Why Your House Plant Leaves Are Turning Yellow: 5 Common Reasons Explained

Have you ever looked at your houseplant or garden shrub and noticed one or several of its leaves turning yellow?

It can be stressful and confusing at first. Don’t worry, because yellowing leaves is usually your plant’s way of asking you to pay attention to something.

Let’s take a look at some of the five most common reasons why your plants may be dropping yellow leaves and what you can do to help them live their happiest lives.

1. Too Much Or Too Little Water

Plants need water to grow, just like us!

Too much water will starve the roots of oxygen and lead to nutrient deficiencies (which can cause yellow leaves), while too little water will deprive the plant of moisture, cause stress, and also lead to yellowing of the leaves.

Make sure you are watering your plants correctly when you water them by testing the soil moisture and adjusting your watering schedule accordingly.

2. Nutrient Deficiency

Plants need a number of different nutrients to maintain their green colour and stay healthy.

When key nutrients such as nitrogen, iron or magnesium are lacking in the soil, this can lead to yellowed leaves.

If there is too little nitrogen, for example, the discoloration is often uniform on all of the older leaves.

Iron deficiency, by contrast, often results in yellowing of the tissue between the major leaf veins.

If there is a nutrient deficiency, you can help your plants by fertilizing them with a balanced fertilizer or supplementing with the nutrients they are lacking.

3. Pests and Disease

Spider mites, aphids, fungal conditions and more are just some of the pests and diseases of ornamental plants.

They damage your plants by eating leaves or creating weaknesses for disease to attack.

Pests also cause plant damage by removing essential nutrients or transmitting toxins.

As a result, you may see yellowing, wilting, curling or otherwise unsightly leaves.

Regularly inspect your plants for pests or disease, and act at the first signs of problems.

Use natural predators, organic pesticides or fungicides depending on the problem.

4. Environmental Stress

Plants are susceptible to environmental stressors; intense stress can cause yellowing when a plant is being affected by surrounding conditions and stimuli.

Extreme heat and intense light without adequate air ventilation and shading are strong stressors to plants and can cause leaf burning or sunburn.

Prolonged exposure to cold drafts can also result in shock and leaf fall.

Keep surrounding environmental conditions stable, including light levels, temperature and humidity to keep plants from stress-yellowing.

5. Root Problems

Healthy roots help a plant to take up nutrients from the soil.

If you overwater or have poor drainage and your plant’s roots start to rot, it may be unable to absorb water and nutrients, leading to yellowing leaves.

If roots are compacted in a pot or root-bound, they will not get enough room to grow and therefore will not be able to take up enough nutrients.

Make sure your plant is potted in well-draining potting soil and that your plants are not root-bound.

If they are, repot them or use chemical solutions or physical intervention.

To summarize, if your plants’ leaves are yellowing, this can be a sign that something is wrong, and corrective action is needed.

By being aware of the most common reasons behind leaf discoloration and acting promptly, you can help bring your plants back to good health and wellbeing.

Make sure to observe your plants carefully, give them an appropriate environment and care, and deal with problems as they arise in order to enjoy their beauty in your surroundings.

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