Leaves turning yellow

Fertilizers, Flower Gardening, Houseplants, Vegetable Gardening

Why Are My Plants Turning Yellow?

28 Apr , 2015  

why are my plants leaves turning yellow and brown

It happens to all gardeners.

One day you wake up and realize your tomato plant’s leaves are yellow and you have no idea why.

Don’t panic! We are here to help you answer that daunting question of “why are my plant’s leaves turning yellow?”

Use the infographic below to understand what your plant might be trying to tell you through different types of yellow leaves. After the graphic, we’ll explore a little more in depth of why leaves turn yellow and brown, and how to give your plants the nutrients they need to stay green.

why are my plants turning yellow
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Common Reasons Leaves Turn Yellow

1) Waterlogged vs. Dehydration: The most typical reason your plant’s leaves turned yellow is because of water, but it’s tricky to understand whether you are over-watering or under-watering the plant. Often the leaves of plants that are under-watered will be crispy with a slight curl to the leaf while over-watered leaves will be limp.

However, the plants leaves could be deceiving. You might be watering your plant enough but the water just isn’t getting to the root, which would show signs of dehydration. This often causes gardeners to waterlog their plants, harming it even more. Take action by improving soil drainage with sand or replant to a raised bed.

2) Lack of Sunlight: Since plants differ on how many hours of direct sunlight they need, lack of sunlight is another common reason leaves turn yellow. If you know you’re watering your plant correctly, it might be time to adjust the location of the plant if possible.

3) Pest Problems: If your plant’s leaves are yellow with holes or pieces of the leaf missing, you have a plant eating pest on your hands. Easily eliminate the bug without harming your plant by using neem oil or an organic insecticidal soap.

It’s Not That, So Why are My Plants Turning Yellow?

If you’ve knocked out the above possibilities then it’s time to take a closer look at your leaves. While it’s not mentioned on the infographic above, sometimes plants can turn yellow because of fungus or disease such as early blight or septoria leaf spot. Use one of our organic garden fungicide products to prevent and stop fungus growth on your plants.

yellow leaves with black spots on tomato plant

Plants require 13 essential minerals that they absorb through the soil. The yellow pattern on your leaves could indicate which vital nutrient your plant is missing. The nutrients plants need most are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Secondary nutrients required by plants include calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Many of these elements can be found in fertilizers or organic compost that you can apply to the soil of your plants. Calcium and magnesium are also found in lime.

Plants need a small amount of boron, copper, iron, chloride, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc. These trace elements are often found in grass clippings, tree leaves and other organic matter that you can compost and later add to soil once again.

The best thing to do when your plant’s leaves get yellow spots or turn yellow, brown, or black is to get your soil tested to determine which nutrients your plant is missing.

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3 Responses

  1. Sarah says:

    Great helpful article for us newbie gardeners. I’m def going to have to bookmark this because it happens to me every year. Thanks for sharing.
    Sarah @ Living Intentionally Simple

  2. Amanda says:

    And now I know I need to repot my basil :) Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop!

  3. Cosmas munene says:

    Really you are a help to many of us.thanks.

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