10 Reasons Why Indoor Plants Leaves Turn Yellow
The bright green leaves of the plants add freshness and calmness to the environment. But what happens when the leaves of a plant suddenly start turning yellow? When the leaves of a houseplant start turning yellow, you should immediately know that it’s a warning sign that something is wrong with your plant. Immediately measures should be taken before it’s too late. But what causes the yellowing of leaves in plants? If you are wondering, “Why are my houseplant leaves turning yellow?” you may find some answers below.
10 Reasons Why Houseplant Leaves Turning Yellow
There are several reasons why the leaves of indoor plants suddenly turn yellow. Sometimes these reasons are obvious, but other times, you have no idea what you are doing wrong that could result in your houseplant’s leaves turning yellow. If you find the leaves of your plant turning yellow, first of all, ask yourself if you are taking good care of the needs of the indoor plants. But if you find no immediate reason, the following are some things that you need to recheck.
1. Normal Aging
Every plant goes through normal aging and has a specific growth cycle. If you see that your plant’s leaves are turning yellow, don’t panic because it can all be due to the fact that the leaves’ life is over. When old leaves age, new leaves grow in their place.
The cycle of aging begins from the growth of the new plant until its very last breath. You will first start seeing discoloration of the leaves, and then they start drooping. You can wait for the leaves to shed on their own or can trim the stem of the leaves so the new ones can grow soon.
Repotting the plant is a sensitive act, as many plants can stop growing if their roots become exposed to the air. The plant can get stressed by the change in its environment, and its leaves can suddenly start turning yellow. The plant just needs time to adjust to its new home, so be patient. This also happens when you buy a new plant for your home from the nursery.
When you repot the plant, make sure not to fertilize it for a few weeks so it can get used to the nutrients already available in the soil. When you buy a new plant, and its leaves are changing color, take care of its needs and let it adjust to its new home.
3. Poor Drainage or Improper Watering
Most of houseplant problems stem from its watering habits. The first sign of improper watering in a plant is the yellow color of its leaves. When plants are overwatered, their roots are submerged in the water and cannot transfer nutrients to the whole plant, resulting in the yellowing of leaves.
Similar is the case with underwatering when roots do not get enough water for delivering to the plant. The solution to this problem is simple– Keep a check on your plant’s water needs. Only water the plant adequately when the top few inches of the soil are dry.
The next problem that comes alongside overwatering is poor drainage. The extra water from the plant should drain so the roots do not get harmed. A pot with drain holes is the best thing you can ever give to your plant. When the plant has some outlet to drain extra water, a little overwatering won’t be able to do it any harm, and you won’t have to ask yourself, “Why are my houseplants turning yellow?”
4. Root Damage or Compacted Roots
Houseplants are always prone to root damage because they have to grow in pots. When a plant has matured, and its pot is smaller for its size, the roots of that plant become compact. Compacted roots cannot transfer air, water, and other nutrients to the rest of the plant. This results in yellow leaves.
Before taking other steps, you should check the roots to calculate the damage. If the roots have turned dark and smell rotten and foul, it’s time to dispose of the plant. But if you only see compacted roots with no above-mentioned signs, change the pot of the plant and let it adjust to its new environment.
5. Lack of Light
Most houseplants also suffer from a lack of light indoors, which results in the yellowing of leaves. When the leaves don’t get enough sunlight, they will start turning pale, and your plant will slowly be dead before your eyes. If your houseplant is near the window and you see one side of the plant’s leaves turning yellow, they are not getting enough light while the part facing the window is getting enough light.
To prevent this, you should change the direction of the plant every week so each side can get enough sunlight. If there is no sunlight in the area you are living, try using grow lights for plants so their leaves can maintain their healthy green color.
Also Read: How Much Light Do Indoor Plants Need?
6. Viral Infection
Plants also tend to get viral infections, and these viral infections can also affect the color of plants’ leaves. As viral infections are widespread, you need to make sure your other plants do not start having the symptoms like yellow leaves as soon as you detect yellowing leaves in one plant. Once a plant is under an infection, you cannot do anything to protect it. You should quarantine the plant and wait for a miracle to happen.
Plants often do not survive a viral infection, so if their leaves are turning yellow due to this, it is best you do not place it near your other healthy plants.
7. Improper Soil pH
Every plant needs a certain level of pH in its soil to grow properly. If none of the above possibilities tell why the leaves of your houseplants are turning yellow, check the pH of the soil. If you are fertilizing the plant with a suitable fertilizer, there shouldn’t be any problem with the pH, but if you are not, chances are high that the soil is lacking in pH.
When plants lack specific nutrients, their pH level rises or gets low. Another factor is whether the plant needs an acidic, alkaline or neutral soil. The leaves will continue turning yellow if you do not plant them at their required pH level.
8. Lack of Proper Nutrients
If there is no pH issue, but the leaves are still turning yellow, it means there’s a lack of proper nutrients in the plant. Each nutrient deficiency has different effects on the leaves’ color. If you think that your plant is deficient in some nutrients, check the signs below to detect which nutrient it needs.
- Nitrogen Deficiency:
Nitrogen deficiency in plants results in yellowing of older and inner leaves. There is no proper way to identify if the yellowing is because of a lack of nitrogen, but you should still check the nitrogen levels in the soil if the yellowing of leaves in this manner takes place. If proper measures are not taken, the yellowing can also reach the outer young leaves.
- Potassium Deficiency:
When the edges of the leaves start turning bright yellow, it means that the plant is being deficient in potassium. First, this type of yellowing will appear in older mature leaves, but slowly it also spreads toward new leaves.
- Magnesium Deficiency:
If you see any yellow patches on leaves, check the plant’s magnesium levels, as lack of magnesium is the cause of it. The leaves will stay bright green, but there will be yellow patches on them, and slowly these patches will move toward the edges, turning the whole leaf yellow.
- Iron Deficiency
When the top leaves turn yellow from their veiny parts, this is a sign of iron deficiency. Young leaves are the first to get affected by yellowing due to iron deficiency.
- Sulfur Deficiency:
New leaves also turn yellow due to a lack of sulfur in the soil.
Pests on the houseplants can also play their part in turning leaves yellow. Spider mites, mealy bugs and aphids suck the nutrients from the plants, and as a result, leaves start draining their color. First, you need to identify the pests on your houseplant and then take measures to get rid of them. Check under the leaves and around stems for pests. Once you are sure of their presence, use insecticide soap or other pesticides to kill those pests.
10. Cold Draft
Tropical plants are more at risk of being exposed to a cold draft. Short periods of cold cause the browning of leaves, but when a plant is exposed to continuous cold from an air conditioner or a drafty window, its leaves can turn yellow. The only solution to this is protecting your plant from intense cold. You can also mist them to increase the plant’s humidity so it isn’t directly exposed to cold air.
Have you found the answer to the question, “Why is my houseplant turning yellow?” Above are all the possible reasons why the yellowing of the leaves is occurring to your plant. Remember that your plant is also a breathing living to be; if an environment isn’t suitable, it can tell you in several ways. Yellowing of leaves is one of the languages that the plant speaks, telling you that there’s something wrong with it.
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