How to Revive a Dying Pothos


Pothos, sometimes known as the Money Plant and Devil’s Ivy, are a common house plant renowned for their abundant, gold-streaked emerald leaves as much as for their ability to thrive in indoor environments. Yet, for whatever reason, your pothos refuses to flourish. These simple steps will help you to diagnose the problem and bring your deteriorating pothos back to life.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 large planting pot with drainage saucer
  • Several small, clean stones
  • Potting soil
  • Gardening trowel

Assess the problem

  • If the new growth seems thin or the leaves are small and have too much space in between them, then your plant may not be getting enough light. If the leaves seem brown, washed out, or dry, your plant may be getting too much light and heat.

  • If the tips of the leaves are yellow, dry, and curled, then you may be using too much fertilizer.

  • Check the entire plant for mealybugs or red spider mites, two typical indoor plant pests. Look for the white powdery deposits left by mealybugs or the tiny, weblike accumulations left by red spider mites. You will have to treat the infested plant with a commercially available pesticide.

If all else fails, repot your pothos

  • Place the clean stones in the bottom of the new planting pot. These will ensure that your pothos drains properly.

  • Hold the base of the pot containing the pothos in one hand. Place the other hand with fingers cupped slightly around the base of the pothos plant. With your hands in place, turn the pot upside down. Gently tap the bottom of the pot until the pothos slides out into your cupped hand.

  • Insert the pothos plant, roots first, into the new pot so that the roots and dirt are resting on the stones. Using the trowel, fill in the area around the pothos with potting soil.

  • Place the newly repotted pothos on the drainage saucer and water lightly.

Continue to take proper care of your pothos

  • Keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. The frequency of watering your pothos will depend on the climate where the plant is kept, so check the soil moisture content every other day using your finger. Make sure you water the plant with lukewarm, not cold, water.

  • Bathe your pothos every month. Spray the leaves down with a spray bottle and wipe them very gently with a cloth. Clean leaves are better at absorbing light, so your plant will thrive with the occasional bath.

  • Keep newly purchased plants away from older plants. Mealybugs and other pests are usually brought into the home on new plants. Check new plants thoroughly before moving them near an already established houseplant.

  • Pothos enjoy a medium amount of light, so you may need to move your plant to an area that only gets partial direct sun during the day. If you keep your pothos in an area away from natural light, you may need to change your fluorescent light bulbs, because they may no longer provide enough light for the plant to thrive.

  • Pothos are sensitive to fertilizer, so try fertilizing your pothos once a month instead of the usual two times per month. Also, an organic fertilizer may be less harsh than artificial ones, so try switching to organic.

Tips & Warnings

  • Thoroughly clean and rinse the new planter pot to ensure there are no pests, fungi or mold on them that will further destroy your pothos.
  • Make sure that the new pot is larger than the original pot. This will allow your plant to put out new roots and, subsequently, new runners and leaves.

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