Pothos are tropical rainforest plants. They grow beautiful ornamental leaves but sometimes they develop brown spots on them.

Brown spots on pothos leaves destroy the real beauty of the plant. There are many causes that are responsible for brown spots on pothos.

Today I’ll talk about the most common causes of brown spots and their solutions.

With the help of this guide, you can easily find the cause and treat your pothos without any further guidance.

Problem with Your Watering Routine

Watering issues are one of the most common causes of brown spots on pothos. Pothos need moist soil but when you give extra water keep the soil moist for a long time.

This results in leaf damage because the roots absorb a huge amount of water and send it to the different parts of the pothos.

Then pothos leaves hold a large amount of water in their tissues. Leaf cells cannot hold this extra water for a long time. They get busted and you get brown spots on the leaves.

Overwatering also results in Pothos root rot.

On the other hand, too low water results in dehydration. To save their life pothos send signals to leaves to shrink themselves to save as much as water they can.

Leaves break their cell tissues and shrink their overall size. This breakage of cells turns into brown spots.

How to fix it?

It is easy to fix all water-related brown spots on pothos leaves. If the soil is saturated with water, then cut off the water supply for a few days until the top 2 inches of the soil become dry.

But if the soil is dry and low watering is the cause then immediately give filtered water to your plant and it will heal itself in a few days.

To prevent it, always check the soil before watering pothos. Use a soil moisture testing meter or poke your finger in the potting soil.

If the top soil layer is dry, give some water otherwise wait for some days and re-check.

Direct Exposure to Sunlight

Direct sunlight is not good for tropical plants like pothos. The sun rays are very hot for Neon Pothos, Snow Queen Pothos, and Silver satin pothos.

When sunlight falls on the leaves, it increases the leaf temperature, and leaves start losing their moisture content.

This gives brown spots to leaves and later the entire leaf turns brown and crispy.

Direct sunrays also result in many other problems like dehydration, increase the rate of respiration, sunburned leaves, brown tips, etc.

How to fix it?

The only fix to this problem is changing the place of your pothos. Move pothos to a little shady place where direct sunlight cannot fall on the plant leaves.

Place them a few feet away from the sunny window. If the grow room has plenty of natural light. Then you can place your pothos anywhere in the room.

In winter you can expose your pothos to morning direct sunlight and place them right on the sunny window.

Overuse of Fertilizers

Pothos need a limited amount of fertilizer to grow healthy and dense. When we give a huge amount of fertilizer to speed up the growth of pothos.

This results in brown spots on leaves. The synthetic chemicals in the liquid fertilizer did not fully dissolve in water.

They get collected at the bottom of the plant pot. These salts stick to the roots and block the normal function of roots.

Hence roots cannot absorb the required amount of water and nutrients. This leads to brown spots on pothos.

Secondly when pothos absorbs fertilizer in a large amount. This disturbs the pH of the plant. The internal environment of pothos becomes acidic. As a result, you see small brown spots on all leaves of the plant including stems.

How to fix it?

To fix this issue you should immediately unpot your plant and wash the roots with clean filtered water.

Then throw the old soil and wash the plant container with dishwashing soap and warm water.

Use fresh soil to fill the pot and plant pothos back in the same pot.

Spray some water to keep the soil moist and you will have healthy pothos plants in 7 to 10 days.

It is best if you use organic fertilizers. Because they are mild on pothos and do not result in brown spots and burned leaf tips.

Bacterial Leaf Spot

High humidity and a warm growing environment are the main cause of bacterial leaf spots. Moreover, when you spray too much water on pothos on low humid days.

This also increases the risk of bacterial leaf spots in pothos.


Small size black or tan circular spots on a particular part of a leaf. If you do not fix this issue on time the disease will spread to all leaves and stems.

In some cases, you may see small holes in the leaves. This indicates that the bacterial infection is high and your pothos needs immediate help.

How to fix it?

In the first step check the moisture of the potting soil. If you find the pothos soil is saturated with water. In this condition unpot your plant and empty the pot and wash it with soap and fill it with new soil.

