Why are my plants turning yellow?

Why are my plants turning yellow?

Plants are essential for living beings as they form the basis of all food webs. Plants are autotrophic by creating their food using water, carbon dioxide, and light. They can be grown at both indoors and outdoors. We use plants for food as we get fruits and vegetables from it. They also produce flowers that emit beautiful fragrances.

Basic requirements to grow plants are acidic and well-drained soil, full sun and high climatic conditions. If you can’t satisfy the basic needs of plants it began to fail which results in great damage. Yellow leaves are the symptoms of sick plants.

To know why your plants are turning yellow, you must know about the following that affects plants growth.


Though pests are harmless, some pests like aphids, mites, mealy bugs, thrips, and scales can damage plants. Pests are like vampires they suck the sap of plants and damage stems, edges of the leaves and webs on plants. As a result plants greenery diminishes and leaves turn yellow.

Treat with suitable pesticides that kill pests from spoiling crop plants. To kill insects spray Neem oil or horticultural soap which can be prepared at home making pest-free.

Nature of the Soil

Well-drained soil is the key factor for producing tasteful fruits, vegetables, and flowers with beautiful fragrances. For high yielding crop plants, soil should be the type of well drain.  To test the nature of the soil make a hole into the soil and pour water in it. If Water drains from the hole in 10 minutes or less, you have fast drain soil and if water drains for an hour or more then the soil is poorly drained.

Improve soil drainage by building raised beds or adding organic matter to the soil in the form of manure, compost, peat moss or mix sand. Make sure the soil well drains to prevent over-watering from killing plant roots.


Temperature affects the productivity and growth of plants whether it is too hot or too cold. Change in temperature can change the color of leaves. Due to cold temperature tropical plants turn to yellow leaves.  If the change in temperature is not periodic the leaves most likely turn brown.  Bitterness in plants is due to high temperatures. So maintain moderate temperatures for better plant growth.

Viral infections

The virus infects plant cells, leaves, stem, distortion, discolored flowers, loss of vigor and yieldPlant viruses are pathogenic to higher plants. We cannot cure viral infections in plants and can infect nearby plants. So the best way to protect other plants is by keeping plants away from the infected ones.

Water and Sunlight

Plant leaves turn yellow because of moisture stress that can be due to over watering or under watering. Adding too much of water may lead to limp and floppy foliage.

Sunlight, water, and nutrients contribute to a better plant growth. But without proper sunlight, the plant leaves can droop and fade away. During daytime, plants undergo photosynthesis process. Plants take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. It is responsible for producing and maintaining oxygen levels in plants. To overcome this kind of problems you need to reposition the plants in sunny areas.

Nutrient deficiency

If plants fail to thrive despite soil, watering, and mulching it can be a sign of nutrient deficiency. Nutrient deficiencies in the soil are due to high pH. Plants may cause deficiencies if nutrients are not supplied in required amounts. Plants can exhibit particular symptoms for many reasons other than nutrient deficiency.  If deficiency symptom occurs, lack of nutrients may be suspected and amount of nutrients should be increased.

Magnesium deficiency

Magnesium is the powerhouse of photosynthesis in plants.  Without magnesium, chlorophyll cannot capture energy needed for photosynthesis.  It is located in the heart of chlorophyll molecule, enzymes. Plants require magnesium when they need a high amount of energy for rapid growth.

Magnesium is a mobile element. It can pull-out magnesium from lower leaves and transfer to top leaves where needed the most.

To detect magnesium deficiency in plants, leaves show the signs of white stripes along veins. To fix magnesium deficiency issues follow the given procedures.

  • Spraying magnesium sulfate on leaves will green up plants quickly.
  • During vegetative growth or flowering and fruiting give plants an extra dose of magnesium to boost up.
  • Add organic compost rich in magnesium or Epsom salt or lime to the soil.

Nitrogen deficiency

Nitrogen promotes green leafy growth and deficiency results in yellowing of plant leaves. It is a cause for yellow leaves in spring and is much more common in soil. Organic methods of adding nitrogen to the soil include.

  • Adding coffee grounds to the soil.
  • Adding compost manure to the soil.
  • Plant a green manure crop such as starflower.
  • Planting nitrogen-fixing plants like peas or beans.

Too much of nitrogen promotes lots of lush, green top growth but restricts root growth.  It can also delay flowering. Properly diagnose nitrogen deficiency by adding extra nitrates at the root zone.

Iron deficiency

Iron deficiency is a plant disorder which is also known as lime-induced chlorosis. Chlorophyll is responsible for green colored leaves. Due to an insufficient amount of chlorophyll Plant leaves turn pale yellow. Deficiency in soil is rare but is unavailable for absorption of soil ph between 5 and 6.5.

Iron deficiency may be due to Over fertilization, poor drainage, damaged roots, high alkalinity and nutrient deficiencies in the plant.To fix iron deficiency issues

  • Determine pH of the soil by lowering it to 7.0.
  • And also by reducing the amount of phosphorus in the soil.

Potassium deficiency

Potassium is an essential plant nutrient and requires the large amount of flowering, fruiting, and reproduction. Symptoms of potassium deficiency are brown scorching, curling leaf tips and leaf edges become yellow. Purple spots may also appear on the leaf top. When plant affects due to the lack of potassium it reduces the plant growth, root development, seed and fruit development.

To fix potassium deficiency, bury citrus rinds at the base of the plant or add compost rich in fruit or veggie waste like tomato feed.

Calcium deficiency

Calcium deficiency is a plant disorder caused by insufficient calcium levels in plants. The plant requires calcium in fewer amounts. They are also responsible for healthy plant growth like other primary nutrients. Calcium in calcium pectate is responsible for holding cell walls of plants together. Deficiency symptoms include Leaves become misshapen, necrotic leaf margins, leaf curling, buds and root tips.

To overcome deficiency problems in plants, determine whether your soil is acidic or alkaline. Use gypsum for alkaline soil and lime for acidic soil.

Zinc deficiency

Zinc deficiency occurs by limiting the plant growth because plants cannot take the essential micronutrients from its growing medium. Leaves show the signs of light bronzing, dwarf leaves and discoloration between large veins.  To fix zinc deficiency, simply spray kelp extract on plant leaves.

Why are my plants turning yellow?

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