Why Is My Prayer Plant Turning Yellow [Causes & What to Do]

Different types of plants can sometimes require various forms of care. Some plants are easy to take care of, while others can be trickier. Prayer plants can sometimes be challenging because they need certain conditions to survive, and they often show distress through yellowing leaves.

Your prayer plant is turning yellow because it is stressed, which can be caused by several factors. Overwatering, scorching, temperature, humidity, soil drainage, and diseases can all be what’s causing the prayer plant stress.

In this article, I will further discuss the several issues that can cause a prayer plant to turn yellow and tell you some tips on avoiding this.

Reasons Why Your Prayer Plant Is Turning Yellow

Numerous reasons can cause your prayer plant leaves to turn yellow, and each issue requires a different solution. Here are some common reasons to watch out for:

  • Overwatering
  • Scorching
  • Chlorosis
  • Low temperature and humidity
  • Diseases


Prayer plants need steadily moist or damp soil. However, some take this to mean that they must always be watered. In reality, about once or twice a week will be plenty. This common misconception leads plant owners to basically drown their prayer plants accidentally.

Prayer plants like moisture, but it’s best to avoid keeping them in soggy conditions. So it would help if you let the top 1-2 inches (2.5 – 5 cm) of soil dry out between waterings to avoid overwatering.

One of the most common mistakes in taking care of a prayer plant is overwatering. Prayer plants aren’t too difficult to care for if you can learn the correct watering schedule needed. You can also use a soil moisture meter to help you decide when it’s time to water your prayer plants.

If you have your prayer plant on a porch or balcony, ensure you pay attention to the weather. You don’t want to continue your regular watering schedule if your area has been receiving a lot of heavy rain lately.

If your area has experienced extremely high temperatures, you may need to water your prayer plant more than usual to keep it from drying out.


It’s essential to pay attention to what type of yellowing you’re seeing in your prayer plant. For example, leaves with yellow spots or blotches that sometimes turn brown signify scorching. Scorching occurs when the leaves have too much sun exposure. It begins to burn the leaves, almost like a sunburn for plants.

Scorching can be very bad for the plant and eventually cause it to die. Prayer plants need indirect sunlight, so if you find your plants’ leaves are getting scorched, try moving them into a different spot where there is more filtered light. You can also add thin white curtains to protect your plant from bright sunlight.

Moving the plant to a better spot should stop this issue from continuing, so just keep an eye on your plant to ensure the blotches don’t continue to pop up on other leaves.


Just like humans, plants can become iron deficient–a condition known as chlorosis. This iron deficiency can be because the soil doesn’t have a suitable pH. Ideally, the soil should have a pH between 6.0 and 7.0 for the roots to absorb enough iron.

A very low pH can result in excess iron uptake, which can be bad for plants. But chlorosis occurs when the soil pH is over 7.0, preventing the roots from absorbing iron from the soil. As a result, your prayer plants’ leaves will appear a lighter shade of green or even yellow.

This problem is common among states in the western part of the US, such as Utah and California, where soil can be slightly or highly alkaline.

To avoid this problem in the future, stay away from alkaline soils if possible. This has been proven to decrease the availability of iron in the soil.

You can purchase potting soil and mixes for tropical plants, such as the Miracle-Gro Tropical Potting Mix (available on Amazon.com). This will boost your prayer plant’s overall health and keep the soil in good standing, so the leaves don’t turn yellow.

Low Temperature and Humidity

Prayer plants are native to tropical regions in America, making them more suitable to be grown in a temperate climate. Growing them in regions with harsh winters without adequate protection from the cold can be detrimental to their health.

Prayer plants do exceptionally well in USDA Zone 11. When grown in colder regions, the leaf’s tips and edges will turn yellow or brown and shrivel. They are that picky.

With these specifications, a prayer plant would do well in warmer cities such as Miami, Florida, but would not last somewhere very cold such as Fairbanks, Alaska.

If you plan to grow prayer plants outside their native habitat, you might as well keep them in an area with a controlled temperature between 60 and 70 °F (15.6 – 21.1 °C). They’re also sensitive to cold drafts. So, make sure you keep it in a better spot in your home to avoid this issue.

Another thing to note with a tropical plant such as the prayer plant is that high humidity is necessary when caring for these plants. When grown indoors, keep the room at approximately 50% humidity.

You can mist your plant when the humidity drops, but this can get tricky as you don’t want to give it too much and cause the soil to stay soggy. You can spray some water on the leaves before watering the soil so you can adjust how much water to feed the plant.

However, you must be careful not to mist your plant too frequently, as it can invite airborne fungal spores to proliferate on the leaves and cause diseases. Instead, you can place your pot on a pebble tray with little water that doesn’t touch the base of the pot.

Soil and Pot Drainage

A massive mistake many plant owners make with any plant is improper soil drainage. Many plants come in a cute pot but usually without drainage holes. Another issue is when people choose plastic or other non-breathable pots for aesthetics.

Unfortunately, you must consider the plant’s well-being over aesthetics. Breathable pots with proper drainage holes are always the best choice.

In addition, prayer plants thrive well in soil with excellent drainage. To improve drainage, you can mix loamy soil with compost, sand, or perlite. If the pot and soil can’t drain water properly, it can saturate the soil too much, resulting in overwatering your plant.

The excess water just sits at the bottom of the pot, and it’s usually difficult to see unless you pay attention to how quickly the water drains out. Excess moisture leads to a prayer plant’s leaves turning yellow and eventually can cause the plant to die if not properly addressed.

Since prayer plants prefer constantly moist soil, it can be pretty easy to overwater them. Growing them in well-draining soil and breathable pots is often enough to overcome the issue.

Water your plant gradually and check to see if water drains out of the holes before adding more. Pour out the water that pools on the saucer to avoid reabsorption into the soil.

If you’re looking for flower pots with drainage holes and a saucer, then the Fasmov Ceramic Plant Pots (available on Amazon.com) is a great option. These flower pots are simple yet beautiful and can match any decor you have. They have different sizes, making them perfect for a growing prayer plant that you may have to repot soon.


A disease caused by a fungus or bug can cause any plant’s leaves to turn yellow. So if you’ve ruled out all the above issues, it may be time to inspect your prayer plant closely.


The fungus Drechslera sectarian can cause yellow spots on prayer plant leaves. This condition often occurs when the leaves stay moist from misting. Be careful when misting or watering your plant.

If possible, use a humidifier to avoid leaving too much moisture on the leaves from spraying.


Spider mites are a pest that can cause leaves to become yellow. These bugs look precisely what they sound like little spiders. They also make tiny thin webs between leaves and stems that are hardly noticeable unless you’re looking for them.


The cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) is another disease that can cause yellow leaves in prayer-plants. This disease, like its name, causes a yellow mosaic-like pattern on the leaves to develop. Sometimes there are yellow streaks or dots.

CMV is currently impossible to cure. So, if your prayer plant gets this disease, it is best to burn it to avoid infecting other nearby plants.

1 Red and 1 Green Prayer Plant - Maranta - Easy to grow - 4" Pot/unique-from Jmbamboo

Final Thoughts

If your prayer plant is turning yellow, it is under severe stress. There could be multiple things causing it. Overwatering is one of the most common issues, as many plant owners take it a little overboard.

It’s vital to ensure you’re using the correct soil, keep your plant in an area with adequate temperature and humidity, and use a pot with drainage holes. Otherwise, your prayer plant’s leaves will turn yellow. You’ll also want to check for any diseases or bugs if other issues have been ruled out. Sometimes these bugs are hard to detect before it’s too late.

You may also like: