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Help! My Devil’s Ivy (Pothos) Plant’s Leaves Are Turning Yellow

Ask The Plant Expert:

I water my plant every 2 weeks, when the soil is dry, but not completely dry. My plant, at first, was so beautiful; then when it started to turn cold. It became wilted and yellowing, then brown… I always baby my plants, and I do talk to them… I mist them all daily, but not a lot… I have it sitting in a low light area… no sun or direct sun, just a low light area. Can you tell me what I’m doing wrong? – Carol

Yellowing Devils Ivy

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:


  • Was the plant left outside as the temperatures turned cold? If so, this could be a case of cold damage. Remove any of the brown or yellow leaves, and make sure the plant is in a warm environment. You should be able to continue with your normal care procedures.
  • If the plant has been in the spot and not moved, check the air vent flow in the room. If the air flow blows directly on the plant, and you recently turned your heat on, the hot air might have damaged the plant. In this case move the plant out of the air flow and remove the damaged leaves.  Once you have done this simply continue with your normal care procedures.
  • If neither of the above cases fit, it may be time to re-pot or trim your plant.  Re-pot the plant if it looks as if there are more roots than soil. Your new container should be 1 1/2 times larger than the current one. As you re-pot the plant, make sure the top of the current root-ball is not covered with soil in the new container. It should still be the top of the potted plant.

Trim the plant if the tendrils are long and sparse. This encourages new growth, and allows for a better concentration of nutrients. Hope this information was helpful. Please let me know if I can help with anything else.


  1. Thank you for your information…yes I did have my running devils ivy near a vent…yes I moved it near a window with a shear curtain…as for the one ivy in a pot sitting on my counter…its not neat a vent or anything…it just looks sad…but I will repot it.

  2. I have a very long my Devil’s Ivy in my office it must be over 50 feet long. it was doing very well for the past 6 years. But recently the leaves have been turning yellow ant first then brown. What do you think the problem may be? Help!!

  3. Bill,
    Check to see if there has been a change to the normal temperature. If you don’t think that has changed much, it may be time to re-pot or trim your plant. Re-pot the plant if it looks as if there are more roots than soil. Your new container should be 1 1/2 times larger than the current one. As you re-pot the plant, make sure the top of the current root-ball is not covered with soil in the new container. It should still be the top of the potted plant. Trim the plant if the tendrils are long and sparse. This encourages new growth, and allows for a better concentration of nutrients

  4. Help! My pothos is in a sunny window, but as yet there is no heat. Is it getting too much sun? A few leaves are yellow, am worried about more. Just moved it inside from shady outdoor porch, where it was fine.

  5. Faith,

    For Pothos natural but bright indirect light would be my preference. You don’t want Pothos leaves sitting in direct sun – a northern exposure with sunlight coming through fully opened blinds will serve the plant well. Here is an excellent article on Pothos Plant Care. I suggest reading it to learn further growing instructions and conditions. I hope this information helps!

  6. pat shaklee says:

    My Ivy was grown climbing a wood board about 21/2 ft. high.. Is there a way to easily get it OFF the board?? Some roots are grown into the board but mostly its stapled to it. Pat

  7. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Pat,
    Since part of your ivy is stapled to the board, you may damage the plant when you remove it. I would start by removing the staples as gently as possible. Where the roots have grown into the board, I would cut them away as closely to the stem as possible. Your plant will most likely experience shock after removal. Just do your best to keep it in a similar climate after you have removed it to help it adjust to being off the board. Pothos is pretty resilient, so it should make a full recovery.

  8. I found that since I changed what I water with my leaves haven’t been brown or yellow. I let the rain water them or distilled water. It has mad a big difference of how they grow. They are beautiful now. I even have them outside and I live in Texas.

  9. Help! I have a very healthy pothos that I purchased and placed outside early this summer. As the pothos has grown, I cut off long pieces of it and placed them in a vase (some in a carafe; some in a jar) indoors. For all of the pieces, still healthy looking, as the new shoots are developing, they turn brown and die before ever fully developing leaves and opening. I have never had this issue and I’ve been growing plants for 45 years! All I can figure is it’s a water or air problem, and if that’s the case, I need to quit breathing and drinking water. haha

  10. Jamie Woods says:

    In this particular situation, it sounds like you have upper hand on expertise! Since you have always propagated your pothos this way, I’m unsure as to why it isn’t working out now. My only suggestion is to maybe try rooting them in soil this time instead of the water and possibly bring the cuttings inside. Let me know if it works out!

  11. Is this thread current?

  12. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Lili!
    We respond to the thread as needed. Is there anything we can help with?

