Why do plants turn yellow – and what to do about it

Very often, customers tell us about their plants turning yellow. This is fairly common, and there can be a number of reasons behind this. You need to first understand the reason your plants are turning yellow, and then decide on a corrective action. Read on to find out more.

The most common reasons for plants turning yellow are as follows:

  1. Pest Problem: If you see insects living and eating your leaves, treat it with neem oil (don’t forget to mix it with some soap, if you are using pure neem oil). You can also use something a herbal insecticide like Clotol
  2. Overwatering: This is probably the most common problem faced by beginning gardeners. Yes, your plants need water – but too much of a good thing is bad :-). Your leaves would look wilted and yellow. This can also happen due to bad soil drainage. In order to fix bad soil drainage, consider adding sand to your soil, or going with a raised bed. You can also add pebbles within the soil (not on top of it). Also consider using cocopeat while creating your potting mixture – that makes sure that your soil does not harden easily, and shows good drainage characteristics. Or, you can buy our ready-made potting mix, which ensures no compaction of soil with time.
  3. Lack of sunlight: Your leaves look droopy and faded. Fix this by repositioning your plants and ensuring there’s adequate sunlight availability. Note that different species of plants have different sunlight requirements – you need to keep in mind how many hours of daily sunlight your plant would receive and make sure it is consistent with what the specific species requires. Feel free to drop us an email if you need help with a specific plant.
  4. Potassium deficiency: Edges and tips of your plants become yellow. If you notice this, you should put in some rinds of citrus fruits like oranges or lemons near the base of the plant. Also, consider putting in vermicompost. You can also put in Muriate of Potash or try this Protein Soil Enricher which is composed of Potassium Humate and Neem Cake
  5. Iron deficiency: Leaves become yellow, and also have small green veins. For this, you need to reduce the phosphorus content in your soil. Also, lower the soil PH to less than 7. Applying organic manure/compost over time can reduce your soil PH.  You can add Aluminium Sulphate to reduce the soil PH as well.
  6. Nitrogen deficiency: Tips and central veins in the leaves becomes yellow. Use organic manures/compost or fertilizers like Ghana Jeevanamrutha
  7. Zinc deficiency: You can see light discoloration between large veins in the leaves. An easy fix would be to use Zinc Sulphate Heptahydrate as a micro-nutrient

Know of other reasons why plants turn yellow, that we may have missed out ? Drop a note in the comments below.