A leggy moonlight pothos vine.

Why Is My Pothos So Leggy? (Tips To Make Your Plant Fuller)

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Having a lush, green Pothos plant (Epipremnum aureum) is a joy for any indoor gardener, but sometimes, these tropical beauties can become leggy and less appealing.

If you’ve noticed that your Pothos is developing long, bare vines, you’re probably wondering why this is happening and how to fix the issue.

A leggy Pothos is often the result of insufficient light, causing the plant to stretch out in search of sunlight while not producing many leaves in the process. The vines may become spindly, and the leaves smaller, giving the plant a bare appearance. 

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind leggy Pothos, and provide you with useful tips and tricks to get your plant flourishing again.

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What does it mean for a plant to be leggy?

A leggy moonlight pothos with several nodes with no leaves.

A leggy plant is characterized by long vines with few leaves. 

This can be from either growing longer stems between leaves or growing multiple nodes before growing a new leaf.

Why is my pothos getting leggy?

A leggy golden pothos plant.

There are common problems that will cause a pothos plants to become leggy.

It’s not getting enough light

The most common reason for leggy growth on indoor pothos is the lack of light. Getting too little light will cause most indoor plants to become leggy.

Pothos plants thrive in bright, indirect light and will stretch toward the light when they aren’t receiving enough light. This causes the plant to develop leggy growth as it is focused primarily on getting closer to the light source instead of growing compact foliage.

It’s receiving too much fertilizer

Another reason for leggy growth is that the plant is getting too much fertilizer.

When you over-fertilize your pothos, it receives an excessive amount of nutrients, particularly nitrogen.

Nitrogen promotes growth in plants and an abundance of nitrogen can disrupt the plant’s natural growth patterns.

This leads to the plant focusing on rapid growth which tends to be primarily stem elongation, especially if over-fertilization is combined with low-light conditions.

It wants to climb

Pothos plants are natural climbers and have aerial roots that enable them to attach themselves to various surfaces and grow vertically. When a pothos plant lacks a support structure or something to climb, it can lead to leggy growth.

This is because the plant wants to go vertical and can become leggy in search of something to climb up on.

How to fix a leggy pothos

A leggy moonlight pothos vine with very few leaves.

The only way to get rid of leggy growth is to prune the plant back to before the plant became leggy. This will remove the leggy growth and hopefully allow the new growth to be fuller and bushier.

When pruning off the leggy growth it’s important to look at each vine and find where the growth started to become leggy.

Cut the vine just above the last leaf node of the non-leggy growth. Repeat for all of the leggy vines on your plant.

You can use the healthy cuttings to propagate more pothos by placing the cuttings in water. Just make sure to get at least one node under the water and cut your cuttings to no more than 3 nodes per cutting.

How to fix the cause of a leggy pothos

Once you have pruned your pothos back to a more compact plant, you need to fix the cause of its leggy growth. Otherwise, it will just become leggy again.

Fix the lighting

If you believe the issue is low light (which is the number one reason any of my pothos have become leggy) you need to increase the light they are receiving. 

You can do this by either moving it closer to the window (but don’t put it too close to a south-facing window) or by getting a grow light.

Aren’t pothos good in low light conditions?

Pothos are hardy plants that will tolerate low light, but they will not thrive in low light conditions. They will become leggy if kept in low light for too long. 

This doesn’t mean you can’t grow them in low light, just that they will have a leggy look to them.

Adjust how much you fertilize

If you believe the issue is caused by too much fertilizer, it’s important to adjust how much you are fertilizing your pothos. 

Start by verifying you are fertilizing according to the directions on the fertilizer you are using. If you are you can try giving your plant less fertilizer or fertilizing less often.

Make sure to only fertilize during the growing season (though for indoor plants this can be year-round if they are being given enough light).

If you recently repotted your pothos with potting soil mix that has fertilizer in it, like Miracle Grow, make sure not to fertilize your plant at all until you have reached the 6 months that the bag says it feeds for. 

Give it something to climb

If you believe the issue is caused by your plant wanting to climb, you can give it something to climb on. This can be a moss pole or trellis that has been placed in the pot with your pothos. 

When adding a moss pole or trellis to the pot, make sure to use your finger to check for roots before putting them into the pot. Not doing this can cause damage to the roots in the pot.

I personally prefer to add moss poles to the pot when I’m repotting the plant. That way I know exactly where the roots are when I put the moss pole in.

Let it get leggy

Finally, you can just let your pothos get leggy. 

Sometimes we just don’t have the ideal conditions for the plants we like. There’s nothing that says you can’t let your pothos get leggy. 

I had one pothos on top of my cupboards that was becoming leggy as it grew along and down the cupboards. It was a beautiful plant and continued to grow new leaves, there was just extra space between the leaves. 

Due to its size, I had nowhere else to put that plant, so I let it get leggy. I figured as long as it continued to put out new leaves, it was happy enough to leave there.

Unfortunately, I ended up having to chop it up and prop it when I accidentally damaged its root system when I repotted it. (I dropped the pot right after getting it repotted and assume two repots in one day was too much for it.)

How do you keep pothos from getting leggy?

The best way to keep pothos from getting leggy is by providing it with proper care along with adequate light and fertilizer.

Make sure your plant is receiving bright, indirect light for at least 6 hours a day. If possible, rotate the pot every week or two so that all parts of the plant receive some direct sunlight. 

It’s also important to provide your pothos with the correct amount of fertilizer. Over-fertilizing your plant can lead to leggy growth, so make sure you are following the recommendations on whatever fertilizer you are using.

Finally, since pothos like to climb, giving it something to climb on can help keep it from becoming leggy. This could be a moss pole or trellis that you add to the pot. Just make sure to check for roots before placing it in the pot. 

With proper care, your pothos should remain a bushy and full plant with minimal leggy growth.

How do I make my pothos bushy?

The best way to encourage bushier growth is by providing it with the right amount of light and fertilizer, as well as giving it something to climb on. 

You can also make it bushier by adding more pothos vines to the pot. The bushy pothos you see in the store typically have several vines in the pot.

Why does my pothos have only one vine?

Pothos plants are vining plants. This means that it grows longer but not busier. 

Most pothos plants that have more than one vine were planted as several separate vines into the same pot. 

If you want a fuller plant with more than one vine in the pot you will need to either buy another pothos plant or propagate new ones and add them all to the same pot.

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