What Does It Mean When the Golden Pothos Plant Has Brown Spots on the Leaves?

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Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is a tropical foliage plant desirable for its large, glossy leaves and hardiness. The foliage is splashed with gold, giving the plant its common name. Also called "devil's ivy," this climbing or trailing plant is highly adaptable and is known to purify the air. For these reasons, golden pothos is often grown as an indoor plant.



Golden pothos is native to the Solomon Islands, where it thrives in the moist, warm temperatures of the tropical forest. The vine is an understory plant and does well in low light conditions, climbing its way up trees and along the forest floor. It will also creep in the home environment and will grow on a trellis or pole if a support structure is provided for it. The plant will only grow outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11.


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Epipremnum aureum thrives in dappled or filtered light. The colors of the leaves are the most vibrant if the plant is placed where it will get bright but indirect light. The plant will grow the fastest, however, if placed in the shade. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves and is not recommended. Golden pothos will grow in almost any type of soil as long as it is well-draining. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy, as overly wet soil will cause the roots rot.


Temperature Changes

Brown patches or spots on the leaves are usually caused by temperatures that are too cool, or by a sudden change from high temperatures to cool temperatures. This causes parts of the leaves to die; especially the centers. Golden pothos plants are tropical and need consistently warm, steady temperatures. In time, the leaves will return to normal. Very brown or dead leaves should be removed.


Bacterial Leaf Spot

Bacterial leaf spot can also cause brown spots to appear on the leaves of the golden pothos plant. These spots are usually wet or greasy in appearance, unlike the dry brown spots caused by cool temperatures. The spots may also have a yellow border. In some cases, the spots fall out of the leaves. This is caused by leaving water to sit on the leaves. When you water your plant, be sure to water it at the surface level of the soil and take care not to wet the leaves. Badly affected leaves should be removed.


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