  13. Hello! My pothos has yellow leaves all of a sudden. They are bright yellow. I don’t water it much and it is in a East facing room with a large window. I recently moved it there and it started yellowing then. I also just repotted it cause it was very crowded but the roots were white and looked good. Do you know when the yellowing will stop? Can it yellow from underwatering? Some leaves looks wilted but I am nervous to water. Thanks for your help!

  14. Jamie Woods says:

    It is probably not enjoying its new location. You can either give it some more time to adjust or move it back to its previous spot. Don’t be nervous about watering it. Just check the soil before doing so.

  15. Thank you! I think I will give it time to adjust. It’s in a munch better space/lighting then it was before and I know they are hearty. Just such a surprise to have this happen all of a sudden I am learning with plants things just happen sometimes. I appreciate your response. Take care.

  16. Dawne M. Heffner says:

    Hi I am having problems with my newly acquired pothos plant. I water it every other week. Some of the newer leaves turn yellow and the older leaves have brown tips. I don’t think it’s getting too much light as it’s in a northwest window. Help. What am I doing wrong. Should I be using distilled water not my tap water?

  17. Jamie Woods says:

    Distilled water is best for any plant because it doesn’t have chemicals in it. You may need to water it more frequently, around once a week. Just check the soil prior to watering.

  18. conan benson says:

    Hi, recently I propagated pieces of my pothos. The pieces (And my plant) were fine, until somewhat recently some leaves on the plant are turning yellowing/turning brown. I’m watering it about once a week or whenever the soil is dry about one inch from the top. As for the propagated pieces, they’re turning yellow as well– I had one near an air vent and it’s turning yellow a lot faster than the other propagated piece. I moved it away quickly, thinking that may be the cause, but still. Why’s the other piece turning yellow when it’s not near an air vent? They’re both sitting in water. And my regular pothos is semi near an air vent but it’s up high and it’s been there for about a year — hasn’t bothered it before. It’s kind of in the sun, of not directly at times. What do I do?

  19. Hi there!
    I’m having a bit of an issue with my beloved devils ivy plant. I have had this plant for years and it has always done so well in my bedroom (which is where it still is.) It has outgrown its pot twice which i noticed when it started having yellow leaves at its base. The first repotting went smoothly however recently I have repotted it again and its roots were definitely in need of more space however now the leaves at the base are still unhappy. They are slowly turning yellow and are very limp. This plant it quite big now so I’m not sure what it needs or what I need to do for it. Do devils ivy get to the point where they need to be well trimmed back? Or is there a point where they can no longer be in pots? Any help would be greatly appreciated because I really don’t want my favourite plant to die!

  20. Jamie Woods says:

    What type of water are you using for your pothos? If you are using tap water, this may be the cause.

  21. Jamie Woods says:

    You have done the correct thing by repotting. It may be having a difficult time adjusting this time. Every plant will experience shock differently and it may take a couple of weeks for it to perk back up. If you feel it needs a good trim, this won’t hurt, but I would wait until it has some time to recover from the transplant. Your other option would be to split the plant.

  22. conan benson says:

    I don’t know if you meant me, but I’m using tap water that I let sit for 24 hours.

  23. Mayeth Tabaquin says:

    Hi! My new pothos have been with me for 3 weeks only, placed in right beside a north facing window and I water it once a week only after checking that soil is dry. But it still gets brown and yellowish leaves. What could I be doing wrong? Please help. Thank you

  24. Help!

    I bought a 6 ft long pothos. Brought it home and reported it (the roots were very very pot bound, and my guess was it really needed repotting). I put it in a container 1 1/2 times bigger, with well draining soil with pumice in it. It hangs in a window that only gets sun in the morning for a bit and is almost entirely indirect light. A lot of the leaves are starting to yellow and brown and some are curling. They just look sad and limp. I don’t know what to do! I just repotted it two days ago, could it just be shocked and will get better in time? Please help!!!!

  25. Help, I can’t tell if we are over/under watering or if my plant is getting too little sunlight. Its not a very big plant yet and a few leaves have turned yellow, with a few of the leaves developing brown patches on the edge of the leave. I don’t think heat/cold is a factor however. Any tips?

  26. I’ve got a pothos that I’ve had for years. A previous house I had had awesome indirect lighting an really high ceilings at that time it was huge hung all the way to the floor , full all the way around. I then moved into a home with inadequate lighting and low ceilings and I had wrapped it up rather than letting everything hang fully. So of course it lost a lot of leaves in various areas on the runners. I’m now in a place with pretty good lighting , still low ceilings and I’ve ran the runners around the top of the room. My question is will it eventually start new leaves in the bare areas? It appears it already has on one , but I’m not sure. It has heavy healthy leaves the last 6 to 8 ft of the runners, just bare or semi bare areas in spots between. I’ve had plants all of my life , but I’d rather not cut these and try to restart because it seldom works for me.

