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How Often to Water Pothos Plants: The Complete Guide

Understand their watering needs, spot signs, and cultivate a lush Pothos plant with these tips.

Pothos plants are known to be easy-going and perfect for newbie plant parents - the ones you can't really mess up even if you tried.

But the one thing you do need to get right with these plants is watering - not too much, not too little.

If you've chosen the Pothos as your new addition to your indoor plant collection, you may be wondering how often you should water Pothos plants. Luckily, you're in the right place to become an expert at it!

Knowing when to water your Pothos can mean the difference between a sad, droopy, yellow-brown Pothos plant and a vibrant, green, lush Pothos plant.

How to Tell if Your Pothos Needs Watering

Pothos plants (Epipremnum aureum) are wonderful tropical plants hailing from French Polynesia and Southeast Asia. Out in their natural habitat, Pothos plants crawl along the lush floors or rainforests and spiral up those towering tropical trees.

Pothos still craves a bit of that tropical flair, even in your living room. They're all about humidity, well-draining soil, and a specific moisture routine.

So, how can you tell if a Pothos is lacking that tropical touch? The simplest thing to do is check the soil - if it's dry to the touch, your plant might be signaling it needs water. When you pick up the pot, you might notice it feels a tad lighter than usual. And when those usually perky Pothos leaves start to droop, it's a telltale sign they could use some water.

But now the question is: how do you know when your Pothos needs more or less water?

When your Pothos needs more water

Recognizing when your Pothos plant needs extra water involves several signs. Although the general watering rule is 1-2 times a week, certain conditions might have your Pothos asking for more:

  • Direct sunlight: If your Pothos hangs out in direct sunlight near a window or outside, it might require more frequent watering due to increased evaporation. Opt for gentler, indirect light instead.

  • Hot weather and low humidity: Once the thermostat crosses 75°F (24°C) or the humidity is low, your Pothos will likely thirst more frequently.

  • Smaller pot: Pots like ceramic, earthenware, or terracotta can increase water loss through evaporation, prompting more frequent watering.

When your Pothos needs less water

On the flip side, there are scenarios when your Pothos plant will need less water. Before you break out the watering can, make sure you check the soil to avoid overwatering. You can dial it back a little on the water in these instances:

  • Low light conditions: Low light conditions won't dry up the water so fast, so your Pothos won't need as much water in less sunny spots.

  • Cold weather and high humidity: Cooler spots often mean your plant's growth tends to slow down while higher humidity provides them with an extra hydration boost, so you can ease up on watering.

  • Bigger pot: If you've got roomier pots compared to your plant's root size, they can hold onto more water. Plastic or glazed pots don't let the water evaporate, holding the water's moisture for longer.

How to Tell if Your Pothos is Overwatered

Despite being a tropical plant, a Pothos actually prefers a bit of a dry spell instead of constantly soggy soil. You see, the roots of this plant crave a breath of fresh air, something they can't get when the soil is waterlogged.

This situation leaves the door open for root rot, a nasty ailment and the bane of every indoor gardener's existence.

It's easy to go a bit overboard with watering, especially at the first sign of a troubled-looking Pothos plant or if you haven't quite nailed the perfect watering schedule.

If you've been a little too heavy-handed with the watering can, your Pothos will let you know with these signs:

  • Soggy soil: If around 1-2 inches of the top layer feels squishy and soaked, it's a red flag for overwatering. This is especially true if the soil stays wet for more than 2-3 days.

  • Soft, droopy leaves: Drooping leaves can be a sign of both underwatering and overwatering. But, if the leaves feel soft and squishy, this is a sign of overwatering.

  • Yellowing or browning leaves: Yellowing leaves are also a sign of both underwatering and overwatering. But a telltale sign that it's overwatering is if the leaves aren't crispy but soft.

  • Smelly or moldy soil: Unfortunately, both these symptoms point toward root rot. The smell and mold are telling you that the roots are waterlogged.

So how can you remedy this? Well, if it's not root rot, a step you can take is to let your plant and the soil dry out. You can shift the pot to a sunnier spot to help speed up the soil-drying process.

If you suspect that root rot is the problem, you'll need to undertake a more extensive solution:

  1. Remove your Pothos gently, trim away any leaves that are more than half brown, and take out any decaying roots.

  2. Wash the roots until all the slimy reside (common root rot) is cleaned off.

  3. You can also treat the roots with a suitable fungicide to aid the healing process.

  4. Replant your Pothos in clean, fresh potting soil with some perlite or coconut coir to aid drainage.

How Frequently Should You Water Your Pothos?

