Pothos leaves will turn light green when they are not getting enough light, water or nitrogen. Pothos vines are hardy so can be saved if they are deep watered and fertilized with a good quality indoor plant food. Healthy pothos plants will have naturally light green leaves on new growth.
This article will explore how to know if light green leaves are a problem or just a natural part of your plant’s growth.
Normal causes of light green leaves on pothos
Pothos plants can develop light green leaves as part of their healthy growth. Check out the top 2 reasons why pothos plants develop light green leaves to see if this is the cause for your plant at home.
1. New growth
New growth on pothos plants will be light green in color. New stems and leaves from the ends of vines or from the area where the pothos has been pruned is totally normal.
These leaves will darken over time as they get grow and develop more chlorophyll in their leaves. Pothos leaves will often become darker green in low light areas as they need develop more green chlorophyl in their leaves to turn the light into carbohydrates.
Young plants will often start out with very light colored leaves which darken as they grow. Look out for the name of the pothos plant to see if it will change as it grows or develop variegation.
2. Natural variegation
Pothos plants that are variegated or have different colors in their leaves can naturally have light green leaves. Neon and golden pothos generally have lighter green leaves than other types. Pothos comes in so many varieties so check the label to see what the leaf color will end up looking like.
I am growing pothos with a golden and a white variegation. Both look amazing and if they are in a kept in bright position their variegation becomes more pronounced.
For more on this, check out my article here on how to keep pothos bright white: How to get pothos to turn white | Marble Queen + Golden Pothos.
Bright lime colored pothos will have bright, light green leaves that stay a neon color over time. These plants have been specially selected to have this bright green color and make a great contrast against other darker colored plants.
Look out for these in your local garden center. Place them in a bright light position out of direct sun to keep their neon leaves light green as they grow.
Why pothos leaves turn light green – Problems
Pothos leaves can turn light green if there is a problem with nutrients, water, soil or the amount of light the plant is getting. Check out these topics below to see if any of these problems are causing light green leaves on your pothos plants.
Sunburn is a major cause of leaves on pothos plants turning light green. A plant that is in full, direct sun will show signs of damage quickly with light green leaves which quickly turn yellow or even brown. Look out for light green or yellow patches and brown on the leaf edges.
A plant that is near a window can also be quickly burnt by direct sun. Window glass will heat up and radiate heat towards the plant and can quickly burn the leaves. Move plant out the way of direct sunlight and move them to a position that gets filtered morning light.
Avoid moving an indoor pothos plant outdoors into sunlight suddenly. They will grow well in a shade-house with other tropical plants or under your verandah if they are watered well.
2. Not enough water
Pothos plants that are not getting enough water can develop light green leaves before they turn yellow and then brown. The leaves will start to droop first before they start to lose their color and turn light green.
If you catch this problem early you can save the plant’s leaves before they turn yellow or brown. Take the whole plant pot over to your sink or outdoors and water it thoroughly. Allow the water to drain completely before bringing it back inside.
After deep watering you should see the leaves stand back up overnight. If you have caught the problem early enough light green leaves will turn darker as the plant recovers.
If you take your pothos outdoors to deep water it, make sure you leave it in the shade to drain to avoid it getting sunburnt.
3. Not enough nitrogen
A lack of nitrogen is another key cause of light green leaves on pothos plants. Plants need nitrogen to develop the chlorophyll in their leaves that gives them their green color. As the plant lacks nitrogen it will also lack chlorophyll turning the leaves a lighter green and then yellow.
A lack of nitrogen can be caused by poor potting soil, overwatering which washes nitrogen out of the soil or root rot.
Make sure your pothos is growing in good quality potting soil. If it has been growing in the same pot for more than 2 years, it might be time to repot it and refresh the potting soil. Choose a premium potting soil mix with an added slow release fertilizer.
If the soil is damp or growing mold then the plant could be overwatered. Repotting into new potting soil is the best solution to replace the nitrogen and oxygen lost. Slow down your watering schedule and only water when the soil feels dry 2 inches below the surface.
Work out when you last fertilized your plant and if it was more than 6 months ago, then it is time to feed your plant. Give your pothos plant dose of liquid fertilizer that contains an equal amount of nitrogen to phosphorus to potassium.
After 2 weeks add a slow release indoor plant fertilizer on the surface of your pothos soil to keep feeding the plant over 6 months. Remember to feed your plant in spring and fall every year to give them the nutrients they need.
Pothos Leaves Turning Light Green | Summary
Pothos leaves will look light green naturally if they have new growth or if the plant is variegated. If these are not the reasons then it could be sunburn, a lack of nitrogen, overwatering or a lack of nitrogen. Keep a look out for pests and treat aphids or mealy bugs with eco oil. Pothos are hardy and will bounce back when the problem is dealt with.
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.