Pothos Stems Turning Brown (5 Reasons & Solutions)

Are your pothos stems turning brown? Don’t panic. Read this article to know everything about brown stem pothos and what you can do to fix it.

Pothos Stems Turning Brown

Pothos plants are by far one of the easiest houseplants you can grow. And, that is the reason why most beginners start with pothos.

But that doesn’t mean it is impossible to kill. There are a lot of diseases your pothos plant may get.

And, one such condition is when the stems of your pothos plant start to turn brown.

Actually, there are two types of pothos brown stems you can witness. And, one is very serious that requires instant treatment while the other can be simply neglected.

How do you know which one is affecting your plant? Read on, that’s what I’m going to explain in this article.

I will be going through everything you need to know regarding pothos brown stems including,

  • Identifying Pothos brown stems (2 types explained)
  • Reasons for Pothos stems turning brown
  • Solutions to fix Pothos brown stems
  • Lots more.

So, let’s get started.

Identifying Pothos brown stems

When someone says their pothos plant’s stem is turning brown, then there is a chance that they are referring to something called sheath that appears just below the leaves.

If the brown thing you are mentioning is very delicate like a thin film, then you don’t have to worry. It is called shealth and it was there to protect the new leaves while growing.

And once the leaves are grown, it will dry and turn brown. Mostly, shealth will fall off the plant automatically. But if it’s not going away and is bothering the beauty of your plant, you can safely remove it.

On the other hand, if the main vine or stem is slowly turning brown and drying, then it is a serious issue that needs to be fixed as fast as possible.

Reasons for Pothos stems turning brown

As I already said, if the main stem or vine is turning brown then it is a sign of a diseased plant.

The main cause for pothos stems turning brown is due to the watering issues like overwatering or underwatering. Other reasons like too much light, overfeeding, bacteria and pests, nutrient depleted soil, etc can also cause the issue. If your stem is turning brown at a rapid phase, then you need to fix it as early as possible.

Let’s have a brief description about each cause so that you can understand why your pothos plant’s stems are turning brown.

1. Watering issues

Even though pothos plants are rated as a plant with low water requirements, the uneven watering may have a toll on your plant’s health.

Due to our love for pothos plants, we may be tempted to water the plant everyday. But that is the least thing a pothos plant expects from you.

When you overwater your pothos plant, the water gets trapped in the soil. And as a result the roots of your pothos plant will not be able to suck enough oxygen and nutrients due to water blocking the way.

If roots cannot suck and transport oxygen and nutrients, then plants will start drying and as a result the leaves and stems turn brown.

When you overwater your pothos plant, the plant becomes susceptible to root rot. If the roots are decaying, then it won’t be able to take nutrients from soil and your plant will start to die.

On the underhand, underwatering is a problem and it may also cause the stems ti turn brown. 

When you underwater your plant, over time it will be dehydrated and the stems and leaves will start to dry up resulting in brown stems and leaves.

2. Too much light

Pothos plants thrive in medium to low bright indirect light sources. 

Too much exposure to sunlight will burn the leaves and stems overtime which will make it brown.

3. Overfeeding

Overfeeding or providing too much fertilizer for a pothos plant is another thing most if the beginner plant owners do. 

Too much fertilizer will make the soil environment too salty. This will make the roots stressed and it starts decaying and root rot will occur. 

As I already said, rotten roots are not capable of transporting nutrients to the stems and leaves. If a significant number of roots are rotten, the plant stems will start turning brown and eventually die.

4. Bacteria and pests

Too much bacteria or mold in soil will trigger root rot in the first place. And as a result, your pothos plant’s stems may turn brown.

Also, if a lot of pets like mealybugs suck up nutrients from the plant stem, then the region above the pest attack zone becomes deprived of essential nutrients and will turn brown and die.

5. Nutrient depleted soil 

If your plant is sitting in the same soil for more than 3 years, then the essential nutrients in the soil might have already depleted. And as a result, the growth of plants will be stunted and eventually at some point stems start turning brown.

It is the least common cause for pothos stems turning brown, but there is a possibility it should not be excluded.

How to save Pothos from brown stems?

Now you know what are the major causes for brown stems in pothos plants. Now, let’s see how to save a pothos plant with brown stems from dying.

If your pothos plant already has brown stems, then the only way to save it from further damage is by keeping the green part of your stem and removing the entire brown part. Once a part of the stem is completely brown and dried, then there’s no way to make it green again.

After that try to provide the optimal care for your plant like setting up a proper watering schedule based on season, proper lighting and temperature, etc.

Pothos Brown Stems – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In this section, I will try to answer some of the most commonly asked questions related to pothos brown stems.

Is browning of pothos stems natural?

It will be based on where the browning is. If the browning is on the main vine or stem, then it is definitely not natural and it is a sign of a dying plant. On the other hand, if the browning is just below the leaves, then it is completely natural.

Can I cure pothos brown stems?

If a stem is completely brown and dry, then it is not possible to recover the plant. But, if it’s just starting to brown and has a lot of green stem under the brown spot then you can simply cut off the brown vine and focus more on providing optimal care so that browning will not happen in future.


So, now you know what are the main causes of pothos brown stems and how to fix it if your pothos plant has this problem.

If the browning of the stems is in the starting phase, then just adjust your watering schedule and follow other care steps properly and your plant will receiver soon. 

But, if a part of the stem is completely brown and dried already, then removing that part and focusing on the other stems of your plant is the only solution.

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