Why Are The Tips Of My Pothos Leaves Turning Brown? Know The Answer

Pothos plants give a touch of tropical in your own home. Their beautiful structure provides a rejuvenating look to it, and taking care of this plant is easier than you think. But sometimes, you might see the Pothos leaves turning brown. It can be pretty frustrating for any individual to see your little touch of green is turning brown. So, you might be wondering Why are the tips of my Pothos leaves turning brown?

The tips of your pothos leaves are turning brown because of overwatering or not watering regularly. While both overwatering and underwatering can turn the pothos leaves brown, there are other reasons like pest infestation, improper fertilizer, light availability, or fungal diseases.

You will get an overall idea of the problem at hand through several plausible reasons and potential solutions. This article will be beneficial to everyone whose plants are suffering.

Reasons Why The Tips Of My Pothos Leaves Turning Brown

Water is vital for the life of a plant. They take water in through their roots and evaporate or discard it through their leaves.

This process goes on for the entirety of the day, helping the plant stay fresh and alive. However, when the root is not getting enough water from the soil, there comes a drought situation for the plant.

Generally, there are other vital portions of the plant which get a limited supply of water. So, the leaves die off, having no water for survival.

It causes the leaves to turn brown and eventually die. It is an irreversible process, and you cannot make the brown leaves green again. You can change a few things for the Pothos, and it can survive the situation quite easily.

Now the water availability might depend on several factors. In this section, we are going to look at those in more detail.

1. Watering Irregularly:

The irregular watering schedule is one of the primary reasons behind brown leaves on Pothos. It is true that Pothos thrive in a little dry soil, but it does not mean that you are going to delay the watering process.

The amount of water and the frequency of watering might vary from one plant to another. You might have to change the schedule depending on the size of the Pothos as well.

One simple method of knowing the amount is watering them till the point water is coming out of the drainage hole at the bottom. Once you see that the Pothos is looking green and alive, you will know the Pothos’ watering schedule.

2. Overwatering:

While watering less can be a potential reason for the brown colors of the leaves, overwatering can also be a problem for Pothos.

It does not need access to a large quantity of water for its survival as it is known to thrive in dry and warm environments. So, overwatering can also become a reason behind the brown leaves.

As we can see that both overwatering and underwatering can cause the same problem, we need to find a way to determine the right amount of water.

A general rule of thumb is that you have to water the soil till it is moist. We have a more specific way of determining the watering criteria.

Press your finger at least 2 inches into the soil and check for moisture. If the soil is still not dry, you can wait a couple of days to water it.

But, dry soil means that you can pour water into the soil till it is moist again. If you continue with this testing method, you will know the exact schedule you have to follow for the Pothos.

3. Unclean Water:

As we talked about the quantity of water that can cause the brown-colored leaves on Pothos, we also need to take a close look at the quality of water.

We know that Pothos can be pretty sensitive to the elements in the soil. When you are using tap water for watering your Pothos, there can be some unwanted minerals that can be detrimental to the plant’s health.

In general, we do not restrict people from using tap water, but if you observe the brown leaves even after controlling the amount, you can take a look at this aspect.

4. Infestation:

Pest infestation is also a common reason for this situation. Generally, there can be two types of infestation that you have to be careful of when dealing with Pothos plants. Those are scale insects and mealybugs.

You can spot scale insects as yellow blobs on the leaves. It may or may not have black spots at the center of their bodies. At the same time, mealybugs are white.

Both of these insects suck the sap out of the Pothos plants. As the sap contains vital components, insects end up killing some portions of the leaves.

That is why they become brown at some point, and you cannot bring the green back to those leaves. The most you can do is stop the insects from damaging the plant even further.

5. Pothos Disease:

Plant’s health can also be a complicated situation as they can suffer from several diseases. Generally, several pathogens cause these diseases. Here we are going to take a look at all the diseases your Pothos can have.

6. Bacterial Infection:

Bacterial infections can cause the leaves to turn brown, along with wilting the leaves and making the veins black.

You can easily detect this condition by cutting the leaf and putting it into water.

