It isn’t a good sign when your Philodendron starts to change colors. Yellowing and browning leaves that eventually fall off may indicate a variety of different problems. However, sometimes your plant may seem fine, except for the fact that new leaves are dying off.
When that happens, it is usually a sign that your plant is stressed, or has to dedicate more energy to staying alive than producing new growth. To fix Philodendron new leaves that are turning brown or yellow, you may have to fix the watering frequency, amount of sunlight, amount of humidity, or remove pests.
While leaves falling off is always bad, remember that some Philodendrons start off with leaf colors on new growth being different from the mature leaf colors. So before you start worrying, make sure that this isn’t normal for your plant.
Why Is My Philodendron Turning Yellow and Brown?
The most common reason that your Philodendron is turning yellow and brown is due to soil that is too dry, too low of humidity, or too much sun. All three of these can damage your leaves, which will cause them to turn brown.
Overwatering Philodendrons is the most common cause of yellowing leaves. While you may think that your Philodendron needs a lot of water, they actually need time to dry out a little. Pay attention to your soil and moisture levels before watering a Philodendron again or you may cause your plant to have root rot.
It is also important to note that watering your plant more doesn’t increase humidity. There are ways to increase humidity better that don’t cause the soil to be wet.
Additionally, not watering consistently can cause your Philodendron to turn yellow. Going from dehydrated soil to soaked soil can stress out your Philodendron and cause both new and old leaves to turn yellow and fall off.
If your Philodendron doesn’t get enough humidity, the leaves will start to wilt. The edges will often turn brown, and then the rest of the leaf will turn yellow and fall off. This will occur with new and old leaves.
Philodendrons like to have a lot of light but do best when the light isn’t directly on them. They want to be in a bright room, but not touched by the sun. If a Philodendron is in the sun too long, it may end up burning. Burning tends to cause brown leaves.
However, too little light can also be a problem. If your Philodendron isn’t getting enough light, its growth will slow, and the leaves will start to turn yellow. Any new growth that has occurred before being in low light will likely yellow and fall off.
A Philodendron that is stressed or injured due to pests will often have to drop new leaves as they are growing. Pests can include things like bugs, diseases, and fungi. For Philodendrons, things like spider mites, scale, mealybugs, and root rot are all fairly common.
These pests tend to cause yellowing on your plants, especially the bugs, which suck the sap out of stems and leaves and can cause or accelerate leaves’ yellowing and falling off. New leaves are tender and full of nutrients and may be targeted first, or they may be abandoned by the plant to focus on trying to protect itself.
Sometimes, when new growth happens, it will just be yellow. Philodendrons often have new growth that starts out a separate color from what they mature into. Make sure that the species of Philodendron you have isn’t meant to have yellow leaves when they first appear.
Of course, if the new leaves are falling off, that is never a good sign, so if you have new leaves that are turning yellow and falling off, even if that is supposed to be their color when they first grow, they probably have something else wrong with them.
However, if it is old leaves that are turning yellow and falling off as new leaves are appearing, that is also normal. Philodendrons can only support so many leaves, so as new leaves grow, they tend to let the old ones die off. These will often be the leaves at the bottom.
Why Are Some of My Philodendron Leaves Turning Yellow?
If only some of your leaves are turning yellow, and it is a mix of various ages of leaves in every part of the plant, then there are a couple of reasons.
If the leaves of your Philodendron are turning yellow, one of the most common reasons is due to a lack of important nutrients. Nutrients like magnesium, zinc, iron, and calcium are all important for your plant’s growth and greenery.
Iron is the most important for the green color, but magnesium, zinc, and calcium deficiencies can also cause yellowing and slow new growth.
Root rot is a common reason your Philodendron can turn yellow and get mushy. Usually, the yellowing starts with older leaves, or the ones at the bottom. This is because the fungi that causes root rot starts in the soil and slowly crawls up your plant. So stems and leaves closest to the soil will be affected first.
Underwatering is less common with Philodendrons, but still possible. If you are underwatering them, the leaves will also turn yellow. However, instead of the stems turning squishy and soft, the leaves will start to harden and dry, curling up. They will also start to turn brown after a while as the leaves die.
How to Fix Problems With Your Philodendron
Yellow spots on leaves tend to be a sign of magnesium deficiency, but it can be hard to figure out from a glance which nutrients your plant is lacking. These minerals should be given in microdoses and not regularly used in fertilizer, as too much can also be a problem.
It may be a good idea to get a soil tester before adding any minerals, so you can make sure you aren’t giving your plant too much. Then, you can add the exact nutrients needed.
If you have been chronically overwatering to the point that your plant now has root rot, the process to fix it can be a fair amount of work. You need to repot your Philodendron, using fungicide on the new soil and pot. You will also need to cut off any leaves, roots, and stems that are soft and squishy, as they are already damaged and infected.
While root rot is harder to fix, repairing underwatering and overwatering is fairly easy. You simply have to make sure you stick to a good watering schedule that gives your plant plenty of time to dry out before watering again. Make sure you are being consistent and set the days you need to water in your phone or an app.
You can also get a moisture meter, so you can see at a glance if your soil needs to be watered. Generally, however, you want about 25% of the soil in the pot to be dry before watering again. So the top quarter of your pot should feel dry or almost dry.
Philodendrons are tropical. You may think that means that they want a lot of light, but they are usually plants that live in the shade of others. While they like to be in a bright location, they don’t want to be in direct sunlight. This means that putting them in a room that is bright, but where the sun doesn’t penetrate is best.
To achieve this, you can put them in a room with a lot of windows that are covered with a sheer curtain, or in a corner where the sunlight doesn’t directly reach.
Philodendrons prefer to have a humidity of around 70%. This is often a lot more than the average household has, or that people want in their house. Thankfully, you can fix the problem by putting the Philodendron in a room with a lot of humidity, placing it in a room with a humidifier, next to a lot of other plants, or making a pebble tray.
It can be hard to get rid of pests once they start to attack your plants. The first thing to do is immediately quarantine any plant that you notice has pests so they can’t travel to others.
For the most part, if your plant is sturdy and strong, you can shoot off the pests with just a strong stream of water. There are also insecticidal soaps that can help to remove some of the more pesky insects. Spraying your plants with a little water and neem oil can also help.
For some insects, or if you catch the problem early, you can simply pull off the bugs with tweezers or your bare hands. Always check under the leaves and in crevices as that is where they prefer to hide.
It’s never fun when your plant starts to show signs of stress or damage. Yellowing leaves unfortunately are a sign of many different problems that can be wrong with your plant. You have to first figure out what is wrong with your plant so that you can take the steps to fix it.
Some of the things that may be wrong with your Philodendron when new leaves are changing colors or falling off are incorrect environments. They may not have the right levels of humidity, light, or water, and that may cause new leaves to change colors.
Philodendrons do best with consistent watering once the soil has dried, higher humidity of 70%, indirect, bright sunlight, and nutrients like magnesium, zinc, iron, and calcium.