What causes yellow leaves on your plants and what are the remedies? No gardener likes to see unsightly yellow leaves blemishing an otherwise healthy plant. A thorough examination of the plant’s leaves and their environment will clue you in as to the likely culprits. But even if you can’t deter yellow leaves completely, don’t despair: Sometimes leaf color changes as part of the natural aging process, and older, lower leaves will be replaced during the next growing cycle by new green shoots.
To troubleshoot your plant for common culprits, first test the plant’s soil—is it moist? You may need to water the plant more frequently; plants that are too dry can develop yellow leaves. When watering, allow the liquid to seep slowly into the plant’s roots.
By the same token, overwatering a plant can cause yellow blemishes, so monitor the plant’s intake to ensure it is moist, but not damp or sitting in excess water.
Next, consider the plant’s location: Does it get adequate sunlight? A lack of sun can cause leaves to turn yellow, so move the plant to another locale if you suspect it isn’t getting enough rays.
Is the plant being blasted with cold air? If that’s the case, move it away from air-conditioning units or windows—tropical plants are particularly prone to damage from cold drafts and seasonal changes.
Next, examine the soil and leaves, looking closely to detect aphids, spider mites, or other pests that could be weakening the plant. If you see evidence of bugs, identify them if possible and treat the plant judiciously with a pesticide that is safe for kids and pets.
Finally, check the plant’s roots. Are they crammed together too tightly or otherwise damaged? A process called chlorosis can take place when leaves lack the green pigment called chlorophyll, sometimes due to overcrowding the plant or otherwise causing nitrogen and other nutritional deficiencies.
If you suspect chlorosis, repot the plant in a larger container, if possible, and apply fertilizer. Expect to see improvements within a week or two.