How Often to Water Pothos: The Complete Guide

By: Matt Slaymaker
June 26, 2024
How Often to Water Pothos
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Pothos is a popular and low-maintenance houseplant that can thrive with minimal care. It's almost impossible to kill, as it’s adaptable to various conditions. However, understanding its watering needs is vital for maintaining this vining plant’s lush, vibrant foliage. 

Typically, a Pothos requires watering when the top inch or two of the soil feels dry. The frequency of watering this ease-care plant also depends on factors like seasonal changes, pot size, soil type, humidity, and indoor temperatures. This means you should always adjust your Pothos watering schedule, based on its growing environment. Remember that overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering will cause wilting and crisp leaves. 

Our comprehensive guide will help you master the art of Pothos plant watering and learn how to avoid common watering mistakes that can affect its optimal health.

About Pothos Plants

About Pothos Plants

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), also known as Devil's Ivy, is a tropical plant, native to the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. Hence, it is well adapted to the wet and dry cycles that tropical climates are known for. 

This plant features heart-shaped, glossy leaves that often showcase a beautiful variegation on its foliage in green, yellow, or white splashes. A natural air purifier, according to NASA, this indoor plant thrives in a variety of lighting conditions, from low to bright, indirect light, though it prefers moderate indirect light. Pothos plants adapt well to fluctuating humidity levels and temperatures, too. Ideally, they grow best when the temperature is between 70°-90°F and prefer high humidity, which can be achieved with occasional misting.

Outdoors, Pothos does well in hardiness zones 10/11. So, when the temperature drops, you should bring your plant inside to prevent cold damage.

Some popular Pothos varieties include Golden Pothos, known for its green leaves with golden-yellow variegation, Pothos Pearl Jade, which has green leaves with white and gray splashes, or the Pothos Green Jade, boasting deep-green shiny foliage.

Pothos plants are favored for their beautiful appearance and ease of care, making these gorgeous green companions a great gift for friends and family. Remember that pothos are toxic to cats and dogs, so these plants should be kept out of reach from curious pets.

How Often Should I Water Indoor Pothos?

How Often Should I Water My Pothos

Indoor Pothos plants have minimal water requirements and often can withstand long periods without watering. Still, to enjoy a vibrant and thriving Pothos, consider watering once a week or bi-weekly. Watch for signs that indicate your plant is thirsty and adjust your watering routine according to seasonal changes, lighting conditions, humidity, and temperature.

When to Water Your Pothos Plant

Water your Pothos, when the top 2-inch layer of the soil is completely dry. If the weather is too hot, give your plant a drink in the morning or evening. Avoid hydrating it midday when the sun is strong. Although many Pothos varieties will be just fine without water for more than 3 weeks, it’s best to maintain a consistent watering routine to prevent underwatering issues.

How to Water Pothos the Right Way 

How to Water a Pothos Plant

You can water your beautiful vining Pothos using two common techniques - the bottom-up or over-the-soil watering method. Both ways have advantages, as discussed below. 

Most Pothos growers use the bottom-up method to water their plants. It involves placing your plant in a shallow tray filled with water and allowing it to absorb moisture through the pot’s drainage holes. This method, though time-consuming, ensures thorough hydration for the whole plant without the risk of waterlogging. 

The over-the-soil method, which involves watering directly onto the soil surface, is preferred when a plant needs flushing of the salt and mineral buildups, especially in the growing season when fertilizers may be used. It’s a convenient and efficient way to maintain the soil moisture levels and keep the root system healthy and well-nourished.

What Is the Best Way to Water Pothos?

Both watering techniques have their place and purpose, as we can see. For instance, if you’ve been away and your pothos appears on the dry side, it will appreciate immediate hydration through the over-the-soil watering method. Water thoroughly your plant until you see the water running through the drainage holes.

For more gradual and even hydration of the plant’s root system, choose the bottom watering technique, especially in the cooler months.

Is Bottom Watering Good for Pothos?

Yes, bottom watering is good for Pothos. These hanging plants usually have a dense root ball, which absorbs better more water from the bottom than the top. In addition, if you tend to overwater your houseplants, bottom watering may be the way to go. The plant will take in the moisture it just needs. Also, you have better control over how much water the soil receives, as you can simply remove the pot from the tray with water when you feel your Pothos has had enough to drink.

Should You Soak Pothos?

