Green Leaves Have Yellow Veins: Reasons For Yellow Veins On Leaves

Green Leaf With Yellow Veins
yellow veins
(Image credit: belchonock)

If you have a plant with yellow veins on the leaves, you might be wondering why on earth the veins are turning yellow. Plants use the sun to make chlorophyll, the stuff they feed on and responsible for the green color of their foliage. Paling or yellowing of the leaf is a sign of mild chlorosis; but if you see that your normally green leaves have yellow veins, there might be a larger problem.

About Yellow Veins on Leaves

When a plant’s foliage creates insufficient chlorophyll, the leaves become pale or begin to yellow. When the leaves remain green and only the veins are turning yellow, the term is called veinal chlorosis.

Interveinal chlorosis is different than veinal chlorosis. In interveinal chlorosis, the area surrounding the leaf veins becomes yellow in color while in veinal chlorosis, the veins themselves yellow.

Along with this major difference, the causes of chlorosis differ. In the case of interveinal chlorosis, the culprit is often a nutrient deficiency (often an iron deficiency), which can be diagnosed through testing and usually fairly easily remedied.

When a plant has leaves with yellow veins due to veinal chlorosis, the culprit is often more serious.

Why Do Green Leaves Have Yellow Veins?

Pinning down the exact cause of yellow veins on leaves may take some serious sleuthing. Veinal chlorosis is often the next step in serious chlorosis issues. It may be that your plant was lacking in iron, magnesium, or other nutrients and conditions went on for so long that the vascular system of the plant started shutting down, no longer creating chlorophyll. A soil test can help determine if the plant is lacking in nutrients and, if so, a proper amendment can be made if it isn’t too late.

Another reason for leaves with yellow veins is insecticide or even herbicide use around the plant. If this is the case, there isn’t too much that can be done, as the plant has essentially been poisoned. Of course, in the future, restrict or eliminate the use of these chemical controls around the plants.

Another reason for green leaves with yellow veins might be disease or injury. Several diseases, such as certain species-specific mosaic viruses, can restrict the uptake of nutrients which may result in yellow leaf veining.

Additionally, soil compaction, poor drainage, root injury, or other damage can cause veinal chlorosis, although this is usually precipitated by interveinal chlorosis. Aerating the soil and mulching may provide some relief to a plant that has yellow veins on leaves.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.