Plant Leaves Turning Yellow? Let’s Find Out Why

Last updated on May 4th, 2023

There is nothing more frustrating than seeing the leaves of your plants turn yellow. What’s more upsetting is, even though you water it, and give it sunlight and fertilizer, it makes little difference. You know you are doing something wrong, but don’t know what. So, what do you do if you want to coax it back to good health?

Many factors can play a role in your plant’s vitality. These include too much water, too little water, not enough light, or too much sunlight. Let’s check out some of the factors that can turn your leaves yellow.

Improper Watering and Drainage

For sensitive plants, too much or too little water can be a game changer. In case of too much watering, the extra moist soil causes suffocation and the roots are unable to transport vital nutrients and water to the plant. Resulting in yellow leaves. Underwatering your plants on the other hand has a similar effect. The roots are unable to transport nutrients and water to the plant.

How to fix it

· Use porous well-draining soil for your plants

· Check to see if your pots have enough drainage holes

· For outdoors, make sure there is no water accumulation

· Improve soil structure by using organic compost to improve your soil

· Conduct a finger test before watering your plant. If the soil is dry to the touch, water your plant. If it is moist, avoid watering

· For damp soil, let the soil dry a bit before watering again

Is Your Soil pH the Issue?

Your soil pH plays a deciding role in the number of nutrients your plant can access. Lawn grass prefers a neutral or slightly acidic pH level. Some plants such as rhododendrons do well in soil with higher acidity levels.

How to fix it

· A soil test will give you a fair idea about the pH level of your soil

· Your local nursery staff has the needed experience and so they are your best bet

Lack of Natural Sunlight

Outdoor plants don’t do too well in your home. The leaves start yellowing and drop due to lack of sunlight. So how do you know if your plants need to be outdoors? If your leaves are yellowing due to the lack of sunlight, the leaves away from the light source will start yellowing.

How to fix it

· Make sure all the leaves get enough sunlight by turning your pots regularly

· Place your plants in places where there is plenty of sunlight

· If there isn’t enough sunlight in your home, you may want to install an artificial plant light

The Aging Process

The lower leaves of an aging plant often turn yellow and fall off. This is the plant’s normal growth cycle and shouldn’t be of concern. On the downside, you will be left with a plant with more stems and fewer leaves.

How to fix it

· Try trimming the main stem to encourage fresh growth of leaves

· Trim the yellowed leaves

Is the Temperature Suitable?

A major contributing factor to yellowing leaves is the temperature. Too hot or too cold climates can affect the plant, leading to yellowing leaves. Tropical plants can’t withstand cold air and start yellowing.

How to fix it

· Keep your tropical plants away from the draft of the air conditioner

· For plants that can’t withstand too much heat, place them in shady areas in the summer months

Is Your Plant Getting Enough Nutrients?

Yellowing plant leaves are also indicative of poor nutrition. Signs such as strange yellowing patterns; i.e., green veins and yellow tissue may mean poor nutrition. Over-fertilizing is as harmful as under-fertilizing. So, it’s best to check the label before use. Too much fertilizer is toxic and causes ‘burns’ that cause yellowing.

How to fix it

· Make sure your fertilizer is from a reliable manufacturer

· Frequent fertilizer use isn’t going to make your plant grow faster; consult your neighborhood plant nursery for advice on the frequency of use

Summing Up

The most important factor for lush growth is plant care. Devote some time to your plants every week to check the soil and remove dead leaves. Your plants will thrive with your personalized attention. And hey, for more information on plant care and décor, check our blogs on decorating with plants and plant care. You will find us at