The best thing about Pothos plants is that they're easy-going, and a little extra or less water won't throw them off track. If you happen to miss a watering or go overboard, they tend to bounce back gracefully.

That said, if you want your Pothos to truly shine, a measured approach to your Pothos' watering schedule is key.

Originating in tropical and subtropical regions, Pothos plants need moist soil, so water the plant every 7 to 14 days, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Adjust how often you water your Pothos based on the light conditions: more light means more frequent watering, while lower or less light calls for less frequent watering.

When it comes to watering your pothos, aim to do so first thing in the morning and try to avoid watering during the hottest periods of the day.

Pearls and Jade Pothos
Pothos plants need moist soil, so water the plant every 7 to 14 days.

Believe it or not, the first step in perfecting your Pothos plant's watering is all about getting your soil right. Pothos plants are quite picky about their soil, and if it's not well-draining, your best watering intentions might as well be in vain.

So, what's the secret? Aim for a potting mix that mirrors their natural setup. Blend in plenty of perlite, vermiculite, coco coir, and peat moss. These ingredients create pockets of air and openings that let water flow through faster.

Summer vs winter watering schedules

Summer marks a period of growth for Pothos plants. The sun's intensity is high, fueling its development and increasing its nutrient demands.

The warmer weather and brighter light directly influence your Pothos' thirst. With more light, the soil tends to dry out quicker. So, you'll need to water your Pothos more frequently, around 1-2 times a week.

But while a weekly watering is generally recommended, don't disregard the soil check as it's your best guide to avoid overwatering.

Now, when winter arrives, Pothos, like many plants, enter a dormant phase. Growth slows down, and this is when your Pothos doesn't require as much care.

The gentler winter sunlight allows the soil more time to absorb water, reducing the need for frequent watering. Typically, a bi-weekly watering routine suffices during this season. Still, trust the soil test to determine the plant's hydration needs.

A helpful tip: Use room temperature water to shield your Pothos from temperature shocks.

Humidity and Misting

Pothos enjoys temperatures above 50°F and feels comfy between 70-90°F. Given its tropical nature, it thrives in higher humidity. If your home tends to be dry, misting your Pothos can be a helpful strategy. Misting adds moisture to the air, which can extend the time your soil stays moist and quench your plant's thirst.

Misting is particularly beneficial if you're training your Pothos to climb a pole or stake. It encourages the growth of those interesting aerial roots and keeps the glossy green leaves happy.

misting a pothos indoor plant
Providing your Pothos with a touch of humidity can help it to thrive.

Now, a topic in the plant community is whether misting is a must-do. Some find it helpful for humidity, while others have concerns about spreading potential issues. If you'd rather forgo misting, that's alright - there are alternative methods to increase humidity, like using a tray of damp pebbles or a humidifier.

Regardless of your approach, offering your Pothos a touch of humidity care is like providing a cozy environment for it to thrive.

Pothos Watering Tips

Even with the simple-to-care-for Pothos, it's wise to have some additional watering tips and tricks up your sleeve:

  1. Don't water your Pothos plant on a schedule: Instead of sticking to a fixed schedule, use the touch test. The frequency of watering will naturally vary according to seasons, so trust the soil test.

  2. Use the right soil mix: Opt for a chunky, fast-draining potting mix. The ideal soil mix for Pothos is 4 parts perlite, 3 parts coco coir, 2 parts orchid bark, and 1 part vermicompost.

  3. Choose a pot with good drainage: Choose a pot with good drainage holes to avoid drowning the roots.

  4. A little TLC goes a long way: Your Pothos plant will appreciate some occasional fertilizing and adding humidity with misting or a damp pebble tray.

  5. Use a combination of top and bottom watering: You can water your Pothos plant from the top or bottom. While top watering is a tried and true method, bottom watering is a great solution for you over-waterers out there.


Exactly how much water does a Pothos plant need?

There is no exact amount of water a Pothos needs; it depends on where it's placed and its size. You can determine the right amount of water for your Pothos plant by checking the soil moisture. Be sure that when you water, it flows out of the bottom drainage holes.

Does the type of Pothos affect how much water the plant needs?

Thankfully, it doesn't! Whether it's a Golden Pothos, Marble Queen Pothos, Jade Pothos, or any other variety, their watering needs remain the same. What's truly exciting about cultivating Pothos indoors is the array of 15 diverse varieties to choose from!

What kind of light does the Pothos plant need to thrive?

Your Pothos plant will do best in bright, indirect sunlight. Although, they can handle medium to low, indirect light as well, such as in north and west-facing windows or during cooler seasons. Avoid intense, direct sunlight as it can lead to burnt and brown leaves.

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