Pothos leaves curling | 8 Solutions

Pothos leaves will curl if they are not getting enough water, are attacked by mealy bugs or are lacking light and nutrients. Pothos will recover from curled leaves if they are watered deeply, given bright filtered light and are grown in good quality soil.

This article will explore the top reasons why pothos leaves curl and what you can do to solve each problem.

Curling leaves on pothos can be a sign that your plant needs more water.

Pothos leaf curling causes and solutions

Here are the top 8 reasons pothos leaves will curl and what you can do to fix each one.

1. Not enough water

The top reason why pothos leaves will curl is because of a lack of water. When the plant is too dry the leaves can droop and curl.


The easy way to solve this problem is to deep water your pothos. Take the inner pot over to your sink and gently water the soil  surface. Make sure you cover the whole surface until you see water come out of the drainage holes. Water the plant well for around 1-2 minutes.

Leave the plant in the sink to drain. Once there is no more water coming from the drainage holes you can return it to the outer pot or pot tray.

Another option for a very dry pothos is to submerge the plant in a bucket of water. Fill the bucket with water to a level slightly above the top level of the pot. Add a dash of seaweed solution and place the put in the bucket. Let it soak in the bucket for 5-10 minutes or when you stop seeing bubbles.

Take the pot out to drain outside and then return it indoors. This will fully hydrate the soil and with regular water the pothos will recover quickly.

2. Pest attack

Mealy bugs can suck the sap from the stems of pothos plants and cause the leaf to curl. Damage to the leaf stem can cause the leaf to suffer, curl and eventually die off.

Mealy bugs are a small white furry bug that can find a home on the leaf joins.

Spidermite can also attack indoor pothos plants. They are small red or brown insects with tiny legs and can attack and suck the sap from leaves causing them to curl.


Both mealybugs and spidermite can be treated with neem oil. Spray this oil onto the plant every 2 weeks to treat the problem. You can also take the plant outside and use a hose to squirt the bugs to remove them. This is a great way to remove most of the bugs and then follow this up with neem oil.

3. Too much or not enough light

A lack of light can cause pothos leaves to curl as they lack the ability to photosynthesize. I often find that if I place my pothos in a corner of my house that is too dark the leaves will first turn a darker green and then will begin to curl.

Too much sunlight can also be a problem. Direct sunlight can burn the leaves turning them yellow and then brown and cause them to curl.


The perfect light conditions for pothos is near a bright window with filtered light. Avoid any direct afternoon sun and keep them around 2 feet away from the window. The radiant heat from the glass can be too much for pothos and also cause leaf damage.

Use a grow light if you want to keep your pothos in a dark corner. UV grow lights are small, easy to install and will give your plant the light it needs to thrive.

4. Lack of nutrients

A lack of nutrients can cause the pothos to suffer with curling leaves as the result. While there are many nutrients that can be lacking in potting soil, nitrogen is a water soluble nutrient that can quickly run out.


The best way to give your pothos the range of nutrients it needs is to start it off in premium potting soil. When potting up or repotting your pothos, choose a premium all-purpose potting soil with a slow release fertilizer.

After around 2-3 months, give your pothos a dose of slow release fertilizer. These come in spikes or can be sprinkled on in granules. These will give the plant the nutrients it needs over the spring growing season. Repeat this again in fall to continue to feed the plant before it slows it growth in winter.

Choose a fertilizer designed for indoor plants as these will be low odor and perfect for indoors.

5. Humidity

Low humidity levels can cause pothos leaves to curl. Pothos are a tropical vine so thrive when the humidity is above 50%. If you live in a hot area with dry summers pothos can experience leaf curl as the soil and air dries.


Add extra humidity to your home by misting your pothos in the mornings if you experience hot, dry summers. A simple spray bottle on the mist setting can help to increase humidity in the air for a short period of time. For longer lasting results, use a small indoor humidifier placed near your pothos.

6. Cold weather

While pothos are hardy plants, very cold weather can cause leaf damage and cause them to curl. Pothos kept outdoors or those near a window can be damaged by the cold air.


Simply move your pothos to a protected area indoors or into a greenhouse or under a verandah outdoors. When temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Celsius take the time to move your pothos indoors to protect their leaves.  

7. Poor soil

Choosing a poor quality potting soil to grow pothos can cause leaves to curl quickly. A lack of drainage and nutrients can result in leaves curling on your pothos plant.


The best soil choice when potting up your pothos is a premium all-purpose potting soil. You could also choose an indoor plant potting soil which contains a slow release fertilizer. This will have good drainage, slow release fertilizer and may even contain seaweed which will support root growth.

8. Too much soil after repotting

A pothos plant that has been repotted into a large pot with too much soil can suffer from leaf curl. The extra soil can stay too wet and cold and cause the roots to rot. When repotting pothos it is ideal to only increase the pot size by 1-2 inches.


If you suspect that you have moved your pothos into a pot that it too large then it is best to repot it. Decrease the pot size back to the original or 1 inch wider than its original pot. Use fresh potting soil and water the plant in well. This move will help the plant to recover quickly.

Pothos leaves curling | Summary

Pothos leaves can curl if they are getting too much sun, not enough water or are lacking in nutrients. Rather than treating the specific nutrient I like to make sure they are planted in the best quality potting soil, are given slow release fertilizer and watered regularly.

Treat any bugs with neem oil or take them outdoors for a quick squirt off with your hose to remove them.

Pothos are hardy plants and can recover quickly from leaf curl if the problem is treated.

Happy growing.