Signs and Solutions for an Underwatered Pothos

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Pothos plants, also known as Devil’s Ivy, are popular houseplants due to their attractive foliage and low maintenance requirements.

However, like any other plant, they can suffer from various issues if not properly cared for. One common problem that Pothos owners encounter is underwatering, which can lead to drooping leaves, yellowing, and overall poor health.

In this article, we will explore the signs of an underwatered Pothos and provide effective solutions to revive your beloved plant.

Signs of an Underwatered Pothos

If you suspect that your Pothos is underwatered, it’s crucial to identify the signs before taking any corrective measures. Here are some key indicators to look out for:

1. Drooping and Wilted Leaves

Drooping leaves are one of the most noticeable signs of an underwatered Pothos. When the plant lacks sufficient water, the leaves will start to droop and wilt, as if they are pleading for hydration.

This visual cue indicates that your Pothos is in distress and needs immediate attention.

2. Yellowing of Bottom Leaves

Another telltale sign of underwatering is the yellowing of the lower leaves. When the plant is deprived of water, it prioritizes the survival of its newer leaves, sacrificing the older ones.

As a result, the bottom leaves of an underwatered Pothos will turn yellow and eventually brown if the issue persists.

3. Bone Dry Potting Mix

To confirm your suspicion of an underwatered Pothos, it’s essential to assess the moisture level of the potting mix. Gently insert your finger into the soil to feel its texture.

If the potting mix is bone dry, it indicates that your Pothos has not received adequate water for an extended period. In severe cases, the dryness may extend all the way to the bottom of the pot.

Causes of an Underwatered Pothos

Understanding the causes of underwatering is crucial to prevent future occurrences.

Let’s explore some common reasons why a Pothos may become underwatered and provide effective solutions to address each cause.

1. Forgetting to Water

One of the most straightforward explanations for an underwatered Pothos is simply forgetting to water it. Life can get busy, and it’s easy to overlook routine tasks like watering your plants.

However, it’s essential to establish a watering schedule and stick to it to ensure your Pothos receives the necessary hydration.

2. Relying on Faulty Moisture Meters

Moisture meters can be a useful tool for gauging the moisture content of the potting mix. However, it’s crucial to use a reliable and accurate device.

Many plant owners have encountered problems because they relied on faulty moisture meters, leading to incorrect readings and ineffective watering.

Instead of solely relying on a moisture meter, trust your own finger to assess the moisture level of the potting mix.

3. Strict Watering Schedule

While having a watering schedule is beneficial, it’s crucial to remember that plants’ needs can change over time. As a Pothos grows, it may become root-bound in its current pot, requiring more frequent watering.

If you notice your Pothos consistently drying out despite adhering to a watering schedule, it may be time to adjust the frequency or consider repotting into a larger container.

4. Insufficiently Thorough Watering

The fear of overwatering often leads plant owners to water their plants insufficiently. However, it’s important to ensure thorough watering to reach all parts of the potting mix.

If you only moisten the surface layer, the roots that don’t receive water will dry up and eventually die.

To prevent this, water your Pothos until the excess water drains from the bottom, ensuring that the entire root system is adequately hydrated.

Reviving an Underwatered Pothos

Now that we have identified the signs and causes of an underwatered Pothos, it’s time to discuss the solutions to revive your plant.

Follow these steps to bring your Pothos back to its full, vibrant glory:

1. Thoroughly Watering

If your Pothos is severely underwatered, it’s crucial to give it a thorough watering immediately. Pour water onto the potting mix until it starts to drain from the bottom.

This ensures that the entire root system receives the much-needed hydration. Be patient and allow the water to absorb fully before repeating the process if necessary.

2. Bottom Watering

In cases where the potting mix has become hydrophobic due to extreme dryness, bottom watering can be an effective technique.

Place your Pothos in a container filled with a few inches of water, allowing the plant to absorb water through the drainage holes.

After an hour or two, check the moisture level of the potting mix. If it still seems dry, proceed with top watering to ensure all parts of the potting mix are adequately moistened.

3. Adjusting Watering Frequency

If your Pothos consistently suffers from underwatering, it may be a sign that its watering frequency needs adjustment. Observe the plant closely and monitor the moisture level of the potting mix.

If it dries out quickly, consider watering more frequently. Conversely, if the potting mix remains consistently moist, reduce the watering frequency to avoid overwatering.

4. Repotting

If your Pothos has become root-bound, it may struggle to absorb water efficiently, leading to underwatering. In such cases, repotting into a larger container can provide the plant with the necessary space for healthy root growth.

Choose a pot with drainage holes and a well-draining potting mix to ensure proper water distribution.


An underwatered Pothos can quickly deteriorate if not addressed promptly. By recognizing the signs and understanding the causes, you can take the necessary steps to revive your plant and prevent future occurrences.

Remember to establish a consistent watering routine, assess the moisture level using reliable methods, and adjust your watering frequency as needed. With proper care, your Pothos will thrive and continue to bring beauty to your indoor space.

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