Blog Philodendron Why Your Philodendron Leaves Are Turning Yellow

Why Your Philodendron Leaves Are Turning Yellow

Wondering why your philodendron leaves are turning yellow? We answer it here. Read on to learn how to treat and prevent this issue.

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Kiersten Rankel
Dec 12, 2021

Philodendrons are brightly colored tropical plants that can light up any room. However, it requires proper care to have and maintain all of the beautiful philodendron types. Are your philodendron leaves turning yellow? Keep reading to learn how to treat and prevent yellowing philodendron leaves. 🍃🍃🍃

Causes and Treatments of Yellow Philodendron Leaves 

Nutrient Deficiency

Iron deficiency in plants causes chlorosis. Chlorosis is the loss of the natural green color in plant leaves. If the potting soil of your philodendron plant isn’t rich enough, it may be deficient in both iron and magnesium. 

Magnesium deficiency presents itself in the form of V-shaped yellow spots on the philodendron's leaves. Soil can lose its nutritional value due to overuse and leeching, preventing the philodendron from absorbing the nutrients it needs. Every deficiency presents itself in different ways and can be treated easily if you manage to identify it. 

  • If your Philodendron is suffering from a nutritional deficiency, feed the soil with fertilizer. Slow-release pellets are a great option. For a more natural and sustainable option, use compost, decomposed organic matter, and manure to feed your plants. 

Photo by Robberte

Unsuitable Light

The philodendron is a tropical plant, which means they thrive under shade, away from direct sunlight. Too much exposure to direct sunlight can cause the house plant to lose more water during transpiration, resulting in dehydration. 

When the indoor plant is dehydrated, it shows yellow spots on the leaves, which can eventually turn brown and black. Similarly, if the plant doesn’t get enough sunlight to go through its normal processes like photosynthesis, it can also cause yellowing of the leaves. The tips of the plant’s leaves turn yellow, eventually dry up, and droop down to the floor if the damage is too much. 

If the philodendron is exposed to too much light, move it under a shaded area or somewhere with indirect sunlight immediately. Place the indoor plant in a bright room, away from direct sunlight. Move around the plant to ensure all sides are getting ample exposure to light. If the problem is too little light, move it closer to a window that doesn’t allow indirect sunlight. 

Pest Infestation

Pest Infestations are a commonly seen vulnerability in philodendrons that may result in yellow leaves. Pests can attach themselves to the sensitive surfaces of the plant’s leaves and stems, such as the underside, and feed on the plant’s nutrition. 

This can result in decreased nutrients for the house plant, as well as pest bites and attack areas. Both of these things may present themselves as a yellow and brown leaf spot on the leaves. 

  • If the philodendron is suffering from a pest infestation, it’s best to repot the plant in a new and fresh pot. Prune off affected areas of the plant before repotting, including removing rotted roots. 

Improper Watering 

Too much water or too little water––both are dangerous for all living things, and plants are no different. Overwatering philodendrons can cause the soil moisture to become oversaturated, the roots to become damaged, and the leaves to turn yellow. It also makes the plant vulnerable to pest infestation. 

Too much water in the plant causes the leaves to become damaged and squishy. They turn yellow because photosynthesis is not working properly. 

Similarly, under-watering a plant can cause dehydration, lack of nutrition, curl the leaves inward and yellow the leaves.

If the plant is overwatered, you need to allow it to drain properly through the drain hole. Exposing it to light may help, just be careful. To fix under-watering of the plant, fill the plant base with water and allow the soil to absorb as much as it needs. Let at least two inches of the potting soil on top dry before watering the plant again. Use your fingers to check. 

Looking for detailed, step-by-step instructions on watering philodendrons? By using physics and machine learning to predict the water needs of any plant in any environment, the Greg plant care app will help you grow healthy plants with confidence. Download the app today! 🌿🌿🌿

Root Rot

Even though philodendrons are sturdy plants that don’t fall victim to many diseases and problems, they can still suffer from root rot. Root rot is a fungal disease that damages the roots of the plant, compromising its ability to provide nutrients and water to the leaves. This results in yellowed leaves. 

Root rot is mainly caused by overwatering the plant, which allows for fungal growth, as well as pests and fungi infections. You can identify different types of fungi infection by their results. If the leaves turn yellow and burn but don’t fall off the plant, it’s a fungus infection in the soil. 

Photo by Martin

How to Prevent Philodendron Leaves from Yellowing

  • Avoid over watering the plant and water only when necessary. 
  • Choose the right pot size––too small, and it won't have enough space to grow out its roots. Too large, and it becomes vulnerable to overwatering and fungal diseases. 
  • Choose the right area to place your plant. It shouldn’t be under direct light. It shouldn’t be in front of direct heat or air. 
  • Maintain a constant temperature between 55 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal plant health.
  • Philodendron leaves curling, or turning yellow is certainly a problem at times, but it’s not one that can’t be overcome with a little extra care and attention.
  • Extra Tip: Make sure you keep your plants away from pets as philodendrons are toxic to cats and dogs!

Looking for more information on how to propagate philodendrons? Check out our step by step guide on how to properly propagate this plant. 🌿🌱🌿