If you’re a plant parent like me, you know what a difference proper watering can make. Pothos plants are a low-maintenance favorite among many due to their gorgeous trailing vines. But how often should they be watered? The answer might surprise you – in a good way!
In this article, I’ll share some tips on determining when your Pothos needs watering, how to avoid overwatering, and more.
How often should Pothos be watered?
I wish there was a straightforward, one-size-fits-all answer to when you should water your Pothos. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
On average, you should water a Pothos plant every 7 to 14 days, which is quite a wide range. Luckily, some key factors will help you establish whether this should be closer to 7 or 14 days for your specific plant.
Pothos plants located in bright, sunny areas will need watering more frequently than those in shadier spots.
The reason is simple: brighter light conditions will cause the plant to use more water, and the soil will dry out more quickly.
Humidity above 50% is ideal for Pothos, but the plant may need watering more often in dryer environments. Placing a humidifier nearby can help increase humidity.
Conversely, if you live in a naturally humid environment, your Pothos may need watering less frequently.
Pothos plants prefer temperatures between 65-85°F (18-29°C).
In a cooler environment, it may not need watering as frequently. This is because cooler temperatures slow down the plant’s growth and metabolism.
In a warmer environment, it may need watering more frequently since higher temperatures cause the plant to grow and use more water.
During the summer months, when your Pothos is actively growing, you may need to water it more frequently to keep up with its increased water usage.
During the winter months, your plant goes into a dormant phase. Consider reducing watering frequency since the plant is not actively growing and therefore does not require as much water.
Type of soil
If your Pothos is planted in a soil mix that retains water, such as heavy clay soil, you may need to water it less frequently.
However, if your Pothos is planted in a fast-draining soil mix, like sandy or rocky soil, you may need to water it more frequently.
A smaller pot means less soil, which dries out faster, so the plant may require more frequent watering.
A larger pot has more soil, which retains moisture for longer periods and may require less watering.
A pot with good drainage allows excess water to escape, while a pot with poor drainage can cause water to accumulate near the roots.
As a result, you will need to water your Pothos more frequently if it’s in a pot with good drainage.
However, if it’s in a poorly draining pot, you will need to water it less frequently to prevent the soil from staying too wet and causing root rot. If this is the case for your plant, I recommend replanting it in a well-draining pot.
Signs that your Pothos needs water
I can tell immediately when my Pothos plants are thirsty because the first sign is drooping leaves. You’ll notice that the leaves are less perky than usual, hang lower, and feel less rigid to the touch. The pot may also feel unusually light when you pick it up.
If your Pothos is regularly underwatered, it may start to develop yellow or brown spots.
Make sure to water it immediately as soon as you notice the first signs of underwatering!
Another technique that I use is the “fingertip test“. To do this, stick your finger into the top inch or two of soil and see if it feels dry or moist. If it’s dry, it’s time to water your plant.
How to water a Pothos?
There are a few watering techniques you can use to water your Pothos.
I prefer alternating between top watering and bottom watering because this allows my plants to benefit from the advantages of both methods. Don’t know what top or bottom watering is? Let me explain:
Top watering is the most common technique and involves pouring water over the soil of the plant until it begins to drain out of the bottom of the pot.
The advantages of this technique are that it is straightforward, simple, and efficient. However, the downside of top watering is that it can lead to overwatering or underwatering.
Additionally, if the pot has poor drainage, the plant’s roots can become waterlogged, leading to root rot. Adequate drainage is crucial for your Pothos’ well-being, so make sure to use a pot with a lot of drainage holes.
Bottom watering is a technique where the plant is watered from the bottom up. This allows the water to be absorbed through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
To do this, place the pot in a tray or bowl of water for 10-15 minutes and wait for the soil to soak up the water.
The main advantage of bottom watering is that it ensures thorough watering since the water is drawn up from the bottom of the pot. It also reduces the risk of overwatering, as the plant will only absorb the amount of water it needs.
One downside to bottom watering is that it can be very time-consuming and may only work for some types of soil or pots. I usually use the bottom watering technique once a month for my Pothos.
Another option is using a self-watering planter. This is a container designed to regulate water distribution to the plant automatically. It has a reservoir at the bottom that holds water and a wick or a soil moisture sensor that draws water up to the plant roots as needed.
The advantage of using a self-watering planter for your Pothos is that it helps maintain a consistent soil moisture level, reducing the risk of over or underwatering. It also minimizes the need for frequent watering and allows you to leave your plant unattended for longer periods – perfect for vacations.
On the downside, self-watering planters can be expensive. Due to their complex watering systems, they may require more maintenance (such as regular cleanings of the water reservoir).
Tips for Proper Pothos Watering
Should I follow a watering schedule?
While this can certainly be tempting, I don’t recommend it.
As mentioned, your plant’s watering needs can vary depending on several factors that can change from day to day, or even hour to hour. This makes it very hard to establish a consistent watering schedule that will meet your plant’s needs.
Instead, I use the “fingertip test” to determine whether my Pothos needs watering.
What does an overwatered Pothos look like?
In my experience, overwatering can have more harmful consequences than underwatering.
The signs of overwatering can appear similar to those of underwatering, which can be confusing. It’s easy to misinterpret the signs and think that our plant needs more water when it actually needs less.
Signs of an overwatered Pothos include yellowing or wilting leaves, mushy stems, mold on the soil, and, in some cases, an odor emanating from the soil.
You may wonder why your plant is wilting despite having watered it recently. In this case, it is crucial to check the soil’s moisture before giving it another drink.
Pothos plants can handle their soil becoming quite dry in between waterings. Ensure no moisture is left in the top layer before watering.
Does water temperature matter?
Using cold water can shock the plant’s roots, damaging them, while hot water can scald them. Room temperature water is gentle on the roots and helps prevent stress on the plant. It’s also easier for the plant to absorb water that is closer to its natural temperature.
Does the type of Pothos matter?
The guidelines in this article apply to all types of Pothos, whether it’s a Golden Pothos, Marble Queen Pothos, Neon Pothos, or Manjula Pothos. Although these varieties have different colorations and leaf shapes, they all have similar needs in terms of light, water, and soil.
Should I mist my Pothos?
Misting is a popular practice, but it’s not beneficial for Pothos. Pothos plants are not particularly sensitive to humidity levels and can tolerate normal household humidity.
Misting will not have a noticeable impact on the humidity levels around your plant, especially if your home is already at a comfortable level of humidity.
Additionally, leftover water on the leaves may attract pests and diseases, which you definitely want to avoid.
Therefore, it’s best to skip misting your Pothos and focus on watering and fertilizing it properly.
Should I test the PH of my water?
The ideal pH range for Pothos is between 6.0 and 7.0. Regular tap water usually has an appropriate pH level for most plants, so testing your water’s pH is often unnecessary.
What kind of water should I use to water my Pothos?
Most tap water can be used for houseplants. However, the quality of tap water depends on where you live. I strongly recommend doing some research on the water in your area.
Softened tap water can be harmful to your plants because it contains salts that can build up in the soil over time. Filtered water is a good option, as it removes impurities that can harm your Pothos.
The best options, however, are rainwater, which contains good minerals and is free, or aquarium water. Yes, you read that right! Water from your fish tank contains many nutrients that Pothos will love.
Taking care of your Pothos doesn’t have to be complicated. Hopefully, you’ve learned everything you need to know about your Pothos’ watering needs today. And remember, Pothos are some of the most forgiving plants, so there’s no need to fret about accidentally over or under-watering them.