Pothos Cuttings Not Growing and Rooting: 19 Reasons & Solutions

If you’re a gardening enthusiast who loves pothos plants’ lush, trailing beauty, you might have tried to propagate these hardy greens.

But what happens when those hopeful cuttings don’t seem to take root or sprout new leaves?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this! In this post, I’ll help you understand the everyday challenges of rooting and growing pothos cuttings.

From the nuances of cutting techniques to the mysteries of light, water, and soil conditions, we’ll explore the factors hindering your pothos’ growth.

I have rounded up my experience packed with tips and solutions here. No matter if you’re a seasoned gardener or a budding plant parent, these tips and solutions will help your pothos cuttings thrive.

Pothos Not Growing For 9 Reasons

Pothos, known for their hardiness and ease of care, can sometimes run into growth issues due to various environmental and care factors. Here’s a detailed look at the most common nine reasons why your pothos might not be growing:

Insufficient Light

Pothos plants prefer bright, indirect light. While they tolerate low light conditions, too little light can significantly slow down their growth.

If your pothos is in a particularly dark spot, consider moving it to a location where it receives more natural light but avoids direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.

Overwatering or Underwatering

Watering issues are common culprits for stunted growth in pothos. Overwatering can lead to root rot, a severe condition that hampers a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients and water.

On the other hand, underwatering can stress the plant, causing it to conserve energy and reduce growth. You have to ensure the soil is moist but not soggy and allow the top one inch of soil to dry out simultaneously between waterings.

Poor Soil Conditions

Pothos aren’t fussy about soil, but they do need a well-draining potting mix. If the soil is too dense or doesn’t drain well, it can lead to water retention and root problems.

Consider repotting your pothos in a fresh, high-quality potting mix like Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix for good drainage.

Nutrient Deficiency

Like all plants, pothos needs nutrients to grow. They might have exhausted the available nutrients if they’ve been in the same soil for a long time.

Feeding your pothos with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer like Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food every few months can help promote growth or Lush Leaf Fertilizer.

Temperature Stress

Pothos prefer a warm, stable environment. Extreme temperature fluctuations or very low temperatures can stress the plant, leading to stunted growth.

Keep your pothos in a room with a consistent temperature that mimics their tropical origin.

Lack of Humidity

As tropical plants, pothos thrive in a humid environment. Dry air, often found in homes with central heating or air conditioning, can hinder their growth.

Increasing humidity around the plant through misting, using a humidifier, or placing a pot on a tray of wet pebbles can help.

Pest Infestations

Pests like spider mites, mealybugs, and scale can affect the health of your pothos, leading to stunted growth.

Keep an eye on your plant for any signs of pests and treat them promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

You can try Neem Bliss – Pure Organic Neem Oil Spray for Plants for the most effective results.

Pot Size and Root Bound Conditions

If your pothos is root-bound, meaning the roots have filled up the pot, leaving no room to grow, it can limit the plant’s growth.

Check if the roots encircle the pot’s bottom or come from the drainage holes. Repotting into a slightly larger pot can give your pothos the space they need to grow.

Improper Pruning

While pothos plants are generally low-maintenance, they benefit from occasional pruning to encourage fuller growth.

It might become leggy with sparse leaves if you haven’t pruned your pothos. Regular pruning can stimulate new growth and make the plant bushier.

Variegated pothos with green and white leaves in a simple dark pot, creating a striking contrast against a white background.

Why Is Pothos Cutting Not Rooting? Here is 10 Reasons

If your pothos cuttings are not rooting, it can be disappointing, primarily since pothos are generally known for their ease of propagation. Several factors could be affecting the rooting process. 

Cutting Technique

The way you cut your pothos can impact its ability to root. Each cutting should have at least one node (the point on the stem where leaves are attached) as roots grow from these nodes. If the cutting is just a leaf without a node, it won’t root.

Water Quality

If you’re rooting in water, the quality of the water can affect rooting. Chlorinated tap water can sometimes hinder root growth. Letting tap water sit out overnight before using it can allow some of the chlorine to evaporate. Alternatively, you can use distilled or rainwater.

Water Temperature

Pothos cuttings prefer warm water to root effectively. If the water is too cold, it can slow down or even stop the rooting process. Ensure the water is at room temperature.

Light Conditions

While pothos cuttings don’t require direct sunlight to root, they need bright, indirect light. Too little light can slow down the rooting process. However, avoid placing them in direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.

Water Level and Change Frequency

The nodes of the cuttings need to be submerged in water, but the leaves should not be underwater.

Also, it’s essential to change the water regularly (about once a week) to keep it fresh and oxygenated, which encourages root growth.

Rooting Medium

Some people have better success rooting pothos in a moist, well-draining potting mix rather than water. If water propagation isn’t working, you might try planting the cuttings in the soil.

Health of the Mother Plant

The health of the parent plant from which the cuttings were taken can also affect rooting. If the mother plant is unhealthy or stressed, its cuttings may not root well.

Environmental Stress

Extreme temperatures, drafts, or dry air can stress cuttings, making it hard for them to root. Keep them in a stable, warm environment with good air circulation but no direct drafts.


Sometimes, it just takes longer than expected for roots to appear. Patience is key. Some cuttings can take several weeks to start developing roots.

Disease or Decay

If the cutting starts to rot or develop a fungal infection, it won’t root. This can happen if the water is not changed frequently enough or the cutting is damaged.

Final Words

As we wrap up our journey through the world of pothos propagation, I hope this blog has shed light on the common hurdles you might face with your pothos cuttings.

To help your plants grow well, learning how to cut them, give them the right amount of water and light, and create a nurturing environment is essential.

Challenges like slow growth or pauses in growth are normal, but with the proper care, you can become an expert at growing pothos plants. So, keep in mind that you need to give your plants the right conditions to thrive.

Don’t be disheartened if success doesn’t come immediately; gardening is as much about patience and learning as it is about the joy of growing.

Keep experimenting, stay observant, and, most importantly, enjoy the process. Your lush, leafy pothos are just around the corner, ready to bring your space a green serenity. Happy gardening, and may your pothos cuttings flourish!

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