The Philodendron Atom (Philodendron bipinnatifidum Atom or Philodendron selloum atom) is known to be beginner friendly but can occasionally develop yellow leaves. While this may be very concerning, there are a few things that you can do to fix the problem.
Yellow leaves can be caused by over or underwatering, pests, fungal disease, nutrient deficiency, or sunburn. To fix yellow leaves on your Philodendron Atom, you must create a consistent watering schedule, use or neem oil or fungicide, apply a balanced NPK fertilizer, or move your plant away from direct sunlight.
While in most cases, you cannot save the yellow leaves themselves, you can prevent more leaves from yellowing and save the plant as a whole by following a few simple steps.
Why Is My Philodendron Getting Yellow Leaves?
Watering problems are the most significant cause of yellowing leaves for Philodendron Atom Plants. If your Philodendron Atom is underwatered, the leaves will turn yellow and perhaps even develop brown patches. The leaves will also curl and droop due to dehydration, and the soil will be bone dry.
The leaves that will most likely be affected if your Philodendron Atom is underwatered will be the older leaves. To conserve as much moisture as possible, your Philodendron Atom will allow the older leaves to die off to preserve the rest of the plant.
On the other hand, overwatering your Philodendron Atom may cause yellow leaves to form. Overwatering and underwatering can present similar symptoms. If your Philodendron is sitting in wet soil, the roots will start to root.
They will break down and turn into mush, preventing them from absorbing water effectively and leading to dehydration. As a result, the leaves closest to the soil may turn yellow, soft, and mushy.
If you notice that new leaves on your Philodendron Atom are turning yellow, this could mean that you have a pest problem. Many varieties of houseplant pests love to feed off of new leaves, as the new growth is much more tender.
While you may find other pests on your Philodendron Atom, such as aphids, mealybugs, fungus gnats, or scale, the two types of pests frequently cause yellow leaves, particularly on new growth, are spider mites and thrips.
Spider mites can be easily identified by their webbing on the backs of Philodendron leaves or between the stems. However, they often go undetected until they infest the plant because of their size. Thrips can also be hard to detect, as they are both tiny and thin insects, often mistaken for small bits of soil on the undersides of the leaves.
If you suspect that your Philodendron Atom is suffering from pest infestation, immediately isolate the plant and treat it with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Next, prune away the yellow leaves on your Philodendron Atom and any leaves wholly infested with pests. You will likely have to repeat this treatment several times until you have entirely eradicated the pests.
If you notice that your Philodendron’s leaves fade from green to yellow and it receives a lot of sunlight, it may be getting too much sun. If your Philodendron Atom receives too much direct sunlight, the leaves may turn yellow due to sunburn.
Philodendrons generally prefer medium to bright indirect light, which is about 200-400 Foot Candles. They can even tolerate a few hours of direct sunlight, but preferably morning sun where the rays are not as strong.
Give your Philodendron some relief by moving it a few feet back from the window to prevent further scalding from the sun. When you introduce any light to your plant, do so gradually.
If you notice yellow spots on your Philodendron Atom, starting at the center of the leaf instead of starting from the outer edges, it may have a fungal infection. These yellow patches on the leaf will eventually turn brown and spread until the entire leaf has died off.
To stop the fungal infection from spreading, you can treat your Philodendron Atom with a fungicide solution that you can purchase at your local garden center. Treat the entire plant and then trim the infected leaves.
Sometimes Philodendron Atom leaves become discolored and lose their vibrant green coloring if they have a nutrient deficiency, particularly nitrogen. Philodendrons generally require an N-P-K ratio (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio) of 20-20-20. This means that all essential macronutrients are evenly balanced.
To fix discolored leaves due to nutrient deficiencies, you can fertilize your Philodendron Atom with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season. If the soil is old and dry, clumpy, or smells dusty, you can switch it to fresh soil that can give your plant more nutrients.
