Houseplants, or indoor plants, can provide a bright cheery atmosphere to your home. Caring for houseplants can be a great hobby during the long winter months, especially for green-thumbs who refuse to forgo their interest for months on end. It can be frustrating, however, when houseplants exhibit signs of demise. Yellowing leaves is a common houseplant malady. With a little troubleshooting and some adjustments houseplants can be back on the road to healthy growth in no time.
Normal plant behavior
Occasionally healthy plants will have leaves that turn yellow and drop for no apparent reason. If this happens infrequently and to one leaf at a time, there is generally no cause for concern. This is normal plant behavior. There are a few reasons why a plant will shed a leaf. Physical injury to the leaf may cause it to turn yellow and drop or something may have happened while the leaf was forming that caused it to be weak. Keep a close eye on plants to make sure they are not receiving any physical trauma. Moving them to a more sheltered location may help solve the problem.
Effects of light
Light is an important need for healthy plant growth. It helps maintain green leaves and influences the plant's ability to make food. When new leaves appear, the old leaves will often turn yellow and fall off. This is not unusual. Excessive yellowing may be the result of too much or too little light. Move your plant to a location with different lighting for a few days. Watch closely. If plant shows signs of improvement, you have likely solved the problem. Permanently relocate the plant to receive more of its favorite lighting.
A declining root system can also cause leaves to yellow. A common cause of injured roots is excessive fertilizer use. Discontinue all fertilizer use immediately and check plant closely for signs of improvement.
Overwatering can also damage the root system. This will commonly happen if there are no drainage holes in the pot. Water can accumulate and destroy some of the roots. Transfer the plant to a new pot and see if conditions improve.
A change in the plant's location may trigger older leaves to yellow and fall. If the plant has recently been relocated, it may need a period of adjustment before it settles in it's new location. Wait a few days and watch plant closely. If the plant begins to right itself after a few days, this was likely the cause. The plant may also have been exposed to cold temperatures or toxic gases. Plants near a window may lose leaves after the first cold spell in the fall. Keeping the plant's environment consistent and safe from extreme temperature variations and exposure to chemicals will likely improve a plant's condition.