Pothos Plant Turning Yellow

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Hi Judy,
You helped me save my over-fertilized jade plant many years ago and I was glad to see you are still available! I have a Pothos plant that is about 40 years old! I have had it since I was a teenager. I have cut it back, let it root in water and replanted it several times over the years. This one has been in this pot for about 10 years. Some of the leaves are starting to turn yellow. Not dying…just yellow. I have another plant from the same vintage that is doing great. I haven’t fertilized either of them for years. The one that is doing great is in a corner of room that only gets indirect light and probably gets less water than the one that is not doing great. The one that isn’t doing well is in our guest house where it is warmer in the summer cooler in the winter. There is another small pothos plant in the guest house as well and ALL of the leaves are much more yellow. I would really like to save the plants and would love to hear what you think.



Hi Julie,

Pothos plant turning yellow: what causes the problem and how to fix it. The fact that you haven’t fed your pothos plants for years would seem to be the obvious cause of the yellow leaves. The general rule of thumb is that you should fertilize a pothos plant every two weeks in the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing and monthly in the fall and winter. Use a balanced plant food (the 3 numbers on the plant food container should be the same) diluted to ½ the recommended strength. Be sure the soil is moist when you feed your plants or you can burn the roots. The plant that is doing better and gets less water has not had as many nutrients washed out of the soil. I would immediately start to fertilize your plants.

Pothos plant turning yellow and losing the green color in its heart shaped leaves.

Another issue is the quality of the soil after all of these years. As the soil gets older it starts to break down and doesn’t drain as well as it once did. This causes the roots of the plant to stay wet too long and become damaged. Damaged roots start out causing yellow leaves but eventually may cause the plant to die. Remove the pothos plant from the pot. If you notice that the roots have filled the pot, it’s time to move on to the next sized container. If the roots have not filled the pot, you can reuse the current container. Get rid of at least 1/3 or more of the old soil and replace it with good, fresh, potting soil.

I would suggest that you do this to all three of your plants. I think you’ll see lots of new healthy growth on each of them. Sadly, there is nothing you can do about the current yellow leaves on the plant.