Why Are My Pothos Leaves So Small?

Why Are My Pothos Leaves So Small?

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If you are a plant enthusiast or a proud owner of a pothos plant, you might have noticed that the leaves are not growing as big as they should. Don’t worry; you’re not alone in this concern. Many plant lovers face the same issue, and there can be various reasons behind it. In this article, we will explore the possible causes of small pothos leaves and provide practical solutions to promote healthier growth. So, let’s delve into the world of pothos and uncover the secrets to vibrant, lush foliage.

Why Are My Pothos Leaves So Small?

Pothos Growing Small Leaves

Before we dive into the details, let’s understand the primary factors contributing to small pothos leaves.

1. Insufficient Light Exposure

Pothos plants are known for their adaptability to different light conditions, but they still require adequate light to thrive. Low light levels can lead to stunted leaf growth.

2. Improper Watering Practices

Overwatering or underwatering your pothos can have detrimental effects on its growth. Both these conditions can hinder nutrient absorption, resulting in smaller leaves.

3. Nutrient Deficiency

Pothos plants need essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to grow healthy foliage. A lack of these nutrients can cause smaller leaves.

4. Root Bound Plant

When the pothos outgrows its pot, the roots become crowded and entangled, hampering their ability to absorb water and nutrients.

5. Inadequate Humidity

Pothos prefer a moderately humid environment. Dry air can cause leaf edges to brown and curl, affecting overall leaf size.

6. Pests and Diseases

Pests like spider mites or diseases like root rot can weaken the plant, leading to reduced leaf size.

7. Temperature Extremes

Extreme temperatures, either too hot or too cold, can negatively impact pothos growth, resulting in smaller leaves.

8. Genetic Factors

Some pothos varieties naturally have smaller leaves compared to others due to their genetic makeup.

Pothos Growing Small Leaves 1

Understanding Light Requirements for Your Pothos

Proper lighting is crucial for optimal pothos growth. Let’s explore the light requirements for your pothos plant.

1. Bright, Indirect Light

Pothos plants thrive in bright, indirect light. Place them near a window with filtered sunlight to ensure adequate exposure.

2. Avoid Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, leading to discoloration and smaller growth. Keep your pothos away from harsh rays.

3. Low Light Tolerance

While pothos prefer bright light, they can tolerate low light conditions for some time. However, extended low light exposure can hinder growth.

Mastering the Art of Watering Your Pothos

Finding the right watering routine can make a significant difference in the leaf size of your pothos.

1. The Finger Test

Insert your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle. If the top inch feels dry, it’s time to water your pothos.

2. Drainage is Key

If you’re a pothos plant enthusiast, you know how crucial it is to maintain proper drainage in the plant’s pot. Adequate drainage is essential to prevent waterlogging, a condition where excess water accumulates in the soil and around the roots. Waterlogging can be detrimental to your pothos plant, leading to root rot and ultimately resulting in smaller, unhealthy leaves. To ensure your pothos thrives with vibrant, lush foliage, follow these tips to maintain excellent drainage:

2.1. Choose the Right Pot

Select a pot for your pothos that has drainage holes at the bottom. This allows excess water to escape and prevents it from pooling around the roots. A pot without drainage holes can trap water, suffocating the roots and leading to a host of problems, including smaller leaves.

2.2. Use Well-Draining Soil

Use a well-draining potting mix specifically designed for indoor plants. This type of soil allows water to pass through easily, reducing the risk of waterlogging. Avoid heavy soils that retain water for extended periods.

2.3. Elevate the Pot

Place your pothos pot on pot feet or small stones to lift it slightly above the surface it’s sitting on. Elevating the pot promotes air circulation and prevents water from being trapped beneath the pot.

2.4. Water Wisely

Avoid overwatering your pothos, as excessive water will accumulate in the pot and lead to waterlogging. Instead, water your pothos only when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. This helps maintain proper moisture levels without causing waterlogging.

2.5. Check Drainage Regularly

Inspect the drainage holes of your pothos pot regularly to ensure they are not clogged with soil or debris. Clean the drainage holes if necessary to ensure proper water flow.

2.6. Avoid Saucers

While plant saucers can catch excess water runoff, leaving your pothos pot sitting in water-filled saucers for an extended period can lead to waterlogging. If you use saucers, empty them promptly after watering to prevent water from being reabsorbed by the soil.

2.7. Monitor Root Health

Healthy roots are crucial for the overall well-being of your pothos plant. If you suspect root rot due to waterlogging, gently remove the plant from its pot, trim any affected roots, and replant it in fresh, well-draining soil.

