Home & Garden Gardening

What Causes Potted Plants to Turn Yellow?


    • Plants do not turn yellow simply because of a lack of water. Overwatering can also cause a plant to turn yellow and drop its leaves. Water only when the soil is dry at least 1/2 inch down.

    Change of Location

    • Houseplants that have been recently moved from one area to another can start to turn yellow while trying to acclimate to the new environment. Watch the potted plant for a few days to see if it perks up. If there is no change, the best solution is to put the plant back where it was before the damage becomes irreversible.

    Cold and Drafts

    • Temperature is important to potted plants. Cold drafts will cause a plant's leaves to turn yellow and drop. If the plant is outdoors, bring it in from the cold. If it is an indoor plant, find a place where there is less of a draft.

    Improper Light

    • Make certain the plant is in the proper light. Sun-loving plants will turn yellow and start to wither in the shade. Shade plants cannot take bright light and must have the light filtered for the leaves to stay green.


    • Potted plants infested with insects can turn yellow and lose their leaves. The plant should be removed so other plants are not infected. Check for the tiny pests on the underside of the leaves. Wash the plant with a mild mixture of warm water and detergent. Do not place the plant back into circulation until there is no further sign of infestation.

    Too Much Fertilizer

    • Fertilizers help plants grow, but too much fertilizer causes yellowing and loss of leaves. Fertilize just once a month during the growing season.

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