Why Do Houseplant Leaves Turn Yellow

To figure out why your favorite houseplant has suddenly started to produce yellow leaves, you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes, but you will need to perform some investigation. This is due to the fact that yellow leaves might indicate a variety of conditions. Here are seven typical causes of yellow leaves in houseplants.

1. Water

Yellow leaves can be caused by either too much or too little water. Your plant may eventually sacrifice some of its foliage in an effort to conserve moisture if it is not given enough water. Conversely, too much water will frequently cause the death of your plant’s roots because they are unable to breathe in saturated soil. Yellow leaves will also grow on your plant as a result of this.

Start by making sure your plant is in a pot with drainage holes at the bottom if you want to avoid any of these issues. Between waterings, the extra water will be able to drain via these holes. When the top inch of soil seems dry to the touch, water your plants only then. From pot to pot, frequency may vary depending on factors like size (larger pots with more soil generally need less frequent watering), season (most plants don’t use much moisture during the dark days of winter), and plant type (succulents, for example, don’t need as much water as heavy drinkers like peace lilies).

2. Light

If houseplants receive too much or too little light, their leaves may also become yellow. If plants that prefer shade, such as tropical ferns, nerve plants, and calathea, are forced to dwell in a bright location, their leaves will gradually start to turn yellow.

Conversely, if cultivated in gloomy settings, sun-loving indoor plants like succulents, crotons, and jade plants may begin to yellow. When purchasing a new houseplant, always read the label and put it in a location that meets its light needs. Most types of houseplants will thrive in direct, bright light.

3. Delivery

It might not be a problem if your houseplant begins to drop yellow leaves as soon as you get it home from the garden center. Most likely, your plant is simply shedding leaves it can no longer support as it adjusts to the lower light levels in your home. Some species, like the ficus, for instance, will occasionally drop their yellow leaves when they are relocated. But don’t worry; usually, after a little period of adjusting, your plant will produce a new crop of foliage.

Repotting houseplants shouldn’t be done for at least a week or two after you get them home, to give them time to become used to their new surroundings and reduce transplant stress.

4. Resilience

Lower leaves on older plants frequently turn yellow and drop off. Your plant is not sick as a result of this. It simply means that the plant no longer requires those lower leaves because they are now shadowed by higher foliage. Additionally, keep in mind that many typical houseplants are actually trees in their original habitats, and that when they grow larger, they attempt to develop a trunk by shedding their leaves. For instance, Norfolk Island pines sometimes sacrifice their lower boughs as they get taller and taller.

Five. Hunger

If a houseplant lacks some essential nutrients in the soil, they will also grow yellow or splotchy leaves. Since plants are typically cultivated and marketed in nutrient-rich potting mix, this is typically not an issue when you initially purchase a plant (and most of our plants come with a time-release fertilizer added). To retain healthy leaves, however, your plants will eventually exhaust the food that they were given and require a little boost of plant food. Every time you water your plants, give them a small amount of diluted liquid fertilizer to keep them healthy.

6. Pests

Yellow leaves on your houseplants can also be caused by indoor plant pests like aphids and spider mites. Both suck plant juices, which makes the leaves appear aerated and fading. Aphids have tiny rice-grain-like attachments at the ends of their stems. Spider mites produce fine-hair-like webs on the undersides of the leaves of your plants, but they are nearly impossible to notice with the naked eye. An organic insecticide for houseplants can be used to control both pests. Maintain a high degree of humidity around your plants because these pests also thrive in dry air.

7. Thermometer

Because they are tropical plants, indoor plants don’t like harsh weather. Your plants may drop yellow leaves if they are forced to dwell too close to a heat vent, fireplace, air conditioner, or drafty window or door. Most houseplants grow in a range of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

How can yellow leaves on houseplants be fixed?

