The next day you water your plant and notice a small yellow spot on one of its leaves. You gasp and hope that it goes away. However, it gets worse. You wonder why this is happening, especially since you have been taking such good care!
Yellow leaves are a sign of the plant being stressed and it needs nursing back to health. But don’t worry! Yellow leaves are a very common problem and can be resolved.
Leaves turn yellow for a variety of reasons, so it can be tricky to pin-point the exact cause. It is important to learn the exact cause of the yellowing of your plant leaves before you can fix it. Here are a few simple steps to help you determine the exact cause of the yellowing of your plant leaves.
Step 1: Ensure there is no overwatering or underwatering.
Make a shallow indent in the soil about an inch deep. When the soil is dry, the plant needs watering immediately.
Plants that are over watered may be damp and cool soil. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re dead. In addition to wilting, edema and root rot, you should also be aware of other signs of overwatering. If you suspect your plant is overwatered, then you should adjust its watering schedule and repotted it.
For most plants, the rule of thumb is that you must water them when the soil is dry to the touch. Again, though, different plants have different needs. Some plants, such as ferns, baby tears, spikemoss, etc. require consistent moist soil, while other plants, such as succulents, snake plants, sago palms, etc. thrive with less water.
Step 2: Not Enough Sunlight!!
When your plant has not been getting enough sunlight, check whether the plant is being transplanted or was it overwatered / underwatered. In plants that don’t get enough sunlight their leaves can turn yellow. Usually the leaves closest to the sun will turn yellow first. If this is the case, then move your plant to an area with more sunlight or install an artificial light.
You can get too much sun too. Some plants don’t like too much light and thrive in medium or low sunlight. See below for a list of houseplants categorized according to their light requirements.
Step 3: Check Temperature
Many plants do not like cold temperatures. Please check for vents in the house and windows that leak cold air. If this is the case, then move the plant away from these places and check its response after a few days.
Step 4: Pest Attacks
It seems you have followed all of the steps so far but can’t figure it out? Then scan your plant for pests!!
There are other signs that can help you identify pests. Look for tiny holes on leaves and on the ground. These can be due to aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, snails, etc. To treat pest infestation, spray water mixed with liquid soap, cut off affected leaves, or use insecticide spray. Do not rule out a pest infestation before thoroughly inspecting for pests.
Step 5: Check The pH Of Soil
A pH meter can be used to check the pH of soil. Most plants require a pH of around 6.0 for proper absorption of nutrients through their roots. You can find out the perfect pH for soil for your particular plant by doing a Google search.
The pH of your soil must be increased or decreased depending on whether it is within the optimum range for your plant. To increase the pH, mix 1 teaspoon of lime with 3 cups of water and pour it onto the ground. Half a teaspoon of sulfur is required for every 6 inches of pot diameter to decrease the pH by 0.5 units.
Step 6: Nutritional Deficiency
Before diagnosing a nutritional deficiency as the cause of yellow leaves make sure that the pH of the soil is in the optimum range. It is because an imbalanced pH can limit nutrient absorption even if all the nutrients present in the soil are in sufficient quantities. After ensuring the pH of the soil is ideal, check for nutritional deficiencies.
Nutritional deficiency is most commonly caused by a lack of nitrogen. Potassium deficiency will manifest as leaf edges turning bright yellow. Nitrogen deficiency will present as yellowing of all the leaves at the bottom of the plant. Yellow spots between the leaf veins begin to appear as magnesium deficiency in older leaves. Like magnesium deficiency, iron deficiency demonstrates yellowing between veins on the young leaves first. Younger leaves start turning yellow throughout when sulfer deficiency occurs.
Look for plant foods that could supply the deficient nutrient once it has been found.
Step 7: Umm…. Is Your Plant Rootbound?
It might appear that your plant is fine, but its roots could have grown too large for its pot. This is called rootbound, which means the plant’s roots are bound by the pot it is in. To check whether your plant is rootbound, gently pull it out of its pot. To cure rootbound plants untangle the roots and repot it in a larger container. If you see a dense complex pattern of roots encircling the soil, your plant is rootbound.
Step 8: Don’t Overuse Fertilizers
You can also experience yellowing leaves if you overfeed the soil with fertilizer. In addition to that, if the plant becomes too stressed from too much fertilizer, it will not be able to absorb the water it requires. Plants, which are in pots, should be rinsed thoroughly in a sink if there has been a build-up of fertilizer.
Step 9: Did You Recently Transplant?
It’s possible to notice some yellowing of the leaves after just recently transplanting your plant. The plant is most likely experiencing transplant shock, a condition in which a plant feels excessive stress due to going through a transplantation process. Transplant shock can happen when the pH, temperature, texture, moisture and temperature of the soil change. As the plant becomes accustomed to its new environment, yellowing of leaves should eventually diminish. Therefore, continue taking care as you did before and observe after a few days.
Step 10: Still No Clue? Well, It Could Just Be Natural Aging
A plant’s leaves turning yellow and dropping off is a normal part of growth. In this case, do not be alarmed and continue to take care of the plant as you have been!!
That’s it!! As you can see there are many reasons the plant’s leaf could turn yellow, so finding the exact one can be a tiring process. However, a little patience would go a long way, and both you and your plant would be grateful for that. Try troubleshooting with the tips above. I hope this helps!
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