Find Out Why Plant Leaves Turn Yellow

yellow leaf
Image by anders pearson

By Kathleen Mierzejewski

When you have plants, whether indoor or outdoor, the leaves can suddenly start turning yellow. Yellowing leaves on your plants may point to something being wrong with your plants. Why plant leaves turn yellow is a tricky question. There are plenty of reasons that might cause yellow leaves on your plants.

Reasons Plant Leaves Turning Yellow

A number of things can lead to yellowing leaves. Here are the most common:

Too little water – One reason plant leaves turn yellow could be lack of water. If you have houseplants that have yellow leaves, check the soil in the pot to see if it is dry. If you find this is why leaves are turning yellow, simply water the plant and consider leaving the pot to sit in a dish to catch overflow and allow the roots to absorb the extra water when needed.


Insect pests – If you are still wondering why plant leaves turn yellow, you might want to look for some sort of pest infestation. Different bugs like different plants, and if your leaves are turning yellow, you might have some bugs on the plant causing this to happen. There are insecticides that are safe to use on houseplants to get rid of infestations, but be careful if you have an animal in the home that might get at the plant so they don’t get ill. Neem oil is one of the safest insecticides to use and will not harm you, your children or your pets.

Chlorosis – The reason why leaves are turning yellow could be an abnormal condition called chlorosis. Chlorosis is when the yellow leaves are missing the green pigment called chlorophyll. There are specific causes why plant leaves turn yellow due to chlorosis.

Root issues or nutrient deficiencies – The reasons why leaves are turning yellow could be from damaged roots, roots that are compacted too tightly in the container or nutrient deficiencies. These things can be corrected with ease with repotting or adding fertilizer.  Sometimes the roots on plants with yellow leaves are coming out of the holes in the bottom of the pot and they need to be repotted. This is simple enough and will also cure damaged roots or roots that are tightly compacted. Use a larger pot and make sure to use new soil, leaving some soil around the roots. Once the plant is repotted, you just add water and make sure you watch the plant to see any improvements. Improvements should be seen in a week or two.

Lack of sunlight – Another reason plant leaves are turning yellow could be a lack of sunlight. If this is case, move the plant to a location that has more sunlight.

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