How to Save a Plant whose Leaves are Turning in the Houseplants

  • First, look for “Moisture Stress”
  • Step 2: Search for Unwanted Creatures.
  • Step 3: Allow them to enjoy the sunshine.
  • Step 4: Keep Cold Drafts Away from Them.
  • Step 5: Verify Their Nutrition.

Should you prune plants with yellow leaves?

In most cases, it’s okay to pluck a few of your plant’s yellowed leaves. Yellow leaves should be removed to keep your plant and yard looking healthy. The danger of disease can be decreased by removing yellow leaves because disease tends to spread more quickly on sickly leaves than on healthy ones.

What does it mean when the leaves on your houseplants turn yellow?

water problems

The main cause of yellow leaves is either too much or too little. Roots cannot breathe in too moist soil. They die, stop functioning, and stop supplying the water and nutrients that plants require. Drought or underwatering both have a comparable impact. Too little water prevents plants from absorbing crucial nutrients. the leaves become yellow.

Starting with porous, well-draining soil will help you solve or prevent water problems. If you grow plants in containers, pick containers with good drainage holes and keep saucers dry. Avoid planting in areas of your landscape where irrigation or rainwater collects. Improve the structure and drainage of your soil by adding organic matter, such as compost.

Perform a “finger test” on the soil before watering. Your index finger should be a few inches deep in the ground. Water only when the soil seems dry in general. Then deeply and completely water. Wait a couple of days if the soil is chilly and damp. Always wait till the earth has partially dried before watering it again.

Can yellow leaves revert to green?

Yellow leaves are beautiful in the autumn on trees like gingko and quaking aspens. However, if you notice a large number of them on your fern, green-leafed pothos, or other indoor plants, it can be a concerning sight. However, it’s not always a terrible thing.

All year long, tropical plants maintain their leaves. But the life cycle of houseplant leaves exists (like all living things). Each leaf ages, gets yellow, and eventually dies. It’s not a problem if one or two leaves are yellow. However, if several leaves start to turn yellow, it’s time to intervene.

The most frequent causes of yellowing leaves are inconsistent watering (either too much or too little) or improper illumination (too much, too little). You must determine the cause of the issue in order to prevent other leaves from becoming yellow. Learn more about additional reasons why leaves could yellow.

Usually, when a leaf on a houseplant turns yellow, it is about to die. A leaf’s green tint is caused by chlorophyll. The plant abandons the leaf after it stops producing chlorophyll and starts utilizing any remaining nutrients in the leaf. Because of this, you usually can’t convert a leaf back to green once it turns yellow. (However, in instances of nutrient deficits, yellow leaf color occasionally becomes green again with therapy.)

There are numerous types of plants that naturally produce leaves with splashes and streaks of yellow. Variegation is what we refer to as when this occurs in healthy plants. When plants are exposed to more light, variegation may appear brighter.

Conclusion: It’s not necessary to panic if a few leaves turn yellow. The yellow leaf is like a warning light, therefore you should pay attention to it. It might be a normal shedding process or it might be an indication that something is wrong.

How frequently ought indoor plants to be watered?

Although watering houseplants may seem like a straightforward operation, many people either overwater them or neglect them until they get parched. Generally speaking, the potting soil for indoor plants should be kept damp but not soggy. In the spring and summer, they typically need watering once or twice a week; in the fall and winter, they require less watering. However, this isn’t always the case, depending on the kind of houseplant.

  • Only give orchids a small bit of water once a week to water them.
  • Succulents and cacti need relatively little water. When the potting mix has dried out, only water.
  • Water citrus plants more frequently and consistently than you would other houseplants.

The Westland Watering Indicator makes it easier to know when to water. This watering stick is very simple to use and may be used all year round. Just insert the stick into the pot of compost. The indicator will then turn red to let you know when the plant needs extra water. When no additional water is required, the indicator will turn blue. Within two hours of watering the plant, the indicator’s color should shift from red to blue.