Gently inspect your plant roots and plant it back in the same pot.

In the next step give some water to keep the soil moist and also cut the damaged parts of the plant. Remove all leaves that are infected with the bacterial disease.

Spray copper fungicide on your plant and keep it separate from other plants.

Pothos will take a few days to heal properly. Regularly use a neem oil spray to prevent bacterial disease.

Low Humidity

Low humidity means there is not enough moisture in the air for your plant. Pothos absorb a good amount of moisture from the air.

This way pothos keep themselves hydrated even if you forget to water for some days.

But when there is low moisture in the air and you give less water to your plant. This increases the chances of dehydration.

To protect itself from dehydration pothos start using the leaf moisture for making plant food. They save the water that is stored in stems to stay alive.

This makes the leaves out of moisture and as a result pothos leaves develop small brown spots.

They also develop brown tips with spots. If there are no brown tips on your pothos then low humidity is not the cause of the brown spots.

How to fix it?

To fix low humidity you can spray water on pothos leaves. Do this only when there is a slight drop in the air moisture.

Do not spray too much water on leaves or you will face bacterial and fungal spots.

2 to 3 sprays are enough for the entire plant.

If the humidity is very low then you should use a plant humidifier to increase the room humidity.

Do not move your plant to your bathroom or kitchen. This technique is not recommended for pothos.

As last you can use a pebble tray if you do not have the budget for a plant humidifier.

Heat stress

The leaves of pothos are soft and cannot tolerate a sudden rise in temperature. High temperature raises the temperature of the plant.

Your plant increases the rate of respiration and transpiration. A huge amount of water and air moisture is required for both processes.

High heat damage the internal tissues of pothos leaves and they develop brown spots.

Brown spots are the first stage of high heat and later the pothos leaves turn brown and fall off the plant.

This is the reason I always advise people to keep their indoor plants at a suitable temperature.

How to fix it?

Change the place of your plant, and move it to a comfortable environment. Heat stress is common in the summer season.

So, arrange the shade for your pothos. You should also protect it from heat waves. Do not open the window and place pothos a few feet away from the window.

Make sure that the hot air is not entering your house.

Cold Drafts

Cold weather drops the temperature of pothos leaves. The water stored inside the leaves starts freezing. The water turns into crystals and this makes brown spots on pothos.

If you do not take any action the infected leaves with turn brown and fall off the plant in just 2 to 3 days.

How to fix it?

This problem is common with pothos plants that are growing outdoors in plant pots. In the winter season move your pothos to a warm place.

Also, protect your pothos from cold water and cold winds.

Do not place your pothos near the doorways or on a window sill in cold weather.

leaf Fungus

Overuse of water on pothos leaves and a warm environment invites leaf fungus. Only spray water on your pothos in low humidity.

The leaf fungus starts eating the pothos leaves from the inside out. Fungus keeps eating your plant and your plant continuously develops brown spots on its leaves.

Slowly the size of the brown spots starts increasing and the entire leaf turns brown.

Fungal spots have a brown center with dark green or black surroundings. They are circular in shape.

How to fix it?

The best solution is using fungal sprays. I recommend copper-based fungicides because they are safe to use on plants.

Moreover, copper fungicides are easily available.

Wear gloves and safety glasses, then read the instruction on the bottle and open the fungicide bottle.

Ready-to-use fungicide sprays are already diluted and they are easy to use. Go for them if you never use fungicides on your plants.

Pest Infestation

Pests like aphids and mealybugs are sap suckers. They damage the plant tissues and at first, they attack the leaves.

Pests use their sharp mouth and make tiny holes in the pothos leaves. Lay their eggs and use plant sap to live a happy life.

Their happiness is not good for your pothos.

Every hole they make in the leaves turns brown over time.

How to fix it?

To prevent pest infestation, use neem oil spray regularly on your plant. I spray neem oil once in 20 days on all my houseplants.

But if your plant is already infected with pests then you need to use insecticidal soap. This soap is easily available on many garden sites.

