Golden pothos or Epipremnum aureumOverwatered pothos can be a thorn in the flesh and a disappointment, too! If you relate to this experience and you want this Aracaea family plant back, this article is the right place to be. If your pothos has never been overwatered before, well done.

However, you still need to be prepared and know the tips on how to deal with overwatered pothos, and this article is the best information tool that you will need for this purpose.

How To Tell if a Pothos Is Overwatered

Yellow and brown leaves, rotten roots, and moldy soil are the evidence of an overwatered pothos plant.

Saving your overwatered pothos begins by realizing that your plant has been overwatered. The million-dollar question at this point would be, “How can I tell that my pothos has been overwatered?” Here are some tell-tale signs of overwatering your pothos.

– Yellow and Brown Foliage

One of the easiest ways to diagnose a case of overwatering your pothos is by checking the leaf colors. If there is a combination of yellow and brown on the surface of your pothos’ leaves, then you might be dealing with a case of an overwatered plant.

Please note that the yellow color alone is most likely to be an indication that your plant has been underwatered, not overwatered. However, it is possible for the leaves of the pothos to turn yellow for a while and then transform to a brown color when they are overwatered.

Water blisters on the surface of your foliage are another sign that your plant is receiving more water than it actually needs. You will also notice that the foliage of your plant will become excessively soft and limp when it is being overwatered.

In some cases, the leaves of your pothos might begin to wrinkle. This usually happens after the formation of water blisters on the surface of the leaves. The blister will lead to a deformed leaf surface. When leaf tips adopt a brown color due to overwatering, they will later wrinkle as well.

– Rotten Roots

An overwatered plant will release an odor that is characteristic of rotten things. In the case of pothos, that would be the roots. When your plant receives too much water, it will take up what it can and the rest fills up the air spaces in the soil.

Such a scenario will reduce the aeration of the soil and so the roots will experience significant oxygen deprivation. Therefore, the roots will rot and this condition is known as root rot.

– Moldy Soil

You can also check the soil of your plant to see if it confirms what you see on the leaves. If the soil is soggy, this is a sign of waterlogged conditions. Overwatering is the best explanation to such a scenario.

The soil of overwatered pothos may also be attacked by mold. This fungal infection will appear as a white powdery layer that grows on the surface of your topsoil. Molds grow in moist environments, so ecxessive watering can make it easy for spores to develop.

– Overall Appearance

In the event that your pothos begins to wilt as a result of overwatering, that’s a message to say that your plant is approaching its dying minutes. There is no remedy for saving your pothos at this stage.

If the wilting is a result of underwatering, you would simply give your plant a drink and it becomes rejuvenated. The case is different when the wilting is due to overwatering.


Troubleshooting an Overwatered Pothos

There is no need for you to panic if you see that your pothos has been overwatered. It’s good that you have noticed so it’s time to save pothos plant. Let’s see the best remedies you can do to fix over watered pothos in this section.

– Determine the Amount of Damage

Get some time to analyze the amount of damage that your plant has undergone due to excessive watering. Doing this assists you to decide the troubleshooting strategies to adopt in alleviating the signs and symptoms of overwatering.

Your approach will differ depending on whether the plant has just begun to show the signs of overwatering or if they have already been established.

– Remove Excess Water

One approach is to relieve your plant from its waterlogged soil conditions. Help the water to come out of your plant’s pot by making sure the pot has enough drainage holes — you can add more if possible. You can even poke through your plant’s soil to ensure that water is able to move out.

Draining is necessary if you realize that the soil of your pothos is oversaturated. You can also remove excess water soon after giving your pothos a drink.

– Withdraw Watering

You might need to leave your pant without water for a couple of days, even up to weeks, depending on the extent of the damage. After all, there is no point in adding more water to an already-drowning plant.

Place your plant in a space where it is exposed to some light or air currents. This will expedite the evaporation process, thereby relieving your plant from a waterlogged environment.

