How To Save An Overwatered Pothos Plant? (Step By Step Guide)

Overwatering is a common issue that most plant owners do. Read on to learn everything related to overwatered pothos and how to save them.

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If you’ve overwatered your Pothos plant mistakenly and you are starting to notice several symptoms, don’t beat yourself up just yet. 

You won’t lose your beautiful Pothos plant if you take action to fix it. You can deal with your overwatered Pothos properly if you read this article now!

So how can you save an overwatered pothos plant? 

There are several steps you can take to save an overwatered pothos plant. First, you’ll need to assess the damage and probably trim off dead roots and leaves before changing your soil and repotting.

But not to worry, here, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you save your overwatered pothos plant just in time. 

And that’s not all, you’ll also be learning how to water pothos and getting familiar with the many symptoms of overwatered pothos just to be sure that’s the issue with your plant.

So, without wasting any more time, let’s get started.

Symptoms of Overwatered Pothos

Your beautiful pothos plants love water, but when it gets too much water it’ll show several symptoms at an early stage. Here are the symptoms of overwatered pothos plants:

Root Rot

One of the major symptoms of overwatered pothos is that the roots can begin to rot. If you water your Pothos too much, your soil gets waterlogged and heavy. 

Then, the roots would be drowned because they are surrounded by so much water and therefore cannot breathe properly or absorb the soil nutrients.

This makes the soil lose nutrients that are needed by the plant to grow healthily and as such your overwatered pothos will not grow well and may die as the roots get rotten.

Color change in leaves

Color change in leaves can imply a lot of things, however, most of the time, your Pothos will turn yellow and have brown spots on its leaves when it’s overwatered. 

If you’ve given your Pothos plant too much water, you’ll find that your stunning, evergreen pothos plant may start to swell and get water blisters on its leaves.

Wrinkled, curly, and wilting leaves

The leaves of your Pothos plant that have water blisters or brown tips can begin to wrinkle. 

The leaves of pothos plants also roll up or curl downwards for several reasons. You’ll know if it’s a sign of overwatering when it curls in a downward direction.

Wilting leaves on your Pothos can occur due to overwatering and underwatering. If you notice that your leaves are beginning to wilt due to excess watering, it’s important to take fast action before it dies.

Fungus on soil

An overwatered pothos is always an inviting environment for fungi to grow. If your plant soil is waterlogged, you’ll find fungi growing happily on your soil. And while fungi may not necessarily be hazardous to your plant, they could make the soil lose nutrients.

Have you noticed any white powdery coating on your soil lately? Those are probably fungi that found their ideal spot on your overwatered Pothos.

Always wet soil

Overwatering of the pothos plant makes the soil always wet and when this happens, there won’t be enough air pockets for the soil. 

Normally, when soil is moderately watered, it should stay wet for only 2-4 hours for watering, anything other than this is a sign of overwatering.

So if you have not watered your Pothos plant recently, dip your finger an inch into the soil, if it’s still moist, then, you’ve probably been overwatering your houseplant. 

Overwatering can severely affect your plants’ growth generally. This is why proper drainage holes are very important.

If you don’t have an idea about how often to water your pothos plant, have a look at our dedicated article on the topic.

Overwatered Vs Underwatered Pothos

When your Pothos plant is unhappy, sometimes it could be difficult to tell if it’s overwatered or underwatered. 

And as both conditions have very similar symptoms such as a change in color of leaves, and root rot, it’ll take an eagle eye to tell the difference.

But not to worry, here, you’ll learn how to tell the difference easily. First, you’ll need to observe the unique symptoms of under-watering. These unique symptoms of underwatered pothos include but are not limited to; thinner plants due to hydration.

An underwatered pothos would look thinner, wilted, and brown. The leaves would look wrinkled and feel crispy, light, and very dry. If you notice these symptoms, you can feel your soil to confirm the condition of your plant.

If it feels really dry, you can moderately water your Pothos and observe its response for a day. It’ll definitely recover and look much healthier. 

These unique symptoms of underwatered pothos should help you differentiate slightly between overwatering and underwatering of pothos plants.

If you’re now certain that your beautiful plant has gotten too much water, read below to learn how to save your overwatered Pothos plant.

How To Save Overwatered Pothos?

Below is a step-by-step guide to help you revive your overwatered Pothos plant:

Step 1: Check Severity of Overwatering

The first step you must take to save your pothos plant is to find out just how much you have overwatered your plant. 

Does your plant already have most of the symptoms discussed above?

If you find that your soil is saturated and there is standing water in your planter, it’ll likely be a drainage problem. 

However, in the meantime, the next best thing to do is to stop watering your plant for a few days since the root of your Pothos is already drowning.

Step 2: Remove the overwatered pothos from the pot

The next thing is to carefully remove your pothos plant from the potting, this will help you see the roots clearly and drain out the excess water. 

However, you’ll need to be extra careful while removing your plant, you can use a knife to gently scrape the corners of the pot and pull out your Pothos.

Step 3: Cut Off Damaged Roots And Trim Dead Leaves

Aer you must have pulled out your plant, observe the roots. If you notice dark brown or black damaged roots, cut them off properly.