If you see that a few black-colored substances are flowing on the water, you can be sure that it is some form of bacterial infection. Earlier detection of this disease has remedies.

7. Fungal Infection:

Fungal infection is a severe version of the bacterial infection, and it can also cause browning of leaves.

But you have to be quick at responding if you are dealing with a fungal infection. If not, it can affect the entire plant quickly. Fungal infection is more observed when the plant is growing up in a hot and humid condition.

8. Root Rot:

When you are watering the soil too often, it can cause Root rot. It is a prevalent disease for Pothos, and you have to make sure that the drainage of water is proper.

Most of the time, you have to throw the plant out. Later in the article, we have given way other than throwing the whole plant away.

9. Excess Light:

Light is an essential part of the growth of Pothos. But too much light can be detrimental to the plant’s health as well.

It can dry the plant out and cause browning of leaves. If you think that your plant is getting scorched by the sun, you can move the plant to a place where the light is moderately available.

10. Less Light:

While excess light can be a problem, less sunlight can cause the death of the plant too. There is a clear difference between the effects of excess and less light conditions.

When the Pothos is not getting sufficient light, the leaves will become greener. It happens because the plant tries to compensate for the lack of light by creating more chlorophyll.

Eventually, the plant starves to death as it cannot do photosynthesis. So, in this condition, the leaves become greener and then brown.

11. Temperature:

Pothos thrive in the temperature range of 70℉ to 90℉. You can try to keep the room temperature in this range to create an ideal condition for Pothos. Generally, when the temperature of the surroundings goes below 70℉, the leaves can turn brown eventually.

12. Drainage:

Soil drainage is an essential factor for the upkeep of Pothos. It needs the water to dry out from time to time, which calls for high-quality soil. Both the aeration and drainage should be adequate for the proper growth of Pothos.

13. Bad Fertilizer:

Fertilizer is also a vital factor for the well-being of Pothos. You need to put in good quality fertilizer every month to have a healthy plant. If not, there can be a condition called fertilizer burn. That can cause browning of leaves as well.

How To Prevent Pothos From Turning Brown?

Until now, we have discussed all the possible reasons behind the browning of Pothos leaves. It would help if you had a fair idea of how you can avoid them by now. But, we will state each of them in this section.

  1. Follow the soil test method to determine the frequency and amount of watering the Pothos plant. It can vary from one plant to another. So, you might need repeated soil tests.
  2. If you notice that unclean water is the reason for the browning, purified water is a good alternative for watering Pothos.
  3. You can use insecticidal soap, rubbing alcohol, or neem oil to remove the infested bugs from your Pothos.
  4. For bacterial infection, you can use the commercially available bactericide.
  5. Fungal infections might need more extreme care from you. Remove the parts where you can see fungal infection growth and repot the plant in new soil and tub. You have to keep an eye on re-infection as it is common for this type of disease.
  6. If your Pothos has a rotted root, you have to remove the soil entirely and cut away the root parts that have become brown. Drying the root system is imperative in preventing re-infection. When the root is dry enough, you can pot it in a new place.
  7. Lighting conditions should be ideal for the Pothos. According to a study, a Pothos should have 200-500 foot candles of light.
  8. The temperature of the room should also be in the specified region. If you observe that the temperature is above 70℉, move it closer to a radiator.
  9. The drainage system of the soil needs to be in good condition as well. It would help if you used an appropriate potting mix for the Pothos.

Why Are The Stems Of Pothos Turning Brown?

As you can see, the leaves can brown for several reasons. If you observe that the stems of the Pothos are also turning brown, then the condition has become more severe.

Excessive dryness can turn stems brown. Overwatering can also restrict oxygen access to the roots, and it might make the stems brown.

Should I Cut Off The Brown Leaves?

Brown leaves are dead and unsalvageable. As a result, there is no point in keeping the brown leaves away. In case of bacterial and fungal infections, cutting away the infected portions is more preferred.


Brown leaves are an indication of some problem in the health of Pothos. So, you have to be careful of the plausible reasons for this situation.

This article will help you in identifying the actual cause of the problem. And the list of solutions will provide you with the right path to mitigate the situation.