Nourishing Your Pothos with Proper Nutrients

Just like any living organism, your pothos plant needs nourishment to grow and thrive. Providing the right nutrients is essential to support its overall health and promote the growth of larger, luscious leaves. Here are some valuable tips on how to nourish your pothos with proper nutrients:


1. Choose the Right Fertilizer

Select a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer that contains equal amounts of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). These three essential nutrients are represented by three numbers on the fertilizer package, such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. The balanced formulation ensures your pothos receives a mix of nutrients required for healthy leaf development.

2. Fertilize During the Growing Season

Pothos plants actively grow during the spring and summer months, making it the ideal time to fertilize. Apply the chosen fertilizer every 4-6 weeks to supply your plant with a steady stream of nutrients during its growth phase.

3. Adjust Fertilization During Dormancy

In the fall and winter, pothos plants enter a dormant phase, and their growth slows down. Reduce or stop fertilization during this period as the plant requires fewer nutrients. Over-fertilizing during dormancy can lead to nutrient imbalances and smaller leaves.

4. Follow Dilution Instructions

Always follow the dilution instructions provided on the fertilizer packaging. Applying undiluted fertilizer can burn the roots and harm your pothos. Mix the fertilizer with water according to the recommended ratio before applying it to the soil.

5. Use Organic Alternatives

If you prefer a more natural approach to fertilizing your pothos, consider using organic alternatives. Compost and worm castings are excellent choices, as they release nutrients slowly, providing a gentle and natural nutrient supply to your plant.

6. Avoid Over-Fertilizing

More fertilizer does not necessarily mean better growth. Over-fertilizing your pothos can cause nutrient imbalances and even damage the plant. Stick to the recommended fertilization schedule and dosage to avoid any adverse effects.

7. Prune and Remove Yellow Leaves

Prune and Remove Yellow Leaves in photos

Yellow leaves on your pothos are a sign of nutrient deficiency or stress. Regularly inspect your plant for yellowing leaves and remove them promptly. Pruning encourages the plant to focus its energy on new leaf growth.

8. Water Before Fertilizing

Water your pothos thoroughly before applying fertilizer. This ensures the roots are well-hydrated and ready to absorb the nutrients.

9. Avoid Foliar Feeding

Foliar feeding involves applying fertilizer directly to the leaves. While this method can provide a quick nutrient boost, pothos plants primarily absorb nutrients through their roots. Stick to root fertilization for consistent and effective nutrient uptake.

10. Monitor Plant Health

Pay attention to your pothos’ overall health and leaf color. If you notice signs of nutrient deficiency, such as yellowing or browning leaves, adjust your fertilization routine accordingly.

By nourishing your pothos with proper nutrients and maintaining a well-balanced fertilization regimen, you can ensure its leaves grow larger, healthier, and more vibrant, creating a stunning and thriving indoor plant display.

Repotting Your Pothos: A Step Towards Larger Leaves

As your pothos grows, it will require more space for its roots to expand.

1. Signs of Repotting

Observe whether the roots are growing out of the drainage holes or if the plant has stopped growing despite adequate care.

2. Choosing the Right Pot

Select a slightly larger pot with proper drainage to allow the roots to spread comfortably.

3. Repotting Process

Gently remove the plant from its current pot, untangle the roots, and place it in the new pot with fresh soil.

4. Aftercare

Water the newly repotted pothos and keep it in a shaded area for a few days to reduce stress.

Balancing Humidity for Pothos Happiness

Maintaining the right humidity levels can significantly impact leaf size and overall plant health.

1. Pebble Tray

Place a tray of water and pebbles near your pothos to create a humid microenvironment around the plant.

2. Grouping Plants

Positioning your pothos alongside other houseplants can create a naturally humid atmosphere.

3. Room Humidifier

Invest in a room humidifier to ensure consistent humidity levels for your pothos.

Safeguarding Your Pothos from Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases can weaken your pothos and hinder leaf growth. Stay vigilant and take preventative measures.

1. Regular Inspections

Inspect your pothos regularly for any signs of pests like spider mites or aphids.

2. Natural Remedies

Use natural remedies like neem oil or insecticidal soap to combat common pests.

3. Quarantine

Isolate any infected plants to prevent the spread of diseases to other healthy plants.

Embracing the Right Temperature for Pothos Growth

Pothos plants thrive in moderate temperatures. Let’s explore the ideal temperature range.

1. Room Temperature

Keep your pothos in an area with temperatures between 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 29°C).

