What nutrient deficiency causes yellow leaves?

May, 2022
Darren Spalding

When you see leaves turning yellow, it's time to put on your Sherlock hat and do some research to find the possible cause and solution. If your plant has a viral infection, it can spread as blotchy, yellow spots on the leaves throughout the plant. Excessive heat, dry air and bright sunlight will cause the leaves to burn. Yellow leaf tips and margins generally have one environmental cause that can be quickly remedied once they are found: scorching.

Hibernation is another condition that most are familiar with and that forms yellow plant leaves.

Should I cut off yellow leaves?

When an existing branch is clipped, new branches sprout below the area in which the cut was made. If your plant only has a few yellow leaves, it's probably not a major underlying problem and it's probably safe to remove the yellow leaves. Cutting away the dead or dying leaves will make a plant look much healthier and give you a more attractive plant to look at. If you have a lot of yellow leaves, it's better to find the problem and fix it - for example, too much water or too little sunlight.

It's a disappointing sight to see your seeds sprout, grow first leaves, and then those leaves instantly turn yellow and die off.

Can yellow leaves turn green again?

When the leaf loses its chlorophyll, the plant abandons it and begins to absorb leftover nutrients from the leaf. A yellow leaf of a houseplant is unlikely to turn green again unless the yellowing is caused by a lack of nutrients which, if corrected, can cause the green color to return. Yellow, spreading spotty spots can indicate a viral infection — unfortunately, a viral disease is usually incurable and requires the safe disposal of infected plants. Poor watering and lighting are the most common reasons, but fertilizer problems, pests, disease, acclimatization, temperature extremes, or transplant shocks are other possible causes.

Signs of water stress usually affect the entire plant. However, if you see yellow leaves, you should keep a close eye until you're sure it's just an age case.

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