Pothos is a great indoor plant that grows remarkably well under bright indirect sunlight, minimal water, etc.
Even an amateur can grow a plant like pothos indoors as its requirements are comparatively less. However, there are chances despite proper care, your pothos may start developing brown spots all over or especially on parts like the stem, leaves, or their tips.
If you have encountered similar issues earlier and don’t know what is causing this, I’ll help you. In this article, I will elaborate on why pothos develops brown spots and what you can do to thwart this. So, let’s start without further ado.
Why does your pothos have brown spots?
As said above, there are many reasons behind your pothos developing brown spots over its surface, and it’s crucial to identify these to come up with remedies. So, the following are some of the chief causes.
Whatever issue a plant suffers from, the watering issues take the top spot in the list of causes, and the same is the case with pothos. Be it underwatering or overwatering, both have adverse side effects on the plant, and let’s understand how.
First, let’s discuss underwatering. The soil is the primary source of nutrients, and the moisture in the soil is also vital for the leaves to prepare their food.
Now, if the soil is dry, the above isn’t possible. If the situation persists for long, your plant may even die or develop brown spots or patches on the body.
Secondly, if you constantly water your pothos without letting the soil dry out, the excess water will begin accumulating at the bottom of the plant.
Consequently, fungal infection can attack the roots and slowly the upper portion of the plant.
Therefore, before watering the plant, examine the condition of the soil by pressing your fingers against the soil.
It’s worth noting that the water requirements of plants do vary with seasons, with their demands going down in winters and bursting again in summers.
Excessive or no lighting
You must know that pothos is a tropical plant with several species like golden pothos, N-Joy, Manjula, etc.
Each of these species has different takes on the sunlight requirements. While some species can’t tolerate low light levels, others do well when exposed to low levels of light.
If we take high levels for our reference, you’d know that pothos starts behaving abruptly and display signs of yellowing or browning leaves, wilting stems, etc.
It’s also possible the leaves may develop small brown spots all over their surface when high intensity and direct light fall over them.
That’s the reason why I don’t propose growing pothos outdoors and covering it with a cloth to filter the light it’s receiving.
Humidity in the atmosphere around your pothos plant is another important factor that comes to everyone’s mind.
Pothos generally requires average-high humidity for flourishing. And keeping it in low humidity (lower than 70) for too long can initiate signs and symptoms like brown spots, crisp leaves, drooping leaves, folded leaves, etc.
If this isn’t enough, low humidity ought to trigger stunted growth in plants. Therefore, you check the humidity around the area of your pothos, be it indoors or outdoors.
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Are there outbreaks of fungal diseases?
If you are a plant enthusiast, you should have considerable knowledge about a popular plant fungal disease called anthracnose.
It commonly attacks green plants like pothos and is easy to figure out during the spring season when the weather is cool and wet.
Or you can say spring is the favorite season for anthracnose to invade. Its signs include brown lesions or spots over the leaves, stem, etc.
These spots are irregular in shape and enlarge over time. Bad air circulation in the soil and atmosphere further exaggerates the condition.
Interestingly, any of the above-discussed reasons also contribute towards anthracnose. Hence, you will have to act promptly to overcome the damage this particular fungal disease can cause to your pothos plant.
Diseases associated with leaves
Leaves diseases like leaf spots, leaf blights, etc., are familiar with plants; however, they may not necessarily affect the leaves only but also the plant as a whole.
Still, studies suggest that leaf diseases originate due to faults in your care routine. Yes! To clarify, if you’re watering the plant inadequately, maintaining improper humidity around the plant, etc., you’re at fault.
Hence, if you can notice brown spots developing over your pothos, any leaf disease can be the reason behind it. Though it’s rare, you cannot overlook insufficient ventilation in the soil or atmosphere.
Are there pests?
You may not notice the build-up of pests like spider mites, mealy bugs, or scales over your pothos as they begin setting up their web underneath the leaves.
Once grown enough, these pests attack the leaves as well as other parts like stems too. As a result, the plant experiences a slower growth, drooping leaves, weaker or thinner stem, brown spots, etc.
These pests feed on the leaves and multiply quickly. Though the exact reasons behind their growth are still unknown, you can consider poor air circulation, light humidity levels, water issues, and over-fertilization as the primary cause.
