Yellow leaves problems: How to fix yellow leaves on plants

Yellow leaves problems: How to fix yellow leaves on plants

There are many reasons yellow leaves can appear on plants. Your green plants may have received too much sunlight or not enough. Might even have fallen prey to garden pests and too many cold drafts. There are many possible causes. It can be difficult to determine why your plant is yellowing. Different plant types may have different meanings.

For example, Aloe vera, a popular houseplant, develops yellow leaves when it is stressed or doesn’t follow a set schedule for waterings. Bromeliads and burros’ tails get yellow leaves when they are exposed to direct sunlight for too long. Calathea, however, gets yellow leaves due to a variety of factors: mis-watering or overwatering, underwatering, mis-watering withholding light, excessive exposure to light, drying out, and even, as some have suggested, being vexatious. While there are different reasons for different plants’ leaves to turn yellow, here are some for your understanding.

Improper watering or poor drainage

Yellow leaves are often caused by water issues. Roots can’t breathe in wet soil. Roots become suffocated, stop receiving the nutrients and water they need and shut down. Similar effects can be seen when plants are underwatered or in drought. Plants can’t absorb essential nutrients if they don’t have enough water. This results in yellow leaves.

  • Porous and well-draining soil is the best way to fix or prevent water problems.
  • Containers should have good drainage holes.
  • Saucers should be kept dry.
  • Avoid planting in areas where rainwater and irrigation accumulate in your landscape.
  • To improve the soil structure and drainage, you can incorporate organic matter such as compost into your soil.

Give soil the “finger-test” before you water. Place your index finger about a meter into the soil. Water should only be applied when the soil feels dry. Water thoroughly and deeply. Wait a few days if the soil feels dry and cool. Before you water again, let the soil dry slightly.

Suffocated Roots

Root damage can occur in many ways. Roots can become ineffective at delivering what your plants need. Compacted roots can occur when container plants outgrow the pots. Compacted soil in landscapes can block water, oxygen, and nutrient movement. These conditions can cause root problems and yellow leaves.

  • You can check the containers for any damaged or compressed roots by gently removing your plant from its pot. You’ll also be able to see the soil moisture.
  • Healthy roots will be whitish-yellow. Rotting roots are foul-smelling.
  • Roots that are diseased or rotten should be removed.
  • Compaction can be caused by pruning unhealthy roots.
  • Once the roots are removed, repot them in a larger container that has well-draining soil.

Landscape plantings can improve soil compaction by watering your lawn. Your planting areas should include organic matter and organic mulch. Garden gypsum can increase soil compaction in heavy clay soils and keep the leaves green.

Right soil

Your yellowing leaves may not be due to soil pH if you are growing container plants and using premium fertilizers. If your problem is with landscape plants, however, soil pH could be the answer.

The soil pH can influence whether plants have access to nutrients. As soil pH changes, so does the availability of nutrients. Most plants, including lawngrasses, thrive in soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Acid-loving Plants such as rhododendrons and blueberries, prefer soil with a pH of 4.5 to 6.0.

Some nutrients are less accessible to plants if the soil pH is lower than or higher than their optimal range. Even though nutrients may be present, they are not available to plants. Until pH issues are resolved, leaves will turn yellow.

The simple soil test determines the pH of your soil and gives other useful information. Many testing labs will also recommend soil amendments that can restore pH balance. When this happens, nutrients are made available again and green leaves return to normal.

Less nutrient soil

Yellow leaves can occur in areas where the soil pH is optimal. This could indicate a nutrient deficiency. Some nutrients are highly mobile. For example, nitrogen moves easily through soil and then leaches out. If soil nitrogen is not regularly replenished through fertilizer application, nitrogen deficiencies can turn lawns or plant leaves yellowish-pale green.

Proper fertilization and premium food products can be helpful if you suspect that you have nutrient deficiencies. The county extension agent will be able to provide information about the exact nutrients. Common deficiencies 1 can be identified by identifying which leaves turn yellow first. This will help you identify the cause.

  • Yellowing due to a lack of nitrogen The yellowing of inner leaves, especially older ones, is the first. As the yellowing progresses, it spreads outward and eventually reaches young leaves.
  • Potassium deficiency is a condition where the leaf edges turn brightly yellow but the inner leaves remain green. The symptoms are more severe in older leaves, as the leaf edges turn brown quickly.
  • Magnesium deficiencies manifest as yellow spots between the leaf veins of older leaves. As yellow moves away from the leaf center, veins remain green. The leaf edges become yellowed last.
    Iron deficiency can also be seen as yellowing in leaf veins. However, it affects young leaves first on the tops of plants and at branch tips.
  • The newest leaves are yellowed by a sulfur deficiency.
  • Complex relationships exist between nutrients in soils and plants. Low potassium can make iron less accessible. However, excess potassium can cause deficiencies in other nutrients. Proper fertilization is crucial for keeping your plants free of yellow leaves.

African violets

This houseplant is a tropical-loving plant and should avoid conditions such as “cold drafts”, too much sun or pests. Yellow leaves often indicate that you need to replicate the plant’s tropical origins using warm humid air and indirect lighting.

  • African violets love shade. Too much sun can cause damage to the leaves. If you notice yellow patches on your plant’s leaves, or dry edges it could be sunburnt.
  • Yellow spots on African violets leaves could be a sign of poor watering practices.
  • You should water the plants less often.

Air plants

Yellow leaves can be found on air plants. This should be addressed immediately. Yellow leaves can be a sign of excessive light or too wetness. These plants do not require the same amount of water as other houseplants. They get their moisture from the air and don’t need to be watered. Allow your air plants to dry completely after watering them. There should be no standing water and keep them out of direct sunlight.

  • Let your air plant dry out if you have overwatered it.
  • Mini portable fans are recommended by air plant experts to remove excess water from your plant’s leaves during waterings.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is resistant to change in its environment. Water only when the soil has dried and to keep your watering schedule consistent. Aloe vera, a succulent, prefers to be watered in dry, arid areas.

  • Succulents need lightweight, sandy soil that dries quickly.
  • Avoid poor soil choices for aloe veras and a pot that isn’t suitable for its needs.
  • Most plants require pots that have good drainage.
  • If your aloe vera has not been placed in the correct soil or pot, repot it.


Bromeliads’ leaf colors can vary greatly so you should not be looking for a specific color but rather a change in color. Yellow leaves can be a sign of a disease, but not a diagnosis. In the case, a bromeliad Guzmania has yellow leaves.

  • If your bromeliad’s bracts become papery with yellow tips and are not in direct sunlight, move it.
  • Even a yellow bromeliad leaf can be spotted as a sick one. It fades, you can see it.
  • Get that tropical beauty out of the direct sunlight. It’s getting sunburned.

Burro’s tail

Yellow leaves on the burro’s tail indicate excessive light exposure. Keep light bright but indirect. It is possible to save plants with yellow leaves, but you need to address them early so that they can recover. Move your plant from a “hot, bright windowsill.”

  • Make sure you find the right balance. As they struggle to get enough light, some plants can become yellow.
  • Indirect light doesn’t mean a dark corner–brighten it up! It is less likely that you can save the leaf.
  • Sometimes, you may need to cut off the yellow leaf from the plant to remove it. This will allow you invest your energy to keep the still-green plants thriving.


Calathea’s yellow leaves can be caused by “overwatering” or “just being irritated. Calathea is not known for its easygoing nature, but for its beautiful appearance.

Calathea might need more attention than other plants. You might want to do some research before you bring it into your home.

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