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Why Are My Potted Palms Turning Yellow – 4 Reasons & How to Fix It

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With their vivid colors and textured fronds that cast ever-changing silhouettes on your walls, potted palm trees are a fantastic addition to your indoor plant collection. 

The sheer range of palms available for indoor pots means that you can find the perfect one for you.

Potted palms are not without issues though and a common question I get asked is “Why are my potted palms turning yellow?”

Well, we’ve got four of the most likely reasons for your potted palms to be turning yellow and some handy tips to stop it from happening. 

Why Are My Potted Palms Turning Yellow
King Sago palm with yellowing fronds – via Reddit

Why Are My Potted Palms Turning Yellow4 Reasons

1. The location of your potted palm. 

Where you have your potted palm in your house can be a factor in if they turn yellow or not.  

 Palms need light to survive, and indoor potted palms are no different. 

 Make sure your potted palm gets enough light through a window or glass door.

Also, make sure that your potted palm isn’t spending all day sitting in hot, direct sun, because it may become sunburnt. 

 Palms not getting enough light may have their fronds slowly turn pale and yellow as the plant begins to soften and droop. Brown edges and tips can also be a sign of low light. 

Palms getting too much light will show signs of sunburn, which will show as spots and patches of white, yellow, and brown on the fronds.

These will most often happen suddenly, and more often than not, after hot weather.  

Different palms have different sunlight requirements, so be sure to place your potted palm in a location that best suits the type.

The location of air conditioners and heaters can also cause issues with dry, hot, and cold air affecting your palm and drying out the soil quicker.

Also, consider if any pets can get into your potted palm. You might be surprised to find that they may be using it as their toilet or a scratching pole.  

2. Moisture levels

Watering too little or too much can cause your potted palms to turn yellow.

Too little water will cause your palm to get stressed, which can show up as yellowing at the tips. 

If you leave it too long without giving your palm a good drink, this yellowing can progress down the frond and into the stem. At this point, your palm is most likely past saving. 

Overwatering your palm can cause issues by not allowing the roots to get the oxygen the plant needs. If your potted palm is constantly sitting in waterlogged soil, its fronds will begin to turn yellow and droop. 

Overwatering might be caused by watering too often or because there’s poor drainage in the pot. Either way, a waterlogged plant will begin to rot from the roots up. 

Once again, different palms will have different watering needs. Be sure to check the specific water requirements for your palm and set a regular watering schedule to match.

Why Are My Potted Palms Turning Yellow 2
Why is my majestic palm turning yellow? – via Reddit

3. The condition of the soil in your pot

Potted plants generally can have issues with the soil they’re sitting in after a few years. Potted palms are no different. 

A potted palm will begin to yellow if it does not have the correct nutrients available to it.

Poor soil conditions can also impact how much moisture is available to the roots. If it’s not absorbing water when you water, or it’s holding too much moisture, then there could be a problem with your soil. 

You will often need to add soil conditioner, wetting agents, and fertilizer to your potted palms to keep them happy. 

It’s also good practice to repot them into larger containers every few years to prevent them from becoming root-bound. 

Repotting into a larger container will mean your palms can grow bigger and keep looking good as they get older. 

4. Natural causes

A natural part of a palms life cycle is to shed dead fronds. These fronds will naturally dry out and turn yellow over time, and it’s a completely normal part of a healthy potted palms lifecycle. 

A naturally dying palm frond will be on the older parts of your potted palm and will happen slowly. New growth will not naturally yellow.

These old fronds will slowly begin to appear dry and crispy, and the color will change uniformly across the entire front. 

To sum it all up…

Yellowing is a natural part of a palms life cycle, as the plant replaces old growth with new. This is no different in an indoor potted palm.

However, there are times when the yellowing is not part of the natural process, and your plant needs some attention.

Check that your variety of potted palm is getting the right amount of light to help prevent yellowing. Incorrect lighting levels can easily be fixed by moving the pot to a more suitable location.  

Make sure your potted palm isn’t being affected by air conditioners, heaters, or your pets.

Check that you’re watering schedule is suitable for your type of potted palm, and that you’re not overwatering or underwatering it. Dry or waterlogged soil will cause yellowing. 

Be proactive and regularly apply liquid fertilizers and wetting agents to your potted palms to make sure they’re getting the right amount of nutrients to prevent them from going yellow.

Take notes of when your palms old fronds naturally begin to go yellow, so that you can pick the difference between natural yellowing and yellowing that is cause for concern.

What can I do with yellowing fronds when they do happen?

Unfortunately, once a frond has gone yellow, there’s nothing we can do to stop it. 

The best thing you can do is prune your palm of any yellow or dead growth and look to fix the issue that caused it in the first place.   

Over to you! Do you suspect any other reasons that your palms could be going yellow? Ask us below!