Golden pothos are hardy and can tolerate low light levels, low water levels and very little fertilizer. If your pothos has started to droop, turn brown or yellow you can revive it quickly. For very dry pothos a deep soak can have the leaves standing back up within a day.
Yellowing leaves can be solved with a dose of iron chelates and yellow leaves are a sign it needs some nitrogen.
This article will explore my top 7 tips to revive a suffering golden pothos. Work through each stem to help your plant to recover.
1. Identify the problem
Working out why your pothos is showing signs of distress is important to work out what to do next. The most common cause of a dying golden pothos is not enough water. Forgetting to water your pothos for longer than 3 weeks can be enough to make the leaves droop and the stems and leaves turn brown.
Overwatering can cause problems with pothos but it is less common. You may notice brown marks on the leaves, wet and soggy soil or even mold growth on the surface. Too much water can cause fungal growth on the roots or root rot and wash nutrients away.
Check the soil to see if it is very wet or very dry. Stick your finger or a trowel into the soil 2 inches down to see what it looks like underneath. You can then tell if your plant is over or underwatered.
2. If it is dry, soak the plant in water
The most common cause of a drooping and unhappy pothos plant is a lack of water. To help to rapidly hydrate a very dry plant you can do a deep soak in a bucket of water. Fill a bucket or tub with clean water just below the top of the pot level. Add a dash of seaweed and put the whole pothos pot into the water.
Leave the pot to soak for 5-10 minutes to water the plant and the soil rapidly and thoroughly. This can help to rehydrate very dry or hydrophobic soil helping it to hold water for longer. You should see the results of this within a day.
Allow your plant to drain thoroughly before bringing it back inside. You can then switch to regularly watering the plant with a watering can, in your sink or by taking it outdoors to keep it moist and happy.
3. Add seaweed solution to your watering can
To help your golden pothos to recover from a dry spell add some seaweed solution to your watering can once a month over spring. This will help to feed the roots, soil bacteria and help to strengthen the plant. Seaweed is a fantastic root tonic for indoor and outdoor plants.
4. Replace the nutrients
Golden pothos will show signs of nutrient deficiency usually first in their leaves. If the leaf edges have started to turn yellow and then brown it could be lacking nitrogen. Add a dash of general liquid fertilizer which contains a balanced amount of nitrogen. Then follow this up with some slow release indoor plant food to feed your pothos for the longer term.
If the central vein of the stem remains green but the outer part of the leaf turns yellow it could need a dose of iron. You can add iron to your plant by mixing a powder of iron chelates with water and watering your plant with this mix.
5. Trim off any damaged leaves and stems
The next step to help to your golden pothos to recover is to remove any damaged leaves. Once the leaves have turned brown on the edges or throughout the leaf they will not fully recover. Snip off leaves or stems that have turned brown with sharp secateurs.
Removing old stems will allow more light to reach the healthy leaves. The plant will respond by growing new leaves and stems to replace the old ones.
6. Place the plant in a bright position to encourage photosynthesis
Move your golden pothos plant into a bright position to help it to recover. Avoid direct sun and find a position near a window that gets morning light. This will help your golden pothos to grow brighter, more golden leaves. The more light the plant gets, the more the leaves will turn gold as photosynthesis is concentrated to a smaller area in the green of the leaves.
More light will help a well-watered pothos plant to recover from a dry spell and also help an overwatered pothos to dry out.
7. Repot if the soil is damaged
If the potting soil your golden pothos is growing in is very dry, crumbly or older than 2-3 years it can be best to repot your plant. You can plant it back into the same pot if you like or move the plant to a pot once size bigger. This will give your plant around 1-2 inches of extra room to grow.
Choose a top quality premium potting soil to repot your pothos. This will usually include a slow release fertilizer and be full of fresh organic matter. Over time the organic matter in potting soil breaks down so it is best to replace it with new soil every 3 years.
Will leaves grow back on golden pothos?
Damaged leaves on pothos plants can be replaced with new ones. Once the leaves have started to turn brown they won’t recover completely. Trimming back the stems that are damaged can encourage the plant to send out new stems from the base of the plant or split and grow a new shoot from an old stem.
How to Revive a Golden Pothos | Summary
Golden pothos can suffer if they are left to dry out too much. If you notice the leaves drooping severely it can be best to thoroughly soak the plant in some water and seaweed solution. You should see your plant recover within a day after soaking. Fertilize your plant in spring and fall with slow release fertilizer and place it in a bright position near a window.
Golden pothos are a hardy plant that can recover quickly once the cause of the problem is found. While pothos can be overwatered it is far more common for the plant to be underwatered and dry out. These are hardy tropical vines that are very forgiving if you forget to water them.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.