Is Pothos Sunburn From Too Much Sun

Is Pothos Sunburn From Too Much Sun Image

Pothos are the best low light indoor trees to improve your home decor.

But one major concern is whether too much sun can cause pothos sunburn.

If you’re wondering if your pothos is getting too much sunlight, here’s what you need to know;

  • Can pothos be in direct sunlight?
  • The risks associated with overexposure to direct sunlight.
  • How to detect signs of sunburnt pothos
  • What to do with burnt pothos leaves.
  • Ways in which you can protect golden pothos from too much sun

Is Pothos Sunburn From Too Much Sun?

Yes. Pothos plants do not do well in direct sunlight. Exposure to direct sunlight will burn the pothos leaves, causing sunburns. Unfortunately, the burns are permanent. You may need to cut the sunburnt leaves and put the plant in the shade.

Cause of Pothos Sunburn

There are several factors that cause sunburn in pothos leaves. These factors include:

1. Exposing Golden Pothos to direct sunlight

Exposure to too much sun for an extended period is the first and major cause of sunburn in pothos. Pothos plants thrive well in low-light conditions.

However, unlike succulent plants, pothos leaves are susceptible to direct sunlight. Meaning they are prone to sunburns.

With changes in weather conditions, you may need to move your pothos plants location. Pothos can thrive well in bright indirect light.

However, forgetting to move your plants from direct sunlight exposes the leaves to sunburns.

Pothos may tolerate a little direct sunlight in the morning or evening when the intensity is low. So, move your pothos to a shade when the temperatures become extreme.

2. Too much fertilizer 

The last thing you can imagine will cause pothos sunburn is fertilizers. But, of course, fertilizing your plants is essential to ensure your plants are healthy. Well, how do you go about it to prevent fertilizer burns?

The burns occur when you spray fertilizer on the leaf foliage while exposing the plant to direct sun. Fertilizers have salt, which sucks the moisture out of the plant. With the excess heat striking the plant and loss of moisture, the leaves will start to yellow and brown. The changes start to occur after a few days.

Spray your plants with fertilizers and water them early in the morning before the sun. Doing this will prevent your pothos leaves from sunburns.

How to save your pothos from fertilizer burn 

You have realized that the reason for your sunburned pothos is too much fertilizer. So how do you solve this? Here are the two options:

  1. Repot your pothos into a fresh potting mix. Consider all factors affecting your plant before repotting.
  2. Flush the plants’ soil to wash away excess chemicals. Do this by watering the plant with two to three times the volume of the pot until it drains fully.

For more insight, check out the best fertilizers for pothos and the directions.

3. Poor watering 

We all know water is life. Not only is water essential to humans, but also plants. 

Poor watering can cause pothos sunburn. By poor watering, we mean either not watering at all or overwatering. Overwatering your pothos plants may lead to root rot. A damaged plant root is as well as a dead plant. 

When you overwater your pothos, there will be no oxygen flow to the roots. As a result, the pothos plant may lack the nutrients they need to thrive. In the end, the leaves may start to yellow or appear wrinkled.

Pothos plants are the most resilient plants and can go for up to a few weeks without water. But going beyond will damage the leaves. A dehydrated pothos will have droopy leaves and sometimes crispy at the edges. 

4. Extreme temperatures 

pothos too much sun illustration

Evaporation is a threat to your pothos plant. Extreme temperatures will hasten the evaporation process in your plants and the soil. 

During evaporation, water leaves the pothos plant exposing it to burns. When heatwaves prolong, the situation of your plants worsens. 

Thus, moving the plants to a shade or indoors during high temperatures is best.

5. Low humidity 

Pothos need humid conditions to thrive, being tropical plants. Low humidity will leave the plant dehydrated. A dehydrated pothos is susceptible to sunburn. A burnt pothos will develop brown spots and will appear crispy.

If living in areas with low humidity, you should get a humidifier. The humidifier will help regulate humidity levels in your house for your pothos.

Signs of Sunburnt Pothos

It is very easy to identify severely sunburnt pothos leaves. Healthy pothos leaves are gorgeous and variegated. However, your plants are sunburnt if you see yellowing leaves, brown patches, wilting, and curling.

You may also notice the brown patches turning into holes. These holes show how badly direct sun affects your plants.

We will also look at the signs in Golden pothos. Golden pothos have waxy leaves that protect them from too much sun. Despite the waxy leaves, Golden pothos prefer bright indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight is harmful to Golden pothos. The same applies to low humidity and extreme temperatures.

