Potho diseases: how to detect them and which are the most common

Potho can suffer from several fungal and bacterial diseases

The poto, also called pothos, is a very common climbing vine in homes. And this is not surprising, because it has very beautiful green leaves, its maintenance is simple and it is easy to reproduce. It is in fact a tropical plant which, in the wild, grows under the protection of the leaves of trees, thus avoiding direct sunlight. For this reason, it is an ideal vegetable to have inside our home, as it prefers to avoid direct light. However, there is always the risk that some of the diseases of the poto appear, it is therefore very important to know how to detect and treat them in time.

To help you, we will first explain to you what the various symptoms can be due to, such as discoloration of the leaves or the appearance of spots. It’s not always a disease, because the poto It is a rather sensitive plant that immediately makes us see if something happens to it, such as too little or too much water. Next we will talk about the most common potho diseases. So, if you have a copy, or several, of this plant at home, I recommend that you continue reading this article, since we will give you very useful information for the care of this plant.


How do I know if my pothos is sick?

We can detect if our poto is sick by its leaves

When vegetables suffer for any reason, whether from pests, disease, or simply poor care, they show it. There are several signs that we can observe in plants that indicate something is wrong. We must first be able to exclude that it is a scourge or negligence on our part. Among the pests that commonly affect pothos are the red spider mite, scale insect and thrips.

In order to exclude that it is a lack or an excess of something, We must consider the following signs and their possible causes:

  • White and yellow leaves: Lack of water. Need to water more. The substrate is probably dry.
  • Leaves yellow, but not soft: Pothos are quite susceptible to iron deficiency, which eventually produces iron chlorosis. It could therefore be due to the lack of iron in the substrate. In this case, the best we can do is to add iron chelates or use an iron-rich fertilizer.
  • soft leaves: You suffer from dryness or are exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Falling wrinkled stems and leaves: The poto was cold. This plant does not tolerate temperatures below ten degrees very well.
  • Leaf color loss: It requires more light. But be careful, it should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Leaves with yellow and brown spots: It is very likely that in this case the poto has an excess of water. It is best to let the substrate dry out before watering it again, and to do so less frequently. It is important to remember that poto does not tolerate constant humidity well, let alone waterlogging.

The most common potho diseases

The potho is an ideal plant for the house

Once we know that our plant is not suffering from a pest or neglect, we can begin to suspect that it is a disease. While it is true that most diseases are usually fungal, this can also be the case for certain pathologies caused by bacteria or viruses. In order to be able to recognize the different diseases and apply a treatment, we will discuss the most common potho diseases below.

stem and root rot

First, we have stem and root rot. This disease is quite serious and is caused by fungi rhizoctonia and Pythium. Once the vegetable is infected there is not much we can do. Usually, in nurseries that produce pothos for commercial purposes, they usually apply preventive treatment using fungicides, but at home this is excluded.

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How to avoid root rot?

In general, fungi penetrate vegetables more easily when the humidity is high, so it is essential to avoid excess water. It is a breeding ground for rhizoctonia and Pythium. At home we must try to prevent the occurrence of this fungal disease thanks to irrigation control and always without spraying.

mushroom spots

Apart from rhizoctonia and Pythium, many fungi can damage pothos. Generally you can see spots on the leaves when the plant is affected by a fungal disease. In most cases, applying a copper fungicide will do the trick. It also helps a lot if the pot or soil has good drainage. This will allow less water to pool and it is less likely that fungus will start to appear. Of course, always remove the damaged parts of the plant. However, the idea of ​​throwing away the whole vegetable should not be ruled out if the vast majority of it is affected by fungus.


Not only fungi are responsible for potho diseases, but also some bacteria, especially those belonging to the genus Pseudomonas and Erwinia. These cause watery spots on the leaves of pothos. It is a fatal disease which, unfortunately, is incurable. The best we can do in these cases is to remove the affected parts and hope they haven’t spread further. Fortunately, diseases caused by bacteria are much less common than fungal diseases.

Related article:

Bacterial blight (Erwinia amylovora)

Now you know the most common potho diseases, but in most cases it’s just a matter of the wrong care we give the plant. For this reason, it’s best to know exactly what poto’s worries are. If we are careful to take care of it and keep it well, it is very unlikely that it will suffer from any disease. Preventing the appearance of pests will also help us prevent the appearance of diseases, because certain parasites transmit or facilitate the appearance of certain pathogenic agents.

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