The arrowhead plant, also known as Syngonium podophyllum, is a popular houseplant known for its lush green leaves and ability to grow in low light conditions. While arrowhead plants are relatively low-maintenance, yellowing leaves are a common issue that many plant owners experience.
So why do arrowhead plant leaves turn yellow? Several problems can cause the yellowing of leaves in an arrowhead plant. Some of these problems include;
- Pests and diseases
- Nutrient deficiency
- Lack of sunlight
- Temperature fluctuations
- Humidity level
- Natural aging
In order to determine the underlying cause of yellowing leaves on your arrowhead plant, it’s essential to carefully evaluate the plant’s growing conditions and any recent changes that may have occurred. Once you identify the problem, it will be easier to address and restore your plant’s health.
In this article, we will explore the factors that can cause yellow leaves in arrowhead plants and provide tips for fixing each problem.
Why do arrowhead plant leaves turn yellow?
When plant leaves start to turn yellow, it means the plant is having problems; usually, we call it stress. Plant stress can be caused by natural or human factors. In most instances, human factors such as overwatering are the primary cause. It’s rare to find plant leaves turning yellow unless the plant is old.
You must be careful when caring for your plant to avoid damaging it. Minor effects such as adding extra water to the plant daily can compound to give the plant more water than it needs to grow.
Let’s look at the various things that make arrowhead plant leaves turn yellow.
Overwatering is a common problem for the yellowing of plant leaves. It involves giving the plant more water than it needs. As the water accumulates in the soil, the soil becomes wet, closing all the pores that allow aeration of the roots.
Poor aeration means roots can’t get fresh air. That leads to the growth of fungi that affects the roots, causing root rot. When that happens, the first sign you will see is yellowing leaves on your arrowhead plant.
So when you see an arrowhead has yellow leaves from the bottom, that’s a sign that the roots are rotting. If you don’t act fast, the plant will die.
How to fix overwatering in arrowhead plants
So, what happens when the leaves turn yellow? The first option is to try to fix it, and the other option is to throw it out to avoid affecting other plants.
The correct way to water the arrowhead plant is when the topsoil is dry. You can measure the moisture content in soil using a moisture meter, or you can use the finger test.
If the soil is wet when you test, let the soil dry completely before watering again. Give it time to recover as you water it with minimal amounts of water. Just enough to make the soil moist.
If it doesn’t recover, remove the plant from the soil and check the roots for rot. Cut off all the affected parts, including leaves, before repotting them. After repotting, water it slightly to moisten the soil and let it recover for a few weeks. You can give it water during this period but in small amounts.
Remember to place the plant in an area with bright indirect sunlight.
Underwatering is one of the common reasons for yellowing leaves on your arrowhead plants. When the plant does not receive enough water, its leaves may turn yellow and brown. This happens because the plant’s roots are not getting enough moisture to sustain the plant’s overall health.
When the soil of the arrowhead plant becomes too dry, the plant’s roots cannot absorb the necessary nutrients and minerals from the soil. This results in the plant being unable to produce chlorophyll, the green pigment responsible for photosynthesis, which in turn causes the leaves to turn yellow.
If the arrowhead plant is severely underwatered, the leaves will not only turn yellow, but may also start to curl and wither. In some cases, the plant may begin to drop its leaves.
The arrowhead plant’s crispy leaves are a result of underwatering.
How to fix underwatering on arrowhead plants
Compared to overwatering, it’s easy to fix underwatering of plants. You can start watering immediately if the plant does not have excess damage. Provide the plant with water regularly, and it will start to recover after a few days.
If the plant has damage, remove all the affected before you start watering. This ensures no bacteria or fungi spread to other parts of the plant.
Also, check the soil regularly to ensure it is moist, but not waterlogged. It’s important not to let the soil dry out completely between watering sessions, as this can damage the plant. Additionally, consider moving the plant to a more humid environment or increasing the humidity around the plant to prevent the soil from drying out too quickly.
The amount of light you give a plant can affect its health positively or negatively. Optimum lighting is the best for growing arrowheads.
Arrowheads like moderate to bright indirect sunlight. So, it can grow well indoors with light from a window.
However, if they receive little or too much sunlight, it can result in yellowing leaves. Excess sunlight causes sunburn to the leaves, while low sunlight can cause irreversible yellow patches on leaves.
Since they require light to grow, place them on a window sill that receives bright indirect sunlight.
How to fix wrong lighting in arrowhead plants
If you notice the plant is yellowing leaves due to the wrong light, change the position to a more favorable location.
If you can provide the plant with proper lighting from the sun, you can purchase a grow light for your plant to receive the light it needs to grow.
Nutrients are essential for the growth of arrowhead plants. Without proper nutrients, arrowhead leaves turn yellow.
Nutrient deficiency is another common cause of yellowing leaves on arrowhead plants. When the plant is not receiving enough of the necessary nutrients, it will start to show signs of distress, such as yellowing leaves.
The primary nutrients that arrowhead plants require are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other micronutrients such as iron, magnesium, and calcium. When there is a deficiency of any of these nutrients, the plant will not be able to produce enough chlorophyll to maintain its green color, resulting in yellowing leaves.
For example, a lack of nitrogen can cause the arrowhead plant’s leaves to turn pale yellow and become smaller. A deficiency of magnesium can cause yellowing between the veins of the leaves, while a lack of iron can result in the leaves turning pale and yellow, with dark green veins.
On the other hand, excess fertilizer can lead to toxic salt build-up, which can scorch the plant. You can reduce the fertilizer in the soil by flushing the soil.
How to fix nutrient deficiency in arrowhead plants.
To avoid nutrient deficiency, ensure the plant receives the necessary nutrients. Give the plant a balanced mix of fertilizer.
