Houseplants forum→Pothos emergency!!

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Name: Grace
Louisville, Colorado
RueOshaRose
Dec 5, 2018 11:18 PM CST
Hi guys,

So I have this gorgeous golden pothos plant that has been in the same spot (and soil) for four years, growing like crazy. Over the last year I noticed it getting seriously leggy (3-4 feet in between leaves at some spots). I decided to cut it back but wasn't sure where exactly to snip. I know where to cut when a plant isn't leggy, but with those huge stems I just made a guess and cut a few stems where it looked healthy and put them in water to root. I re-potted the rest of the plant, and put it all back in the same spot it was used to. Well, now with the stems that I put in water, a lot of the leaves are drooping, dropping, fading/yellowing, and looking sad. The rest of the plant (that I re-potted) is ok, but not as happy and slowly drooping as well. I'm terrified I killed the plant. It's huge, and I love it, and I need to save it!! Any advice? Would pictures help? I'm wondering if I didn't cut the stems at the right places. It's been a few weeks and they're starting to die instead of root. Help!!
Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
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kniphofia
Dec 5, 2018 11:34 PM CST
Yes photos would definitely help. You would normally cut just below a node if you're wanting to propagate from cuttings, how long are the stems you put in water? It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks for roots to form but the plant wouldn't usually be in active growth in winter so that may be preventing it rooting.
Also repotting may have been a mistake. You've put your plant through some massive stress there.
How have you watered the main plant since you repotted it?
Name: Erica
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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OpieDoodle
Dec 6, 2018 7:46 AM CST
What kind of pothos is it? I propagate mine year round and rooting can take a little longer in winter but nothing too bad. Usually about 2-4 weeks and you should have some roots okay to pot. Can you take a picture of the cutting? Its important you have a node and not too much stem under it or you could be encouraging rot. You will want to remove any leaves at the node and keep the remaining leaves out of the water. Generally I try to keep 2 leaves and have one node in the water. I have had success rooting with a single leave and a node as well it just doesn't look as pretty IMO. I generally change out the water every 2-3 days but I've heard that's not always needed but its just the habit I have gotten into.

Repotting can cause a lot of damage to a plant and generally its best not to do it in winter if it can be avoided. Most likely the plant is going through shock and stress from the repot. Have you watered it since it was repotted? Is it in a good draining pot?

Pictures would really help us give better advice!
Name: Gene Staver
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gasrocks
Dec 6, 2018 10:11 AM CST
IMO, leggy means just one thing - not enough light.
Name: Erica
Ohio (Zone 6a)
Houseplants
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OpieDoodle
Dec 6, 2018 10:47 AM CST
gasrocks said:IMO, leggy means just one thing - not enough light.


I completely agree, sorry y'all I got too caught up in the propagating part (sorry I'm OBSESSED with propagating lol) I didn't even address the main issue that got you to where you are now!

Trailing plants get really leggy for a few reasons, sometimes simple age can cause it especially when they get to be a few years old. Some are much worst than others. Best way to remedy this is periodically trim back and propagate the cuttings to keep the plant nice and full.

The second reason which is probably the most common is light. They stretch for more light. A lot of people keep pothos in lower light situations so this often is a reason for them to get leggy. I'm not sure your situation but I keep mine in a high to mid indirect light and they thrive. Anything lower than that and they survive but they're not really thriving.

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Dec 6, 2018 3:59 PM CST
When Pothos vines are not pruned regularly they inevitably start to lose older leaves and become leggy. Occasional watering lapses, age, and inadequate light are the most common causes of this leaf loss. Older leaves are never replaced. New leaves always emerge exclusively at the tip ends of the vines.

To eliminate legginess, it is best to prune the vine all the way back to its oldest leaf so that all or most of the leafless section is removed. New leaf growth will emerge on that vine starting at the point where you prune it. You can't do any damage by pruning a stem all the way back to within a couple of inches of the soil. Pruning is a great (and only) way to rejuvenate a leggy vining plant.

Pothos tip cuttings root most readily. A tip cutting with about 4 leaves and one bare node at the end to insert into water is best. Long cuttings do not root nearly as readily. It is best to root multiple tip cuttings together.

I am concerned about your repotting. The soil, pot, and roots were not the cause of the leaf loss or legginess. Much can go wrong if repotting is not done correctly. The chances of root damage and inadvertent over watering increase substantially after repotting.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
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Name: Grace
Louisville, Colorado
RueOshaRose
Dec 7, 2018 5:26 PM CST
Goodness, I wish I had waited to repot after reading all these responses. Here are some pictures of the plant. The first photos are the cuttings that you can see are in a jar of water- perhaps I'm trying to root too long of a stem? Should I break up these giant stems into many cuttings? The second picture is an example of what's happening to the leaves. The third photo is what the leaves look like close to where the stems are in water. The last photo is of the side of the plant that is still in soil that I just repotted. Not thriving. And see how leggy it is? What should I do differently with this part of the plant? I wasn't sure where to cut, so I cut it all the way back to the soil- there wasn't a leaf/node to cut near. And yes- I have watered it twice since repotting but have been careful not to overwater. Help!! What have I done?!
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[Last edited by RueOshaRose - Dec 7, 2018 5:35 PM (+)]
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Name: Grace
Louisville, Colorado
RueOshaRose
Dec 7, 2018 6:04 PM CST
I feel so dumb. Instead of taking a cutting from the very ends of the plant I cut it all the way to the soil, expecting that it would re-root. I killed it, didn't I?! I took a few cuttings from the ends (three nodes up), but I can't keep cutting the plant at the nodes expecting they will all reroot, right?
Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Dec 8, 2018 7:00 AM CST
The cuttings are so long, the plant cannot suck water for all those leaves from one stem end. Leaves are just drying out.
Will said tip end cuttings will do best, and look best. You can make more sections, but they have to grow from a side bud and don't look as nice.
Not dumb, just 'lesson learning'
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Dec 8, 2018 9:01 AM CST
Sally is right about "lesson learning." We all do it!

I don't want to get into the specifics of "fixing" what you have, but I will give some general advice that may be useful.

Very long Pothos vines invariably start to lose leaves from the pot up and they never replace those leaves. New growth is always at the tip ends of each vine. It is best to cut back long vines before they start to lose leaves. New growth will emerge on the pruned vine starting where you make the pruning cut.

Short tip cuttings root most readily.

Pothos in soil rarely need repotting. They do best when kept moderately potbound. Repotting substantially increases the risk of inadvertent overwatering.

Pothos cuttings will grow indefinitely in plain water, but they also need to be kept pruned to avoid becoming stringy.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
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purpleinopp
Dec 8, 2018 9:10 AM CST
Your plant does not look leggy, just very long. Leggy = etiolated, with excessive space between nodes. Great job keeping it so happy for so long!! If your longer cuttings are not doing well, you can make more cuts & have more pieces that are not as long. Keep them going in the same direction.
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Name: Erica
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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OpieDoodle
Dec 10, 2018 10:13 AM CST
When I have longer cuttings I'll cut it up into sections. I try to keep 2-3 leaves on it plus the node.

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