Prayer Plant Yellow Leaves | Why Are They Turning Yellow?

As with many plants, the leaves of the Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura) may turn yellow from time to time. There are several different reasons for this. This article explores the conditions and circumstances that may cause your Prayer Plant leaves to turn yellow. Read on to learn more.

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9 Causes of Prayer Plant Leaves Turning Yellow

Overwatering Is The Leading Cause Of Yellowing Leaves

Prayer Plants like soil that is consistently slightly moist, but they do not like to be kept in excessively wet, soggy soil. Be sure that the pot your plant lives in has plenty of drainage holes and that the soil you’re using provides good drainage. Allow the top 1 inch of soil to become nearly dry between waterings. Never allow your plant to stand in water.

Sun Scorching Can Cause Leaves To Become Yellow

If the centers of the leaves are yellow, but the edges are brown and crispy, your plant may be sunburned. First, make sure your Prayer Plant is receiving plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. Then, protect it from harsh, intense rays of direct sun.

Too Much Fertilizer Can Cause Yellowing Leaves

Fertilizer that is excessively strong or applied too frequently will cause a sun-scorched appearance. It’s best to fertilize Prayer Plants once a month, using a diluted solution of general-purpose, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer during the growing season.

Chemicals In Tap Water Can Cause Yellowing Leaves

If none of the conditions mentioned so far apply to your plant, it may be that the plant is reacting to your tap water. Try watering with distilled, filtered, or rainwater instead.

Cold Temperatures May Cause Yellow Leaves On Prayer Plant

Prayer Plants are tropical plants and cannot tolerate cold drafts or extended periods of cold temperatures below 55° degrees Fahrenheit. If you purchase a Prayer Plant during the winter, be sure to protect it from chill as you carry it from the nursery to your car.

At a minimum cover the entire plant with a paper bag. Then, bring the plant straight home after purchase. When you get it home, choose a setting that is well away from doors or windows that may let in a cold draft when opened.

Using The Wrong Type Of Soil Can Cause Yellowing Leaves

Even though these plants hail from a moist, tropical jungle setting, they do need excellent drainage. Without it, the roots become waterlogged and oxygen-deprived and are subject to root rot. Be sure to use a light, airy mix that has plenty of organic matter, such as coco coir or peat moss.

Too Little Humidity Can Cause Leaves To Turn Yellow

Again, we must keep in mind that Prayer Plants come from a moist, tropical jungle setting where the air is consistently at a level of 40 to 60% humidity. Therefore, if you live in a very dry geographical location or your heating and air conditioning system keeps the air in your home very dry, your Prayer Plant may suffer.

To avoid this, use a humidifier and/or mist your plants daily. Remember, too, that plants placed in groups retain their humidity better, as do plants that live in naturally humid rooms such as the kitchen or the bathroom. Very small plants may be happiest kept in a terrarium.

Maranta Leaves Yellowing? Check For Lack Of Iron

If the pH level of your soil is too high, your plant may not be able to uptake the iron that is available in the soil and fertilizer. Lack of iron causes a reduction in chlorophyll production which leads to a lack of green coloration in the leaves. You can correct this problem by using a chelated iron product.

Diseases And Pest Infestation Will Cause Yellowing

Inspect your plants regularly for common household pests such as spider mites which suck the life out of your plants. Additionally, disorders such as leaf spot or cucumber mosaic virus can cause uneven yellow spotting on plants’ leaves.

What Can You Do about Yellow Leaves on Your Prayer Plant?

Begin by simply clipping off the leaves that have turned yellow or begun to turn yellow. But, unfortunately, there is no way to heal them, and if they do harbor disease, it will spread.

Remove yellowed leaves off with a very sharp, sterile cutting implement. Dust the cuts lightly with cinnamon to prevent fungal growth. Maintain gentle air circulation around your plants after pruning so that the cuts will dry.

Review your plants’ growing conditions to ensure that you are doing everything you can to prevent yellowing leaves. 

To answer the question of “Why is my prayer plant turning yellow”? Make sure the plant:

  • Receives ample bright, indirect sunlight
  • Has the right amount of humidity
  • Is protected from cold drafts
  • Has no disease or pests
  • Has proper drainage
  • Isn’t overwatered
  • Isn’t over-fertilized

If all of these conditions are correct, try giving your plant an iron chelate treatment.