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Specific Houseplants

Why Are My Pothos Leaves Curling?


8 min read

Did you pick up a pothos based on the fact that they are pretty independent and low maintenance, only to find your pothos leaves curling like crazy? It can definitely be a surprise, especially to those new to caring for plants.

I went through a similar situation when I found my beautiful silver pothos leaves curling down. So, I’ve been there, done that. Thankfully, there are plenty of reasons why this happens, and many of them are remediable.

Without further ado, let’s dive in to why your regular or silver pothos leaves might be curling and shriveling.

You’re Under-Watering

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CI9nMqk2kA
Everything to know about watering your houseplants.

The amount of water you give to your pothos can have a significant impact on its long-term health. A lot of houseplant novices tend to make the mistake of under-watering their pothos. They think that because it’s a low-maintenance houseplant, that it’s practically un-killable.

Even though pothos plants prefer their soil drying out between watering rounds, you should water them at least enough that the soil is wet to about 1″ deep or so. Pothos tend to grow the most when you make sure their soil is evenly moist (but not soaked) all of the time.

If your pothos plant gets little to no water, your pothos plant leaves will start curling in an attempt to preserve moisture. Water them once every week or two, depending on some of the variables in the above video. Check the moisture level of the soil by placing your index finger at least an inch below the surface.

Now, how do you make sure that you are not under-watering your pothos consistently? Simply note how long it takes for the soil of your pothos to dry out after a round of watering and set yourself a reminder or plan a schedule for it.

Also, like most houseplants, pothos require more water during summers than in winters, so make sure to adjust your watering schedule according to the weather conditions and the changing seasons.

You’re Overwatering

Overwatering your can cause situations where you have regular or silver pothos leaves curling, and this also causes root rot! Overwatering leads to waterlogged soil, and pothos roots can’t survive for long in saturated soil.

Once your plant roots start rotting, all the water and nutrients needed by your pothos to survive are unable to reach to the plant stems and leaves. This causes them to curl in an attempt to retain water. The plant is basically being “under watered by overwatering” if that makes sense. Dead roots = no ability to draw up water.

You can avoid this overwatering problem by placing your pothos in pots with drainage holes. If you don’t have those, then simply add a drainage tray to your pot. This allows the excess water to quickly drain from the soil before it reaches the roots of your plant.

Don’t put gravel in the bottom of your pots, by the way.

If only the leaf tips are curling down, it is a good sign. It shows that the root rot is still in its early stages and you can save your precious plant. You’ll simply have to take your pothos out of its pot and investigate its roots. Healthy roots are white in color.

Simply use a pruner or scissors to remove all the brown hued, rotting roots. Once you have snipped off all the rotting roots, wash your tool and replant your pothos in fresh soil. Then look for signs of root rot in the new environment. If you’ve managed to stave it off, remember to adjust your watering schedule.

It’s Too Hot

You will also notice your regular or silver pothos leaves curling if the temperature of the room they are in is too hot. The foliage will start to curl down at the tips if temperatures aren’t in the range of 65-85 ºF (18-29°C). Temperatures that fall outside this range just put more stress on your plant and hinder its growth.

The placement of your plant plays a key role in its exposure to heat. For instance, try to avoid placing your pothos plant in direct sunlight. Another common mistake is to place it in an area that gets a hot reflection throughout the day, or not enough airflow so the temperature rises in the middle of teh day.

Too Little or Too Much Light

If your pothos plant is healthy, it should have wide, flat leaves that are naturally grown in a direction that faces the source of light. However, if your pothos leaves are curling toward or reaching in the direction of the light, it is a sign that your pothos leaves are not exposed to enough natural light.

You can try to fix this problem by placing your potted pothos in a spot that gets more natural light throughout the day. However, if the pothos leaves are curling away from the source of light it is a sign of overexposure. In this case, simply put your potted pothos in an area that receives less direct sunlight.

If you want to learn more about pothos, feel free to check out my full care guide:

You’re Fertilizing Too Much

Sometimes too much fertilizer is the cause of leaves curling on your satin pothos, silver pothos, or any other pothos species. While indoor plants need fertilizer to be happy, an excess or application at the wrong time can do more harm than good.

Remember to avoid fertilizing in winter and fall, when your pothos is dormant. At this point it can’t absorb as much water and nutrients. If your regular or silver pothos leaves curl as a result of fertilizing, cut back on your applications.

The general rule of thumb is to fertilize your pothos in the spring and summer every 2 to 3 weeks with a water soluble balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength. Cut back to every other month in fall and winter.

Bacterial Wilt

Pothos plants are sometimes subject to leaf curl via varying bacterial and fungal diseases. We’ve already discussed root rot at some length, and how to treat curling leaves related to that. Bacterial wilt is another disease that causes a form of curling leaves. It also causes leaf veins to turn black.

If this disease takes hold, and you notice your pothos leaves are curling you’ll sadly have to remove the satin pothos or other pothos species from the pot, and dispose of it and all growing media.

Pothos Pests

Spider mites and aphids don’t always cause leaf curl when they feed, but they do in infestations. With both, you’re likely to see yellow stippling on the leaves before this occurs. Spider mites also wind webs around your lovely pothos leaves.

To prevent the leaf curl from ever happening, wipe down your pothos with a damp cloth and treat the leaves and stems with a light misting of neem oil. This will kill remaining aphids and spider mites, and keep others away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can pothos leaves uncurl?

A: In some cases, yes, curling leaves can be remedied. Usually when watering and lighting issues are corrected the pothos leaves will uncurl in a few hours.

Q: How do you fix curling leaves?

A: That’s what this whole piece is about! I found my silver pothos leaves curling, and I’m bringing the reasons for that, and what to do about it to you.

Q: What does an overwatered pothos look like?

A: Sometimes leaves will yellow or brown and they’ll fall off in consistent overwatering.

Q:What does it mean if a leaf is curling?

A: It could be improper growing conditions (too much light, overwatering, etc) or even pests and diseases.

Q: How do you perk up a pothos plant?

A: Most of the time all you have to do it water it. However, you may need to adjust its growing conditions, and you might need to treat diseases or pests.

Q: Will leaf curl go away on its own?

A: If you mean the disease, most of the time it disappears in late summer. However, other causes of leaf curl may require your intervention.

Q: What deficiency causes curling of leaves?

A: Calcium deficiencies cause leaf curling.

Q: How do I know if my pothos is Underwatered?

A: If your regular or silver pothos leaves are drooping and wilted, or brown and yellowed overwatering might be the culprit.

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