Why Are My Philodendron Leaves Turning Yellow? 6 Reasons Why

Are you the proud parent of a Philodendron plant but concerned about yellow leaves? Yes, these tropical plants are known to sprout gorgeous new leaves every couple of weeks when you care for them properly.

But watching those Philodendron leaves turning yellow is a concern resulting in loads of panic and heart attacks as a plant parent. We might be overstating but the panic results if you do not know the cause.

All we can say is that you and your Philly must not panic, and our Philodendron plant care guide is the best place to start. But if you are up to speed, this guide will help you find the cause fast as to why those Philodendron leaves are looking so sad.

So, stay a while longer to learn some Plantly tricks to get those Philodendron turning yellow leaves healthy again.

Reasons Why Philodendron Has Yellow Leaves

philodendron yellow leaves

When it comes to your Philly grown indoors, it is an exotic beauty with green foliage. Again, your indoor plant helps to purify the air with those huge healthy leaves.

But when they turn yellow, it shows something is dreadfully wrong. Hence, if this has happened to your plant, it can be for the following reasons.

Nutrient Deficiency

philodendron nutrient deficient

Philodendrons turning yellow can result from chlorosis, a deficiency of iron and magnesium. For greening foliage, your plant needs iron, while calcium, magnesium, and zinc help with healthy new growth in your plant.

Hence, yellow leaves can indicate too little nutrition in the soil as they lose nutritional value. So, it results in a nutrient deficiency. For instance, if you see yellow spots on the surface of foliage, it might be suffering from the lack of magnesium.

When you can identify the problem, it is easy to correct. For example, to solve the problem of yellow leaves, we first recommend using a soil tester to know for sure before adding any fertilizers.

You can then add a teaspoon of magnesium sulfate supplement (Epson Salts) to a gallon of water. But water sparingly without drenching the soil. If you find it still has yellowing leaves, it might need iron and can use a store-bought fertilizer similar to Ironite.

Root Rot

Philodendrons are hardy plants able to survive vast conditions. Yet, root rot happens to many indoor plants. It is a fungal disease damaging the plant’s roots. It affects the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients and water resulting in yellowing leaves.

The most common reason for these fungal diseases is an overwatered Philodendron or not removing excess water after watering. So if you notice yellow leaves turning brown, you might be dealing with a fungi infestation.

It is known as pythium fungus that attacks the root ball resulting in a wet mushy black root system. Treating fungi is more complicated as it attacks those hard-to-reach places. Even Southern Blight and Anthracnose cause drooped leaf tips turning yellow then brown.

The good news is you can fix root rot when in an early stage. The best is to dig up the root ball and get rid of the soil. Then, we recommend you rinse the roots with water and remove the damaged roots.

You can then repot your tropical plant in fresh, well-drained soil and ensure the pot has enough drainage holes. Change your watering schedule by checking if the top two inches of the soil are dry before watering, and remove any excess water in the saucer underneath the plant.

Too Much Much Direct Sunlight as Indirect Light Exposure is Preferred

philodendron under a full sun

Your Philly needs medium sunlight levels to grow. Growing indoor plants like the Philodendron prefers bright, indirect light. When you expose the foliage to too much light, such as direct sunlight, it can result in yellow leaf spots.

These yellow spots darken with time turning into dark patches. The same happens when you place your plant too close to heat or air conditioners. Still, the opposite can happen with too little light resulting in yellowing leaves on the tips.

philodendron in low light condition

The foliage dries out and drops to the ground if the damage is too severe. If you notice crisp leaf tips, it results from low light and needs more bright indirect sunlight. Moving your plant closer to the window is best to receive direct sunlight.

But with sunburned spots, move it further away behind sheer curtains.

Overwatering and Underwatering

underwatered philoendron plants

One of the biggest mistakes we make with most plants is overwatering them. When this happens, you can also get yellow leaves on your Philly. The Philodendron needs well-draining soil with little watering.

Another important thing is to remove the excess water in the saucer underneath your plant. The Philodendron leaves will first start looking squishy, then change to yellow. The reason is that excess water can affect the photosynthesis in your plant.

Your plant might even become weaker, and the foliage starts to get brown spots resulting in stunted growth. Hence, the roots cannot get enough oxygen leading to fungi growth. Another sign is to check the soil using the thumb method to feel if the soil is very wet.

The opposite happens with an underwater plant’s leaves turning yellow, starting to curl with a brown hue and resulting in leaf drop.

Tips for underwatered Philodendron

The good news is that you can turn the signs of underwatering around. First, we recommend saturating your plant with water from the drainage tray allowing your Philly to soak up the water.

Alternatively, you can fill the sink with about two inches of water and leave your plant standing in the water. Once your houseplant has had its fill of water, let the excess water drain.

Tips for overwatered philodendron

Now, do not get all sad if you have overwatered your plants, as it too causes leaves to turn yellow.

When you feel the soil is wet but not soggy, you can leave your plant without water for a while. Also, ensure that the excess moisture evaporates from the soil. Finally, you can move your plant to bright light allowing the sun to dry out the moist soil.

But if it is severe, we recommend removing your plant from the container and planting it in new soil. You can now check the roots and remove decaying or damaged ones.

Insect Infestations


Another common problem for indoor plants is a pest infestation; your Philodendron is no exception. Some well-known insects are mealy bugs, spider mites, aphids, and scale. These pests enjoy munching on the foliage, sucking out the moisture.

Hence, with the moisture levels reduced in the plant, it results in a yellowing Philodendron. Unfortunately, these pests can affect your houseplants differently, and each one needs a different solution.

One way that works effectively is to mix a gallon of water with a teaspoon of neem oil. You can spray your plant with it or add it to the soil.

Over Fertilizing


Another culprit that affects Philodendron’s leaves is over-fertilizing. Yes, feeding your indoor or outdoor plants are essential for their overall growth. Hence, you can notice yellow leaf tips with leaf drops.

The good news is that you can fix the problem. Placing your plant in the sink is best and flush the soil with water. Then, you can repeat the process up to four-time to flush out the salt build-up and fertilizer.

Still, leave your plant to drain well in between doing this. Then, if you feel stressed about your plant, you can remove it from the pot and check the roots removing damaged ones and planting in fresh potting soil.

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