Banish Wilted, Yellow Leaves on Your Plants for Good

Fix yellow leaves with a little research and care.

No gardener likes to see their plants rocking yellow leaves. Yellow leaves indicate that your plant is not feeling so hot. Luckily, yellow leaves can be remedied, but you may have to do some detective work to discover the exact reason your plant is feeling under the weather. To make your detective work a tad easier, we’ve rounded up a few common reasons why plant leaves turn yellow.

You’ve got pests

You know how when you feel kind of sick with a bug your skin can appear yellow? Pests can do that to plants, too. Pests on plants are easy to spot. Also: You’ll know pests are the problem when you see leaves with a yellow hue that also have holes. You can get rid of pests by spraying leaves with neem oil, or an organic insect killing soap.

Overwatering vs. underwatering

Overwatering: If your leaves are yellow and wilted, you’re giving them too much water. Fix the problem by adding sand to your soil to help improve soil drainage, or replant the plant in a raised bed.

Dehydration: If you’ve got dry leaves that are crunchy, get the watering can. Most plants need at least 1 inch of water a week.

Not enough sun

If your leaves are faded and droopy, get your plants into some direct sunlight.

Your plants lack nutrients

Potassium deficiency: If your leaves’ tips and edges are yellow, you can solve the problem by placing citrus rinds in soil at the base of the plant. Follow with compost.

Nitrogen deficiency: If the tips and center vein in your leaves are yellow, add organic compost, coffee grounds, or manure to the soil.

Calcium deficiency: If leaves appear misshapen, the soil may be acidic or alkaline. Use gypsum for alkaline soil and lime for acidic soil.

Zinc deficiency: If leaves have a slight discoloration between large veins, spray them with kelp extract.

Iron deficiency: If leaves are yellow and feature small, green veins, you need to look into your soil’s pH level. Lower it to under 7 and reduce the phosphorus in the soil.

Magnesium deficiency: If you see some unusual white strips along a leaf’s veins, add magnesium-rich organic compost to the soil, or add lime or Epsom salt to the soil.

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Image of plant with iron deficiency from Shutterstock