– Overturn Your Plant’s Soil

Overturning the soil of your pothos works in two ways. First, it will improve soil aeration. This will protect your plant from root rot.

Second, overturning the soil will expose the wet soil beneath the topsoil to air currents and sunlight. The result of this is that the soil will dry faster.

– Remove Damaged Leaves

Get rid of the leaves that might have turned yellow or brown. There is no way these leaves are going to survive anyway so it’s just best to take them out. You can use scissors or trimming shears for removing the damaged leaves. Remember to disinfect your tools with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol prior to use so that you protect your plant from microbial infections.

Put on your gloves each time you handle your pothos. Leaving healthy leaves will enable you to monitor your progress in saving your plant. You will then see how your plant is responding to your rejuvenation strategies.

– Repot

Repotting could be all you need to save your plant. Carefully uproot your plant from its current pot and use disinfected shears to trim off all the damaged roots. Air-dry your plant before you replant it in another pot with newly prepared soil. Consider treating the rooting system with a fungicide prior to replanting it.

Other Useful Information

Here are the answers to some of your questions about the pothos plant.

– Can Pothos Recover From Overwatering?

Yes, pothos plants can definitely recover from overwatering. The key action to take with an overwatered pothos is to start watering the plant properly. Using a water tray and watering the pothos from above are two of the most effective ways of watering this plant.

After successfully reviving your pothos, you should adopt the right methods for watering your plant to avoid having to deal with overwatering again. Pothos watering is quite easy 一 you only need to master a few tricks.

– Water From Below

Although it is less common, this watering strategy is effective in avoiding excessively watering your pothos. In this case, get a large bowl or tray of water and allow the pot of your plant to sit in it.

This way, water will move from the water tray below and up through the drainage holes until all the soil is saturated with water. The roots will take what it needs so there is less room for overwatering.

You can remove the pot from the water tray once in a while. You can also dip your finger into the soil of your plant to assess the moisture levels.

– Water From Above

This is probably what you are used to doing. Pour water over the topsoil and let it drain out through the holes on the pot. Make sure that you water the plant thoroughly each time you do so. Allow the soil to dry up before you water your pothos again.

Be sure not to water the foliage of your pothos as this makes it vulnerable to fungal infections.

– Other Watering Nuggets

There is no rule that cuts across all situations with regards to the frequency at which you should water your plant. Instead, conditions of light, temperature and humidity determine the amount of water that is necessary at each given time.

When temperatures are lower and humidity is high, consider lowering the frequency at which you water your plant.

When there is more light exposure for your plant, you might need to water it more frequently. This is because the more light your plant receives, the more the evapotranspiration rate occurs.

The amount of water is highly dependent on the size of your pothos and that of the pot. Generally, the bigger the plant and pot, the more water you should use.

Do not water your pothos with water that is rich in salts, otherwise, you risk injuring the roots of your plant. Filtered water or rainwater is great. If you have no option but to use tap water, leave it to sit for at least 24 hours before using it for watering your plant.

– Is My Pothos Overwatered or Underwatered?

If the brown leaves of your pothos plant are soft, limp and pliable, it is most likely overwatered, but if the brown leaves are dry and crispy, then it means your plant was underwatered.


Golden pothos backgroundIf, for some reason, your plant gets overwatered, there’s no more need to worry or fear. Let’s quickly have a rundown of the tips and tricks that you learned in this article:

  • When your plant is overwatered, the leaves might turn yellow, brown, squishy, or develop water bumps, while the roots might get rotten and become smelly.
  • Check to see if the soil is soggy or affected by mold as this is also a sign of overwatering.
  • If your plants begin to wilt due to overwatering, there is nothing more that you can do.
  • Some of the interventions for reversing signs of overwatering include draining excess water, overturning the soil, repotting, and withdrawing from watering.
  • Overwatered pothos can be avoided if you use the appropriate watering frequency and water amounts depending on temperature, humidity and light levels.

Knowing how to troubleshoot issues on your pothos is one of the necessities that will allow you to enjoy your plant. Happy gardening!

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