Do Pothos Need Drainage?

Clay pots

Pothos plants are a popular choice for indoor greenery enthusiasts thanks to their striking appearance and low-maintenance care requirements.

However, one critical factor that can make or break the health of a Pothos plant is proper drainage. Without it, excess water can accumulate in the pot, leading to root rot and other issues.

But do Pothos need drainage, or is it just a suggestion? In short, yes, Pothos plants require drainage to thrive.

In this article, we’ll dive into the following;

  • Why proper drainage is crucial for Pothos plants
  • Problems with improper drainage
  • How to ensure your Pothos plant has adequate drainage.
  • Troubleshooting common drainage issues with Pothos plants

So let’s dig in.

Do Pothos Need Drainage?

Yes, Pothos plants need proper drainage to prevent waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot. Without adequate pothos drainage holes, excess water can accumulate in the pot, suffocating the roots and causing damage to the plant. Always use a well-draining potting mix and a pot with drainage holes.

Like other plants, Pothos need proper drainage to stay healthy. Get the best pothos pots for your pothos plant and protect your plants from damage by poor drainage.

Why do Pothos Plants Need Drainage?

The main reason why Pothos need drainage is to allow water to flow easily and not accumulate in the pot. When the potting mix is soggy, your plant’s roots will likely suffer from fungus and mould. In the end, they will develop root rot.

A pothos plant suffering from root rot will not take up the water it needs. You’ll start seeing droopy leaves, which may, in the end, turn black and kill your plant.

The potting soil has air pockets that the plants use to exchange air elements such as carbon dioxide and oxygen. With no drainage, the water cannot pass out of the soil blocking the air pockets.

Common Problems Caused by Lack of Drainage

Pothos plants are susceptible to excess water. These plants do not do well in excess moisture. Using pots with improper drainage exposes the plants to some common issues. These issues include:

1. Yellow and Brown Leaves

One of the main causes of the yellowing and browning of your Pothos leaves is overwatering. But, poor drainage can also cause the same effect on your Pothos. This may happen when your drip tray fills up with excess water due to poor drainage.

Leaving your plants in excess water will subject them to too much moisture, which is terrible for your Pothos. Pothos don’t like excess moisture and hence will develop root rot. A Pothos plant with root rot will have its leaves turn brown and yellow.

To save your Pothos plant from further damage, it’s time for you to repot your Pothos. Remember to choose a pot with a sound drainage hole.

2. Root Rot

Proper drainage is a critical factor for the health of Pothos plants. Poor drainage can cause excess water to accumulate in the soil, leading to waterlogged conditions conducive for root rot.

Root rot can be caused by a variety of factors, including overwatering, poor soil drainage, and inadequate air circulation.

When the soil around the roots is continuously saturated, the roots are unable to breathe and begin to rot.

As the disease progresses, the roots become brown and mushy, and the plant begins to wilt and decline.

In severe cases, the plant may not be able to recover. And the only solution may be to replace the plant with a new one.

Therefore, ensure your Pothos plant has proper drainage to prevent root rot and other water-related issues.

3. Wilting Leaves 

Wilting develops when you overwater your plants. If you notice your Pothos leaves drooping and yet the soil is still moist, you could be giving your plants too much water.

Too much water with poor drainage is dangerous to your plants. The soil will stay wet and kill your plants.

To save your wilting leaves, you can add more holes to the sides of the plastic pots. Use an old towel, wrap around the pot, and leave it to absorb the excess water.

4. Stunted Growth

Poor drainage can also cause stunted growth in Pothos plants. When the soil does not drain properly, excess water can accumulate in the pot and suffocate the roots.

This might deprive the roots of essential nutrients.

Plant roots need oxygen to function, and without adequate drainage, the roots may begin to rot. As a result, the roots will not the able to absorb nutrients and water from the soil.

This can cause stunted growth, as the plant is unable to produce healthy leaves and stems.

The lack of nutrients can also result in yellowing leaves and a generally unhealthy appearance.

5. Dripping Leaves

Why is my pothos dripping water? Dripping leaves are a sign that your Pothos are suffering from poor drainage.

Like other plants, Pothos drip a water-like substance from their leaves. If the process exceeds, the Pothos are experiencing guttation.

You can add more drainage holes in your pots to improve drainage. Also, avoid overwatering your plants.

Read More: Holes in Pothos Leaves

Are There Any Plants That Don’t Need Drainage?

You may be wondering that, like Pothos, all houseplants need drainage. But the truth is, some plants don’t need drainage to thrive. They include:

Snake Plant

Originating from West Africa is the snake plant. These blade-shaped leaves plants don’t need drainage. In fact! they allow you to grow them in potted soil or a bowl of water. How nice is that?

Well, if you’re still doubting, does snake plant need drainage hole, cut part of a grown snake plant and plant it in a water bowl. You’ll see growth in a few days.

Oleander plant

Also known as a shrub plant from Southwestern parts of Asia. These bright and beautiful plants can be outdoor and indoor plants.

The advantage of the Oleander plant is that it can survive with little to no water. An ample amount of sunlight and one to two inches of water is good. 


Croton plants are known for their vibrant and colourful foliage, making them a popular choice for indoor and outdoor gardens.

Although drainage holes are generally advised for potted plants, Crotons can survive without them.

To prevent waterlogging, it is important to monitor the soil moisture levels and ensure proper watering practices.

Chinese evergreen plants

Drainage is not a major ordeal for Chinese evergreen plants, so they enjoy wet environments. But, ensure the soil has well-balanced moisture to suffice their growth.

