Why Do My Plant Leaves Turn Yellow?

When a plant doesn’t grow, you fix the environment it’s subjected to, not the plant.

Yoshmayi Bhoi

Monday Enlightenment: Why do my plant leaves turn yellow?

One of the first plants I had (the one I told you about, that a patient trusted me with to keep alive, and I failed and it died…) started turning yellow at the leaves. I thought it was dying. I kept watering it, thinking that was the reason, it wasn’t getting enough water. What I have discovered is there is such thing as “overwatering” your plants, which I eventually assumed to be the problem with it.

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When leaves begin turning yellow, it is the plants way of telling you it is “sick.” (we discussed this in the color green blog post too, remember?) This could mean a few different things for your indoor, potted plants.

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Possible culprits of yellowing leaves for indoor houseplants:

  • Overwatering
  • Under-watering
  • Nutrient deficiency or too much salt from fertilizer
  • Sun exposure, or lack there-of
  • Disease or pests.

It may take a bit of time to get to know the plant and figure out which is causing yellowing to its lovely leaves.

Start by determining how often the plant should be watered. Most house plants are tropical in nature, and require little to medium watering. Be sure to look up your plant name and figure out how to care for it.

Stick a finger about an inch deep into the soil to see how moist the soil is. If it’s moist, and the plant doesn’t require much water, try moving it into the sun to help it dry up some. Although, changing the plants location can cause it stress too, so just keep an eye on it.

For those plants requiring little water, when the soil is dry up to an inch down, it usually is ready for more water.

Too much salt in the plant will usually surface itself on the top of the soil as a white “soot.” This can be taken care of by leaching the plant.

As far as pests and disease go, there are many that can attack and hurt the plant. Many of the insects are too small to see, but can be identified by the plants response to their feeding activity. The plants response is a decline in health, indicated through yellowing leaves and can even crinkle at the ends and fall off.

The good news, washing your plant with a soapy water can help rid the little pests. (Find out more about this here).

A few things that have helped me with watering are using watering trays, allowing for water to run through the plant and be caught in the tray; using self watering containers, that just require a filling to the line every 5-7 days, and of course, researching more about each of my plants to get to know their needs a bit better.

Wow. So many ailments to yellowing plant leaves. I know it seems like a lot, but really it’s just getting to know your plants, and caring for them just like they are your babies. I hope this helps brighten your thumbs!

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