Why Golden Pothos Turns All Green | 3 Methods for Brighter Plants

Golden pothos turns all green if it is not getting enough light. The variegation or golden color will disappear as the leaf fills out with more chlorophyll to help it photosynthesize. When the plant gets more light it will develop a golden color as it needs less chlorophyll to create energy.

To get your golden pothos to become a brighter color, more golden and more variegated you need to move it into a position with more filtered light. My golden pothos is developing more color while it sits around 2 feet from a window. This window gets morning light but is protected from direct sun.

You may also notice that some parts of your pothos are darker green compared to others. Lots of pothos plants are sold with multiple stems which come from different plants. Each stem will have a natural genetic variation to be more or less golden.

When I am planting out cuttings I often plant 3-4 stems in the same pot. This means that each long stem will have a different amount of color. You can trim off some of the greener stems if you are aiming for a more golden color. I like the natural contrast of dark green and golden as it makes the color brighter.

Why Golden Pothos turns all green

Golden pothos will turn all green if it is kept in a dark spot. If you have placed your pothos on a bookshelf, in a dark bedroom or away from a window it can start to turn dark green. The plant can still grow really large and healthy with a dark green color.

If you are aiming for more gold on your leaves then it is important give it more light, more fertilizer and regular water.

How to get more color on Golden Pothos

There are 3 easy ways to get more color on a golden pothos. These are to place it in a position with more filtered light, give it more fertilizer and just the right amount of water.

1. More filtered light

The first step to encourage your golden pothos to become more golden it to give it more light. The ideal amount of light for golden pothos is bright filtered light for at least 4-6 hours. Position your golden pothos at least 2 feet away from the window so it doesn’t get burnt from the radiant heat.

Windows can heat up quickly if they are in direct sunlight and you may notice brown marks on the leaves. This can be a sign that they are getting burnt so simply move it away out of the direct sun.

The extra light will encourage the plant to develop more patches of golden color. It will no longer need to produce so much chlorophyll which gives the plant its green color. Chlorophyll allows the plant to create its own energy.

More filtered light over more hours will help the plant to develop more color over a period of 3-4 weeks. It can take months for pothos to develop the brightest color possible.

2. More fertilizer

Feeding your plant regularly is important to allow it to develop large, bright and golden leaves. Fertilizing pothos is easy and if it is done consistently it will help the plant to grow well. The easiest way to fertilize pothos for bright colors is to give it some slow release indoor plant food at the start of spring and fall.

Choose a fertilizer that releases over a 6 month period and you will only need to do this twice per year. Take care not to add too much fertilizer to your plants as this can cause damage. Water the plant well after fertilizing to start to release the nutrients to the plant.

3. Regular water – but not too much

Getting the watering levels right will help your pothos to develop bright golden leaves. It is important not to overwater if you want the leaves to have more color. Watering your pothos once per week in the spring and summer it usually enough.

Pothos growing in soil is constantly wet then it can actually cause the plant to become greener. Too much water can also damage the leaves and the roots. Wait until the top layers of the soil have dried out before you water again. Avoid leaving the pot sitting in water as it can be too much for the plant.  

You may need to slow down your watering even more in winter. This could be every 2-3 weeks if done well. Take the pot outside or into a sink and water it well until you see drips coming out the bottom of the pot. Let it drain and return it to the pot tray.

What color should Golden Pothos be?

Golden pothos can range from almost completely golden to small amounts of yellow on the leaves. The less light the plant gets, the more green the leaves become. Simply shift the plant back into the light to encourage more gold on the leaves.

Each golden pothos will have a genetic tendency to be more or less yellow. If you want a bright golden plant it is best to choose one that is golden to begin with rather than waiting for it to develop.

Search through the plants at the garden center and choose one with the most color. This will give you the best chance to keep this color as the plant continues to grow.

Why Golden Pothos Turns All Green | Summary

Golden pothos can turn all green if they are not getting enough light, are getting too much water and the fertilizer balance is not right. For bright golden leaves choose a plant that is as golden as possible to start with and place it in a position that gets at least 4-6 hours of bright light.

Fertilize with a good quality indoor plant fertilizer every 6 months and water the plant once a week in the warmer months.