Or simply from the soil. Hence, if pests are breeding over the leaves for long, the leaves will develop brownish spots or even holes.
Fertilizers are not required with plants like pothos as they can thrive on whatever is available to them. Even if you feel like feeding it some fertilizer, always feed a small quantity.
Plus, you should never add fertilizer to the soil too often. Once a year or twice is sufficient.
Due to excess fertilizer, salts start building up in the soil and block the flow of soil nutrients to the plant. Since pothos has a low tolerance to salts, you can’t go wrong with fertilizers.
Additionally, you should use organic fertilizer instead of an inorganic one. It is much better in results and promotes plant growth. You can also prepare compost at home and add it to the plant instead of fertilizer.
Plants respond to the temperatures around them in different manners or exhibit varied signs. In the case of pothos, excessively low or excessively high temperature is not a good option.
It is because the ideal temperature range is between 70-degree Fahrenheit to 90-degree Fahrenheit. Anything outside this range can result in negative behavior of the plant or brown spots as well.
So, these are the common reasons behind the strike of brown spots in pothos. Now, with the reasons known, let’s take a look at all possible solutions as discussed below.
How do you fix brown spots on pothos?
If not acted upon immediately, the pothos can succumb to the brown spots. Hence, here are some quick fixes for the same.
Quickly repot the plant or cut off the affected sections of the plant.
Repotting the plant is the first step you should undertake if the reason for browning is damp soil or water accumulation near the roots.
After remaining for too long in the water, the roots start to rot, which affects the whole plant gradually.
To curb this, you have to either remove the plant from its current soil mix or, if possible, cut off the affected portions using a scissor. While repotting, ensure that the new soil batch is well-draining and well-absorbing.
Know when to water the pothos.
Some plants require frequent watering, while others do not. Pothos belong to the latter category. Due to this, you’ll have to bear in mind when to water the plant and when not.
For example, if you’ve planted the plant outdoors, it will require more water than what it’d ask when planted indoors. For your reference, below are some tips that’ll ensure the proper watering of your pothos.
- Allow at least the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry out to let the roots stay moist. Remember, roots can’t afford to dry out at any cost.
- If you mist the leaves, stop doing so as it further contributes towards brown spots on the leaves.
- Fix your watering schedule, and don’t water outside this schedule.
This way, you will ensure that the plant receives adequate water and not excess.
Avoid direct contact with sunlight.
This fix is handy in the summer months. Since direct sunlight during summers is very harmful to all plants, especially pothos, undertake measures to avoid contact with the plant.
For example, covering the pothos with a sheer curtain is the best way possible here. Or you can also reposition the pot to another location within the house where it can receive the required indirect light. I’d recommend you a bright LED light for this purpose.
Check out for any disease.
Most plant diseases may not prove to be lethal to the plant; however, they leave unpleasant marks on the plants like those brown spots.
If not treated on time, the spots can cover the rest of the plants and become incurable. As a self fix, use any available fungicide with Dimethomorph. Or you can also have a professional treatment for the brown spots.
Make sure there are no salts in the soil.
As referred to earlier, excessive feeding of fertilizer can result in an unnecessary build-up of salts in the soil.
If this is the case, the top layer of the soil will appear crusty and white. Hence, you’ll have to flush out these salts from the soil by passing water through it. Do this twice to altogether remove any excess salt present in the soil.
Keep a check on the temperature.
If planted indoors, make sure you maintain a temperature close to the range 70-degree Fahrenheit to 90-degree Fahrenheit.
Although pothos can tolerate varied temperatures without many issues, the browning of their leaves is susceptible in low or high temperatures.
So, these are some of the quick fixes to retard the growth of brown spots on the pothos leaves.
Although caring for a plant like pothos isn’t an arduous job, you may still witness various symptoms of its poor health if you do not take good care of it.
These include wilting stems, drooping leaves, brown spots, and much more. The good news is that almost all of these are curable, and for this, the tricks remain identical.
For example, if there are brown spots on the leaves, you’ll have to take care of the temperature, humidity levels, water levels, fertilizer, lighting, etc.
To cap off the discussion, keep in mind that your pothos is a hardy plant that can survive for years if you invest in comprehensive and regular care.