Ensure you are thorough in taking the damaged roots out so you avoid infecting other parts of your plant. You also want to trim out those dead leaves with brown spots or water blisters.

Step 3: Prepare a new soil for your plant

If your Pothos has experienced severe overwatering symptoms especially fungal growth, then, you’ll need a change of soil. 

While it’s much easier to simply turn the old soil and re-use it, the best thing to do is to prepare a new, well-draining, potting soil for your pruned Pothos. 

Your old soil may contain fungus and would easily re-infect your plant if you re-use it.

Before preparing, read our guide on the best soil for pothos plant so that you are not making any guessing mistakes again.

Step 4: Make sure to use a suitable container

Now that you’ve got fresh soil, your plant would also need an ideal container too! If you bought your Pothos plant from retailers, it probably arrived in a planter. 

Oftentimes, these sorts of planters are not for continuous use.

This goes to say that pothos plants that are le in these planters for a long time are almost always root-bound in the container. This may impede their growth, making it hard to water them properly, and therefore, more vulnerable to fungus.

So make sure to get an ideal container that drains properly. If your pot doesn’t have proper drainage holes, then, you’ll have made them. If not, you’ll be setting yourself up for waterlogged soil in the future.

Step 5: Replant your pothos plant carefully

Yes! Now you can go ahead and repot your Pothos using your well-draining soil and container. 

It’ll be nice to add a layer of gravel to the bottom of your pothos to aid drainage. Also, add up to 1-2 inches of soil in your potting. Then you can carefully place your Pothos.

If you want to know more about repotting pothos, check out our dedicated article step by step on how to repot pothos plant.

At this point, you’ve got yourself a new Pothos for all your hard work. Before you go, read below to learn how to water your new plant properly.

How to Water Pothos Properly?

Now that you know how to save overwatered pothos plants, you need to learn how to keep them beautiful and healthy by watering properly. 

Your pothos plant must be watered frequently, but moderately. Ideally, you should water it once every 1-2 weeks while allowing the soil to dry out as you water.

This would help prevent another case of overwatering. However, your watering schedule would depend mostly on the temperature, humidity, and lighting of your environment as well as seasonal change.

So we’ll advise you to take cues from your plant as opposed to sticking to a strict watering schedule. For instance, Pothos plants tend to droop slightly when they need watering, so this is a great cue from your plant even if you forget to water it!

Here are different methods you can use to water a pothos plant moderately:

From the Top:

This method involves pouring water over the top of the Pothos soil. This is to be done until the water drains out the bottom.

You can do this monthly to avoid overwatered pothos. Top watering of the pothos plant helps the roots grow faster and healthier.

However you should keep in mind that the top watering of the pothos plant sometimes could have some adverse effects on the plant such as discoloration of leaves, this is why you must check if this method affects the pothos and stop abruptly.

From The Bottom:

This is essentially the best way to water a potted Pothos plant, but this method may not be the best option in the winter months. You only need to place the pothos plant in a bowl of water for 5 minutes and then allow the soil and roots to soak water from the bottom.

For this to work, the potting must have good drainage holes. This allows the plant to absorb water moderately. This type of watering helps the pothos soil in the potting be moist always and still prevent overwatered pothos as it drains quickly and easily.

Overwatered Pothos – Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

In this section, I will go through some of the most commonly asked questions on different forums related to overwatered pothos plants and how to save one.

How do you tell if pothos is overwatered?

The common signs of overwatered pothos plants include root rot, always wet soil, brown and yellow leaves, curly and wrinkled leaves, fungus on soil, and slow or stunted growth. 

Most of these symptoms are common for many other pothos problems, so finding the right problem and cause is very important if you want to make your pothos healthy.

Will overwatered pothos recover?

Yes, overwatered pothos plants recover quite comfortably if timely action is provided. The actions might be repotting, changing the soil composition, not water for a couple of weeks, etc depending on the severity of the overwatering problem.

If you are not fixing the plant and it continues to be soaked in the water for a longer period of time, then pothos may wilt and doe eventually.

Should I bottom water pothos?

Yes, you can bottom water your pothos plant without any consequences. In fact, it does not matter whether you are bottom watering or top watering, only the frequency matters.

Wrapping Up

There’s no reason to panic if you’ve mistakenly overwatered your Pothos plant. Now, you must have learned how to save overwatered pothos plants following the five steps above.

You see, Pothos plants are very easy to care for, but sometimes we go overboard and kill our stunning-looking plants with too much kindness. The key to taking good care of your plant is simply paying attention to them, they express themselves through different symptoms.

Once you’ve saved your Pothos, make sure to follow our tips on how to water pothos plants so you can keep them looking fresh, healthy, and beautiful! 


  1. A Study Of Pothos Water Requirements, University of Illinois at Urbana Journal.
  2. Water Utilization of Six Foliage Plants, Journal of Environmental Horticulture 

Effects of Different Pot Mixtures on Pothos, Department of Horticultural Science, College of Agriculture, Shiraz University.

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