How To Water Pothos Plants for Optimal Growth Indoors

In my experience, pothos plants are arguably one of the most straightforward plants to care for, but poor water habits can make them discolored, stretched out, or even flopping over. My Pothos need weekly watering during the spring and summer and biweekly during the fall and winter or once the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil dry out. I find the best technique is to test the soil’s moisture instead of following a set schedule, as environmental factors impact the watering frequency. Make sure you’re giving your Pothos plants just the right amount and type of water with this guide.

When and How to Water Pothos Plants at Home

When To Water Pothos Plants?

Pothos plants natively grow in tropical and sub-tropical areas; they typically require watering every 7 to 14 days. However, as a quick rule, try to allow the soil’s top two to three inches to dry out between watering sessions. 

Additionally, I always look for cues and hints from my plants instead of marrying a strict watering schedule, as various factors contribute to your Pothos plant’s watering needs. 

How Do You Know When a Pothos Plant Needs Watering?

Do not allow the Pothos plant’s soil to become bone-dry. However, ensure that the top two to three inches of the soil dries in between each watering cycle.

Additionally, when the Pothos exhibit wilting or drooping foliage, they may need extra water.

Various effective methods exist to test if the Pothos plant needs rewatering; these methods include: 

  • The finger test – stick your clean index finger into the Pothos plant’s soil about two inches deep. If the ground feels moist or wet, wait a few days before watering the plant. In comparison, if it feels dry, water the plant. 
  • Test the soil using a stick – this method is similar to the finger test; however, you use a stick instead of your finger. 
  • Use a moisture probe or meter – a moisture meter or probe works well to measure the moisture in the potting mixture. 
  • The weight test – if the pot feels lighter than usual when you pick up the plant, it is an indication that the Pothos needs watering.

How Often Do Pothos Plants Typically Need Watering?

Assuming that the pothos plant is in bright, indirect sunlight with average temperature and humidity, I find that I need to water my Pothos every 7 to 10 days in spring and summer and approximately every 10 to 14 days in the winter.

Environmental Considerations

As mentioned, it’s best to consider the contributing environmental factors to determine the amount and frequency of water your Pothos needs instead of following a watering schedule: 

  • Lighting conditions: Exposing the plant to brighter, direct sunlight will allow the soil to dry out rapidly; in turn, the Pothos will need more frequent watering. In comparison, low-lit areas tend to result in the plant needing a drink less frequently.
    For example, you’ll need to water the plant more frequently if you grow it near a north- or south-facing window. 
  • Temperature: In warmer areas, plants generally consume more water; therefore, the Pothos will need more frequent watering.
  • Humidity: Like sunlight exposure, the Pothos will require less watering in an environment with high humidity (similar to its native area) and more frequent watering if you plan to keep it in a location with low moisture.
  • Soil type: Not all soil is equal; the composition of your potting mixture will play a significant role in how often your Pothos needs watering. Pothos plants typically thrive in ordinary potting soil that is well-draining. However, adding ingredients like perlite and peat moss will increase the ground’s aeration and the water’s absorption. Therefore, you’ll need to water the Pothos plant less frequently.

Seasonal Considerations

The Pothos plant actively starts growing in the late spring. The temperatures start climbing from late spring through summer, and the soil absorbs water faster due to warmer weather. So, you may need to water the Pothos weekly rather than biweekly, but this will depend on the temperatures of your climate.

Then again, from fall through winter, Pothos plants continue growing right through the season. So, it may need a little less watering due to colder temperatures.

How to Water Pothos Plants

A vibrant green pothos plant on a side table indoors next to a copper watering can and bright sunny window

The Pothos plant communicates in various ways to let us know that it is thirsty. So, instead of following a strict watering schedule, pay attention to the specific plant’s needs.

Here are the aspects to consider when watering the Pothos plant.

Drainage is a vital factor to consider when growing Pothos. The potting mixture needs to be loose, aerated, and well-draining. Lastly, the container needs to have ample drainage holes.

Excess water will smother the roots and cause fungal diseases and root rot without proper drainage. 

What Type of Water is Best for Pothos Plants?

Although Pothos plants tolerate regular tap water, the purer the water supply is, the healthier and more robust the Pothos will be.

The best options are rainwater, distilled water, or filtered water. However, if you only have access to tap water, allow it to stand in an open container for about 24 hours to allow the chlorine to dissipate before watering the Pothos.

