How to save an underwatered pothos | 5 Easy Steps

Underwatered pothos can be saved by deep soaking your plant, draining it well and removing any damaged leaves. Add some slow release fertilizer in spring to replace any lost nutrients and keep watering your plant regularly to keep it growing well.

This article will explore the 5 easy steps to save an underwatered pothos plant as well as signs to look for to know your pothos is underwatered.

1. Deep soak your plant with seaweed

The first step you can do to save your underwatered pothos is to deep soak your plant with seaweed. A very dry plant can be revived within 24 hours using this method. Simply fill a bucket with water and add a dash of seaweed solution. Fill the level up to just below the pot level.

Leave the pot sitting in the water for around 5 minutes to allow the water to fully soak through the soil. This will make sure the roots are fully watered and it can rehydrate very dry soil. Sometimes this is the only way to get very dry, hydrophobic soil moist again.

If you notice that when you water it rapidly comes out the bottom of the pot your soil may be hydrophobic. Soaking can help to fix the soil and allow it absorb water again.

I had used this soaking method to save my Christmas tree. For more on this check out my previous article here: How to Revive a Dying Potted Christmas Tree | 6 Easy Steps

2. Drain your plant well

After deep soaking your plant take it out of the bucket of water and let it drain outside on your lawn. After water has finished draining out of the bottom of the pot you can bring it back indoors and put it back on the pot tray or outer pot.

3. Trim off damaged leaves

Trim off any dry or damaged leaves to tidy up your pothos plant. If leaves have turned brown then they are not going to fully recover so it is better to trim them off and encourage the plant to grow new leaves. The pothos will sprout new stems to replace the old ones once it gets enough water.

4. Add some slow release fertilizer

After deep watering your pothos you can add some slow release fertilizer to replace the nutrients in the soil. I like to use a good quality slow release indoor plant food to feed my pothos. Add this after soaking your plant and then give it a bit more water to start to release the nutrients.

5. Water regularly

The next step is to keep your pothos watered regularly. While they don’t like very wet soil watering around once per week in the warm weather and once every 2-3 weeks in the cooler weather is around the right amount.

You can test the soil with your finger 2 inches down below the soil surface to see if it is still damp. Water deeply if the soil is dry and let the excess drain out the bottom.

Top signs that your pothos is underwatered

Here are the top signs to look out for to know if your pothos is underwatered.

1. Drooping leaves

The first sign that your pothos plant is underwatered is drooping leaves. Check the soil to see if it is dry and not enough water is almost certainly the cause. Leaves can also droop if the plant is overwatered but this will be matched with wet soil instead.

2. Brown leaves

The next sign that your pothos plant is underwatered is brown leaves. The leaf edges will turn brown first and then the rest of the leaf can turn brown. This can extend down the stems if the problem continues and can eventually kill the plant.

Catch it quickly and water it well following the steps above to help the plant to recover.

3. Dropping leaves

If you notice your pothos plant is dropping leaves it is likely that underwatering is the problem. The plant can replace these leaves if it is watered well and given a top up of fertilizer.

4. Dry soil surface

Very dry soil will look dry and crumbly on the surface. If the soil is left to dry out for too long, it will struggle to absorb water when the plant is watered from above. Soaking the plant is the best solution if the soil has become very dry.

Over time the soil particles can develop a waxy coating and will stop absorbing water. This can be a sign that the plant should be repotted and the soil replaced with new potting soil with more organic matter. It will hold soil for longer and help to keep the plant hydrated.

How to save an underwatered pothos | Summary

Pothos are a hardy plant that can recover quickly from a lack of water. If you have left your plant for more than 3 weeks it can be best to give them a deep soak with some seaweed solution. Seaweed will help to repair the roots and the soil and encourage your plant to grow new leaves to replace old ones.

You should see your pothos plant recover within 24 hours. The leaves should stand back up, and your plant will look healthy again. Don’t worry if you underwater your pothos, we all do it at some point. Just water it well and it will recover.

Happy growing.