These are just a few. You can read and learn more about plants that don’t need drainage.


Schefflera, also referred to as the umbrella plant, is characterized by its vibrant and lush foliage.

The plant has long, oval green leaves that cascade downwards from the stalk, resembling an umbrella. Some species of Schefflera can produce small, glossy leaves with variegated patterns.

While Schefflera plants can thrive indoors, they are more likely to produce their unique, long tentacle-like blooms in outdoor settings. To ensure optimal growth, these broadleaf evergreen plants require bright indirect light and well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH.

It is important to note that Schefflera plants do not tolerate wet soil, so it is crucial to allow the soil to dry out completely between watering sessions. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can ultimately harm the plant’s health and growth.


Cordyline is a plant species that can be challenging to cultivate indoors, but it is worth the effort. These plants have leathery leaves that come in a range of colors, including green, yellow, red, purplish-red, white, and purple. Cordyline produces fragrant flowers that are often followed by the formation of fruits.

While Cordyline plants can thrive when grown outdoors, it can be more difficult to get them to bloom when grown indoors. However, with the right care, anything is possible.

The ideal lighting conditions for Cordyline plants depend on the color of their leaves. For example, species with green leaves thrive in direct sunlight, while those with yellow or purple leaves prefer indirect sunlight.

Water Cordyline plants when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch.

How to Guarantee Pothos Plants have Good Drainage

How to Guarantee Pothos Plants have Good Drainage Image

We now know that a Pothos plant will thrive well on a surface with good drainage. How do we achieve this? Below are a few steps:

1. Use the right pots with proper drainage holes

The best way to ensure your Pothos get good drainage is to place them in a plant pot with drainage holes. Or better yet, with slits at the bottom.

This indoor plant does well in well-balanced moist conditions. Thus, the draining holes will allow the excess water to flow away. This way, your plants will be safe from sogginess if you overwater.

2. Get quality potting mix 

Different plants do well in different potting mixes. All you need to consider is a well-draining potting mix. The soil should also match your plant’s growing conditions.

Choosing the best soil for your Pothos will prevent root damage and keep the plant healthy. Also, choose potting soil with air pockets to allow excess water to flow away.

3. Empty drainage

Always get Pothos pots with drip trays. If the plant pots don’t come with a drip tray, improvise.

Also, ensure to empty the drip tray after watering your plants. If you leave the drip tray filled with standing water, it will cause sogginess in the soil. The sogginess will eventually make your potting soil go bad and cause root damage.

4. Avoid overwatering

We all know Pothos for their thirsty nature. But, is overwatering the solution? No! Give your plants the right amount of water for their growth. They don’t like soggy soil. You can track your soil dryness to determine whether to water your plants. 

5. Drill drainage holes on the sides of the pot

You can add more drainage holes if your Pothos pot doesn’t have enough. Depending on the type of pot, you can use a drill to add the drainage holes.

Pothos require drainage and making it possible will do your plants some justice. 

6. Add amendments to the potting soil

One common amendment is perlite, a lightweight volcanic mineral that helps improve soil aeration and drainage.

You can mix perlite into the potting soil at a ratio of 1:1 or 1:2, depending on the level of drainage improvement needed.

Another amendment is coarse sand, which can also improve soil drainage. You can mix coarse sand with the potting soil at a ratio of 1:1 or 1:2.

Vermiculite is another option that can help improve soil drainage, although it retains more moisture than perlite or sand.

7. Avoid placing stones at the bottom

Contrary to popular belief, placing stones at the bottom of potted plants can actually lead to poor drainage.

The stones create a barrier between the soil and drainage holes, which can prevent water from flowing freely out of the pot.

Instead, water can accumulate in the space between the stones and the soil. This leads to waterlogged conditions that can cause root rot and other water-related issues.

Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator, Kathleen, found that adding stones or other drainage materials to the bottom of pots did not improve drainage.

Instead of adding stones to the bottom of pots, focus on using well-draining soil mixes.


Do Pothos need well-draining soil?

Yes. All pothos plants, including Epipremnum aureum global green, newly introduced in the market, thrive well in well-draining soil. In short, the plants hate to sit on wet soggy soil. Thus, choosing soil with air pockets is best to protect the plants from root fungi and molds. Soil with air pockets will allow the excess water to flow easily.

Can Pothos survive in pots without holes?

Yes. Pothos only need a little water to thrive. It’s unlike other plants that need a lot of water to grow. With a good drainage layer between the soil and the bottom of the pot, your Pothos can survive in pots without holes. The drainage layer will also protect the roots from getting waterlogged.

Do Pothos like to dry out between watering?

Yes. It’s best to water your Pothos every 1-2 weeks. Between the watering, allow the soil to dry. One WOW factor about Pothos is you can give it one ample deep watering and let it dry in between. As a houseplant owner, avoid giving your plants small and continuous water throughout. 

Pothos Drainage summary

“Do pothos need drainage?” is a question that lingers in the minds of many. No matter their low maintenance, the pothos plant still needs attention. 

Therefore, choosing well-drained potting soil will give the Pothos enough moisture keeping them safe from root damage. 

Pothos plants need proper drainage to stay healthy. For that reason,using pots with drainage holes would be best to keep the plants from root fungus and molds. As much as Pothos plants may survive in pots without holes, you should get a pot with at least one hole.

Get this Jeria hanging pot with adequate drainage and keep your plants away from root rot.

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