2. Avoid Drafts

Protect your pothos from cold drafts and sudden temperature changes, as they can stress the plant.

Celebrating Pothos Diversity: Genetic Factors

Different pothos varieties exhibit distinct leaf shapes and sizes due to their genetic makeup.

1. Pothos Varieties

Explore various pothos varieties like Golden Pothos, Marble Queen, or Neon Pothos, each with unique leaf characteristics.

2. Respect the Nature of the Plant

Remember that some varieties naturally have smaller leaves, and that’s part of their charm.

How to Make Pothos Leaves Grow Bigger 

If you’re a plant lover and a proud owner of a pothos plant, you may wonder how to make its leaves grow bigger and more vibrant. Pothos, also known as Epipremnum aureum, is a popular and easy-to-care-for houseplant with heart-shaped, glossy leaves that can beautify any indoor space. To achieve lush, healthy foliage, follow these essential tips to encourage your pothos leaves to grow bigger:

1. Provide Adequate Light

Pothos plants thrive in bright, indirect light. Place your pothos near a window with filtered sunlight to ensure it receives enough light without direct exposure to harsh rays. Insufficient light can lead to smaller leaves and weaker growth.

2. Maintain Optimal Watering Practices

Balancing your watering routine is crucial for promoting larger pothos leaves. Check the soil moisture by inserting your finger into the top inch of the soil. Water your pothos only when the soil feels dry. Overwatering can lead to root rot and hinder nutrient absorption, while underwatering can cause stress and stunted leaf growth.

3. Feed with Balanced Fertilizer

Provide your pothos with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer that contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Fertilize your plant every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) to support healthy leaf development.

4. Repot When Necessary

As your pothos grows, it may become root-bound, meaning its roots outgrow the pot. Repot your pothos into a slightly larger container with fresh soil to give its roots more space to expand and encourage bigger leaf growth.

5. Monitor Humidity Levels

Pothos plants prefer moderately humid environments. To create a humid microclimate around your plant, consider using a pebble tray or grouping it with other houseplants. Consistent humidity promotes healthy leaf size and reduces the risk of browning and curling.

6. Keep an Eye on Temperature

Maintain the ideal temperature range of 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 29°C) for your pothos. Avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures, as this can stress the plant and hinder leaf growth.

7. Pruning for Fuller Foliage

Regular pruning can encourage your pothos to grow bushier and develop more leaves. Trim off leggy growth and yellowing leaves to redirect the plant’s energy towards new growth.

8. Support with Moss Poles

If you want to see your pothos produce larger leaves with more pronounced fenestrations (natural splits in the leaves), provide support with a moss pole. Climbing on the pole will encourage the plant to grow bigger and more complex leaves.

9. Clean and Dust the Leaves

Dust and grime on the leaves can hinder photosynthesis and block light absorption. Gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to keep them clean and free from debris.

10. Be Patient and Observant

Growing bigger pothos leaves takes time and patience. Monitor your plant’s growth, adjust care as needed, and celebrate its progress.

By following these tips and providing your pothos with the love and care it deserves, you’ll witness its leaves grow bigger, creating a stunning and vibrant addition to your indoor space. Enjoy the beauty of your thriving pothos plant and the sense of accomplishment in nurturing its growth.


Q: Why do pothos leaves turn yellow?

A: Pothos leaves can turn yellow due to overwatering, underwatering, or nutrient deficiencies. Adjust your watering and fertilization practices accordingly.

Q: Can I propagate my pothos to get larger leaves?

A: Yes, propagating healthy stems can lead to new growth with larger leaves.

Q: How often should I repot my pothos?

A: Repot your pothos every 1-2 years or when you notice roots outgrowing the current pot.

Q: Can I use tap water for my pothos?

A: While pothos can tolerate tap water, it’s better to use filtered water to avoid harsh chemicals.

Q: How do I know if my pothos is root-bound?

A: If you notice roots circling the inside of the pot or growing out of the drainage holes, your pothos is likely root-bound.

Q: Can pothos survive in low light conditions?

A: Pothos can survive in low light conditions, but they won’t grow as vigorously as in bright, indirect light.


Small pothos leaves can be a common issue, but with the right knowledge and care, you can help your plant thrive and achieve lush, vibrant foliage. Remember to provide adequate light, water, and nutrients, and maintain the proper humidity and temperature levels. Regularly inspect your plant for pests and diseases and take proactive measures if needed. Embrace the diversity of pothos varieties, each with its unique leaf size and shape. By following these guidelines and understanding your pothos’ needs, you’ll witness your plant flourish and showcase its natural beauty.