Even the best and most experienced green thumbs have trouble growing sometimes, and it can be frustrating. But think of it like this: plant symptoms, like when your plant’s leaves are yellow, are their communication tools.
One of the ways our plants express to us that they are in distress is by turning yellow. If your plant’s leaves are yellow, they need something from you!
Here are the top reasons why your plant’s leaves are yellow — and how to change your care routine so your plants are happy and healthy.
The number one reason plants die is inappropriate moisture. This doesn’t always mean too little!
Plants die from overwatering as often as inadequate watering. Yellow leaves on your plant could be an expression of either too much or too little water.
To solve this, check the soil with your thumb. Press into the soil about an inch or two. If the ground is wet, your plant may be overwatered. If the soil tested is bone dry, you’ve definitely been under-watering.
Alter your watering schedule so that you water your plant when the soil is dry. Be careful: there is a difference between dry and dried out. Don’t wait too long between waterings, and don’t water while the soil is still moist.
Checking is the surest way to know when to water!
It’s very common for plant leaves to turn yellow when they aren’t receiving enough light — especially if you’re growing indoors. Most plants need 8 hours of sunlight a day. Check your plant’s exact sunlight needs, and then move your plant accordingly!
Pro Tip: If you’re growing in a tricky situation (indoors, shady patio, etc.), grow in a container and move your garden to follow the sun!
Temperature is an often overlooked component of a plant’s growth — especially when growing indoors. If you’re growing outdoors, be sure your current climate suits your plant. If you’re growing indoors, note that cold drafts might be the reason your plant’s leaves are turning yellow.
When growing tropical plants, it’s particularly important to pay attention to temperature.
If there is a strange patterning in the yellow leaves (like green veins but yellow tissue), they could be a product of poor nutrition. Usually, this results from either too much or too little fertilizer.
Too much fertilizer will actually burn the leaves, while not enough fertilizer means your plant requires more food and doesn’t have the energy to produce green leaves. Notice what and when you’re fertilizing your garden, then adjust to the amount suggested on the bottle.
Pests, Fungi, and Bacteria
Check the undersides of leaves for pests, bacteria, or fungi. Look out for common garden pests and diseases. To treat, first, try all-natural pesticides. If your plant is diseased, you may need to replant and try again!
Of course, the last reason your plant’s leaves are yellow is natural aging. Every plant has a lifespan and will begin dropping leaves. When it runs its course, be happy that you grew for so long! Take it as an opportunity to grow something new.
If you’re still not sure why your plant’s leaves are yellow, or have any questions on how to treat it, reach out to one of our Grow Pros at firstname.lastname@example.org! They’re growing professionals that can help you achieve a happy, healthy harvest.