You can do this by fertilizing the plant with a balanced fertilizer that contains all the necessary nutrients. It’s important to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package carefully, as over-fertilizing can also cause yellowing leaves. In some cases, it may also be necessary to adjust the pH of the soil, as some nutrients are only available to the plant within a specific pH range.
Suppose you suspect that nutrient deficiency is the cause of your arrowhead plant’s yellowing leaves. In that case, it’s a good idea to consult a gardening or plant expert for advice on the best fertilizer and soil amendments to use.
Pests and diseases
Pests and diseases affect a plant that is weak and stressed. Once it attacks your plant, the arrowhead plant leaves will turn yellow, wilt, and eventually, die.
Some of the pests include; spider mites, mealybugs, and scales. For instance, spider mites suck the sap out of the leaves, removing all the nutrients and moisture from the plant. This can lead to nutrient deficiency.
How to fix a plant from pests and diseases
It might be hard to treat a plant affected by pests, however, if you notice the problem in its early stages, you can prevent any damage.
First, isolate the pest-infested plant to avoid spreading to other plants. Then inspect the leaves and remove any visible pests from the leaves.
You can clean the leaves with an alcohol-based insecticide spray if none are visible. Read instructions to know the amount and frequency of application to avoid killing your plant. You can also use neem oil solution to keep pests away.
Low humidity levels
Low humidity levels can also cause yellowing leaves on your arrowhead plants. This is because arrowhead plants, like many tropical plants, require high humidity levels to thrive.
Low humidity levels below 50% mean the air is dry. Dry air can cause the leaves tips to turn brown. If the plant continues to grow in these conditions, the arrowhead plant leaves will turn yellow on both sides and develop brown spots.
When humidity levels are low, the moisture in the soil evaporates quickly, leaving the plant without enough water to sustain its growth. In addition, the dry air can cause the plant to lose water through transpiration more quickly than it can absorb it from the soil, which can lead to the yellowing of leaves.
How to fix low humidity levels
You can solve this issue by increasing humidity around the plant by misting the leaves with water or placing a tray of water near the plant. You can also place the arrowhead plant in a humid room or use a humidifier to increase the overall humidity levels in the air.
In addition to increasing humidity, it’s also essential to make sure the plant is not placed in a drafty area or near a heating or cooling vent, as these can cause fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels that can stress the plant and lead to yellowing leaves.
Temperature fluctuations can also cause yellowing leaves on your arrowhead plants. Arrowhead plants prefer a relatively stable temperature, and sudden temperature changes can cause stress on the plant and lead to yellowing leaves.
When the temperature drops suddenly, the arrowhead plant may not be able to absorb enough nutrients and water from the soil to maintain its health, leading to yellowing leaves. Similarly, when the temperature rises suddenly, the plant may lose moisture quickly and become dehydrated, which can also cause the leaves to turn yellow.
How to fix temperature fluctuations
Temperature fluctuation problems are easy to solve. Place the plant in a room with consistent temperatures. You can achieve this by placing the plant away from windows or doors that may cause drafts or by using curtains or blinds to regulate the amount of light and heat the plant receives.
Additionally, you can monitor the temperature around the plant with a thermometer and adjust the temperature accordingly.
If you suspect that temperature fluctuations cause your arrowhead plant’s yellowing leaves, it’s crucial to take action quickly to prevent further damage to the arrowhead plant. Providing a stable environment with consistent temperatures can help ensure that your arrowhead plant stays healthy and vibrant and prevent the leaves from turning yellow.
Can I prune the yellow leaves on your arrowhead plant?
When you notice yellow leaves on your arrowhead plant, it’s natural to wonder whether you should prune them or leave them on the plant. Pruning yellow leaves from your arrowhead plant can be beneficial in some cases, but it’s important to understand the potential risks and benefits of doing so.
The main benefit of pruning yellow leaves is that it helps the plant focus its energy on producing new growth and healthy leaves, rather than trying to maintain unhealthy or dying leaves. By removing yellow leaves, you can also improve the overall appearance of the plant and prevent the spread of any disease or pests that may be affecting the leaves.
However, it’s important to be cautious when pruning your arrowhead plant, as removing too many leaves can stress the plant and potentially lead to further yellowing or wilting.
It’s also important to ensure that the yellowing is not a sign of a more serious issue, such as over or under-watering, nutrient deficiencies, or pest infestations, which you should address before pruning.
Before pruning, it’s a good idea to inspect the plant closely to determine the cause of the yellowing. If the yellowing is limited to just a few leaves, it’s safe to prune them without harming the plant. However, if many leaves are yellowing, it’s best to investigate further to determine the underlying cause.
When pruning, use sharp, clean pruning shears to minimize damage to the plant. Cut the leaf stem close to the base of the plant without damaging the stem or other leaves. It’s important to avoid tearing or pulling the leaves, as this can cause further damage to the plant.
So, while pruning yellow leaves from your arrowhead plant can be beneficial, it’s essential to proceed with caution and ensure that the yellowing is not a sign of a more serious issue. By inspecting the plant closely, determining the cause of the yellowing, and pruning carefully, you can help ensure that your arrowhead plant stays healthy and vibrant.
Yellowing leaves on arrowhead plants can be a sign of several issues that we have discussed above. Ensure that you address these issues through proper watering, fertilizing, humidity control, and temperature regulation to help prevent yellowing and promote the health and vibrancy of the plant.
Pruning yellow leaves can be beneficial, but proceed with caution and ensure that the yellowing is not a sign of a more serious issue.
By taking proactive steps to maintain the health of your arrowhead plant, you can help ensure that it thrives and continues to add beauty to your home or office.