Why Are My Satin Pothos Leaves Curling?

A hand holds up a satin pothos (Scindapsus pictus argyraeus) leaf in fronr of a bright window in the background.

Eva Peters / EyeEm / Getty Images

Satin pothos are gorgeous houseplants that are known for their large, thick leaves and luscious trailing vines. The name “satin pothos” is casually used to refer to the Scindapsus pictus and its cultivars, including Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus’, Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’, Scindapsus pictus ‘Jade Satin’, and more. These plants are beloved for being low-maintenance and are relatively easy to find making them a popular choice among houseplant novices and experts alike.

While satin pothos are easy to grow, like any plant, it is normal to encounter a few issues here and there while learning how to grow these tropical plants indoors. One of the most common problems you may encounter is curling leaves. If you notice your satin pothos’ leaves are curling, don’t panic. It doesn’t mean that your plant is dying, and the issue can likely be fixed fairly easily. Here are 6 potential reasons your satin pothos’ leaves are curling, and what to do about each of them.

Underwatering

Underwatering is one of the most common causes of curling leaves in many houseplants, including satin pothos. Check the soil to see if it is dry. If the soil is very dry then underwatering is likely the problem. Ensure that you give your plant a good drink, and in a few hours the leaves should perk back up. If they don’t, you may have another issue on your hands. 

However, keep in mind that in severe cases, watering your plant may not actually solve an underwatering issue. If your plant has not been watered in a long time it’s possible for the roots to start to dry up. If this happens, your satin pothos won’t be able to absorb the water once it finally is watered. If you have tried watering your pothos and after a few hours the leaves haven’t started to uncurl, try checking the roots to ensure they are still healthy. If they have shriveled up you will need to take stem cuttings from your plant and propagate it to help it grow new roots.

Overwatering

It is also possible for overwatering to be the culprit behind leaves that are curling. Remember that satin pothos like to dry out partially between waterings, and should never be left sitting in soggy soil. In the same way that their roots can dry out in overly dry conditions, they can also rot in overly wet conditions, resulting in the same outcome (curling leaves). 

If you believe that you may have overwatered your pothos, the first step is to get it out of the wet soil as soon as possible. Remove the plant from its pot and replace the soil with a fresh well-draining soil mix. While you have the plant unpotted, check the roots for signs of root rot (mushy, brown roots). If root rot is present, cut away the affected roots before repotting. In severe cases, you may need to take stem cuttings and propagate them in order to save the plant. If root rot isn’t present you can repot the plant as usual. Ensure that the pot has drainage holes so that excess water can escape in the case of overwatering. Return the plant to its original location after repotting (without watering it) and wait at least a week to water it again. 

Temperature

Temperature shock can also cause satin pothos leaves to curl. As tropical plants, satin pothos do well in standard household temperatures. They are not frost-tolerant and ideally should be kept in temperatures between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 25 degrees Celsius). If you plan to move your satin pothos to a new location with a drastic temperature difference, it should be done slowly so that it can acclimate properly to its new conditions. Otherwise, the plant may experience temperature shock and exhibit symptoms like curling leaves, drooping leaves, yellowing leaves, and more. 

If you suspect temperature shock is the culprit behind your plant’s curling leaves, examine its growing environment to see where the issue may be coming from. If you recently moved the plant to a new spot, try moving it back to its original location and then acclimating it slowly. 

Pest Infestation

In some cases, curling leaves can be a sign that your plant is suffering from a pest infestation. Examine your satin pothos for signs of pests, paying close attention to the undersides of the leaves and any crevices between the stems and petioles. Even if you don’t see any pests it is a good idea to treat your houseplants regularly with insecticide as a preventative measure, so a light application of an insecticide won’t hurt. If you do see signs of an infestation, isolate the pothos from your other houseplants immediately and begin treating with an insecticide.

Too Much Sun

Like most pothos, satin pothos prefer bright, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can burn this plant’s leaves and also cause the leaves to curl inwards. Ensure your satin pothos is positioned in a location that receives lots of indirect light but is protected from the sun’s direct rays, particularly in the afternoon when the sun is the most intense. 

Low Humidity

Lastly, overly dry conditions can cause satin pothos leaves to curl. For the most part, these plants do well in typical household humidity levels, but if your satin pothos is exposed to overly dry air it may begin to suffer. Ensure that your plant is not positioned close to a drafty air vent or window, and try moving it to a more humid location like a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. You can also try placing it close to a humidifier if you are really concerned.