Underwatered Pothos (3 Top Signs & Solutions)

Pothos are gorgeous plants that require very little care to thrive, with water being one of their few requirements. Although crucial for their survival, water can also be their downfall.

Underwatering is one of the few problems that may face such plants. So, if you think your pothos might be underwatered, you should take action fast. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to tell if you have underwatered pothos and how to revive it back to life. You’ll also find several handy tips to help you avoid falling into this problem.

Signs of Underwatered Pothos

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Sometimes, you can tell for sure that you’ve underwatered your pothos because you’ve been away or busy. Yet, what’s really baffling is when you do water your plant, and you still end up with a dehydrated plant.

If you’re not sure whether your pothos is underwatered, here are some tell-tale signs to look out for.

1. Droopy, Brown, or Wilted Leaves

The first sign of underwatering is the lifeless look of the leaves and vines. The leaves will appear to be brown and wilted as if about to fall off. They can also look crisp, dry, or wrinkled due to dehydration.

2. The Soil Pulls Away

If you notice the soil has started to pull away from the edges of the container, this is a sign that the soil is lacking in moisture. If you don’t act fast, you might be risking the health of the plant’s roots.

3. The Soil Dries Out Fast

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Is the soil drying out too quickly in-between waterings? This could be another sign it’s not getting enough water.

A common reason for this is that the pot is probably too small to hold enough water for your pothos. To fix this problem, move the plant to a bigger pot with fresh soil. Another option is to propagate the plant to make smaller, newer plants in a different container.

How to Revive Underwatered Pothos

Luckily, there are several things you can do to revive your dried-out plant.

1. Thoroughly Water Your Pothos

The first step towards saving underwatered pothos is to submerge it in water. Put the pot under running water or in a bucket of water until you see water coming out of the drainage holes.

Let the extra water drain thoroughly before you put the pot in a shady place where it gets indirect sunlight. You may repeat this step up to three times a day if your plant needs it.

2. Get Rid of Damaged Leaves and Vines

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Your pothos may spend much effort trying to revive its damaged leaves. Therefore, getting rid of them makes it more focused on using its nutrients to promote its health and growth.

Remove dead leaves and vines to encourage the plant to direct its energy toward growing new and healthier leaves.

3. Mist the Leaves

Misting your plant every couple of days promotes water intake. It also makes the leaves look healthy and lush.

All you need to do is fill a spray bottle with water and spray the leaves two or three times a week. Repeat this step until your plant comes back to life with strong, healthy leaves.

4. Fertilize Your Plant

Revived plants usually need extra nutrients. This is where liquid fertilizers can help.

Liquid fertilizers are usually your best option because they’re designed to provide the plant with essential nutrients needed for recovery. For best results, apply when watering. Then, reapply every 2–3 weeks.

5. Change the Pot

After a while, you’ll notice that your pothos is perky and happy, probably even starting to grow new leaves. This is the perfect time to change the soil to encourage growth and strength.

It’s recommended that you water the soil slightly before changing it out to ensure it doesn’t tear up the leaves or disrupt the plant itself. Then, simply loosen the soil around the pothos and gently pull out the plant, wiping away any excess soil around the roots.

Next, fill half the new pot with fresh soil, and place the root in its center. Then, add more soil and press down.

Tips to Avoid Underwatering Pothos

Here are some tips to avoid repeating the same mistake. 

1. Create a Watering Schedule

The best way to make sure that you remember watering your plant is to set up a schedule. Remember to always let the soil dry between waterings.

Also, remember to change your watering schedule according to the season. For instance, in the spring and summer, plants require a lot more water than in winter.

2. Avoid Direct Sunlight

Pothos naturally grow in canopy forests, typically shaded by tree leaves. In other words, it’s used to dim or partial sunlight.

In fact, direct sunlight can cause the pothos to dry out quickly. Thus, it’s recommended that you put your pothos in a place that gets indirect sunlight.

3. Measure Soil Moisture

There are several ways to measure the moisture level in the soil. The easiest way is to use a soil moisture meter to make sure you’re not overwatering or underwatering your pothos. 

All you need to do is to stick the meter into the soil. Then, water the plant only if the meter reads between one and three.

4. Keep an Eye on Your Pothos

Underwatered Pothos

To avoid underwatering your pothos, keep an eye on the leaves and the soil. First, make sure the leaves look green and fresh. 

If you see any hint of yellow or brown, it’s time to act fast to save your plant and bring it back to its healthy, vibrant self.


Underwatered pothos can show signs of damaged leaves and vines. So, if you spot yellow, crisp leaves and dry soil, your pothos is most probably underwatered. 

Luckily, there are things you can do to bring your underwatered pothos back to life. For example, you can water and mist your plant regularly. You can also use liquid fertilizers to give the plant the nutrients it lost when it was underwatered.

To avoid repeating this mistake, you should stick to a watering schedule, avoid direct sunlight, or use a moisture meter.

Learn more from a related post: Overwatered Pothos

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Care for Pothos?

Pothos can thrive in a humid environment with indirect sunlight with an ideal temperature of 60℉ to 80℉. So, you should install a humidifier in winter when the air gets too dry.

Moreover, you should trim the longer parts to even out the shape of your plant and give it a bushy look. You can also cut the stems to promote further growth.

To give your leaves a clean, fresh look, mist them from time to time and wipe them with a damp piece of cloth every couple of weeks.

How often do you water pothos?

You should water your pothos when you feel it needs watering. The best way to do this is to touch the soil. If the few inches on top feel dry to your touch, it’s time to water your plant.

However, there’s no way to give an exact duration. It depends on your plant size, pot size, soil type, and environmental conditions.

On average, you should water your pothos once a week in spring and summer. On the other hand, in winter or non-growing seasons, it may take up to 10–14 days between waterings.

How to Propagate Pothos?

There are two ways to propagate pothos. You can propagate it by cutting its stem:

  • Cut about six inches of the stem
  •  Submerge the stem you cut in water, and remember to change the water every couple of weeks. The root will start to develop in about two months.
  • Put the stem with the root into a new pot. For lush growth, you can plant more than one stem in the same pot.

The second way is by gently dividing the root into multiple sections and putting each in a new pot.

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