Soaking Pothos is only recommended if it's too dry and you think the other watering methods will not sufficiently revive it.  To soak a dying Pothos, fill a deep enough vessel with water and place your plant’s pot inside it. Leave for about 30 minutes until the soil surface feels moist. 

Can I Use Tap Water for Pothos?

You can use tap water for your Pothos but leave it overnight for the chemicals, like chlorine or fluoride, to evaporate. Distilled or purified water can also be used. The water should be at room temperature to prevent shocking your Pothos plant. Slightly lukewarm water is also fine. 

Pothos Water Requirements: Common Issues

Pothos Watering Issues
Source: Budget Botany

To water your Pothos correctly, always consider its growing environment and seasonal changes. Dry hot weather should prompt you to water your Pothos more frequently and provide it with extra moisture through the leaves by misting it occasionally. Conversely, during fall and winter, refrain from hydrating your plant more than once every 2 weeks. This way you’ll prevent common issues with your Pothos’ leaves from overwatering or underwatering the plant.  

How to Tell If a Pothos Needs Water?

Here are some telltale signs that your Pothos needs water:

  • Its leaves seem to be wilting or drooping
  • The soil's top layer is very dry when you check with your finger
  • The leaves of your Pothos are browning, crisp, or brittle
  • The overall appearance of your plant is sad and unhealthy

How to Fix an Underwatered Pothos?

You can help and revive your underwatered Pothos by thoroughly watering it from the top until water runs out of the drainage holes. Allow excess water to drain completely. It’s best if you throw this water from the plant saucer to prevent root rot. The soaking method is also applicable in this case.

You may also want to mist the leaves occasionally to increase humidity around the plant if it's less than 40%. Finally, check your plant's location to ensure it's not exposed to direct sunlight or drafts, as these can further stress an already weakened plant. 

How Do You Know If a Pothos Is Overwatered?

Your Pothos will display the following signs if you water it unnecessarily or excessively:

  • More yellow leaves than green ones
  • Mushy dark roots with an unpleasant smell
  • Soft or drooping leaves
  • Curled leaves
  • Black stems
  • Mold on the soil surface

How Do You Fix an Overwatered Pothos?

To fix an overwatered Pothos, firstly, let the soil dry out completely before watering your plant again. Trim any yellow or mushy leaves to promote new growth. Tweak your Pothos watering schedule to ensure the soil remains moist but not waterlogged.

You can also consider repotting your plant in well-draining soil if necessary, and ensure the has sufficient drainage holes to prevent water accumulation at the base. Finally, move your plant to a spot with bright, indirect light, as low-light conditions combined with frequent watering can result much faster in an overwatered plant.

How Often to Water Pothos: FAQs

Q: Can Pothos go 3 weeks without water?

A: Pothos is a relatively drought-resistant plant and, thus, can generally go 3 (or more) weeks without water. But this isn't true for every Pothos variety. Whether your plant will survive such a long dry spell depends on various factors, such as its soil quality, the type of container it's planted in, environmental conditions, lighting, and more. 

Q: Do Pothos like to be misted?

A: Pothos prefer humidity levels between 40-60% and, thus, won't complain if you regularly mist them. This will help prevent your Pothos from developing brown edges on its leaves and losing its glossy appearance. 

Q: Do Pothos like warm or cold water?

A: Cold water is a big NO for Pothos (or any houseplant for that matter) as it can shock its roots. Water at room temperature is the best choice for houseplants, including your Pothos. 

Q: How do you water a Pothos in winter?

A: A Pothos usually becomes dormant or less active in the winter season, so you don't need to water it a lot. It'll likely need watering every 3-4 weeks, provided the humidity and room temperature are moderate, not too low, and warm, respectively.

Q: What does a dehydrated Pothos look like?

A: You can recognize a dehydrated Pothos by its browning, droopy, or wilted leaves, and dry soil. Your Pothos will lack its glossy lock and natural vibrancy.   


Proper watering is essential for maintaining the health of your Pothos plant. The best practice is to water when the top inch of soil is dry and be mindful of environmental factors that may affect the moisture levels in the soil. 

Pairing Pothos with other easy-care houseplants can further beautify your indoor garden, and maintain the right humidity levels around your plant. Consider companions like snake plants and philodendrons, which share similar look and care requirements, to create a lush, thriving green space in your home.