Another crucial factor is the type of water used on indoor plants. This is due to the fact that many plants are sensitive to the salts and chemicals found in tap water. So it is advisable to use rainwater to water your plants.


To promote lush, robust growth, indoor plants must be fed while they are developing. Only while a houseplant is actively developing, not when it is dormant, should it be fed.

During the growing season (spring and summer), the majority of indoor plants need typically be fed every other watering, or around every 10 to 14 days. In the fall and winter, feed indoor plants after every fourth watering because they will need fewer nutrients.

Using a liquid concentrate feed is a good approach to feed houseplants. These are a fantastic way to feed and water your plant simultaneously. They work best, though, when the mixture isn’t created too powerful or too weak. Given that it is filled with the necessary nutrients, Westland Houseplant Feed is a fantastic plant food for indoor plants. Additionally, it contains a simple measure doser that requires only a squeeze of the bottle to fill the dosing chamber. Any extra plant food will be removed by the doser, leaving you with a 5ml dose to mix with 1 liter of water. This indicates that the combination you use to feed your plants is the proper strength.

The list of specialized feeds for various types of indoor plants that include the precise ratio of nutrients required for their growth is provided below.

  • Feed for succulents and cacti offers nutrients that improve flowering.
  • Citrus feed: provides nutrients that promote fruit development and set.

How should an overwatered plant be cared for?

  • Even if your plant need full sun, move it to a dark spot. Dead or dying leaves should be removed. These ought should be simple to identify.
  • Make sure your pot has adequate drainage, and if you can, add more space around the roots. The root zone will be able to receive oxygen as a result. Keep just the healthy roots and cut off any dead or dying ones.
  • Do not let the soil become overly dry; just water when the soil seems dry to the touch. At this point, you should also stop fertilizing the plant altogether until it is healthy again.
  • Use a fungicide to treat.

The ability of your plant to recover from overwatering is never guaranteed. Within a week or so, you should start to notice results if your plant survives. You can now return your plant to its original spot and continue watering it as usual.

It’s critical to provide your plants with adequate drainage and regular watering from the beginning. Choosing plants that are less susceptible to difficulties from excessive watering may be the best course of action if, despite your best efforts, you tend to overwater plants.

How can I tell if I’ve overwatered my plant?

These are the symptoms of an overwatered plant:

  • Yellow lower leaves are present.
  • The plant appears withered.
  • Roots will be stunted or decaying.
  • no fresh growth
  • Browning of young leaves will occur.
  • The soil will seem green (which is algae)

Why are Epsom salts beneficial to plants?

Some of the greatest gardeners in the nation advise utilizing Epsom salt as a cheap way to start or improve your garden as spring approaches.

Magnesium sulfate, often known as epsom salt, promotes seed germination, bushier plant growth, more flowers, increased chlorophyll production, and insect deterrence such as slugs and voles. Additionally, it offers essential nutrients as a complement to your usual fertilizer.

According to Neil Mattson, an assistant professor at Cornell University, plants will display visual indications if they are lacking in a specific nutrient. A plant may require extra sulfate if all of its leaves start to turn yellow at once. Lower leaves may require extra magnesium if the veins remain green but turn yellow in the middle. Growers should speak with their county extension agents before planting to test a soil sample or, if they discover a problem, they can bring in a plant for diagnosis because certain nutritional problems can look alike.

According to Mattson, plants require these building blocks.

Sulfur and magnesium are vital nutrients.

Despite the fact that magnesium and sulfur are found in soil naturally, they can be depleted under a variety of circumstances, including intensive agricultural use. But Epsom Salt is not persistent, so you cannot use too much of it, in contrast to the majority of commercial fertilizers, which accumulate in the soil over time.

Gardeners can either proactively mix Epsom salt with fertilizer and add it to their soil on a monthly basis, as Mattson does, or they can mix one tablespoon with a gallon of water and directly spray leaves every two weeks. Mattson adds Epsom salt to his fertilizer for plants like roses, pansies, petunias, and impatiens.

