

This might be easy to guess, but money plants grow the best when left isolated from any disturbance and in absolute peace.

Considering this fact, it is essential to remember that if you are someone who frequently engages in changing the position of the plant from one pot to another; it may lead to uninvited stress to your pothos plant. 

It takes time for the plant to adapt to changing surroundings and seriously hampers the metabolic functioning of the plant. This results in the leaves turning yellow immediately after they are repotted. 

2. Bacteria

A common leaf disease goes by the name of bacterial leaf spot that affects the pothos leaves if placed outdoors. The leaves and stem of the plant are attacked by the bacteria resulting in the yellowing of leaves.

These spots start small and can elevate in size and length as and when the time changes. It is important to diagnose them beforehand. 

Also Read: How to Clean Houseplant Leaves?

3. Infestation

Infestation is another primary reason for pothos leaves turning yellow. Two of the most common infestations include spider mite infestation and pest’s mealybug infestation.

Spiders attack the stem of the plant, start webbing, and leave behind tonics that are dangerous for pothos leaves, making them change their color to yellow or even brown. 

Mealybugs feed on the sap of the money plant and create a white fuzzy substance that causes the yellowing of the pothos leaves. 

4. Check the roots

Roots are the functional systems of a plant, and when they rot, they create massive damage to the leaves, which can be seen in leaf yellowing.

It usually happens when a fungus breeds in overly moist soil, which can be a beginning in the death of the plant. 

5. Natural aging – maybe they are just getting old

Aging is a natural process, and no one can escape the laws of nature. This rule applies to plants as well, and since we are talking about the pothos plant, we are safe to say that the leaves are getting yellower just because they are naturally aging. 

It might not be a big deal, and you can still replenish the coming new leaves with great care. 

Also Read: Why Is My Orchid Stem Turning Yellow?

6. Trimming

Some people trim or prune the plant in the wrong ways or way too often. This may lead to over trimming the important parts of the plant, maybe those that maintain the green color of the leaves. This, in turn causes yellowing of the leaves of the money plant. 

7. Temperatures

Too hot or too cold temperature and environment can be another unnoticed contributor to the browning or yellowing of pothos leaves.

While it is an easy to maintain plant, it can provide some challenges to temperature. It breeds and grows at a moderate temperature, and anything disrupting its balance can lead the leaves to turn yellow, brown, or even black. 

8. Too much fertilizing or not enough nutrients

We spray fertilizers on plants to keep them away from pests and insects. However, some times when doing well to the plants can turn out to be bad. This, in fact, happens with the pothos plant leaves turning yellow. 

If you are using poor quality fertilizer and spraying them in uneven quantities, then you can contribute to the plant getting destroyed.

The nutrition level of the soil gets disturbed, giving way for the plants to immediately fade in their color. 

9. Diseases

Plants get sick too. In fact, some plant diseases like those caused by fungus can be detrimental to the health of a money plant.

Fungal diseases occur when the water is not replaced from time to time, and it can limit the amount of nutrition and moisture received by the pothos plant, resulting in changing its colour to yellow.

Also Read: How to Grow Methi Plant in Pots, Indoors From Seeds?

10. Excess watering or underwatering causes yellow leaves

Overwatering and/ or under watering plants can be a major hazard to their health. If not watered in moderation, it can impact the plant negatively. 

While it is important to create a damp soil for proper plant growth, overwatering can make the soil soggy, thus causing damage to the cell walls, and making the leaf color yellow.

On the other hand, if you tend to avoid the watering needs of this plant, it can hamper the process of photosynthesis, leading to drooping of these plants, and changing their colour to yellow. Identifying how much water your pothos need will help to grow healthy plant.

11. Too much or low levels of sunlight

Improper or excessive lightning can also be a major contributor to the leaves turning yellowish. If pothos are left in excessive sunlight, the production of chlorophyll will dramatically reduce.

A reflex that plants act upon to defend themselves, and since we know chlorophyll as the color giving component, the green color of leaves fades away, making it lighter and more yellowish. 

On the other hand, receiving a fairly low level of sunlight can also cause the leaves to turn brown and yellow, since it deprives the plant of the much sunlight to carry out natural processes.

Also Read: How to Grow Ridge Gourd in Container/Pots?

12. Insufficient humidity level

Low humidity level received by the leaves and soil can lead to the goldening of the leaf edges, making it vulnerable to turn yellow sooner than possible. Humidity levels should be checked regularly and in adverse cases misting should be used. 

How to Fix Yellow Leaves on Pothos Plant?

