You can tell that pothos needs water if it has drooping leaves, dry top soil and dry crumbly soil at the drainage holes. Once the pothos dries out further the leaves can turn yellow and then brown. Check the soil 1-2 inches below the surface with your finger to see if it is dry. If your pothos is showing any of these signs or the soil is dry below 1-2 inches it need water.
This article will explore the top ways to tell that your pothos needs water and how to know your pothos has too much water.
Top 5 Ways to tell if your pothos needs water
Here are the top 5 signs that your pothos needs water. Check each one to see if you plant is thirsty.
1. Drooping Leaves
The first sign that your pothos needs water is drooping leaves. Leaves will generally start to droop at the base of the plant first. I find that my long trailing vines will start to show signs that they are thirsty when the first few leaves start to droop over.
As the plant dries out further the leaves will droop across the plant. Eventually all of the leaves will droop as the soil dries out.
Pothos will dry out much quicker over summer when the weather is warmer. Even when the humidity levels are higher I find that I need to water my pothos consistently every week to stop them from drooping. Pothos in smaller pots will dry out faster than those in larger pots with more soil.
2. Dry top soil
The next sign that your pothos needs water is when the top soil dries out. To check that your top soil is dry, you need to put your finger in the soil 1-2 inches down. If the soil is dry at this level then it is usually a good sign that your plant needs more water.
You can also use a moisture detector that you place in the soil to let you know when it is time to water. Keeping a consistent watering schedule for each season is the best way to stop your pothos from drying out.
For me this means once per week in summer, once every 2 weeks in spring and fall and once every 3-4 weeks in winter. Watch the leaves and water if they are starting to droop.
3. Dry crumbly soil from the drainage holes
Another way to check if your pothos needs watering is to check the soil at the drainage holes. If this soil looks dry, crumbly or is falling out of the hole then it is a sign that you plant need water. Check the top soil to see if it is dry 2 inches down. If it is dry from the top and the bottom it is time to water.
4. Yellowing leaves
Yellow leaves on Pothos are a sign that your poths needs water. After the leaves have drooped, then they can start to dry out and turn yellow. The chlorophyll will disappear from the leaves giving them this yellow color.
Check the soil next to see if it is dry and if you have both then the pothos needs to be watered. Once the leaves have turned yellow it is best to water the plant once deeply and then again in 3 days. This will give it a good dose of water to recover.
My favorite way to water pothos if the leaves have turned yellow is to deep soak the plant. This means you take the inner pot over to the sink or outdoors and thoroughly water it all across the soil surface. Wait until you can see water coming through the drainage holes and then stop watering. Allow the plant to drain for around 10 minutes before putting it back onto its pot tray or outer pot.
5. Brown leaves
Brown leaves are a sign that your pothos needs more water. After the leaves have drooped and turned yellow, the leaves will turn brown. This is a sign that plant is very dry and needs a deep water. The leaves will usually start to go brown at the base first but they can go brown anywhere along the plant.
The edges of the leaves will turn brown first and this will spread to the rest of leaf. Once the leaf has started to turn brown it will not recover so you can trim it off. Deep water the plant in your sink or outdoors to help it recover.
Note: Remember to clean your sink thoroughly if you water your plant indoors. Wash your sink with warm soapy water to get rid of any soil particles that my have come out of the drainage holes.
How often to water pothos
To keep your pothos healthy it is essential to water them as regularly as they need. This will change throughout the year depending on the position of your plant, sunlight, humidity, air temperature and air movement. If you keep your pothos near an open window it can dry out quicker particularly in summer.
As a general rule, I like to water my pothos weekly in summer, every 2 weeks in spring and fall and every 3-4 weeks in winter. I keep my pothos in small pots so they need more water than most.
Testing the soil with your finger or a moisture detector is the best way to know when your pothos needs more water. Wait until the soil is dry 1-2 inches below the surface before you watering again to avoid overwatering the plant and washing away nutrients.
What happens when pothos is overwatered
If you overwater your pothos there are a few signs that can let you know. It is the combination of signs that helps you tell the difference between and underwatered and overwatered pothos.
Drooping leaves are a sign that pothos are overwatered. Check the soil and if it looks damp, soggy or is growing white mold then it is likely the plant is getting too much water than not enough.
Yellowing leaves are also a sign that pothos are overwatered. As the nitrogen is washed out of the soil then the leaves can suffer and turn yellow. If the soil is moist and the leaves are yellow then it is likely there is too much water.
To solve this problem add some liquid indoor fertilizer with nitrogen to help to replace this nutrient for the plant. Slow down your watering schedule and repot the plant into fresh potting soil if the problem continues.
How to Tell If Pothos Needs Water | Summary
Pothos are easy care vines and great indoor plants. Remember to water your pothos regularly in each season. Test the soil with your finger if you are not sure to see if it needs more or less water. Fertilize your pothos with indoor plant food in spring and repot them every 2-3 years to get them growing large.
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.