What Causes Yellow Leaves On The Verbena Plant?

Verbena plants are well-loved for their vibrant and colorful blossoms that add a touch of beauty to gardens, landscapes, and containers. However, when the leaves of a verbena plant start to turn yellow, it can be a cause for concern among gardeners and plant enthusiasts.

When the leaves turn yellow, it indicates an underlying problem. Several factors can contribute to this phenomenon, ranging from environmental stressors to nutrient deficiencies and pest infestations. Once you understand the factors, you can determine what causes yellow leaves on the verbena plant. 

This article will explain the major causes of yellow leaves and how to fix the problem to save your plant from dying. 

5 reasons for yellow leaves on the verbena plant.

This article will explore some common reasons why verbena leaves may turn yellow. We will delve into the impact of environmental factors such as sunlight, temperature, and water on the plant’s health. 

Let’s discuss these factors. 


Overwatering can lead to yellow leaves on verbena plants. While water is essential for the growth and development of plants, excessive or improper watering practices can harm their health.

When a verbena plant is overwatered, its root system becomes saturated, leading to poor oxygen circulation and root rot. The roots are responsible for absorbing water and nutrients from the soil, and when they are deprived of oxygen, they struggle to function effectively. As a result, the plant’s ability to take up essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, iron, and manganese, is compromised.

The lack of proper nutrient uptake disrupts the plant’s metabolic processes, leading to various symptoms, including yellowing leaves.

Furthermore, overwatering creates an environment that encourages the growth of harmful fungi and bacteria in the soil. These pathogens can attack the roots and cause root diseases such as root rot. As a result, the plant becomes stressed, and its leaves may exhibit yellowing as a sign of distress.

To prevent overwatering and its associated yellowing of leaves, establish a proper watering routine for verbena plants. This involves allowing the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions. 

Check the soil’s moisture level using a finger or a moisture meter to determine when it is time to water. Additionally, ensure the container or garden bed has good drainage to help excess water escape and prevent waterlogging.


Underwatering is another common cause of yellow leaves on verbena plants. While plants need water to survive, insufficient watering can result in stress and dehydration.

When a verbena plant is underwatered, it experiences a lack of moisture in the soil. As a result, the roots struggle to uptake adequate water necessary for the plant’s survival and metabolic processes. This water deficiency affects the plant’s ability to perform vital functions, such as photosynthesis and nutrient absorption.

One of the primary consequences of underwatering is the limited water availability for the plant’s cells. Water is essential for maintaining turgidity and providing structural support to the cells. Without sufficient water, the cells lose their rigidity, causing the leaves to wilt and appear droopy. As the condition worsens, the leaves may turn yellow.

Additionally, when a verbena plant is underwatered, it undergoes a self-preservation mechanism known as stomatal closure. Stomata are tiny openings on the leaves’ surface that regulate water loss and gas exchange. During water scarcity, the plant conserves water by closing its stomata to reduce transpiration.

While this closure helps prevent further water loss, it also impedes the uptake of carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis. With limited carbon dioxide availability, the plant’s ability to synthesize carbohydrates is impaired, leading to reduced energy production and a decline in overall leaf health. This can manifest as yellowing or browning of the leaves.

To address underwatering and prevent yellow leaves on verbena plants, establish a regular watering routine. This involves providing adequate water to the plant, ensuring the soil is moist but not soggy. 

Regularly check the soil moisture level using a moisture meter and adjust the watering frequency based on the plant’s needs and environmental conditions.

Nutrient deficiencies.

Nutrient deficiencies can be a significant cause of yellow leaves on verbena plants. Essential nutrients play a crucial role in various physiological processes, and when a plant lacks certain nutrients, it can result in visible symptoms, including leaf discoloration.

Different nutrients have specific functions within the plant, and their deficiencies can lead to distinct yellowing patterns in the leaves. 

Here are some common nutrient deficiencies that can cause yellow leaves in verbena plants:

  1. Nitrogen (N) Deficiency: Nitrogen is a key component of chlorophyll, responsible for leaves’ green color. When a verbena plant lacks sufficient nitrogen, chlorophyll production is hindered, leading to yellowing leaves. Nitrogen deficiency typically starts in older leaves and progresses toward younger ones. 
  1. Iron (Fe) Deficiency: Iron is essential for chlorophyll synthesis and plays a vital role in electron transport within the plant. When a verbena plant lacks iron, it experiences chlorosis, where the leaves turn yellow while the veins remain green. Iron deficiency often occurs in alkaline or poorly-drained soils.
  1. Magnesium (Mg) Deficiency: Magnesium is a central component of chlorophyll molecules and is vital for photosynthesis. When a verbena plant lacks magnesium, it exhibits interveinal chlorosis, where the tissue between the veins turns yellow while the veins remain green. Magnesium deficiency often affects the lower leaves first.
  1. Manganese (Mn) Deficiency: Manganese is involved in several enzyme activities within the plant, including chlorophyll synthesis. When a verbena plant lacks manganese, it shows chlorosis similar to iron deficiency, with yellowing between the veins. Manganese deficiency is more likely to occur in acidic soils.
  1. Zinc (Zn) Deficiency: Zinc is essential for enzyme activation and hormone regulation within the plant. A verbena plant lacking zinc can exhibit interveinal chlorosis and stunted growth. The leaves may turn yellow, with the veins appearing green.

These are just a few nutrient deficiencies that can cause yellow leaves in verbena plants. It’s important to note that each nutrient deficiency can have specific symptoms and patterns of yellowing, which can help diagnose the issue.

You can fix this problem by providing the plant with the necessary nutrients. You can achieve this by applying balanced fertilizer, amending the soil with organic matter, or using targeted nutrient supplements. 

Remember to test your soil to help identify specific nutrient deficiencies. You can purchase an at-home soil test kit for fast results.

Transplant shock.

Transplant shock can cause yellow leaves on verbena plants when they are moved from one location to another or transplanted into a new pot or garden bed. The transplanting process can disrupt the plant’s root system and lead to stress, which manifests in various symptoms, including leaves turning yellow.

When a verbena plant is transplanted, its roots undergo physical disturbance and may suffer damage. As a result, the plant’s ability to uptake water and essential nutrients from the soil is compromised, leading to dehydration and nutrient deficiencies.

The disruption of the root system also affects the plant’s ability to anchor itself securely in the new soil or growing medium. This instability can further contribute to stress and nutrient uptake problems. Additionally, during transplanting, the plant may lose a portion of its root system, reducing its overall capacity to support healthy leaf growth.

Moreover, transplant shock can disrupt the balance between the plant’s root system and above-ground parts. The plant may allocate its limited resources towards root regeneration rather than maintaining healthy leaf development. This reallocation of energy and resources can lead to temporary yellowing or leaf drop as the plant redirects its efforts toward root recovery.

Proper transplanting techniques and aftercare are crucial to minimize transplant shock and reduce the risk of yellowing leaves. This includes carefully handling the plant’s root system, ensuring sufficient watering during and after transplantation, and providing appropriate environmental conditions to support root regeneration.

In addition, applying a root-stimulating fertilizer or supplement can help promote root growth and reduce the duration of transplant shock. Providing shade or reducing direct sunlight exposure for a few days after transplanting can also help mitigate stress and minimize water loss through transpiration.

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