Calathea Yellow Leaves: Understand And Fix It

Do you have a Calathea plant? If so, you may have seen it display bright and vibrant colors most of the time. But sometimes, they can turn yellow or brown. What’s up with that? Calathea Yellow leaves could indicate many issues that range from using wrong care tricks, the plant could be in an unfit environment, or it could be dealing with pests. In this post, we’ll chat about why your favorite plant might be turning yellow, and how to stop it!

Signs of Calathea yellow leaves

The signs of Calathea yellow leaves are rather evident when the leaves begin to change color. It starts at the edges and tips, turning a dazzling yellow, while the rest of the leaf might still be chillin’ in the green zone.

Though this discoloration can still be aesthetically pleasing, it is important to remember that the plant is not doing well and will need to be taken care of accordingly. Signs such as brown patches, wilting, and yellowing of the veins may also become apparent on the leaves.

So why’s your Calathea going yellow? There could be a few reasons. Maybe it’s getting a tan from too much sun, it’s feeling parched or drowning from wrong watering, or it’s just not getting the right nutrients it needs. Too much of any of these issues for too long, and your plant’s leaves might start to turn yellow.

There could be other reasons too, like maybe you’re loving it too much (overwatering) or not giving it enough drinks (underwatering). Or maybe the air’s just too dry for its liking. Oh, and don’t forget about those pesky bugs! Any of these could have your Calathea turning yellow.

Signs of Calathea yellow leaves

Causes of Calathea Yellow Leaves

Watering Issues


Too much water is a common cause of Calathea Yellow leaves. When you water the plant so much that it’s totally soaked, your Calathea may start freaking out, like leaf tips turning yellow or brown.

Calatheas are water touchy and don’t like too much or too little. Too much can also make roots rot, which can turn leaves yellow too. To stop this, let the soil of your Calathea totally dry between waterings and make sure there’s enough water escape in the pot.

Also, using this water checker thingy is a smart move so you can be sure you’re not drowning your Calathea. With the right TLC and watering, your Calathea should stay fit and you can dodge the problem of yellow leaves from too much water.

overwatering calathea yellow leaves


Not giving enough water can lead your cathealas to get yellow leaves. This happens ’cause cutting down on water puts the plant in stress mode, showing SOS signs like yellow leaves.

If you see the soil around your plants gets dry super quickly, switch to a more soaking soil mix.

Water quality

If your water’s not right, it can make the leaves of your Catheala plants turn yellow and they could finally kick the bucket.

Bad water can make Calathea leaves go yellow. Watering your Calathea with tap water with chlorine or other minerals can make its leaves start looking bad and weak.

Related: Calathea Watering : The Complete And Best Guide

Lack of humidity

Calatheas really like lots of humidity, so without the right setup, they’ll start feeling bad. No humidity makes the plant dry up quickly and blocks important nutrients from getting to the plant. It makes it hard for them to soak up water from their soil. Without enough water, the leaves will start to turn yellow and the plant might droop.

If you spot your Calathea’s leaves starting to yellow, it might be a hint it’s not getting enough dampness. Boosting the dampness around your Calathea can help bring back its health and return its bright green color. Also, spraying your Calathea often and keeping it in a damper place can help its leaves stay healthy and avoid yellowing.

Nutrient Deficiency and Overfertilization

Nutrient Deficiency

Calathea plants, also known as prayer plants, are pretty and delicate houseplants that need some extra TLC. Missing nutrients is one of the main reasons for yellow leaves on Calathea plants. This can be because of things like soil not giving the necessary nutrients for growth or not enough fertilizer.

Missing nutrients can also come from wrong soil acidity, so it’s key to make sure the soil you’re using has the right acidity for your Calathea.

Calatheas need lots of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and small nutrients like magnesium and iron to stay healthy. If these foodstuffs are missing from the Calathea’s soil, leaves can turn yellow. Calathea owners should make sure their Calatheas are getting enough of these needed nutrients to keep a healthy, thriving Calathea plant.


Overfertilization often causes yellow leaves in Calathea plants. The excess nutrients lead to “fertilizer burn,” causing yellowing and eventual leaf drop. Sign of overfertilization include yellow leaves (especially at tips or edges), curling leaves, slow growth, brown spots on leaves, and a white crust on the soil. To fix overfertilization, rinse the soil with enough water to remove excess fertilizer, repot the plant in new soil, and stop fertilization until recovery. Resume fertilization with a less fertilizer to prevent further damage.

