Common Care Questions

5 Causes For Your Plant’s Yellow Leaves

If you’ve ever seen yellow leaves on your what-was-once-green-plant, read on to find out the causes, symptoms and solutions. It’s going to be fine!

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Why Do Leaves Turn Yellow?

Yellow leaves on plants mean different things depending on the variety, and what other symptoms the plant is showing. Overwatering, underwatering, mineral deficiency, temperature stress, and so on can all be the cause. Identifying the specific symptoms your plant is showing can help you determine the cause and take appropriate action.

How to Fix Yellow Leaves

Below, we go into the solution to get rid of yellowing leaves by first identifying the symptoms displayed by the plant which can help pinpoint the cause.

Leaves that are Yellow, Curling, and Drooping

If you notice your plant has yellow leaves that are curling inwards and the soil is dry to the touch, it's likely under-watered. You might also see older leaves falling off. To fix this, the solution is to water your plant.

Yellow Leaves Fading to Green or Turning Bright Yellow

Are the leaves turning bright yellow and is the soil wet? You might even notice blackened stem bases or fungus gnats. This is a sign of overwatering. You can correct this by letting the soil dry out or repotting the plant in dry soil.

Irregular Yellow Spots or Leaf Deformities

Irregular yellowing with potential leaf deformities is usually caused either by a pest or a mineral deficiency. If no pests are visible, then this is likely caused by a mineral deficiency, usually calcium or boron. The solution is to fertilize once a month, or repot your plant to provide fresh potting soil. Fresh potting soil contains new nutrients.

Whole Plant Yellowing (May or May Not Drop Leaves)

Most likely a temperature issue — it’s either too cold or too hot for your plant where it is placed. This will usually be a more pale yellow or whitish yellow. Temperature will flux around the plant too much or will be obvious, like a radiator or a draft. It could also be a fertilizer issue. If no obvious temperature causes are present and the soil seems normal, try a little fertilizer.

Whole Plant Semi-Yellowing (Without Leaf Drop)

A “general malaise” of a plant turning yellow means that it’s either pot-bound—the roots have no room to expand—or your plant is in the early stages of a fertilizer deficiency. The solution is to repot to a bigger pot, or try a little fertilizer.

Only Mature Leaves are Turning Yellow

As plants mature and grow, older leaves can age-out, start to yellow, and eventually fall from your plant. This is natural leaf shedding. If your plant is happy and healthy otherwise, and only older, mature leaves are yellowing and dropping, there is no need to worry!

Words By The Sill

Empowering all people to be plant people—a collection of articles from The Sill’s team of plant experts across a variety of plant care topics to inspire confidence in the next generation of plant parents. Welcome to Plant Parenthood™.

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