Golden to Green: 7 Expert-Backed Techniques to Triumph Over Calathea Yellow Leaves and Revel in Lush Vibrancy

Mentari Aisyah

Calathea Yellow Leaves can be a disheartening sight for any gardening enthusiast, especially for our diligent homemakers dedicated to maintaining vibrant houseplants. The dilemma arises when these striking foliage plants, often a centerpiece in home gardens, begin to lose their lush green hue. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s a sign of potential underlying issues, intensifying the worry. But, take heart! The key to resolving this problem is understanding the specific causes and taking the right measures. Dive into this guide, and let’s collaboratively restore that radiant green charm to your beloved Calathea. For every passionate homemaker-turned-gardener, it’s time to turn those yellow leaves into a thing of the past!”

Not only do these plants have fabulous foliage in terms of shape and pattern, but they’re also known for being relatively low-maintenance. If you keep the plant happy, it will reward you with healthy foliage.

How to Solve Calathea Yellow Leaves

Why are My Calathea Leaves Turning Yellow?

These plants often communicate to their owners that something isn’t right, most frequently through changing the color of their leaves. For example, yellowing calathea leaves.

A yellow leaf is a struggling leaf, symbolizing the leaves battle to stay alive. A partially yellow leaf might not die off anytime soon, but it is not as vigorous as a green one. However, a fully yellow leaf is done for and does not have much time left.

If you see yellow leaves on your plant, it might be an indication that something is wrong with its care. These plants can die quickly if they aren’t getting the proper nutrients.

When your calathea plant’s leaves turn yellow, it is likely due to an issue that needs to be addressed.

If you find your plant’s leaves turning yellow, it could be a sign of trouble. The only time this isn’t the case is if the leaf is old and dying, or if you tested something on the leaf (like cleaning it with soap) that the plant didn’t respond well to.

If You Just Brought Your Plant Home

Transplanting a plant to new surroundings is often sources of stress for the plant. If there are big changes in conditions such as humidity, temperature, light or aeration, then There is an increased chance that the plant will experiencestress-related issues.

Your plant will need some time to adjust to its new home; it might not look great during that phase. This means a leaf or two may turn yellow, which is normal if there are no other concerning issues.

While it’s not necessary to check on your plant every five minutes, you should keep an eye out for any changes, such as more yellow leaves or pests. Repotting a plant can also lead to stress, so if you notice a few Calathea leaves turning yellow after repotting, give your plant some extra love and care.

  1. Old Leaves Dying Out

Old leaves falling off is normal for a Calathea, but if you notice all the leaves turning yellow, that might be indicative of a more serious problem.

A yellow leaf spotted occasionally at the bottom of a plant is part of its natural dying process and nothing to worry about if the rest of the plant appears healthy.

Prevention is better than cure, as the saying goes. If something might go wrong, it’s always best to take steps to prevent it instead of waiting until it’s too late.

If you want to see new growth on your Calathea, cut away the yellow leaves.

2. Calathea Yellow Leaves due to Overwatering? What about under-watering?

The most common reason houseplants die is overwatering, so check this off your list first.

Calatheas need moist soil to prosper, but be careful not to overwater as soggy conditions encourage root rot which will quickly kill your plant.

One early symptom of overwatering your plant can be when the leaves begin to turn yellow.

After watering your plant, check the soil a few days later. If it’s still wet, you’re overwatering and should take steps to correct this. Check the roots for signs of root rot and treat as necessary by drying out the soil or repotting with new soil.

You can prevent overwatering your plant by readjusting your watering routine (it has more to do with how you water, not the amount of water).

Remove the dead, yellow leaves from your Calathea plant to allow it to put its energy into growing new ones.

Can Yellow Leaf on Calathea Turn Green Again


Not watering your calathea enough will also make its leaves turn yellow.

Calatheas prefer when their potting medium is kept moist at all times. Ensure that the top layer of soil dries out before watering again.

The tag that came with your plant might say to water it once a week, but you need to personalize the watering routine for your own plant. This is because different household conditions could mean that your plant needs more or less water than what the tag suggests. For example, you might need to water your plan twice a week instead of only once.

In order to ensure your plant’s health, make sure the soil you use is able to retain moisture and drains well. You can find suitable tropical houseplant soil mixes at most gardening stores.

Your plant will not survive if you don’t have drainage holes in your pot. Period. If you bought the plant and put it in a nice-looking pot without drainage holes, you’re essentially killing it.

  1. Water quality you use

It’s best to use rainwater or distilled water for Calatheas since they are delicate. Room-temperature water is fine, too. Many people avoid using tap water because it contains chlorine and/or chloramine toxins that may cause yellow leaves. Another thing to consider is if your tapwater has a high mineral content, these minerals and salts can build up over time.

Your Calathea will be content with filtered, rain or even distilled water; however, the temperature should be taken into account as well. Just like humans, plants prefer room-temperature water.

  1. Pests

Spider mites are the most likely type of indoor plant pest to infest Calathea plants, followed by mealybugs, fungus gnats, aphids, and scale insects. These tiny creatures (only 1mm in size) live in colonies and can quickly overwhelm a plant if left unchecked.

The white dots on the undersides of your Calathea leaves are called pests, and you’ll also notice a slight webbing.

Calathea’s leaves yellow due to spider mites sucking the sap. It robs the plant of vital nutrients, similar to drought.

However, there are ways to kill spider mites while being careful not to damage the leaves. If you’re using something potent like rubbing alcohol, it’s best to dilute it first .

  1. Chemical Burn

If you have recently treated your plant for pests, used a solution to prevent them, or applied anything else to the leaves, they might become damaged. To test whether or not your plant will react negatively to a new product, try it out on one leaf before using it on the whole plant. This way, you can avoid any potential damage to the rest of your plant.

