The Moringa tree is famous for being a medicinal plant. Some people call it the drumstick tree, the miracle tree, or the Horseradish tree. It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree from the family Moringaceae.
However, the plant is not immune to problems. For instance, the moringa leaves turning yellow can be a major problem affecting your plant. As a gardener, it’s easy to fix a problem when you know the cause of the problem.
So, what causes moringa leaves to turn yellow? Moringa leaves are turning yellow because of overwatering, nutrient deficiency, excess sunlight, pests, and diseases.
In this article, we will discuss the different causes of leaves turning yellow and how you can fix the problem.
What causes Moringa leaves turning yellow?
As a gardener, it’s easy to notice a problem with your plant leaves. But do you know what is causing that problem? Most people prefer to guess until they solve the problem. If you do that, the plant will have died by the time you find the problem.
Let’s look at what causes the moringa leaves to turn yellow and how you can spot the problem and fix it as early as possible.
Overwatering occurs when the plant receives more water than it requires to grow. Excess water in the soil closes the pores that allow air circulation. That causes the roots to stress due to a lack of fresh air.
On the other hand, overwatering creates a medium for the growth of fungi. Fungi is an organism that causes root rot. When roots rot, they stop providing nutrients and water to the plant, and as a result, the moringa leaves turn yellow.
If the problem is overwatering, the soil is always wet, and all the moringa leaves are yellow.
Stop watering the plant until the soil becomes dry. Start watering the plant only after the soil is dry. There are two methods you can use to ensure you are not overwatering.
- First, use the finger test; you push your finger about 1 inch into the soil to check if the soil is dry or wet. Water the plant if the soil is dry.
- Secondly, you can purchase a moisture meter. The moisture meter measures the moisture content present in the soil. Water the plant when the moisture content in the soil is low.
Underwatering occurs when the plant receives little to no water. As you know, the moringa plant grows in moist soils, so the lack of water can cause moringa leaves to turn yellow.
Lack of water in the soil causes the roots to dry. That limits their ability to absorb nutrients efficiently. Since they can’t absorb nutrients, they can’t create chlorophyll in the leaves. Chlorophyll is the substance that creates green leaves. Lack of chlorophyll causes moringa leaves turning yellow.
Once you notice the leaves turning yellow from underwatering, start watering the plant immediately. Also, ensure that the soil drains well to avoid waterlogging.
Moringa plant leaves turn yellow when the plant is experiencing nutrient deficiencies, specifically nitrogen, magnesium, or iron.
Nitrogen is essential for producing chlorophyll, the pigment that gives leaves their green color and helps plants convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis. When a plant is deficient in nitrogen, its leaves may turn yellow or pale green, starting from the older leaves at the bottom of the plant and progressing upwards.
Magnesium is also important for chlorophyll production; a deficiency can cause leaves to turn yellow. Magnesium deficiencies often appear on the edges of the leaves first, and the yellowing may be accompanied by brown or reddish spots.
Iron is necessary for the production of chlorophyll as well, and a deficiency can cause leaves to turn yellow, with the veins remaining green. Iron deficiencies can also cause leaves to become brittle and curl at the edges.
It is important to diagnose the specific nutrient deficiency and address it accordingly. Add fertilizer that can satisfy the plant’s needs. You can also use Epsom salts, banana peels, and coffee grounds to supply the plant with nutrients.
Moringa plant grows well in areas with direct sunlight; however, excess sunlight can cause Moringa leaves to turn yellow due to photobleaching. This occurs when the plant is exposed to too much light, causing damage to the pigments that give the leaves their green color, specifically chlorophyll. When chlorophyll is damaged, it cannot effectively carry out photosynthesis, which is the process that allows plants to convert sunlight into energy.
As a result, the leaves may turn yellow due to the breakdown of chlorophyll. This can also happen if the plant is exposed to too much heat, as high temperatures can also cause chlorophyll to break down.
Place the plant in a room that receives bright direct sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon. That ensures that it receives enough sunlight to help it thrive.
Pests and diseases
Pests and diseases can cause Moringa leaves to turn yellow by attacking the plant and disrupting its ability to carry out photosynthesis effectively. When a plant is under stress from pests or diseases, it may divert its energy away from normal growth and production processes, including producing chlorophyll.
Some pests, such as aphids, mites, and caterpillars, feed on the plant’s leaves, causing damage and weakening the plant. Additionally, some pests, such as spider mites, can pierce the leaves, causing tiny yellow or white spots on the leaves.
Diseases like fungal or bacterial infections can also affect Moringa leaves. These diseases can attack the plant’s roots, stems, or leaves, causing damage and reducing the plant’s ability to function. Fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew or rust, can create a white or yellowish coating on the leaves, which can eventually cause them to turn yellow and fall off.
The main cause of pests and diseases is hygiene around the plant. To prevent them from attacking your plant, you have to practice good plant hygiene, such as removing fallen dead leaves or debris around the plant.
Kill the pests by spraying water mixed with neem oil. You can also practice companion planting if you don’t want to use chemicals.
Are yellow moringa leaves edible?
When people eat moringa leaves, they look for their nutritional value. Yellow Moringa leaves are still edible, but may not have the same nutritional value or flavor as green leaves.
When Moringa leaves turn yellow, it is usually a sign that the plant is under stress, such as from nutrient deficiencies or pests and diseases, which can affect the quality of the leaves.
Yellow Moringa leaves may taste bitter or off-flavor because they lack essential nutrients. However, they may still contain other nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, and can be used in recipes where the flavor of the leaves is less important, such as in smoothies, soups, or stews.
Having a moringa plant in a home can be beneficial for you, especially when you need the nutrients it offers. So, care for your plant and prevent the leaves from turning yellow.
If the plant has problems, diagnose them first before you think of the method of fixing it. Once you find what causes leaves to turn yellow, then you can apply the simple fixes as early as possible to save the plant.