Master Gardeners advise using Epsom Salt, and professional growers all over the world frequently do. According to National Gardening Association tests, Epsom salt fertilization causes pepper plants to grow larger than those that are only given commercial fertilizer. It also causes roses to grow bushier and produce more flowers.


Nitrogen is essential for the development of leaves and blossoms. It’s a crucial part of chlorophyll, which is necessary for photosynthesis. The oldest leaves display a loss of luster and appear pallid if nitrogen levels are low. Yellowing starts at the tips of the leaves and spreads to all of them. Use nitrogen-rich fertilizers, such as blood and bone or sulphate of ammonia. Manures and organic matter may also be applied to the soil.


The growth of roots, fruits, and flowers depends on phosphorus. It is a movable nutrient that is transferred from seasoned leaves to growing tissue. Older leaves change from a light green to a darker green, then begin to shade purplish from the leaf margins. Leaf tips shrivel up. Fruiting and blossoming in fruit trees may be impacted. Symptoms of deficiencies are more common in cold, damp weather. Apply solid or liquid phosphate fertilisers to make up the shortfall.


The development of flowers and fruits as well as the thickening of cell walls both require potassium. It is necessary for stem lengthening. The upper surface of mature leaves browns and dries out, and the margins pucker. Between the leaf veins, there is a darkening. The stalks are elongated and slender. The fruits might not fully develop their color, have a pulpy texture, and be flavorless. Apply sulphate of potash to the deficiency to make it better.


Magnesium is necessary for photosynthesis, the synthesis of proteins, and the production of chlorophyll. It circulates unrestrictedly throughout the plant and is collected from the more mature leaves to support new growth. First, lower leaves begin to yellow, starting at the tip. Dead areas show up. Palms and citrus are harmed by deficiencies that appear on sandy acid soils. Apply magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts) or dolomite to address the deficit (magnesium-calcium-carbonate).


Citrus trees with low levels of zinc exhibit yellowing between the leaf veins, rolling of the leaf margins, and smaller-than-normal leaves. In high pH soils, zinc is no longer accessible. For fruit set, a foliar spray of zinc and manganese is advised because it is not a highly mobile nutrient.


Plants that prefer acid have a condition known as lime-induced chlorosis, which prevents them from absorbing iron from alkaline soils. The younger leaves turn a light shade of green, yellow, and in some cases, white. The veins stay green. This frequently happens on coastal alkaline soils. Reduce the pH of the soil with ammonium sulfate or agricultural sulfur, and then apply iron sulfate to make up for the shortfall. This issue can be resolved with a foliar feed that contains a complete liquid fertilizer.


Yellowing of young foliage between the veins is a symptom of manganese insufficiency. In the worst cases, dead and withering young palm fronds appear. Frizzletop is what is usually known as this and grows on alkaline soils. Apply manganese sulphate to address the shortage. Cycads experience yellowing in the summer as manganese is taken away from older fronds to promote a burst of new growth. Yellow specks combine to form a bulk. An application of the manganese-containing fungicide mancozeb is advantageous. Both new and older leaves may exhibit this deficit.


Chlorophyll is created with the help of sulphur. The outcome of deficiencies is stunted growth and yellow leaves. Alkaline soils can have their pH lowered with sulfur. Apply sulphur fertilizer, such as sulphate of potash or ammonium sulphate, to make up the deficit rather than using agricultural sulphur.


On the fruits, symptoms are more common than on the leaves. Fruits with blemishes on the blossom end include tomatoes, plums, and olives. Apply calcium nitrate early in the season to make up the deficit.

Iron and manganese deficiency on acid preferring plants

Symptoms include veins that are still dark green but have discoloration between them. This is a typical ailment in soil with a high pH, and it affects citrus, roses, and gardenias in particular. Add iron sulfate or iron chelate, together with manganese sulfate, to the soil to make up for the shortfall.