Philodendron is a large genus of flowering plants native to tropical America and belongs to the Araceae (Arum) family. It’s often characterized by large leaves, which can be oval, heart-shaped, or in many other possible shape variations depending on the plant species.
Although the philodendron is usually green, it also comes with creamy, burgundy, or purple leaves.
While philodendrons often require low maintenance and an easy-to-care routine, some plant enthusiasts are often concerned about their yellowing foliage. If you have the same concern, read through this article for a favorable answer to the question: “Why is my philodendron turning yellow?”
5 Main Reasons Why Your Philodendron Turns Yellow
Generally, yellow leaves on a philodendron are a signal that the plant is overwatered. In particular, the leaves undergo some discoloration as they turn into pale green or yellow when overwatering.
Although philodendrons need moisture, it’s not recommended to overly soak them in excessive water. Hence, these plants should only be watered when half of the soil is dry.
Other potential causes for the problem include excessive sunlight, nutrient deficiency, underwatering, fertilizing issues, temperature stress, pests, fungal diseases, and other potential factors.
- Excessive direct sunlight: Full, direct sunlight can cause leaf scorching, which leads to yellow spots and sunburn patches on the leaves. On the other hand, poor lighting conditions can cause the leaves to start yellowing on the tips.
- Nutrient deficiency: Yellowing leaves can signify chlorosis caused by a lack of iron or magnesium in the soil.
- Underwatering: Underwatering can leave the edges of the leaves to turn yellow and drop from the plant.
- Pest infestation: Philodendrons are vulnerable to bugs, aphids, scale insects, and spider mites. Yellow spots on the leaves could indicate that the plant suffers from pest attacks.
- Fungal diseases: Fungi are often more complicated to deal with than pests. They attack the plant roots and therefore affect the plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients, causing the leaves to turn yellow.
How To Fix Yellowing Philodendron?
Fixing yellowing philodendron leaves is a hassle-free task by maintaining a proper plant care routine that adapts to the plant’s requirements.
Bear in mind that it’s not advisable to remove the plant’s leaves unless the situation is incurable or there’s a possibility of spreading risks to other leaves within the plant.
Philodendrons often require minimal amounts of water, so it’s suggested to water the plant once to 2 times a week to allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
Below are some fundamentals to water the philodendrons appropriately and fix yellowing leaves:
- Insert your finger under the soil surface (about 2 inches) to test the moisture level. If the soil is moist, you can delay the watering for a couple of days. On the other hand, when the top layers of the soil are slightly dry, your philodendron is ready to be watered.
- Gently water near the plant’s base until water flows through the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot and discard any accumulated water.
- As philodendrons thrive in humidity, mist the leaves twice a week with sufficient amounts of water to create a microclimate that mimics their native habitat.
While a healthy philodendron can stand low lighting, it’s not a good idea to put a yellowing philodendron in such a condition.
Hence, set the plant in a location with bright sunlight. Also, remember that the light should be indirect as the direct sun is likely to burn or fade the leaves. You can add blinds on the window or door to filter the amount of sunlight reaching the plants.
Fertilizing is one way to solve the problem of nutrient deficiencies. Though philodendrons are not heavy feeders, they still take advantage of fertilizing as it replenishes the soil with nutrients and promotes plant health.
First, water philodendrons with the fertilizer monthly from early spring to late winter and drop back to every six to eight weeks during winter. Ensure that the fertilizer you use is compatible with the plant.
Note that it’s not recommended to fertilize philodendrons more frequently, or else you’ll end up altering the soil’s pH level, which negatively affects the plant’s health and growth.
In addition, feed the plant with an iron supplement to fix iron deficiency that leads to chlorosis. If you notice pale new leaves, it’s an indicator that the plant lacks calcium and magnesium. To add magnesium to the soil, mix one teaspoon of magnesium sulfate or Epsom salt per one gallon of water and spray the plant’s leaves in the early morning or evening once a week.
4. Pest elimination
As mentioned, pests, including aphids, mealybugs, scales, and spider mites, pose a significant threat to the philodendron and other plants. However, they tend to build up over time, so when you examine your plant regularly, you can eliminate them before they spread.
If the pests are visible, you can pick off the bugs by hand from the surfaces, then clean the leaves with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol.
You can also try to wash away spider mites with warm water at gentle pressure. If these methods don’t work, use natural insecticides, insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or neem oil solution for effective pest removal.
5. Fungal disease treatment
If your philodendron has fungal infections, it’s crucial to isolate the plant and prune off the affected areas.
To get rid of fungus on a philodendron, make a solution by mixing one teaspoon of baking soda with one quart of water and a few drops of insecticidal soap or liquid soap, then spraying the solution on the plant. Let the solution sit for around 5-10 minutes and wash the plant with fresh water.
Tips: To prevent potential risks of yellowing leaves, follow some foolproof tips below to ensure your plant is fresh and healthy.
- Maintain a temperature for your philodendron of between 60-80°F for optimal growth. Also, avoid exposing the philodendron near a place that has extremely high or low temperatures for a long time.
- Ensure the soil pH levels are between 5.0-6.0. You can always examine the soil pH level using pH testing gadgets.
- Always provide the plant with sufficient water, light, ventilation, and away from hot, warm objects.
- Evaluate your watering schedule to avoid overwatering or underwatering the plant. If you accidentally overwater the plant, leave it to the sun for a couple of minutes to dry off excess water.
- Avoid big-sized pots as they can cause the plant to become vulnerable to overwatering and ubiquitous invasion by bacteria, fungi, or pests.
- Consider sprinkling cinnamon into the soil to prevent fungal diseases and pest infestation.
This is the end of the article. Hopefully, you have comprehended why your philodendron is turning yellow and some valuable tips to fix the problems.
Although philodendrons require evenly moist soil, they need less water than some other plants. Therefore, avoid overwatering the plant at all costs to keep it green and healthy. Besides, don’t forget to pay attention to other factors for the plant’s sake.
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