Although this damage does not outright kill the leaf, it can still inflict considerable harm; however, theleaf will continue to live.

You can cut off the yellow leaf or a couple leaves if you want to.

Calathea Yellow Leaves

  1. Can fertilizer cause Calathea leaves to turn yellow?

If you want to keep your calatheas healthy, don’t overfeed them. Too much fertilization can cause yellow leaves and other problems. Undernutrition can also lead to pale or yellowed foliage, but this is less common.

During the growing season, most growers apply a light application of balanced fertilizer at half-dilution each month. Some only apply fertilizer in spring and late summer.

Add a teaspoon of kelp fertilizer to half a gallon of water (preferably distilled) once per month for gentle organic gardening. Water your plants gradually with this mixture over time rather than all at once so that the solution lasts longer.

Keep in mind that fertilizer is not a cure-all! It should only be used for healthy plants that are already growing. If your Calathea’s leaves turn yellow after you’ve fed it, dilute the solution more or do it less often.

  1. Humidity and air flow

If you want your Calatheas to look their best, they’ll need high humidity like most tropical plants. They can survive in low humidity environments, but it often causes the leaves to turn yellow from the stress.

Although their natural habitat is a humid climate with 90% humidity or more, indoor plants can survive in conditions of 50-70% humidity. The Rattlesnake Plant (Calathea lancifolia) is the most resilient to lowhumidity levels , however they still prefer air that isn’t too dry.

Ways to increase humidity:

  • A room humidifier is an easy way to keep your Calathea collection healthy and strong. Although they require some extra work, it’s worth it to have beautiful plants.
  • Grouping Plants – If you have a tropical Calathea plant, consider keeping it with other plants to create a stunning collection. Not only will this make your space look amazing, but it may also increase local humidity by a small amount. Be careful not to crowd the plants too closely together, though. Make sure there is good air flow to prevent pests from infesting the group of plants.
  • You can raise the local humidity by evaporation through water-filled trays. Place them near your plants or under pots, using pebbles to lift the container above the water line. A nifty trick is to put upturned seashells on top of the soil; they’ll catch watering and act as tiny reservoirs underneath leaves.
  • Though many growers feel that misting their Calatheas provides a benefit to the plant, it is too transient to make a significant difference in overall humidity. If misting doesn’t do much for overall humidity, it may give the plant a little lift without weighing down the soil with more water.

If you want to avoid leaf spots, condition your water and use that for misting as well. However, only do so if there is good air flow around the plant; without it, you run the risk of encouraging fungal problems.

  1. Insufficient Light

If your calathea isn’t getting enough light, you’ll be able to tell because the plant will stunt its growth. Additionally, the leaves may start to yellow.

If your plant is situated far from the window, it likely isn’t getting enough light. Move it closer to the window so it can get some morning sun if you notice it struggling.

Too much direct sunlight will harms your plant. If you have it in a spot with direct sun, make sure to filter the light. Direct light or too much light can cause the leaves to burn and lose color (in the case of Calathea Ornata, for example, pink stripes may fade and turn white).

Why are My Calathea Leaves Turning Yellow

  1. Temperature

The ideal temperature for a Calathea plant to thrive is between 62ºF and 81ºF (16ºC to 27 °C).

When the temperature gets too high or low for a plant, it becomes stressed. One sign of stress is when leaves turn yellow.

If Calathea leaves are discoloring or curling, that means the temperature is too high. However, if growth is stunted, that means the temperature was too low at some point.

  1. Disease

A plant that is otherwise healthy typically has a strong immune system, and therefore can fight off diseases or infection.

Although calathea is a strong plant, it can develop diseases in non-ideal conditions. For example, if there’s too much humidity and no ventilation in the room, fungal diseases will likely occur. When this happens, you’ll notice your calathea leaves yellowing.

If you see yellow streaks, distorted leaves, and stunted growth on the plant, it may have a viral infection.

If your plant has a virus, it is most likely due to pests. Unfortunately, there is no cure, so you should get rid of the plant before it infects others.

  1. Mechanical injury

If you have pets or kids in your house, they might be damaging the plant stems without you realizing it. Carefully check the stems for any signs of damage.


New Leaf on Calathea Yellow?

If you notice that a new leaf on an otherwise healthy plant is yellow, this means the conditions during its growth were not ideal. With the right care, this should be a one-time issue, and future growth will return to normal.

Can Yellow Leaf on Calathea Turn Green Again?

Once a calathea leaf turns yellow, it cannot turn green again. If the entire leaf becomes yellow, eventually it will dry up and fall off. However, if only part of the leaf is yellow, then the green section can still perform its photosynthesis functions and save the leaf. Depending on what caused the initial discoloration, sometimes leaves will slowly continue to change color or stop changing color altogether.

Should I be worried that the lower leaves on my Calathea are yellowing? 

As Calathea plants mature, their lower leaves will yellow first. To encourage new growth, simply prune them off. If the yellowing is happening on newer growth or some of the larger healthier leaves nearer the top, that’s cause for concern. However, if it’s only affecting the bottom leaves due to age, then there’s no need to worry as those won’t recover anyway. Make sure to adjust the care of your plant so it’s getting the right amount of light, water, and humidity.

Remember, proper care is key for healthy Calathea plants! Pay close attention to any changes in your plant such as discoloration or curling of leaves as this could indicate a problem with its environment. With the right care and attention, you can enjoy having these beautiful plants in your home. Good luck!

Mentari Aisyah

I'm a passionate gardener with over two decades of hands-on experience in nurturing plants, designing landscapes, and cultivating gardens. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need personalized advice. Happy gardening!

Related Post

Ads - Before Footer