Pests and Diseases

Common sign of Catheala Yellow Leaves includes fungus, bacteria, viruses and insects. Fungal infections such as powdery mildew can cause yellowing leaves, while bacterial infections like bacterial infections can lead to dead spots or streaks on Catheala leaves.

Pests such as aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, thrips, and whiteflies are common in Calathea plants. These pests feed on sap from the leaves of the plant, which can cause yellowing or wilting of the leaves. Also, Diseases such as root rot and powdery mildew can also cause yellowing of the leaves like my monstera plant when it rained so much that I forgot to move my plants indoors which resulted in root rot so switched to yellow and deciduous

Low-light conditions and direct sunlight

Calathea plants are native to tropical climates and like not-so-direct sun.

Not enough light can make Calatheas turn yellow due to the lack of photosynthetic energy they need to do well. Low-light conditions can also stop them growing new leaves, making them less healthy.

Direct sun also can make Calathea leaves go yellow. Direct sunlight breaks down the chlorophyll in the leaves, making them turn a bit yellow. Too much time in direct sun can also make the leaves become dry and crispy.

Also read: Calathea Light Requirements: A Complete Guide 2023

Temperature Issues

Calathea plants are picky about temperature, and if it’s too cold or too hot, their leaves can turn yellow. Big temp changes should be avoided like the plague as they stress out the plant.

The temperature should be kept consistently between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit to make sure your plant grows well and stays healthy. If the temperature falls too low, think about wrapping your plant with a blanket or other protection to keep it warm. This can not only stop the leaves from turning yellow due to cold, but can also protect against other bad weather conditions like wind and strong sun.

A Change in Environment after repot and propagate

If you recently moved or cloned your Calathea, it might be why the leaves are turning yellow. A change in environment can stress out a Calathea, so it’s understandable that some yellowing leaves might happen.

The bigger the changes to the plant’s surroundings (like light and temperature), the higher the chance of it getting stressed and the leaves turning yellow.

Aging Foliage 

When you see a yellow leaf on your Calathea but the rest of the plant seems okay, it’s probably just old leaves and nothing to stress about.

As your Calathea gets older, the leaves closest to its soil may turn yellow and dry out.

Aging Foliage of Calathea

Solutions for Calathea Yellow Leaves

Proper Watering


The plant likes moist, but not too wet soil and should be watered only when the top bit of soil is dry. You can check by sticking a finger into the soil to see if it feels damp or dry.

If it feels dry, then it’s time to give the plant some water. Generally, Cathealas should be watered once a week or more depending on the weather.

It’s best to water the plant with room temp water and let it drain completely before putting the pot back in its saucer.

If you’re not sure if your plant needs water, it’s best to play it safe and give it some water just in case.

How often you water Calathea depends on stuff like temperature, light level, and pot size:

Temperatures Frequency of watering Calathea
65 -75 °F every 7 to 10 days.
75-85 °F every 5 to 7 days
> 85°F 3 times a week


If your Calathea is in bright light, water it more often than if it’s in low light. As a rule, plants in bright light should be watered every 5 days while plants in low light should be watered every 7 to 10 days.

Generally, Cathealas should be watered once a week or more often depending on the weather.


  • To prevent overwatering: Add a layer of gravel or pumice at the bottom of the pot so excess water can easily escape. Allow the soil of the Calathea plant to dry out completely between waterings and make sure that there is adequate drainage in the pot. It is also a good idea to use a moisture meter so you can be sure that you are not giving your Calathea plant too much water.
  • To prevent underwatering: Water your plant regularly, especially during hot weather.
    If you find your plants’ soil dries out quickly you may want to use a heavier, more absorbent soil mix.
  • Leaving your tap water out at room temperature for a number of hours at a time is another tip. You can lessen the possibility of subjecting the Calathea to dangerous chemicals by letting the water hang out for 24 hours before watering it.
  • Using a water filtration system that will remove pollutants and accumulated minerals from the water is another choice.
  • Use distilled or reverse osmosis water if filtering your tap water isn’t an option.
  • Plants with bigger pots will need to be watered less often than those with smaller pots. Check the top bit of soil each time you water and if it feels dry, then it’s time to water again.

Increase Humidity

Calatheas love humid places, so if your home is too dry, it could be turning your Calathea’s leaves yellow.

Here’s how to fix it:

  • Misting: Spray the leaves often with a spray bottle with water or move your plant to a part of your home that’s more humid.
  • Humidifier: You could also get a humidifier for your home which will help keep the plant air damp and stop leaves from yellowing.

