Pothos has brown stems is a worrying issue that could have more than a few reasons behind it. Sometimes it’s only an isolated issue of a single leaf, but you should be worried if the whole plant begins to suffer.
Nevertheless, we’re here to help you determine the issue by close inspection of your plant and habits so that you can approach the situation properly.
- Why Does Pothos Have Brown Stems?
- How To Prevent Brown Pothos Stems
Why Does Pothos Have Brown Stems?
Pothos stems have brown stems because of an imbalance of watering, infested with diseases, or the soil is too acidic. Moreover, it could also be due to temperature issues, or being excessively fertilized, placed in direct sun, or having pests all over it.
Pothos plants aren’t fussy growers and will do just fine if you enable proper living conditions. Just like with any other plant, it will almost always fall down to the right amounts of water, air, and sun. However, it’s these same living conditions that can bring them down and make pothos leaves and stems change color and even die all of a sudden.
– Imbalance in Watering
Pothos needs water, plain and simple because it is a source that gives it the essential nutrients and moisture that keep those stems and leaves healthy. However, if you place too much of it, and place it in a stressful situation, the plant will have an imbalance of water.
When you overwater your plants, you’re creating a wet environment that can suffocate them. In short, what happens is that the ventilation is the soil would be difficult due to the compact quality of the soil – your plant’s roots need oxygen, and without it, no nutrients reach the pothos leaves, spelling disaster for your houseplant.
If you’re guilty of watering your plants in an excessive way, you may start to see pothos leaves turning brown. Over time, the roots will begin to decay, leaving them vulnerable to harmful bacteria and dreaded pothos root rot. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your pothos can survive on air and sunshine alone, either.
On the other hand, underwatered pothos can be equally problematic as overwatered pothos. It will soon leave pothos leaves curling, yellowing, dry, and crispy. And when your plant struggles to stay hydrated, pothos stems turning brown will be a matter of time.
– Infested With a Disease
Fungal issues are often troublesome for plants that like plenty of water, and this, it is no different as well. When you water the plant excessively, different issues can cause your pothos to develop a bad disease and even fungi.
The most common is the bacterial leaf spot, which will cause the leaves to droop and wilt away. The lesions on leaves and stems will usually start small and appear on the edges, but it won’t be long before the whole plant succumbs.
Blight is another common fungal disease with pothos. It will typically start in the soil, especially if you’re growing the plant in absorbing soil, appearing as a white and webbing fungal mass before it catches onto roots. It won’t be long before you see how the leaves turning brown towards the end of the condition.
Root rot can too be retrieved by cause of overwatering your trailing plants, as this one is a silent killer, as the roots will die first before the leaves and stem wilt, turning yellow, with brown spots before eventually deteriorating fully. The only way to spot root rot is to observe the roots frequently — healthy roots will look almost white and pale green while rotting ones will be mushy, orange, and turn brown soon.
– The Soil Is Too Acidic
Pothos aren’t troublesome growers; knowing this, they will want to stay away from overly acidic soils. Acidity itself won’t harm pothos, but some essential nutrients need alkaline soils to be properly absorbed by these plants.
These types of soils can even create a heavily toxic environment for the pothos plants because they would have an imbalanced pH level. As you are growing your plant in loosely separated and even big particles of expanded clay should provide enough alkalinity for them to develop properly.
– Temperature Issues
No plant likes to go to the extreme when it comes to temperatures. Extreme frosts and colds are particularly unforgiving to your pothos well-being. It’s likely that you’ll be growing these indoors, but nevertheless, don’t do so in too cold a room. Frosts and cold seasons can freeze the foliage, but it can do so to the roots too, rendering them mushy and dead upon thaw.
Frozen roots are unable to sustain the pothos plant, and you should soon see the stem turn brown. On the flip side, even when they have extreme heat or prolonged periods of it, they can turn your stems and leaves into brown mush, too, so don’t keep your pothos at over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for too long.
– Excessive Fertilizer
Pothos don’t require too much fertilizer, if any, so when growing them in a volcanic or fired clay medium, the soil will provide essential minerals to keep them alive and well. When you place too much fertilizer, and the salt builds up in the soil, the plant weakens, and the stems look unhealthy. These are completely filled with liquified salts, and once they dry up and crystallize, they’ll slowly but surely suffocate and dehydrate your roots, and in a short period, you’ll spot stems suffering.
– Direct Sun
Plants need sun for stable and steady growth; no two ways about it, so just like water, too much sun can do them wrong. When you deprive the plant of indirect light, it will weaken and lose its colors, which is a sign that you will know how it’s not growing properly. The indirect sun is when your plant is standing in a well-lit area with no sun rays hitting it, while the direct light marks the unfiltered sunny position.
Excess or direct sunlight will burn your stems and leaves will soon develop brown spots, forcing out excess vegetation. The sheer number of new leaves will leave your plant begging for nutrients and water that you shouldn’t give, and the deadly cycle begins. Always have your plants in an indirect sun, and allow for only a few hours of direct, mild afternoon or morning sunshine.
