Dark Blotches on Pothos Plant

(Question)

I have dark blotches on my Pothos. It is in front of a large window and I don’t over water it. What is wrong with it?

 

 

(Answer)

Pothos, or Epipremnum aureum, are tropical climbing vines native to Australia and Asia. As such, they don’t like direct sunlight or standing in water, but they do like consistent tropical temperatures in the 20 to 30 celsius range (70-90F). Your leaf spots are likely of fungal origin and indicate that your plant is not happy with its current environment. It is possible that the light it is receiving is too direct. Living under the canopy of forest trees gives Pothos a dappled light in the wild, so check to see that your pot isn’t too close to the cold glass, or direct light. They also prefer free draining soil, so check that your potting mix is a tropical blend which doesn’t hold moisture for long periods. Ensure that your pot has drainage holes and that no water sits in the saucer under the pot. Allow the soil in your pot to dry out before watering again.

Leaf spot often occurs in areas of poor air circulation. This may be caused by overcrowding of houseplants or of a single, large plant. Isolate your Pothos from other indoor plants while it has leaf spot. Remove the diseased leaves with sharp clippers or your fingernail and dispose of leaves in the garbage. Decontaminate any tools used. Pothos leaves are relatively thick and waxy and, over time, can become clogged with dust and fungal spores. Rinse your plant in the laundry sink gently, with warm (not hot) water, cleansing the leaves to remove any build up. This makes the plant look better, reduces the spore count and the number of insect pests. It also refreshes the plant by unclogging the stomata (pores that help the plant to breath, or photosynthesize) on the leaf surface. Its a good idea to rinse the plant several times during the growing season (spring and summer). You may also add tropical plant fertilizer at this time to give your Pothos a boost of nutrients to grow new leaves to replace the ones you have removed.

Occasionally, spots on leaves are caused by household cleaning agents, so be aware when using them near your plants. Once your Pothos has recovered, and sprouted new growth, you can move it near other indoor plants, but give it some room, indirect light, warmth and only water when the soil is no longer damp.

Lastly, it is advisable to wear gloves when handling and pruning your Pothos as its sap can cause irritation to some individuals.

Good luck.