Can Yellow Pothos Leaves Turn Green Again?


If you’re a plant owner, you know that houseplants show different physical signs to get our attention and let us know they’re in distress. When it comes to pothos plants, it is common for their leaves to turn yellow when there is an issue. The question is, can yellow pothos leaves turn green again?

Unfortunately, once the pothos leaves turn yellow, they won’t turn green again. It is best to fix the issue causing this problem and cut off the yellow leaves. 

In this article, I will go into more detail about pothos leaves turning yellow due to various care mistakes, disease, and bug infestation, and what to do about it. 

What Causes Yellow Pothos Leaves

A pothos plant is usually a beautiful green with light green or off-white markings on the leaves. However, their leaves shouldn’t be yellow, as this signifies something is wrong. 

Unfortunately, when pothos leaves become yellow, they won’t be able to turn green again. They will stay yellow or get worse and fall off the stems. 

However, if you figure out the issue behind the yellow leaves, you can save the remainder of your pothos plant. Yellow leaves could mean various things, so let’s dive into these different issues that can cause the yellowing. 

Overwatering Your Pathos

If your pothos plant gets too much water, it could develop root rot. Excessive watering will harm the plant and cause the leaves to become yellow. 

If you are trying to decide if overwatering is the cause, you’ll want to see how moist or soggy the soil is. Also, look at the roots of the plant. According to Gardening Solved, If they are white, they’re healthy, but if they’re brown and mushy, this is a case of root rot. 

Underwatering Your Plant

Unfortunately under watering can also cause yellow leaves. A way to determine if the issue is under watering is if the soil is very dry. Also, if the leaves are yellow but dried up, this is a sign of underwatering

Start watering your pothos more frequently and see if that fixes the issue. Also, check your soil each time to see how dry it is. 

The Soil Lacks Nutrients

Yellow leaves on a pothos plant can mean a lack of nutrients within the soil. For instance, older leaves will become yellow if there is a lack of nitrogen. 

If only the edges of a leaf become yellow, this indicates lack of potassium in the soil. You can fix this issue from getting worse by adding in some fresh fertilizer or plant food with the needed nutrients. 

Too much Sunlight

If your pothos plant is getting too much sun, this can scorch the leaves, causing them to turn yellow. Pothos plants prefer low to medium indirect light. Try moving your pothos to a different location to see if that fixes the sunlight issue. 

You might also need to rotate your pothos if one side turns yellow and the other doesn’t. However, if the side of the plant turned away from the sun is turning yellow, it needs more sunlight. It’s a little tricky but pay attention to your plant, and you’ll get the hang of it. 

The Leaves Are Old

Your pothos will naturally eliminate older leaves. These become yellow as they die off. The yellow leaf color means there’s no chlorophyll in that particular leaf, which will eventually shrivel up and fall off. Older leaves yellowing is normal, and if you see this start to happen, it’s fine to go ahead and remove the dead leaves. 

If you’d like to learn more about how long pothos plants live, you could check this article out: How Long Do Pothos Live?

The Water Quality

Depending on where you live and the type of water source, some tap water minerals can be harmful to plants. Chlorine and Chloramine are often found in tap water, and high amounts of these can cause the leaves of your pothos plant to turn yellow. 

Yellow leaves in this situation are due to a chemical burn from the chemicals in the water. You may need to switch to purified water on your pothos plant. 

Low Humidity Levels

Pothos plants prefer a more humid environment. So if you have them inside and the air is extremely dry, this may cause their leaves to turn yellow and brown from lack of moisture. You can always move your pothos to a different room or mist their leaves more often to add moisture. 

Extreme Temperature

The temperature of the pothos’ environment can also cause leaves to turn yellow. If the temperature is too cold or too hot, then leaves can begin to yellow. 

Make sure you check the other suggestions listed above. If none are the cause of your pothos turning yellow, you might want to check the room’s temperature — especially in the heat of summer or the coldest part of winter. 

Plant Diseases That Cause Yellow Leaves

Another reason your pothos plant may have yellow leaves is due to a plant disease. Some diseases can change the color of the plant’s leaves and eventually kill the plant. Here are some diseases to look out for. 

  • Black Spot: Even though it’s called black spot, once this disease appears, the rest of the leaves around the black spots will turn yellow. Black spot is a fungal disease that usually strikes when there’s excess moisture in the plant. 
  • Powdery Mildew: This type of mildew is a fungal disease, and it isn’t as common for pothos plants, but it is still possible. The powdery mildew will appear as small white spots on the plant that almost look like dust. New young leaves on your pothos will also turn yellow if this mildew starts to spread before you notice it. 

Bug Infestation

Unfortunately, many different things can cause yellow leaves on a pothos plant. A more pesky situation to deal with is a bug infestation. Several bugs can infest your pothos and cause the leaves to turn yellow. Here are a few possible bugs to look out for. 

  • Aphids: These insects are highly invasive and destructive. In the early stages of infestation, they cause leaves to become yellow and curl up. You might want to look closer to see these tiny bugs if you notice this on your plants. 
  • Spider mites: These tiny spider bugs make thin webs close to the stems and are hard to see at a glance. Spider mites leave yellow and black spots on leaves because they damage the tissue. You’ll want to remove the infected leaves and get a pesticide that can kill the remaining mites
  • Mealybugs: These nasty bugs suck nutrients out of the plant. If the infestation continues for too long, the leaves will become yellow and eventually wilt. To get rid of mealybugs, you’ll want to rinse them off the plant as much as you can. After that, get a pesticide to remove the infestation completely and keep an eye on the plant. 
  • Fungus gnats: These little bugs look like regular fruit fly gnats but are worse. They prefer to feed off of the soil in plants. If there are only a few, they won’t harm your plant. However, if there is a large infestation, they may begin feeding on the leaves and stems of the plant and cause it to die. 

What To Do With Yellow Leaves

Leaves that have turned yellow on your pothos plant will sadly not go back to green. It’s best to get rid of the yellow leaves entirely as they aren’t going to thrive in any way. The leaves are dead at this point.

To get rid of yellow leaves, you’ll want to clip them from the plant. If the stem is also dead, you’ll also need to cut it. Any yellow or dried-up leaves that have fallen into the soil should also be removed. Dead leaves can attract bugs and bacteria, leading to other issues for your pothos plant. 

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, yellow pothos leaves can not turn green again. It is best to get rid of yellow leaves and allow new growth. If you fix what is causing the yellowing, you can stop them from spreading to the remainder of the plant. 

Various things can cause yellow leaves, such as: 

  • Over or under watering
  • Excess sunlight
  • Soil that lacks nutrients 
  • Aging
  • Water quality
  • Extreme temperature
  • Low humidity

Other causes can be plant fungus or diseases that cause yellow leaves or spots. There are also bug infestations to watch out for that cause yellow leaves. 

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of TheGrowingLeaf.com, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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