Does Pothos Need Drainage? (Causes And Solutions)

Pothos is a famous plant favored by many people around the world. They are often grown in homes, offices, or decorative areas. The beauty of the Pothos plant is aesthetic and decorative in many spaces. In particular, they also do not require a lot of care time or complicated care techniques.

Therefore, the Pothos plant is becoming more and more popular and favored plant species. However, one of the top concerns many people have when growing this plant is drainage.

Does pothos need drainage? Without drainage holes, can Pothos grow and develop normally like some other plants? To answer this question, we need to learn about some growth characteristics and adaptability to the natural habitat of this plant.

Does Pothos Need Drainage?

As you know, some plants do not need transpiration holes to grow, such as snake plants, oleander plants, Chinese evergreens, Kupukupu ferns, and crotons. So you can read somewhere that the Pothos plant can grow normally without vent holes. However, the natural habitat and the indoor habitat are completely different.

Under natural conditions, the Pothos tree grows on the forest floors of Southeast Asia and crawls onto other tree trunks with its distinctive aerial root system. Pothos plants live on wet forest floors, so they only get the right amount of water to survive, so they don’t need drainage to grow.

However, once we have grown this plant indoors in independent pots, drainage holes are essential to the plant’s health. Moreover, the material of the pot is also different, so the degree of water evaporation is also different. So, if you grow Pothos plants in artificial conditions, you need to provide drainage holes for them. Because without drainage, plants will be very susceptible to root rot and pest attack.

does pothos need drainage

Why Does The Pothos Plant Need Drainage Holes?

Watering has always been one of those things that almost everyone can make mistakes with. We often tend to water more than plants need. So, if you water too much without vent holes, waterlogging will happen frequently.

Yellow And Brown Leaves

A sign of over-watering without drainage holes is the discoloration of leaves. The leaves of the Pothos plant will turn yellow or brown due to too much water. Leaves will not be able to perform the task of photosynthesis as well as respiration through the stomata in the leaf. They will become soft and droopy because each cell is inflated by too much water.

Yellow and brown leaves are early warning signs of waterlogging, so if you don’t fix it in time, it will lead to root rot and plant death.

Root Rot Disease

Root rot disease comes from the situation of Pothos plant being waterlogged for a long time due to excessive watering. Water cannot escape, leaving the surface of the soil always excessively wet. From there, the soil will stick and block the air vents, causing waterlogging to take place.

When potting soil does not have drainage, plants will drown in the water which leads to root rot. Waterlogging prevents plants from absorbing the nutrients they need from the soil, oxygen, or potassium. Since then, the root system is soft and has a bad smell.

If root rot is not detected early and corrected quickly, your Pothos plant will die and cannot be resurrected when it is severe. Therefore, you need to detect early and perform aeration and drainage of the potting soil to remove excess water.

How Does The Pothos Plant Drain Well?

The creation of drainage holes for the potting soil of Pothos plants is especially important in their growth and development. Therefore, you need to create good drainage when growing this plant in an artificial environment.

Use Pots With Holes

The easiest way to create good drainage for Pothos plants is to place them in a pot with at least one drainage hole in the bottom. The drainage hole will remove excess water and moisture from the plant’s potting soil. So you won’t have to worry about waterlogging if you accidentally water more than usual. However, you also need to clean the vents as they can become clogged with moss or too compacted soil.

Check The Drip Tray

If you often have a habit of keeping a small tray in the bottom of the pot to store excess water, you should also check this tray regularly. Because if this tray always contains a lot of excess water it can also cause waterlogging of the upper potting soil. So, after each watering, after the excess water has flowed down that tray, you should pour the water into the tray to avoid waterlogging.

Choose Potting Soil With Good Drainage

Although Pothos plants can grow well on all types of soil, a well-draining potting mix will be the ideal choice for them. You should choose potting soil with ingredients such as loose soil, peat moss, coir, or perlite to create gaps and better drainage.

Watering According To Actual Needs

To avoid over-watering the Pothos plant, you should only water when the soil is dry using a moisture meter or finger. Once the ground is 1-2 inches dry, you can water it. You should water slowly with a large amount of water until excess water has drained out of the vent. So the water will seep into the entire soil and maintain moisture for the root system for a long time.

Use Self-Watering Pots

You can also use a self-watering pot to avoid waterlogging if you don’t want excess water to drain into your home or desk. Self-watering pots will help maintain the moisture in the soil that plants need without having to water them as often. Their mechanism is a combination of a plant container with a larger water container. The link between the 2 pots is a cotton or cotton rope with good water absorption. So whenever plants need water, the cotton fiber will absorb the water and supply it to the soil.

Read more: Can Pothos Survive Winter? How To Keep Them Safe?

What Type Of Pot Is Best For Drainage For The Pothos Plant?

Effective drainage also depends on the type of pot in which you plant your plants. Many people choose plastic pots because they are cheap and come in a variety of patterns and unique colors. However, plastic pots are not effective at draining water because they always retain maximum moisture in the soil. Pots made from clay will be a better choice for drainage. Because they can absorb excess water from the soil and more easily evaporate to the outside environment.


Pothos plants do not need drainage if they live in a natural environment. However, when you plant them in pots, you need to create drainage holes for the plants to avoid waterlogging. Using a pot made of clay material with at least one drainage hole in the bottom of the pot will help the Pothos plant grow better.

In addition, you also need to choose potting soil with ingredients such as moss, coir, or perlite to create a bottom layer. This lining will create gaps for better air circulation and drainage. If you don’t want to use a drainage hole, you can use a self-watering pot to provide moisture in the soil without frequent watering.

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