Calathea Yellow Leaves: Causes, Solutions, and Prevention Tips


Calathea Yellow Leaves

Calathea plants are known for their stunning foliage, vibrant colors, and unique patterns. However, noticing yellow leaves on your beloved Calathea plant can be disheartening. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various causes of yellow leaves in Calathea plants and provide practical solutions to restore their health and beauty.

Understanding Calathea Plants

  • Overview of Calathea:

Calathea is a genus of tropical plants native to the Americas. They are popular houseplants due to their attractive foliage and ability to thrive indoors. With their broad leaves, intricate patterns, and vivid colors, Calathea plants add a touch of elegance to any space.

  • Foliage Characteristics:

One of the most distinguishing features of Calathea plants is their foliage. The leaves are usually large, oval-shaped, and have unique patterns, often resembling intricate brushstrokes or delicate lacework. The colors can range from deep greens to vibrant purples, with contrasting veins and stripes that add visual interest.

calathea yellow leaves

Common Causes of Calathea Yellow Leaves

  • Overwatering:

Overwatering is a common cause of yellow leaves in Calathea plants. When the roots are constantly saturated, they can suffer from root rot, leading to poor nutrient absorption and oxygen deprivation. This stress on the plant can manifest as yellowing and wilting of leaves.

  • Underwatering:

On the other hand, underwatering can also result in yellow leaves. When the plant doesn’t receive enough water, it goes into a state of dehydration, causing the leaves to turn yellow and eventually dry out. It’s essential to balance watering adequately and avoiding excess moisture.

  • Improper Lighting:

Calathea plants thrive in indirect, moderate light conditions. If exposed to intense, direct sunlight for prolonged periods, the leaves can become scorched, leading to yellowing, brown patches, or even curling of the foliage. Inadequate lighting, such as placing the plant in a dark corner, can also cause yellowing.

  • Temperature and Humidity:

Calathea plants prefer warm and humid environments. Exposing them to shallow temperatures or dry air can stress the plant and result in yellow leaves. Cold drafts, heating vents, and low humidity levels can all contribute to leaf discoloration.

  • Nutrient Deficiencies:

Calathea plants require a balanced supply of essential nutrients to maintain healthy foliage. Nutrient deficiencies like nitrogen, iron, or magnesium can lead to yellowing leaves; This can occur if the plant’s soil lacks the necessary nutrients or is not absorbing them effectively.

  • Pest Infestations:

Pests, such as spider mites, aphids, or mealybugs, can infest Calathea plants and cause damage to the leaves. These pests feed on the plant’s sap, weakening it and leading to yellowing, curling, or distorted leaves. Prompt identification and treatment are crucial to prevent further damage.

Diagnosing the Problem

  • Visual Examination:

To diagnose the cause of yellow leaves in your Calathea plant:

  1. Visually inspect the foliage.
  2. Note the extent of yellowing, whether it affects only a few leaves or is widespread throughout the plant.
  3. Observe any accompanying symptoms such as wilting, browning, or curling.
  • Soil and Root Evaluation:

Check the soil moisture level by gently inserting your finger into the soil. If it feels excessively wet, the plant may be overwatered. If it feels dry several inches deep, underwatering could be the issue. Additionally, carefully examine the roots for signs of rotting or browning, which may indicate overwatering.

Effective Solutions to Address Calathea Yellow Leaves

  • Adjusting Watering Practices:

Allow the soil to dry out partially before watering again to address overwatering. Ensure the pot has proper drainage to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom. Develop a regular watering schedule for underwatering, ensuring the soil remains consistently moist but not soggy.

  • Optimizing Lighting Conditions:

Move your Calathea plant to a location with bright, indirect light. Shield it from direct sunlight, especially during the intense midday hours. If natural light is insufficient, consider using artificial grow lights designed explicitly for houseplants.

  • Temperature and Humidity Control:

Maintain a temperature range of 65-85°F (18-29°C) for your Calathea plant, avoiding exposure to cold drafts or extreme heat. Increase humidity levels by placing a water tray near the plant or using a humidifier. Misting the leaves occasionally can also help.

  • Nutrient Management:

Regularly fertilize your Calathea plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer formulated for houseplants. Follow the package instructions for dosage and frequency. Consider using a fertilizer with micronutrients to address any specific deficiencies.

  • Pest Control:

If pests cause yellow leaves, treat your Calathea plant with an appropriate insecticide or insecticidal soap. Ensure thorough coverage of all plant surfaces and repeat the treatment as necessary. Quarantine the affected plant to prevent the pests from spreading to other plants.

calathea yellow leaves solution

Prevention and Maintenance

  • Routine Care:

Maintain overall plant health by practicing good care habits; This includes dusting the leaves gently with a damp cloth to remove debris, regularly checking for pests, and pruning any damaged or yellow leaves. Avoid placing the plant near sources of drafts or extreme temperature fluctuations.

  • Leaf Care:

Keep the leaves of your Calathea plant healthy by maintaining adequate humidity levels. Consider using a pebble tray or a humidifier to increase moisture around the plant. Avoid leaf shine products, as they can clog the plant’s pores and impede respiration.


By understanding the common causes of yellow leaves in Calathea plants and implementing the appropriate solutions, you can restore their health and vitality. Remember to adjust watering practices, optimize lighting conditions, control temperature and humidity levels, address nutrient deficiencies, and promptly address pest issues. Your Calathea plant will thrive with proper care, showcasing its vibrant and beautiful foliage for years. Read article about How to Clean Monstera Leaves and Dichondra Lawn Pros and Cons in Avi hoffman Garden.


Question: Should I cut yellow leaves off Calathea?

Answer: Cutting yellow leaves from your Calathea plant is generally recommended. Yellow leaves indicate that the leaf is dying or already dead. By removing the yellow leaves, you not only improve the plant’s overall appearance but also redirect the plant’s energy toward healthy growth. Use clean and sharp scissors or pruning shears to make a clean cut close to the base of the leaf.

Question: Why is my Calathea leaf turning yellow?

Answer: Calathea leaves can turn yellow due to several reasons. The most common causes include overwatering, underwatering, improper lighting, temperature and humidity extremes, nutrient deficiencies, and pest infestations. Each of these factors can stress the plant and lead to yellowing leaves. It’s essential to assess the specific conditions of your plant to determine the exact cause and take appropriate measures to address it.

Question: Can yellow Calathea leaves turn green again?

Answer: Unfortunately, once a Calathea leaf turns yellow, it will not turn green again. Yellow leaves indicate damage or deterioration in the leaf cells, and they cannot recover. However, by addressing the underlying cause of the yellowing and providing optimal care, you can prevent further yellowing and promote the healthy growth of new leaves.

Question: Am I overwatering or underwatering my Calathea?

Answer: Determining whether you are overwatering or underwatering your Calathea requires careful observation and evaluation. Overwatering signs include wet soil, root rot, and yellow leaves that may feel soft or mushy. Underwatering symptoms include dry soil, wilting leaves that feel crispy or brittle, and yellowing leaves that may appear dehydrated. Check the soil moisture level, inspect the roots to determine the cause, and adjust your watering practices accordingly to maintain proper moisture levels without waterlogging or dehydration.
Remember that each Calathea plant is unique, and its care requirements may vary. By closely monitoring your plant, providing the right conditions, and making necessary adjustments, you can help your Calathea thrive and maintain vibrant, healthy foliage.