How to Fix And Prevent Yellow Leaves From Underwatering
To fix underwatering, prune away the yellow leaves and give your Philodendron a thorough drink. If it was an isolated incident, then you can carry on your plant care as needed, but if you find that you are struggling with giving your Philodendron enough water, here are some tips:
- Water your Philodendron when the soil is nearly dry but not completely dry. Getting a moisture meter can help you get a better read of the moisture content in the soil.
- Water your Philodendron Atom thoroughly when the time comes, rather than giving it small sips more frequently.
- Ensure that you water the soil evenly instead of pouring water in a single spot into the pot.
- Consider trying a self-watering pot for your Philodendron Atom if you have a busier schedule.
- Make sure that your Philodendron Atom isn’t rootbound or potbound. This can cause them to dry out very quickly and frequently become dehydrated.
Philodendron Yellow Leaves And Brown Tips
If your Philodendron Atom is developing yellow leaves that begin at the tip and turn brown, you may want to check and adjust humidity levels. Like many tropical plants, Philodendrons love high humidity levels, but this is particularly true for Philodendron Atom as they have thinner and more delicate leaves.
If you ever notice your Philodendron Atom with tiny drops of water on the tips of the leaves, this is because of transpiration. Tropical plants emit moisture from their leaves, which contributes to high humidity in tropical jungles. In dry conditions, however, transpiration can cause the leaves to lose too much moisture, causing yellow or brown tips.
If you notice that your Philodendron Atom has yellow tips, you can purchase a humidifier or relocate your plant to a more humid space in your home. While there are other hacks, like misting or pebble trays, they are not as effective, especially if you live in a dry climate.
Ideally, you will want humidity levels above 50% and close to 60%. If you are unsure what the humidity levels in your space might be, you can purchase a hygrometer.
How Do You Fix An Overwatered Philodendron?
If your Philodendron Atom is overwatered, remove it from the wet soil. Trim away any rotted roots and repot your plant into fresh soil. If the root rot is severe, you can place your Philodendron Atom in a glass with the roots submerged in water. Once healthy roots develop, you can repot your Philodendron Atom into fresh soil.
To prevent overwatering in the future, here’s what you can do for your Philodendron Atom:
- Use a pot with drainage holes so excess water can drain out the bottom.
- Use a well-draining soil mix for aroids, including plenty of orchid bark and perlite.
- Give your Philodendron bright, indirect light.
- Do not pot your Philodendron Atom in a too-large pot, as this can prevent them from absorbing the water from the soil before rotting.
How Often Should I Water My Philodendron?
You should water your Philodendron Atom when the soil is nearly dry. How frequently you water your Philodendron Atom will depend on several conditions affecting its water intake levels, such as light, pot type, soil density, and temperature.
Typically the more light your Philodendron Atom receives, the more frequently it will need water. This is why most plants need more water during the growing season.
Should I Remove Yellow Leaves From Philodendron?
If the leaves on your Philodendron Atom turn yellow, the leaf itself is dying. Pruning away dead or dying foliage allows the plant to focus on healthier growth. Unfortunately, yellow leaves also attract pests, so removing the yellow foliage is best.
Will Philodendron Leaves Turn Back To Green?
Unfortunately, once the leaf has turned yellow, it will not turn back to green. If your Philodendron leaf is slightly discolored due to a nutrient deficiency, you may notice the leaf become more vibrant once you resolve the problem, but in nearly all cases, a yellow leaf cannot turn back to green.
If you spot one or more yellow leaves on your Philodendron Atom, it is likely too late to save them, but you can still save the plant and prevent more leaves from changing colors. Fixing yellow leaves on Philodendron Atom depends on the cause; in most cases, Philodendron Atom develop yellow leaves because of over or underwatering, but may also develop yellow leaves due to pests, fungal disease, nutrient deficiency, or sunburn.
It may take a bit of investigative work but creating a consistent watering schedule, checking for pests and fungus, providing balanced fertilizer, and preventing sunburned leaves will have your Philodendron Atom growing and thriving.
Once you discover why your Philodendron Atom is developing some yellow leaves, you should be able to save the remaining leaves and continue enjoying your beautiful plant.