Watering Techniques

In my experience, the saturation method is the best technique to follow when watering the Pothos plant. One of the most significant errors made when watering a Pothos plant is not providing enough water to feed the top of the root ball. 

Therefore, follow the correct saturation method to ensure that the entire root system has access to water without standing water that turns roots soggy.

You’ll want to ensure that the Pothos is in a container about two inches larger than the plant’s root ball. Then, ensure that the pot has adequate drainage holes and use aerated and well-draining potting soil.

Next, pour the water around the base of the plant while trying to avoid wetting the foliage. Continue watering the Pothos until water comes out of the drainage holes. Lastly, tip the container to prevent root rot and pour off any excess standing water.

Signs You Might Be Overwatering

A small potted pothos plant with yellowing and wilting leaves potentially due to underwatering

Like underwatering, the Pothos plant will communicate in various ways if it receives too much water. So, look out for the following signs.

  • Guttation is a process that occurs when the Pothos try to process the excess water in the ground by pushing water out through the foliage tips while the roots absorb moisture from the soil.
  • Wilted or curling leaves 
  • Wet, soggy roots 
  • Common pothos plant pests like mealybugs 

To rescue an overwatered Pothos plant, allow the soil to dry out and prevent watering it until the top two to three inches feel dry to the touch. Additionally, use a soil probe to aerate the soil and consider pruning your pothos to remove past prime or decaying foliage.

Signs You Might Be Underwatering

The Pothos plant communicates in various ways to let us know that it is thirsty. A few examples that the plant exhibits include the following:

  • Sunken leaves
  • Dry and crackly leaves with yellow or brown, dry patches.
  • Pothos Leaf drop and a dying Pothos plant are indications of underwatering. 

Revive the Pothos plant by providing enough water to moisten the entire root ball by watering the plant until the water starts running from the draining holes. 

What to Do In Between Watering Cycles

A person spraying a pothos plant with water

Pothos will benefit from additional TLC in between watering cycles, including the occasional fertilizing and ensuring you position the pothos plant in the best location in your home for optimal growth. Here is what to do:

Main Things To Keep An Eye On

The main things to watch for in-between watering the Pothos is the following: 

  • Drooping leaves
  • Spotted leaves
  • Curling or wilting foliage
  • Loss of variegation or vibrancy
  • Color changes in the plant’s foliage 

The Role of Water in Plant Health and Development

Water helps a plant in several ways, ensuring healthy growth and development.

  • Water acts as a solvent and transpiration carrier that helps transport the soil’s essential nutrients to the plant, preventing malnourishment and a physically weak plant.
  • Without enough water in a plant’s cells, the plant becomes weak and limp. Proving water ensures that the plant cells are full of water, keeping them rigid and upright and increasing their growth.
  • Water helps with the hydraulic process that converts starch into sugar.

Watering Pothos Plants FAQs

What are the most common signs a Pothos plant needs watering?

The most common sign of a pothos plant needing water is when the leaves of the Pothos wilt or turn yellow and brown or when the foliage feels crispy around the edges.

What is the most effective way to water Pothos plants?

The best way to water the Pothos is through the saturated method or top watering.

How much water do Pothos plants need? 

The amount of water a Pothos needs depends on its environment and size. However, it typically needs watering once the first two to three inches of the soil is dry. More so, water the plant until the water starts running through the drainage holes.

Is it ok to get water on Pothos plant leaves? 

The Pothos leaves can get slightly wet through misting, but you’ll want to avoid letting large water drops pool on the surface of the foliage for extended periods as it can cause diseases.

What do I do if I overwater my plant? 

Try to drain the excess water and allow the soil to dry completely before rewatering the Pothos. Additionally, remove the infected parts and repot your pothos plant if the plant develops root rot.

Can I water my plant with tap water? 

Pothos plants tolerate regular tap water, but they will be healthier and more robust when you use rainwater, distilled water, or filtered water.

Should I mist my Pothos plant?

Although not necessary, the Pothos benefits from the extra humidity. So, mist the plant once a week to boost moisture and to clean the plant.

Wrapping Up

To summarize, instead of following a strict watering schedule, test the soil to see if the top two or three inches are dry before rewatering the Pothos plant. In addition, consider the environmental factors as each impacts the plant’s frequency of watering.

The best method to follow when watering the Pothos plant is the saturation method, as it will ensure that the entire root ball receives moisture while preventing soggy soil and root rot. 

By following these straightforward tips on how to water Pothos plants, you’re will have a lush Pothos as the star of your houseplant collection!

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