Sunburnt golden pothos leaves will appear yellow and crispy. In general, sun exposure is bad news to your plants.

How to Prevent and Treat Pothos Leaf Burn

Although you can’t physically apply sunscreen on leaves, you can still protect them from being scorched by the sun.

1. Shade your pothos plant

You will first need to take your plants away from the location that caused the sunburn. The next step is to bring them to a shade.

By bringing the plants inside, we do not mean you hide them in complete darkness. Instead, please place them in moderate light or medium light.

Doing this will prevent your pothos from experiencing drastic changes. These changes could shock and damage them further.

In the future, avoid keeping your pothos near the window. However, if it’s a must, ensure the windows have sheer curtains. The sheer curtains will block too much light from reaching your plants.

2. Cut off burnt pothos leaves

Damaged leaves are the same as dead leaves. Dead leaves have no reason to stay on the plant. The bad news is they will never recover. Cutting them using scissors or pruning shears is best.

Leaves that have slight damage can stay. However, it is best to note that damaged leaves use up precious nutrients. Your pothos could use these precious nutrients to restore their energy.

If the leaves in an entire vine are burnt, cut the entire vine. You can always propagate a new vine with time.

Tips:  Always use sterilized equipment when cutting the damaged leaves. Clean the blades after every cut.

3. Rehydrate the pothos plant

The next step you will take is to give your plants a drink. Your plants have suffered severely, and a little redemption is what they need. As we mentioned earlier, one of the causes of pothos sunburn is dehydration.

Keep watering the plants as much as possible until the water starts flowing out of the pot’s drainage hole.

You can also mist the leaves. Misting the leaves will increase humidity levels. Medium humidity will help restore plants’ health.

4. Practice aftercare- Provide right conditions for pothos growth

Lastly, place your plant in a room with good air circulation. After a severe sunburn, the plant needs to cool off. You can also enhance the air movement by placing the plant near a fan. 

Always keep in mind that moisture rejuvenates the pothos. So, you will need to ensure that the humidity level is medium.

You’ll also need to provide the plants with proper temperatures. Pothos may develop brown spots if the temperatures are too high or too low.

Remember proper drainage and potting. Always ensure that all your pots have drainage holes beforehand. 

Proper care for burnt pothos will restore the plants and make you a happy plant owner. Also note, your pothos will be happy too.


Do pothos like direct sunlight?

No, Pothos plants do not like direct sunlight. Very bright lights are harmful and may cause sunburns on your pothos leaves. So instead, allow your planter pots for pothos bright indirect sunlight. . Golden and variegated pothos will regress in very low sunlight. Their leaves may also become pale. For low-light conditions, jade pothos is ideal.

What do burnt pothos leaves look like?

Healthy pothos plants have beautiful, variegated leaves. Sunburned pothos are the opposite of healthy pothos. A severely sunburned pothos will have crispy brown patches and yellowish leaves and may curl. They may also develop white patches on the top of the leaves.

Yellowish and browning of the leaves tips could result from excessive fertilizer.

Golden pothos light requirements

Golden pothos grow well in bright indirect sunlight. It’s important to note that very low light will make the Golden pothos leaves pale and smaller in size. Too much sunlight may cause sunburn to golden pothos leaves. 

Be encouraged if you don’t have a bright place for your golden pothos. You can still plant them in low-light conditions. Note the variegation of the leaves won’t be as pronounced and may fade with time.

Does the Pothos Need Full Sun?

No, pothos do not need full sun to grow. The plant thrives well in bright indirect sun. But, they can condone medium to low light.

In fact, it’s one of the best low-light indoor plants that thrive in tight spaces.

Sadly, low temperatures may fade the pothos and make its leaves smaller. Too much sun may expose the plant to sunburn and damage the leaves.

How do you cut burnt pothos leaves?

You can use sterilized scissors or pruning shears to cut a burnt pothos leaf. If the entire vine is damaged, cut the whole vine. You can opt to use rubbing alcohol as a sterilizer. Alternatively, mix 1 cup of bleach into 9 parts of water and use it to sterilize pothos burnt leaves.


‘’Is pothos sunburn from too much’’ is a query in every houseplant owner’s mind. You must know the right angles to place your pothos plant. As seen, they can get sunburnt and may be damaged.   

Direct sunlight is the major threat to pothos sunburn. With this in mind, keep your plants away from direct sunlight. Also, please take note of the other factors that contribute to sunburns and avoid them at all costs. 

Follow the right steps, and you won’t experience sunburn headaches!

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