Philodendrons are beautiful green houseplants, popular around the US and other parts of the world. A healthy philodendron shouldn’t have yellow leaves, so if yours does, it indicates there is an issue.
Philodendron leaves turn yellow when the plant is experiencing issues like overwatering and underwatering. If the soil looks very dry, you should water it right away. If it looks drenched, avoid watering the plant until the soil appears dry. Other problems that cause yellowing include pests.
Many other things could cause philodendron leaves to turn yellow, and this article will discuss them in great detail. Keep reading to learn more.
If your philodendron leaves are turning yellow, it’s essential to understand that this indicates an issue with your plant. You can hopefully figure out the issue by learning more about the different causes of yellow philodendron leaves. If you catch the problem early, you might be able to rectify it.
Below are the leading causes of yellow philodendron leaves.
One of the most common causes of yellowing philodendron leaves is overwatering. Clemson University says you should water a philodendron frequently enough to keep the soil moist. But it shouldn’t be drenched.
Likely, your philodendron doesn’t receive a lot of direct sunlight, meaning it won’t need as much water as plants under the sun. Overwatering can cause a range of issues, including yellowing leaves.
Here are the signs of an overwatered philodendron:
- Droopy leaves
- Yellow leaves
- Spots around the leaves
- Soft, mushy leaves
- Mushy roots
Over time, overwatering can also lead to disease in the roots, which can kill your philodendron. To avoid this you should only water your philodendron when the first few inches of soil are dry instead of sticking to a specific watering schedule,
Don’t water it if it’s been over a week (but the soil is still damp).
If you believe that your philodendron is suffering from overwatering, the best thing to do is avoid watering it until the soil is completely dry. This may take over a week.
You should also ensure the pot has adequate drainage. If it doesn’t, move the plant to a pot with drainage holes.
And if you have confirmed that the plant also has root rot, you should remove all the affected parts of the roots after rinsing them. Then, you can repot your philodendron into fresh, dry potting soil.
Although overwatering can cause yellow philodendron leaves, underwatering can also be an issue. It would help if you always kept an eye on the soil around the plant to make sure it’s not too dry.
Here are the main signs of underwatering in your plant:
- Stunted growth
- Dry soil
- Droopy leaves
- Yellow leaves
- Crispy leaves
Since many of the symptoms of overwatering are the same as underwatering, you need to pay close attention to your philodendron. One of the main differences is the feel of the leaves.
The leaves tend to be limp and soft when an indoor plant is overwatered. But when it’s underwatered, the leaves will be more dry and crispy.
If you suspect underwatering is the issue, you should water your philodendron immediately. Removing highly affected plant parts, like completely dead leaves, will help your plant recover faster.
Make sure you apply enough water to penetrate the roots of the plant. If you’ve placed the plant near a window, it might be a good idea to move it into the shade until it begins to recover.
Keep an eye on the plant and soil over the coming weeks, and give it water as soon as the soil is dry. If you treat the problem early enough, you might be able to fix it.
Philodendrons need nutrients to survive, but yours may be receiving too many. If you’ve noticed yellowing leaves a while after applying fertilizer, you should stop using it for a few weeks to see if the issue stops.
To keep it healthy, you should fertilize your philodendron lightly once or twice a month. Fertilizing excessively can cause yellowing leaves and other issues in your plants. Philodendrons also prefer high humidity, especially when they’re being fertilized.
If your home isn’t very humid, like most homes in places like Colorado or Montana, you don’t need to worry. Your philodendron will likely be fine. If you’re worried about it being too dry, you can mist water onto the leaves now and then during winter.
A well-balanced fertilizer is best for philodendrons. If you’re using one that’s too strong (for example, a fertilizer with too much nitrogen), you might be damaging your philodendron.
Too many nutrients can cause yellowing leaves, but too few can also be a big problem. If your potting soil isn’t highly fertile and you’re not using fertilizer, your plant isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to thrive.
To fix this, you should begin using fertilizer right away. All plants (indoor and outdoor) need nutrients to survive.
Signs that your philodendron (and other houseplants) isn’t getting enough nutrients include:
- Yellow leaves
- Green veins on leaves
- Stunted growth
To fix the issue, you should add fertilizer to the soil. Make sure to use a fertilizer suitable for indoor plants.
An example is Jack’s Houseplant Fertilizer, available on Amazon.com. This fertilizer is made explicitly for houseplants (including philodendrons), so it contains all the essential nutrients for your plant.
After you’ve started using fertilizer, you should notice an improvement within a few weeks.
Since philodendrons are indoor plants, they’re less prone to disease and pests than outdoor plants. However, pests can be a problem in some instances, and they can cause yellowing leaves and other symptoms.
Some of the most common houseplant pests include:
- Spider mites
Generally, these pests get into your home if you bring a plant that has been outdoors for an extended period indoors. If you leave affected plants close to other plants, the pests can spread and cause further damage.
If you suspect pests might be causing the yellowing leaves on your philodendron, you should examine the plant thoroughly, particularly under the leaves.
To remove pests from your philodendron, you can spray water onto them. You can also remove them by hand, ensuring you get each one. If the problem is too advanced for handpicking, apply a houseplant pesticide and remove any highly affected plant parts.
Another thing to consider is sunlight. Thankfully, philodendrons don’t need much sunlight, so you generally don’t have to worry about them not getting enough of it. But if your plant is in complete darkness daily, it might show signs of distress.
Here are some signs that your houseplant (including philodendron) isn’t getting enough sunlight:
- Small leaves
- Yellow leaves
- Pale green leaves
- Stunted growth
- Leggy growth
Philodendrons grow best in partial sunlight, so make sure you’re putting yours at a window that receives sunlight during the day.
If your plant is damaged due to insufficient sunlight, put it in the sun immediately. By giving it adequate sunlight every day, it should begin to improve within a few days or weeks.
As I mentioned in the last section, insufficient sunlight can cause yellowing leaves in philodendrons. However, too much sun can cause burning and yellowing leaves.
If you live somewhere that gets super hot and sunny, like Arizona, make sure your philodendron isn’t getting burned. Keep it in partial shade for most of the day, and make sure you’re watering it more if it’s getting too much sun.
While too much sun can cause yellow leaves, it can also make them appear droopy. Keeping your philodendron away from too much sun should fix and prevent this issue from recurring.
Lastly, different diseases can cause philodendron leaves to turn yellow.
Some of the most common diseases found in philodendrons (according to the Connecticut state government) include:
- Root rot
- Bacterial leaf spot
Both diseases can cause yellow leaves, so you should consider both. While root rot is fungal and often caused by overwatering, the leaf spot is bacterial. Allowing your philodendron to sit in water can cause root rot.
Leaf spot is less likely to cause complete yellowing of leaves, but it can cause some yellowing. You’ll likely notice spotty leaves if your plant has a bacterial leaf spot, and you should remove any affected leaves immediately to treat the disease.
To fix root rot:
- Change the potting soil and pot.
- Wash the roots of the plant.
- Apply fungicide to the roots.
- Remove the dead parts of the roots.
- Replant the philodendron in the new pot and soil.
After successfully treating root rot, the leaves should eventually be a healthy green color.
There are many reasons why your philodendron roots might be turning yellow. The most common causes are over or underwatering. However, yellowing may also be caused by too many or too few nutrients, too much or insufficient sunlight, pests, and diseases. Once you identify the cause you’ll be able to fix your philodendron leaves and stop any further yellowing.
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Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.