How do you fix yellow Calathea leaves?

Answered by John Hunt

To fix yellow Calathea leaves, there are a few steps you can take to address the issue. Yellow leaves on a Calathea plant are often a sign of stress or improper care. Here are some possible causes of yellowing leaves and how to remedy them:

1. Overwatering: Calathea plants prefer moist but well-draining soil. If you notice yellow leaves, it could be a sign of overwatering. To fix this, allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. Ensure that the pot has drainage holes to prevent water from sitting in the bottom.

2. Underwatering: On the other hand, underwatering can also lead to yellowing leaves. Calathea plants require consistent moisture, so if the soil becomes too dry, the leaves may turn yellow. To fix this, water your Calathea thoroughly, ensuring that water reaches all parts of the root system. Mist the leaves occasionally to increase humidity.

3. Low humidity: Calathea plants are native to tropical regions and thrive in high humidity. If the air is too dry, the leaves may turn yellow. To increase humidity, place a tray filled with water near the plant or use a humidifier. You can also group your Calathea with other plants to create a microclimate with higher humidity.

4. Incorrect lighting: Calathea plants prefer bright, indirect light. If they are exposed to direct sunlight, the leaves can become scorched and turn yellow. Move your Calathea to a spot with filtered or indirect light. If you notice yellowing leaves on one side, rotate the plant to ensure even light distribution.

5. Temperature stress: Calathea plants are sensitive to extreme temperatures. If the leaves turn yellow, it could be a sign of temperature stress. Avoid placing your Calathea near drafts, air conditioning vents, or heaters. Maintain a temperature between 65-85°F (18-29°C) to provide optimal conditions for growth.

6. Nutrient deficiency: Yellowing leaves can also indicate a nutrient deficiency, particularly a lack of nitrogen or iron. Consider using a balanced fertilizer formulated for houseplants and follow the instructions on the package. Be cautious not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to burn and further damage.

7. Pest infestation: Sometimes, yellowing leaves can be a result of pest infestation, such as spider mites or mealybugs. Inspect your Calathea for any signs of pests, such as webs, tiny insects, or sticky residue. If pests are present, treat them with an appropriate insecticide or try using natural remedies like neem oil or insecticidal soap.

Remember, it’s normal for older leaves to yellow and eventually die off, so focus on new growth and overall plant health. By addressing these potential causes and providing the necessary care, you can help your Calathea regain its health and vibrant foliage.