Use it to wash your plant with normal tap water. Nowadays we have liquid sprays in the market. They are easy to use to kill plant pests.

The chemicals used in the insecticidal soap can kill all types of bugs and pests. The good news is it is safe to use on your pothos.

Once you finish the treatment keep your plant separate for a few days. When you are sure that there are no more pests on your plant. Then you can move your pothos close to your other plants.

Rusting of Leaves

Rusty leaves are common in some pothos varieties. In the first stage, you see small brown spots on the undersides of the leaves, especially at the bottom leaves.

Then slowly these small circular brown pots convert into a big cluster of spots.

Generally, the rusty brown spots on pothos leaves are harmless. They go on their own if you correct the growing conditions.

How to fix it?

Rusty spots develop in a warm and humid environment generally in low light. You need to correct these growing problems and your plant will heal itself in less than 10 days.

To help your plant heal fast remove the infected leaves.

Use neem spray to prevent the further spread of rust on other parts of your pothos.

Do not spray water on leaves and increase the amount of light or move pothos to a brighter place.


If there are brown spots on your pothos with some yellow leaves. And you also see roots growing from the drainage hole.

Then rootbound is the sure cause of brown spots on leaves.

When roots do not get proper space to grow. They start growing in circles and create a mess of roots.

The compactness of roots affects their functioning. Pothos roots do not absorb enough moisture and nutrients.

This condition raises the chances of dark spots on leaves with yellow leaves at the bottom.

How to fix it?

To fix rootbound pothos you just need to shift your plant to a big size pot. Generally, pothos needs repotting once every 2 years.

For repotting choose a plant pot that is 2 inches wider and 2 inches deep than the current pothos pot.

There should be a minimum of 1-inch space between the roots and the wall of the plant container.

Do not use the same potting soil, use fresh soil to give a nice nutritional boost to your pothos.

Transplant Damage

When you transplant your pothos from one pot to another pot. This put mild to serve stress on the plant depending upon your repotting technique.

Sometimes the pothos goes into extreme shock and this stops the proper function of the roots.

Also, the damage to roots during transplanting also affects the leaf health.

Damaged leaves, after transplanting turn brown but at first damaged leaves develop small dry brown spots.

Because at this time leaves have moisture content in them. Slowly they run out of moisture and the number of brown spots increases as well.

Once they become dry, they lose their natural color and completely turn brown.

How to fix it?

First, learn the proper repotting technique. Avoid damaging the plant roots and leaves especially when you pull your plant out of its pot.

Do the transplanting in spring and remove the damaged leaves. In spring and summer pothos are in their active state.

It can grow new leaves easily.

Anthracnose Fungus

Anthracnose is a fungal disease that affects all parts of the pothos. It gives brown marks on stems and leaves.

In fact, the new leaves will also get brown marks and this disease spread from leaves to all parts of the pothos within 48 hours.

It spreads only on rainy days when the humidity is on the higher side.

The small spots are brown and yellow strangely shaped.

How to fix it?

Because Anthracnose is a fungal disease you need to treat your pothos with good and effective fungicides.

Again, a fungicide that contains copper is good against fungal diseases. Because copper is highly toxic to fungal bacteria.

Use fungicides very carefully and in an outdoor environment.

Learn the correct watering technique and avoid overwatering the pothos.

How to Prevent Brown Spots on Pothos?

You can easily prevent brown spots on your pothos by giving your plants the best possible care. Pothos are easy to care and they need minimal attention.

  • Overwatering is the main cause of the brown spots on pothos in many cases.
  • To check the soil moisture level, invest in a soil moisture testing meter.
  • Then comes fungal diseases. They are common when you place your plant under unhygienic conditions
  • When you do not clean your plant leaves and dirt and dust continuously accumulate on the leaves. This increases the chances of fungal infection.
  • Pruning is also important to prevent brown spots. Because by trimming the overly growing parts and dead parts you are improving the air circulation.
  • Fresh air is necessary to keep the pothos plants healthy and disease free.


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