Why is my leaf yellowing? Is my plant dying?

I get asked this often. Even in my own collection, I gasp sharply at the sight of a sudden yellow leaf. But there’s many reasons a leaf yellows. Overall assessment as well as assessment of your maintenance routine will help you determine the urgency of your intervention. Though it may trigger a desire to pull or cut away the discolored leaf, the plant is still pulling nutrients from the ailing leaf. When the leaf pulls away easily, it has used all the remaining nutrients. New leaf growth, despite yellowing, is always a sign of a healthy plant!


Natural shedding

Just like we shed dead skin cells, leaves shed from time to time.



Lack of nitrogen in the soil. Timely fertilization during the growing season may resolve this. Read last month’s article about Food & Fertilizer.


Over or under-watering

Assess your watering routine. Is it often too wet or too dry?


Stress or shock

Sudden changes in temperature (drafts) or light, like when shipped in a dark box for several days.

Jeanne Serrano