While we may not be able to lip-read, plants have a great way of communicating their unhappiness. Yellow leaves can be a result of various factors such as environmental conditions, plant care, pests or disease, and even the growth medium.
Yellow leaves on plants can indicate different things depending on (A) the plant variety and (B) other symptoms exhibited by the plant. Causes can include overwatering, underwatering, mineral deficiency, temperature stress, and more. To simplify matters, we have compiled a list of common symptom combinations with their respective solutions to help you address yellowing leaves on your plants.
Dry and crispy plant leaves = your plant is thirsty.
In this stage, there is often a middle ground between leaves turning brown and the plant drooping. This is the ideal moment to water and allow for recovery. Sometimes, the lower leaves and stems remain active and prompt regrowth. If you're planting in pots outdoors, consider grouping them together to keep them cool during the summer heat.
No new growth = your plant is thirsty.
If your plant appears sparse, it's likely that you need to adjust your watering schedule and evaluate the amount of light reaching its leaves.
Yellow leaves at the edges = your plant is overwatered.
Try reducing the frequency of watering, but do not stop altogether. With time, you'll become familiar with your plants' watering needs. The knuckle test is a reliable method: insert your finger into the soil; if it's still wet, the plant hasn't absorbed the previous watering and can skip a drink.
Dropping leaves or discolouration = overwatered.
Overwatering is the primary killer of plants, and it's not just about the watering can. If you're using pots, ensure they have adequate drainage holes. Plants generally don't thrive when sitting in water, so make sure the pot hasn't become a waterlogged bath.
They're looking pale = hungry.
Give your plants some liquid fertilizer, as they may need additional nutrients, especially if you have poor soil or are using containers. You can also consider transplanting the plant into a slightly larger pot with fresh soil.
The best feeling is seeing your efforts pay off, and with your adjusted routine, you'll soon witness new green leaves thriving.