– Pests Are All Over
Aphids are like the ultimate freeloaders, sucking the nutrients out of your plant stems and leaving them wilted. These sneaky pests can easily go undetected, looking like moving mildew until they multiply into an army of white bumps on your plants.
Mealybugs are another stem and leaf-hoarding species that produce white sap and cause stunted growth in plants. However, they can also be infested by spider mites, the trickiest of them all, weaving webs and thriving around leaves and stems while hiding in plain sight.
Their white webs can give them away, but beware, they can also invade your plant’s roots. Keep an eye out by examining your plants and inspect them regularly for signs of insect activity.
How To Prevent Brown Pothos Stems
To prevent brown pothos stems, you must make sure to change the watering routine and to fertilize properly. Then, keep the diseases at bay, and go for the right soil, optimize the environment of the plant, and tackle the pest infestations, and make sure to avoid placing too many nutrients.
To fix brown stems on your pothos, prune out the infested part of the tree as quickly as you can and try to establish what’s going on. If they’re too far gone, you should consider throwing them out — otherwise, here are some actionable steps you can take to prevent and revert this situation.
– Change Watering Routine
You should give your plant the love and care it deserves, and to keep it thriving, make sure to give it a little breathing room between watering by letting the top part of the soil dry out. You may also check the moisture level by sticking your finger into the soil. This way, the stems wouldn’t be loaded with too much water, and the chlorophyll inside will keep them green-looking.
There’s no challenging and fast rule about how often should you water the plant — temperature, light exposure, and humidity will all affect this. It will largely depend on the season too. Remember to establish proper drainage by drilling a few openings at the pot’s bottom, and this will ensure excess water can escape, and your soil won’t become waterlogged.
– Fertilize Properly
If you do want to add some nutrition, however, know that while liquid fertilizers are awesome for some plants, they won’t do much good to water-loving pothos. In short, you must place some that ensure that the plants are getting the right amount of nutrients; you should place a balanced fertilizer.
– Keep Disease at Bay
Fungi love moist areas, so keep your plants healthy by avoiding wet leaves and by sanitizing your garden tools regularly. Water your plants directly into the soil and avoid getting the foliage wet to prevent the spread of disease.
Creating a more arid environment will also benefit the pothos. Fungi and bacteria love dark, damp, and poorly ventilated spaces, so ensure there’s plenty of light and airflow around your green babies.
Avoid overcrowding your plants; if you want to go the extra mile, use a preventive fungicide spray to protect your plants from disease. The best time to accomplish this is in late winter or early spring, right before infections are most likely to occur.
– Go for the Right Soil
These beauties love slightly acidic soil, which is where they can absorb the most nutrients. But with environmental factors at play, achieving the perfect balance is not always easy.
One way to ensure your pothos is living in its happy place is by checking the pH. A soil tester will help you determine if the range is right and should be between 6.0 and 6.5 pH.
You can always use sulfur or sulfuric acid to lower the acidity. To prevent overwatering and bacterial problems, use a potting mix that drains well — add perlite, orchid bark, or gravel for better drainage, moisture retention, and aeration.
– Optimize the Environment
Extremes are never good, and the same goes for your pothos plants. Temperatures outside the ideal range can cause problems for your beloved plant. Ensure that the temperature range is between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit around your plants—any lower or even higher than this range can stunt their growth.
In the colder months, you should bring your plant indoors and keep it away from chilly drafts or frost. But when summer comes knocking, keep it from getting too close to any sources of extreme heat or direct sunlight.
– Fight The Pest Infestation
Looking to protect your precious pothos from creepy crawlies? You can tackle them easily with some neem oil. This oil works wonders by messing with the hormones of bugs, stopping them from breeding and munching on your leafy friends, and over time, they will simply die off.
Prepare a neem oil spray by mixing one tablespoon of oil, and one teaspoon of dish soap into a gallon of water. Give your plants a monthly spritz, and you’re good to go. After spray treatment, act fast to quarantine the plants to make sure they’re healed.
– Avoid Too Many Nutrients
Hold your horses when it comes to fertilization — less is more. Only fertilize twice a year, during spring and summer. Skip the winter months when your plant goes into hibernation mode. And don’t forget to dilute it as much as possible.
Before fertilizing, give your pothos a good watering. This helps protect those precious roots from burning up. If you’ve gone a little overboard with fertilization, simply flush the soil out with some plain old water. Keep the water running until it drains out the bottom, and you’re good to go.
If you don’t give them what they require, they’ll soon rebel with brown spots on stems and leaves, so let’s revisit the main points in this article:
- Give your browned pothos a close-up inspection and some thought before moving into action.
- Most likely, you should tweak your approach a bit and it’ll be just fine.
- Diseases are dangerous to these plants, but they’re completely manageable, given a fast enough act — some of the best solutions are the quick change of soil and keeping that water tap shut.
- Prevention is by far your best option — keep your pothos just mildly moist at all times, plant it in porous soil, and give it a good insecticide treatment every now and again.
Pothos isn’t a messy plant; it only needs the right amount of attention to flourish, as they are beautiful tropical plants often seen growing as vines in a hanging manner, making them perfect decorative plants for our shelves and desks.
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