Why Are My Pothos Leaves Curling? (11 Causes and Solutions)

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Pothos plants are easy to grow and make excellent indoor plants.

They can tolerate lower light conditions and sporadic watering, making them ideal for those who may not have the greenest thumbs.

However, even the most low-maintenance plants can experience problems from time to time.

One common issue pothos plants face is leaves that curl up or inward.

This can be due to various factors, including too much or too little water, temperature stress, pests, or too much sunlight.

Why Are My Pothos Leaves Curling and How Can You Fix It?

When it comes to Pothos leaves curling, there can be several reasons behind it.

Below, we will go over some of the most common causes and what you can do to fix the problem.

1. Underwatering

One of the most common problems that Pothos growers face is curled leaves at the edges or tips.

This problem is usually caused by underwatering, which can cause the leaves to dry out and lose their rigidity.

When Pothos leaves are not getting enough water, they often start curling to reduce their surface area and prevent further water loss.

Pothos plants like to have their soil moist at all times but not soggy.

The best way to water your Pothos is to stick your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle.

If the soil feels dry, it is time to water.

If the soil is still wet or mushy, wait a few days and check again.

How To Fix It

If you think your have an underwatered Pothos, the first step is to start watering it more frequently.

Water the plant until the soil is evenly moistened, and be sure to empty any excess water from the saucer or tray underneath.

You may also need to increase the humidity around your Pothos by misting it with water or placing it on a pebble tray.

2. Overwatering

While underwatering is a common problem, overwatering can cause Pothos leaves to curl.

When a Pothos is overwatered, the roots cannot absorb all of the water, and they start to suffocate.

This can cause the leaves to turn yellow and droop and curl inwards.

Overwatering is often caused by incorrect watering habits, such as watering too often or using too much water.

It can also be caused by using a pot that does not have proper drainage.

Waterlogged soil can cause root rot eventually killing the plant.

How To Fix It

If you think your Pothos is overwatered, the first step is to stop watering it for a few days and allow the soil to dry out completely.

Once the soil is dry, start watering again, but be sure not to water too often.

The best way to water your Pothos is to stick your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle.

If the soil feels dry, it is time to water.

If the soil is still wet or mushy, wait a few days and check again.

It is also essential to make sure that your pot has proper drainage.

If it does not, consider repotting your Pothos into a pot with drainage holes.

3. Pests

Pests are another common problem that can cause Pothos leaves to curl.

Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale are all common pests that can infest Pothos plants.

Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects often found in clusters on the undersides of leaves.

Mealybugs are small, white insects that feed on plant sap.

Spider mites are tiny spider-like creatures that spin webs on the undersides of leaves.

Scale insects are small, hard-shelled insects that attach themselves to the stems and leaves of plants.

These pests feed on the plant’s leaves and sap, which can cause the Pothos leaves to turn brown or yellow and curl up.

How To Fix It

If you think your Pothos has pests, the first step is to inspect the plant carefully for any signs of infestation.

If you find any pests, you can try to remove them by hand or with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

You can also treat your Pothos with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

This will kill any existing pests and help to prevent future infestations.

4. Too Much Sunlight

Pothos leaves that are exposed to too much sunlight will often curl as a way to protect themselves.

The leaves will become dry and brittle, and the plant cannot photosynthesize properly.

Pothos plants are native to tropical regions, so they are used to high humidity levels.

However, when the leaves are exposed to direct sunlight, the water inside the leaves evaporates quickly, causing the leaves to curl.

How To Fix It

If you notice your Pothos leaves curling, there are a few things you can do to fix the problem.

First, try moving the plant to a location with less direct sun.

If possible, choose an east- or west-facing window to provide more indirect light.

This will give your Pothos the light it needs without exposing the leaves to too much direct sunlight.

You can also try using a sheer curtain to filter the light.

If the leaves are still curling, you may need to give the plant more water.

Pothos prefers moist soil, so be sure to check the soil before watering and only add water if necessary.

5. Not Enough Light

Pothos plants that do not receive enough light will often grow leggy and have curled leaves.

This is because the plant is trying to reach for the light.

Pothos plants need bright, indirect light to thrive.

If they do not receive enough light, they will become etiolated, stretching out and becoming thin.

The leaves will also be smaller and may curl as the plant tries to reach for the light.

How To Fix It

If your Pothos is not receiving enough light, it is best to move it to a location with more light.

Choose a spot near a bright, east- or west-facing window.

This will give the plant the bright, indirect light it needs to grow healthy and strong.

You can also try using a grow light to supplement the natural light.

6. Heat Stress

Pothos curled leaves

Pothos plants can also experience heat stress, which can cause the leaves to curl.

Heat stress occurs when the plant is exposed to temperatures that are too high for it to tolerate.

Pothos plants are native to tropical regions, so they are used to high temperatures and high levels of humidity.

However, when the plant is exposed to sudden changes in temperature or to temperatures that are too extreme, it can become stressed.

When the temperature gets too hot, the leaves will begin curl to protect themselves from further heat exposure.

Curling leaves also helps the plant conserve moisture by reducing the surface area exposed to evaporation.

How To Fix It

If your Pothos is experiencing heat stress, moving it to a cooler location is best.

Find a spot where the temperature is between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make sure to place the plant in an area with good airflow to help it cool down.

You can also try misting the Pothos leaves with water to help lower the temperature and increase the humidity around the plant.

7. Cold Stress

Pothos plants can also experience cold stress, which can cause the leaves to curl.

