Why Are Your Pothos Leaves Curling? (And What to Do)

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Having problems with Pothos leaves curling? Well, you aren’t alone. The majority of gardeners have gone through or, are experiencing the same problem as you.

There are several reasons why your plants' leaves are curling. Most of which result from not being able to properly take care of your pothos.

For instance:

You could be watering your plant the wrong way leading to over/under watering or, your plant could be infested with pests. Additionally, temperature fluctuations, and light levels might also bring about this problem.

Knowing what’s causing the leaf curls in your pothos helps you in coming up with appropriate preventative as well as corrective measures. And this is what this article is all about.

So, read through it and get to know what’s causing leaf curls on your pothos and ways of fixing this problem.

5 Common Reasons for Pothos Leaves Curling

1. Over/under watering

Just like several other houseplants, pothos needs watering only when the soil is completely dry. The easiest way to check for dryness is by inserting your finger into the soil to about an inch deep. If it feels dry, know that it’s the right time to water your pothos.

Alternatively, use a watering gauge to determine the best time to water the plant i.e. if you have one.

Once you’re certain that the soil is dry, apply water until some of it gets out through the drainage holes at the bottom of the container. This helps flush excess salts and protects the roots from salt damage.

Water your pothos plant every 1 to 2 weeks depending on weather conditions. You can increase the frequencies in brighter light and water less often in low light.

Be careful not to overwater the plant as the soil might become waterlogged and lead to root rot. When the roots start to rot, the plant’s uptake of water and nutrients to the stems and leaves becomes minimal. This might force the leaves to curl to retain the little water available.

Can you save an over-watered pothos?

Well, there isn’t a direct answer to this question as it all depends on the condition of the roots (whether healthy or, infected).

But, you can give it a try by removing the excess water and allowing the soil to dry or, carefully removing as much soil as you can from around the root ball and repotting the plant.

The pothos leaves might curl after repotting.

This is short-lived and shouldn’t alarm you. As time goes by, the plant’s root system will develop fully and as such will be able to absorb enough moisture from the soil for plant use.

For a plant that has root rot already, cut the vine into pieces and keep them in water or soil to form new plants.

However, this is not a guarantee that your plant will recover from overwatering. And if it does, expect the results in a week or so. The most important thing here is to water your plants correctly from the start and ensure that the soil drains freely and avoid such problems.

Under-watering could also result in curly leaves on a pothos plant and the plant might droop/wilt due to lack of enough moisture in the soil. To save wilting or droopy pothos, water the plant immediately. If the water drains just right through, your soil must have been extremely dry.

Under such cases, leave the plant to sit on water for a few hours but not more than a day. This gives the plant enough time to take as much water as it needs from the bottom up.

Pro Tip: A combination of yellow and brown on the same leaf is most likely due to overwatering. Yellow leaves with brittle spots are an indication of under-watering.

2. Too High Temperatures

This is another thing to check when the leaves of your pothos start curling. Pothos performs best in the room temperature range i.e. 18 to 24 degrees Celsius.

Temperature above this range often causes the leaves to curl inwards/downwards at the tips as your plant becomes more stressed. This hinders the plant’s growth.

Dealing with leaf curls from high temperatures is simple.

First and foremost, never keep your pothos in direct sun. Secondly, avoid placing the plant in places with inadequate airflow and those with hot reflection all day long (temperature rises as the day progresses)

3. Too Much or, Too Little Light

Pothos is a low-light house plant and as such, it can withstand some low light levels.

However, too much low light might force the plant’s leaves to curl as it tries to reach for some natural light. Assuming that this is the case with yours, move the plant to a spot where it gets enough natural light.

On the other hand, too much light can also lead to curly leaves on a pothos plant. Under such circumstances, the leaves curl away from the light source to avoid over-exposure. Rectify this problem by placing your container-grown pothos in a space with less direct sunlight.

Pro Tip: Different types of pothos have different light requirements. E.g. the variegated ones require more sunlight as compared to non-variegated ones.

So, as you even try to deal with leaf curl in yours, you need to understand what type of pothos you are dealing with and how much sunlight it needs.


4. Pests and Diseases

Disease and pest infestation can result in leaf curl in pothos. Pests such as aphids and spider mites suck sap from the leaves causing the leaves to curl. Others like mealybugs and scales can eat away the leaves and cause curls.

To manage pests in pothos, apply the appropriate pesticide as you follow the instructions on the leaflet (you can reach out to your local extension office for advice if need be).

Even though there is lots of information on how to prepare a homemade solution for pest control, do not apply any unless you are sure of its safety. These homemade solutions might be harmful to your plant especially when mixed incorrectly.

Apart from insect-pest attacks, diseases such as leaf spot, blight and, root rot can also lead to pothos leaves curling.

5. Excessive Fertilizer Application

As much as feeding helps promote the growth and health of pothos, it might as well lead to curling leaves.

When applied in excess, fertilizers usually lead to unusually small leaves in pothos. The leaves may also start changing into a dark green shade as they curl downwards at the tips.

Overfeeding usually results from excessive fertilizer use and, applying fertilizer more frequently than is required by the plant. So, follow the application instructions on the fertilizer label to avoid problems with curly leaves on your pothos.

Other signs that your pothos leaves could be curling due to over-fertilizing include; root rots, yellowing or brown tips on the leaves as well as wilting and falling of leaves.

You may also be interested in learning how to propagate pothos without using a rooting hormone.


Under poor plant care, pothos leaves curling will affect all types of pothos; be it neon, satin or, any other type.

Leaf curling in pothos is usually the first indication that there is something you aren’t doing right. If you act accordingly at the first sight of the signs, the survival chances for your plant are high.

Failure to do so, the leaves will go from curling to wilting, dying and, finally dropping off.

To prevent leaf curl in pothos, you must do the following;

  • Avoid overwatering
  • Don’t underwater your pothos
  • Provide your pothos with ideal lighting
  • Protect your plant from pests and diseases
  • Always keep your plant at ideal temperatures (18 to 24 degrees Celsius)