Why are the leaves on my hoya turning green or yellow and falling off?

Hoya’s are beautiful plants with rich green leaves. Some naturally come with a colored center that may be yellow, white, or even lighter green. However, the whole leaf or a set of leaves will sometimes begin to lose their green color and fall off. 

You may be worried about your plant, and rightly so. If a Hoya’s leaves begin to turn from green to yellow and fall off, it is usually because of overwatering, though sunlight and heat can also play a factor. This is often due to chlorophyll being lost from the leaf due to a lack of nutrients. 

Below, we will continue to talk more about what signs to look for when a Hoya isn’t keeping its gorgeous green color, how to fix your plant, and if yellow leaves can be saved. 

Why Are My Hoya Leaves Turning Yellow and Falling Off?

Hoya
Hoya leaves turning yellow can occur for various reasons. Yellow leaves usually indicate something wrong with your plant’s environment. For example, too much sun, too little water, or too dry an environment can change the leaf’s color. 

However, the most common reason for Hoya leaves turning yellow or falling off is due to overwatering. Hoyas don’t need as much watering as many people assume. Even if you are watering your plant correctly, it may be in a pot that doesn’t allow for proper drainage and, therefore, can lead to overwatering. 

Overwatering a plant can lead to a lot of health problems. Yellowing and dying leaves are one example. However, the most dangerous and common is usually root rot. Root rot is caused by a fungus that enjoys excessive moisture. Root rot can lead to dead, squishy roots and dying stems and leaves if not treated quickly.  

It is important to note that Hoyas do have some unique colored leaves. While rare, some leaves can start a whitish yellow and continue that way. These leaves don’t provide any benefits to the plant, as they can’t absorb energy from the sun, but they aren’t necessarily a sign that something is wrong with your plant. 

The only time you should be worried is when a leaf is originally green or partially green, and those green areas change to yellow. 

Signs of an Overwatered Hoya

The most common signs of an overwatered Hoya are the leaves. If the leaves are sort of gummy or spongy, that usually is a sign that the plant is overwatered. Usually, these signs happen quickly, especially compared to under watering your plant, which can take a long time. 

If overwatering occurs in a Hoya, the chlorophyll, which causes the green color in leaves, can begin to break down in a process known as chlorosis. This will cause many leaves to turn yellow at once. 

One way to tell if the yellowing is caused by overwatering is to look at what leaves are turning yellow first. If the progression of yellow leaves begins at the bottom of the plant, it is likely a sign that overwatering is occurring. Sometimes, brown tips will also appear on leaves, another sign of watering too much. 

How Do You Fix an Overwatered Hoya?

The first step is to assess the damage. While it is possible to bring an overwatered Hoya back to life, it is also possible that the damage is too severe. 

Sometimes, the overwatering damage could have just started, in which case all you need to do is provide your plant with enough time to dry out and ample sunlight to help dry it faster. 

If root rot does occur, a more serious treatment will have to be done. The first step is to check the roots. If the soil is moist and spongy, you likely have root rot. Carefully remove your plant from its pot and inspect the roots. 

Usually, they should be white and firm. Those roots are dead if they are brown and soggy or mushy to the touch. To remove these roots from the rest of the plant, you should use sterilized scissors or shears. The sterilization prevents any more of the disease-causing fungus from transferring between roots and further harming the plant. 

Once you’ve cut off all of the rotting roots, you will next want to look at the leaves and stems of your plant. Yellowing and brown leaves don’t necessarily need to be cut off, as they will fall off on their own. However, cutting them off can help your plant focus on new growth instead of trying to sustain leaves that will die anyway. 

Once satisfied with your plant, the next step is to re-pot it. While you can use the same pot, it is best to use this opportunity to get a pot that works better for your plant. A well-draining pot can prevent future overwatering issues. 

Do Hoyas Like to Be Misted?

misting plant
Hoyas are from a tropical part of the world. This means that they are usually in more humid environments. A light misting occasionally would probably help your plant out. By misting your plant, you can help your plant get rid of particles in the winter seasons. 

You do want to be careful not to mist when your plant is budding or flowering, as that could harm the plant. 

Why Is My Hoya Dropping New Leaves?

If your Hoya suddenly starts dropping its leaves, it might be too cold or in a windy area. They tend to start dropping leaves in response to colder weather. 

This is because Hoyas tend to go dormant for the winter months naturally. Sometimes, this will happen anyway because they can sense that the light changes throughout the year. The cold and a draft can accelerate the process or even set it into motion. 

Overwatering can also cause young leaves to drop off your Hoya, especially if the roots are injured too much to produce nutrients for the plant.

If it is dropping old leaves, that is likely just because the leaves are old and dying of natural causes. 

Can Yellow Hoya Leaves Turn Green Again?

When a plant is no longer green, it is generally due to a leaf losing chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is what allows plants to photosynthesize and get energy from the sun. So by losing that chlorophyll, the leaf is no longer useful to the plant. 

When that happens, the plant will start to break down and reabsorb the nutrients left in that leaf. It isn’t possible to return chlorophyll to the leaf. 

All of this means that generally, once a leaf turns yellow, it is done being useful to the plant, and therefore the leaf isn’t able to turn green again. Unfortunately, there isn’t much use in hoping a leaf will change colors again. 

Should I Cut Yellow Leaves Off?

shear
Since the leaves are dying anyway, there is no harm in cutting them off. While you can leave them on without a problem, the leaf will die pretty soon after it begins to change color and will fall off on its own after a while. 

Whether you expedite the process or not is up to you. Some people prefer to cut the yellow leaves off as it creates a better aesthetic. Others cut them off because it stops the plant from wasting energy attempting to keep that leaf alive as long as possible. By cutting off the extra leaf, the plant can focus on new growths instead. 

However, since it is unlikely that yellow leaves will provide any benefits to the plant and won’t change back to green, there is no downside to cutting yellow leaves off your Hoya plant. 

Summary

Leaves turning yellow is rarely ever a good sign. When a Hoya’s leaves begin to turn from green to yellow and fall off, it is usually because of overwatering, though sunlight and heat can also play a factor.

To fix an overwatered Hoya, allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. Check the roots for root rot and if needed remove the infected roots and repot your Hoya in well-draining soil in a new pot.

Leaves falling off and dying, however, is a different issue. Since Hoyas do go through a dormant phase, they may simply be dying due to the time of year, a cold draft, or a decrease in temperature. If that’s the case, there isn’t much cause for alarm, and you’ll just have to move your plant somewhere warmer and wait.