Cold stress occurs when the plant is exposed to temperatures that are too low for it to tolerate.

Pothos plants are native to tropical regions, so they are used to high temperatures and high levels of humidity.

However, when the plant is exposed to sudden changes in temperature or to temperatures that are too extreme, it can become stressed.

When the temperature gets too cold, the leaves will curl to protect themselves from further cold exposure.

Curling also helps the plant conserve moisture by reducing the surface area exposed to evaporation.

How To Fix It

If your Pothos is experiencing cold stress, moving it to a warmer location is best.

Find a spot where the temperature is between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ensure the plant is protected from direct sunlight and any wind or drafts.

You can also increase the humidity around the plant by placing it on a pebble tray or by using a humidifier.

If the leaves are severely damaged, you can trim them off to help the plant focus its energy on new growth.

8. Nutrient Deficiencies

Pothos plants can also experience nutrient deficiencies, which can cause the leaves to curl.

Nutrient deficiencies occur when the plant is not receiving the nutrients it needs to grow.

Pothos plants need a balanced diet of essential nutrients to thrive.

The most common nutrient deficiency in Pothos plants is nitrogen deficiency.

Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plant growth and helps the plant to create new leaves and stems.

When a plant does not receive enough nitrogen, the Pothos leaves will begin to turn yellow and will eventually curl and die.

Other nutrient deficiencies can also cause the leaves to curl.

Potassium deficiency, for example, can cause the leaves to curl and turn brown at the edges.

How To Fix It

If your Pothos is experiencing a nutrient deficiency, the best solution is to fertilize the plant.

Use a balanced fertilizer that contains all the essential nutrients the plant needs.

Dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength and apply it to the soil every two weeks.

If the leaves are severely damaged, you can trim them off to help the Pothos plant focus its energy on new growth.

9. Soil Compaction

Pothos plants can also experience soil compaction, which can cause the leaves to curl.

Soil compaction occurs when the soil around the plant becomes packed down and dense.

This can happen if the plant is grown in a pot that is too small or if the plant is overwatered.

When the potting soil becomes compacted, it prevents the roots from getting the oxygen they need to grow.

As a result, the plant will become stressed, and the leaves will begin to curl.

How To Fix It

If your Pothos is experiencing soil compaction, the best solution is to repot the plant.

Choose a pot 2-3 inches larger than the current pot and fill it with fresh, well-draining potting mix.

Gently remove the plant from its current pot and place it in the new pot.

Water the plant well and allow the excess water to drain away.

10. Transplant Shock

Pothos plants can also experience transplant shock, which can cause the leaves to curl.

Transplant shock occurs when the plant is moved from one location to another.

This can happen if you move the plant to a new pot or if you move it outdoors.

When the plant is transplanted, the roots are disturbed, and the plant is exposed to new conditions.

As a result, the plant will become stressed, and the leaves will begin to curl to protect themselves.

How To Fix It

If your Pothos is experiencing transplant shock, the best solution is to give the plant time to adjust.

Place the plant where it will receive indirect sunlight and where the temperature is consistent.

Water the plant only when the potting soil is dry, and do not fertilize the plant for at least six weeks.

Allow the plant to acclimate to its new location, and it should recover within a few weeks.

11. Chemical Damage

Pothos plants can also experience chemical damage, which can cause the leaves to curl.

Chemical damage occurs when the plant comes into contact with chemicals that are harmful to it.

This can happen if you use a pesticide or herbicide that is not safe for Pothos plants.

It can also happen if you clean the leaves with a chemical cleaner that is too harsh.

When the plant comes into contact with chemicals, it becomes stressed, and the leaves begin to curl to protect themselves.

How To Fix It

If your Pothos is experiencing chemical damage, the best solution is to remove the source of the problem.

If you are using a pesticide or herbicide, stop using it and switch to a safe product for Pothos plants.

If you are cleaning the leaves with a chemical cleaner, switch to a gentle, natural cleaner such as diluted vinegar or soap and water.

Give the plant time to recover, and it should begin to grow new leaves within a few weeks.

How To Prevent Pothos Leaves From Curling

There are several things you can do to prevent Pothos curling leaves.

  • Make sure you are watering your plant correctly. Pothos like to have their soil moist but not soggy. Allow the top inch or so of soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Fertilize your plant regularly. A lack of nutrients can cause Pothos leaves curling.
  • Check the humidity around your plant. Pothos prefer a humid environment. If the air is too dry, the leaves may curl in an attempt to hold in moisture.
  • Make sure your plant is getting enough light. Pothos can tolerate low light, but the leaves may curl if the plant is not getting enough light.
  • Provide bright indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to curl.
  • Don’t move your plant around too much. Pothos like to be in a stable environment. If you move the plant too often, the leaves may curl in an attempt to adapt to the new environment.
  • Check for pests. Aphids, mealybugs, and scale can all cause Pothos leaves to curl. If you see any pests on your plant, treat them immediately.

If you follow these tips, you should be able to prevent Pothos leaves from curling.

Final Thoughts

Pothos plants are notoriously hardy, which is why they’re such a popular houseplant.

However, that doesn’t mean they’re immune to problems.

If your pothos leaves are curling, it could be due to some reasons, from too much or too little water to pests or nutrient deficiencies.

Fortunately, most problems with pothos leaves are relatively easy to fix.

By paying close attention to your plant and making simple changes to its care, you can get your Pothos back to looking its best in no time.