  27. Aynsley Broom says:

    This type of plant doesn’t require a lot of watering, so if you’ve been watering it frequently then you might want to cut back a bit. Also, this plant doesn’t need a lot of sunlight. If you are growing it indoors, try placing it in an area that has filtered sunlight or bright artificial lighting.

  28. Hello, I need some help my pothos is sitting on top of my kitchen cabinet with light source coming from my kitchen fluorescent lightbulbs. It’s pretty long and at first I started noticing that the bigger leaves at the top near the roots were beginning
    To turn yellow. But now one of the tiny vines completely turned yellow and died. And now toward the end on the vine where the new leaves grow the leaves are starting to yellow then brown with some brown spotting. Help pls I love my plant!

  29. Aynsley Broom says:

    Hi Mike,
    Your plant might start growing its leaves again. If you want to learn more about how to help encourage that growth, you can read about it here: https://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/newsletter-june-2006/

  30. Aynsley Broom says:

    Hi Dee,
    You might check to see if the plant is near an air vent that is drafting in cold air.

  31. Sofia Diaz says:

    I need help!!
    I’m not very good at caring for plants but I was told pothos were an easy plant. I recently bought one and it was don ggokd for about a week and I noticed it was a bit droopy so I watered it a little bit and then the next week I noticed some of the leaves growing at the base of the pot began to turn yellow and I have been trying to research what to do about it. Since last week it has gained 3 new yellow leaves and i don’t know what to do? I haven’t watered it for a week to see if that was the case and it seemed to liven up a bit but the growing number of yellow leaves is scaring me. I want to remove the leaves but I’m not sure if there is a certain way to cut them off ?

  32. I had my plant from a cutting in a mason jar of water until it got to big for the mason jarand have recently transplanted it into soil and a container in my office with a north facing window that has a (built in shade that I can’t control) and I noticed my leaves have started turning yellow – why? Is that the shock from the transplant or did I do something wrong? I used and an indoor potting soil from a big box store and the planter has drainage holes – help!

  33. Jeffrey Balch says:

    Yellowing leaves on pothos are a sign of over-watering or poor drainage. It could also be getting too much sunlight. This plant prefers moderate amounts of light and can also do well in low light, but will not tolerate direct sunlight.

  34. Jeffrey Balch says:

    Yellowing is either a sign of underwatering or overwatering. Depending on how big the rootball was before you repotted, the current pot may be too deep or big.

  35. My pothos started growing curly crippled leaves! I have 2 pothos in front of a southwest facing window, they, ve been doing grate ever since I moved them there a couple of months ago, with only a leaf or two turning yellow and falling every other month. The curly crippled leaves had already grown a couple of times but it would only be one or two, abd only on one of the plants; but now they’re coming out of every leg of both plants… Basically all the new leaves that are growing are crippled, curled up and with a burnt like edge

  36. Jeffrey Balch says:

    Since it is getting hotter outside, having you plant in a southwest facing window may be causing it to receive too much sun, which can lead to sunburn. This sounds like what you’re experiencing!

  37. Alison Bryant says:

    I have two Devil’s Ivy that I grew from cuttings in water first, I put two lengths in one pot and one in another. they were both doing extremely well untill recently. The leaves nearest the pot have all yellowed leaving a length of stem about 40cm long without leaves. One pot is in the bathroom where there is no heating, the other is sitting on a buffet near a window but no direct sunlight but there is a heating vent in the ceiling.

  38. Jeffrey Balch says:

    Yellowing leaves at the bottom are actually a pretty common problem with Devil’s Ivy. It could be due to over or underwatering, or your plant may have a nutrient deficiency. You could try adding some liquid fertilizer next time you water the plant. It could be the plant’s age, as well. The older leaves do eventually turn yellow and die as a natural progression of the plant.

  39. Sydne R Flatland says:

    My friend’s kid plucked all of the leaves off of my Devil’s Ivy. Will they grow back with time?

  40. Dani James says:

    Hi Sydne! Yes, the leaves should grow back in time.

  41. Stephanie says:

    I overwatered my pothos (the leaves have several brown spots, before they were yellowed and very droopy), will my plant be able to return to a healthy state? Should I be repotting it? I’ve had it for 2 years and it’s my first plant!

  42. Dani James says:

    As long as the excess water can drain away from the plant and you don’t give it any more until the soil is lightly dry, the plant should recover. You won’t need to repot unless the plant is extremely rootbound. However, you might want to remove the damaged leaves.