Also, make sure you’re regularly watering your Calathea and the soil is equally damp.

increase humidity for calathea



  • Give your plant Fertilize often with the right kind and dose of plant Fertilize. Besides, it’s key to keep your Calathea in a spot where it gets its required light and moisture levels.
    By keeping an eye on your plant’s surroundings and nutrition levels, you can stop leaves from turning yellow due to lack of nutrients.
  • Also, if yellow leaves show up, you can use a specific Calathea plant fertilizer to try and fix lack of nutrients.
  • Use a dose of plant fertilization once a month during their growing time. And with 1-2 times plant fertilization per month.
  • Use less plant fertilization in the fall.
  • During the winter, you might not need plant fertilization. Plants that are resting will save their energy and use it for growth once they’re out of this resting state.
  • When you use plant fertilization, make sure to dilute it so that it’s not too harsh. This is especially important during the hotter months when plant fertilization can be absorbed more quickly by the plant.
  • Remember to flush the soil now and then with clean distilled water to reduce any nutrient accumulation that may happen over time.

Pest and Disease Control


  • Cut off any bad spots may also help, as well as take off dead or dying leaves from the plant.
  • Bug and disease killers can also help to keep the Calathea healthy.
  • Water them in the morning to give the leaves time to dry before nightfall; and apply insecticides or fungicides as necessary.
  • Calathea plants can also benefit from regular feeding with a natural plant fertilizer like fish emulsion.
  • If there’s a fungus problem, you’re going to need to give your plant a good wash, take the soil from the roots, clean your pot really well, and then put the calathea in new soil. And use a fungus killer to try to prevent the fungus from getting worse.
  • To get rid of mealybugs, start by cleaning off the bad spots with a damp paper towel. Then, create a mix of 1 tsp dish soap and 1L water, and spray it on the bad spots. If necessary, use bug-killing soap to treat your Calathea for mealybugs.


  • Regularly look for color changes, wilting, or other signs of infection, so that any issues can be caught early and taken care of before they get out of hand.
  • Regularly wipe the leaves with a wet cloth and make sure the plant isn’t given too much or too little water.
  • Don’t overcrowd Calathea too tight with other plants as this can up the chances of bug problems and spread diseases.
  • Taking good care of the Calathea plant, including regular water and enough light, will help to cut down the risk of pests and diseases.

Proper Light and Temperature

  • Place the plant in a spot with bright, softened light or filtered light. Make sure the soil is damp but not too wet.
  • Give it just enough light so that it doesn’t get stressed or get direct sun.
  • A perfect place for Calathea is an area that gets bright, soft light all day, like near a window with drapes that filter out the sun’s rays.
  • If possible, put your Calathea near a South facing window and keep it away from direct sunlight which can scorch its leaves.
  • Make sure that Calatheas are in a place with enough light.
  • Regularly rotate the plant and cut off any brown or yellow leaves so that the remaining leaves get enough light.
  • Keep Calathea in warm, damp conditions with temperatures between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit (18-27 degrees Celsius).
  • Don’t keep Calathea near drafty doors or windows and in very cold temperatures.

proper light and temperature for calathea

Yellow Leaves on Calathea FAQs

Q: What causes yellow leaves on my Calathea?

A: The usual reasons for leaves going yellow on a Calathea are a lot of sun, watering it too much, or the wrong type of soil.

Q: How do I prevent yellow leaves on my Calathea?


The best way to keep your Calathea’s leaves from going yellow is to give it some shaded, bright light and water it when the top bit of soil feels dry. Also, make sure your Calathea is in soil that drains well, as too wet or soggy can make the leaves go yellow.

Q: How do I treat yellow leaves on my Calathea?

A: If your Calathea’s leaves are just starting to go yellow:

  • The first thing to do is to look at its light and how much you water it.
  • If it gets a lot of sun, move it to a less sunny spot.
  • If it’s too wet, let the soil totally dry before watering again.
  • If you think there’s something wrong with the soil, put your Calathea in a new pot with a mix that drains well.
  • Finally, if none of these tricks seem to work, it might be a good idea to ask an expert.

Final thoughts

There are a few reasons why your Calathea’s leaves might be going yellow. By getting why it’s happening, you can take steps to bring your plant back to life. Using these tricks in this article should help you fix your Calathea.

Be patient and watch your plant — with a little love, it will be back to its healthy look in no time. As always, if you have any more questions or worries, please reach out to us at Famiplants.

Hi, I'm Cathleen Clemens. I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in plant science. I gained detailed knowledge about various kinds of plants and how to properly care for them. My experience has enabled me to easily detect any issues such as pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, or signs of diseases in the plants.

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