Why are my Pothos leaves turning black?


The Pothos plant (Epipremnum aureum) is popular due to its low maintenance growing requirements, however an issue that may occur is your Pothos leaves turning black.

This sounds ominous but don’t be alarmed if this issue occurs. All you have to do is follow some easy steps to figure out exactly why your Pothos leaves are turning black.

Reasons that Pothos leaves turn black include too much light, issues with watering and over fertilization

In this article, you will learn the different reasons why your Pothos leaves are turning black and how you can fix the problem.

Excessive light

The Pothos thrives in bright, indirect light. But when it is exposed to direct sunlight, it can burn, causing the leaves to darken and wilt.

Direct light effectively burns the plant cells, which causes the plant leaves to darken.

Solution
To avoid this, keep your plant out of direct sunshine while still ensuring it has plenty of light. Make sure your room is at a comfortable temperature and has enough natural light.

Pothos can grow in part shade environments, so don’t be hesitant to relocate it to a new, darker location. However, you should always make sure that the room where you keep your Pothos has some natural light.

Underwatering

The leaves of your Pothos will begin to wilt if it does not receive enough water. During warmer days, it’s usual for Pothos to wilt for a brief time. However, if this pattern persists for an extended period, your Pothos may die due to a lack of water. The Pothos leaves turning black is an indication of this, as the cells die from dehydration.

Solution
The best way to determine if your Pothos plant needs some water is to use a stick or even dip your finger into the soil to feel if it is moist or not.

During the colder seasons, less water is required, but during the warmer growing season, more water is required. As a result, adapt your timetable following the seasons.

Overwatering

Overwatering can induce rot in the roots, which causes the plant’s leaves to discolour and eventually die. Overwatering depletes the oxygen in the soil, resulting in damaged roots that are unable to absorb water.

Solution
Usually watering your Pothos once or twice a week is a good rule of thumb but always check the soil. How, do you check if your soil is dry? Use a stick or your finger to feel the top inch of the soil. If it is dry, this is when you water it. Another indicator that your Pothos is thirsty, is that its leaves may start to droop.

Be mindful, like many house plants, they require more watering during the warmer months and less during the winter.

Temperature and humidity

As a tropical plant, the Pothos thrives in a warm, humid climate. The Pothos plant requires minimal care in terms of how often it has to be watered and tended to, but it does require the right temperature to grow.

However, while the Pothos thrives in ordinary household humidity, your Pothos leaves may turn brown and eventually black when the humidity is low which is a particular problem during the winter months. This is a sign that your plant is dying, and you should alter the temperature and/or humidity.

Solution
The Pothos thrives in a humid environment, therefore keeping the air moist will help. A few simple ways to achieve this are by spritzing your Pothos or placing your plant in a water filled pebble tray.. Another way to increase the humidity around your plants is to group them together.

If you prefer a more automated method, you could consider using a humidifier.

The preferred temperature range for Pothos is 59-75oF (15-24oC). Maintaining this temperature will ensure that your plant does not suffer from heat stress.

Over-Fertilized

Pothos, like all plants, needs nourishment to grow. However, if you use too much fertiliser, you risk giving your Pothos fertilizer burn, which is visible as blackened leaves.

If your Pothos leaves have become black, you may have gone overboard with the fertilizer treatment.

Solution
Make a schedule or set a reminder on your phone to keep track of when and how much fertilizer you use. The Pothos is a low maintenance plant and only needs feeding monthly with liquid fertilizer, during the warmer seasons. Don’t use feed during winter as there is less development and fertilizer could burn the roots.

Disease

If you discover black patches on the leaves of your Pothos plant, you may be dealing with Phytophthora, or blight as it’s more widely known, which is a soil born fungi.

The bulk of problems with house plants is caused by environmental factors.
However, it may be caused by certain disorders in some situations. Phytophthora is one of the most prevalent diseases that affects Pothos.

The infection starts in the roots and spreads to the leaves over time. As a result, the leaves begin to become black. These dark spots could be a sign of a fungal infection.

Solution
If this is the case, you may need to repot your Pothos, and at the least, remove the affected leaves as soon as possible to prevent the disease from spreading. As well as this, using a fungicidal spray should help to rid your Pothos of the unwanted disease.

Final thoughts on Pothos leaves turning black

There are a number of environmental factors that could be causing your Pothos leaves to turn black. Even though the Pothos is a great and low maintenance plant, it still needs the correct growing requirements to thrive.

Direct sunlight is this plants worst enemy, placement should be the first thing you look at when assessing why your Pothos leaves are turning black. Then over time follow the information outlined above to find the culprit.
If any leaves do darken or start to turn yellow, simply cut them off and check for any issues before it becomes a major problem for your Pothos.

About the author 

Paul - Better Houseplants

Loves orchids and foliage houseplants. Always trying to be a better plant parent. Let's get growing!

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