Since a lot of causes make up for the yellowing of pothos leaves, there are an equally high number of solutions that can be applied to help prevent and fix this problem. Putting them to use is very important in a regular manner.

Ensure to provide suitable growing conditions for pothos to make it thrive with green foliage.

Below mentioned are few important aspects of pothos plant growth.

1. Proper light

We have seen how pothos need small to medium amounts of light to keep going at a healthy pace. While too much sunlight can contribute to discoloration of the leaves, too little light deprives it of its nutrients. 

Therefore, it is important to choose an area that gets low to medium indirect sunlight at usual hours of the day; try putting it close to the windows, so that you can moderate the amount of sunlight through the use of accessories like curtains, and window panes. 

2. Watering techniques

Too dry or too soggy soil, both promote the discoloration of pothos plant leaves. It is important to keep 25% of the topsoil layer moist at all times.

It ensures a steady flow of nourishment and moisture to the leaves, while also keeping the fungal diseases, and bacterial problems in check. 

3. Checking the roots

Roots, being the functional unit of plants, should be paid the most attention towards. Rotting of roots is the most common cause for leaves turning yellow. However, one should at all times keep checking the roots for any signs and symptoms of rotting. 

To do so, you should take the plant out carefully, and start with the careful inspection of roots. It is important to notice and observe the color of the roots at this point.

If they have turned brown, then you should immediately trim and separate the brown parts of the roots from the other healthy part. On the plus side, if the roots are white in colour, then your leaves are not yellowing because of the root rot problem.

Besides, special care should be taken to drain the soil and keep it moderately moist at all times of the day, for better results.

4. Adding fertilizers

While adding poor quality fertilizers or too much fertilizer can be a trouble for the plant’s health, adding them carefully and according to professional advice would turn out to be a wonderful prevention plan. 

Applying premium quality fertilizer once a month can be an ideal choice for keeping germs and other harmful elements away, while also keeping your plant healthy throughout. 

5. When and how of repotting

While repotting plants frequently is not considered a good idea, repotting them according to favorable season and environmental conditions can be a masterstroke. Pothos plants should be repotted preferably in the spring season, and should be kept at the same place for long periods to ease the adaptation process. 

6. Changing temperature

The colour of the pothos leaves starts changing as soon as the temperature changes its range from anything above or below 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the same reason, it is important to maintain stable temperature rates and control them as when the weather requires.

Check this: How to Care Pothos Plant in Winter?

7. Treating infestation

Plant infestation can damage and decay the leaves, making them prone to discoloration. In such conditions, it is important to bear the right treatment plans for treating and eradicating infestations from the roots.

You can use natural treatment plans or insecticide spray to treat infests in your plant. It is also significant to keep a regular check on your plants for any signs of perpetuating pests and bacteria. 

8. Adding nitrogen to soil

The leaves and branches of the pothos plant thrive only because of the addition of nitrogen to the plant.

Providing nitrogen to the soil by the means of a nitrogen fertilizer, organic methods, planting nitrogen-fixing plants, and NPK fertilizers for the desired effects. It would help keep the lustrous green colour of the leaves intact. 

9. Additional plant care tips

In addition to the above mentioned techniques, some additional care tips will also help in keeping the plant healthy. 

  • Keeping it indoors, away from direct sunlight
  • Watering pattern should be subsequent
  • Roots should not be soaked in water 
  • Sterilized soil should be used
  • Dispense magnesium supplements to avoid chlorosis

Should I Remove Yellow Leaves from Pothos?

Yellow colored pothos leaves won’t turn back green.

Let these leaves turn fully yellow, so that plant absorbs leftover nutrients from it.

You can gently pluck these discolored leaves without resistance.

Removing yellow leaves can help the plant to concentrate completely on other healthy leaves.

But, before trimming or pruning yellow leaves, you must know the underlying cause of this plant disorder.

Else, you may end-up plucking all leaves and eventually the plant will die.

If most of your pothos leaves are yellow, then removing all of them may go hard on photosynthesis process.

So, first fix the cause why your pothos is turning yellow. Is it overwatering, underwatering or not getting enough sunlight.

As mentioned above, go through every aspect and ensure you provide favorable growing conditions for your pothos.


Overwatering is said to be one of the most common factors of yellowing in houseplants.

To avoid chlorosis in pothos, choose growing medium that drains excess water and able to retain essential moisture.

You can make your own potting soil mix for pothos with vermiculite, peat moss, garden soil and sand.

Other than excess water, underwatering, low levels of sun exposure and low levels of nutrients in the growing medium can result in yellowing of pothos leaves.

Though this houseplant doesn’t require much attention, you must inspect it’s leaves every now and then to avoid such plant disorders.