Kalanchoe Leaves Turning Yellow

Kalanchoe leaves turning yellow is indicative of an environmental factor causing the plant stress. If you want to fix the problem, you need to first identify the exact cause of the discoloration.

The most common causes of yellowing kalanchoe leaves are improper watering, improper lighting, humidity, temperature changes, improper feeding and natural wilt.

In this article, we will discuss the different causes of yellowing kalanchoe leaves and how to remedy each one.

Why are my kalanchoe leaves turning yellow?

Improper watering

The kalanchoe plant is a succulent, meaning it has adapted to living in the most arid regions with little to no rain.

An eager plant owner may become too generous while watering the plant, or water it more often than needed. If you do not give the soil in the pot enough time to dry out between watering, you will notice the plant’s reaction to this excess water through the yellowing of its leaves.

Kalanchoe leaves are able to go long periods without water, since they are able to store water in their bodies for use during drought. Thus, they do not need to be watered every day; they do not even have to be watered every week.

When the plant’s roots are left to soak in soggy soil for days, they will develop root rot. This is because the roots need time to dry out to get access to oxygen. If they cannot get oxygen, the roots will eventually die and rot.

Signs of an overwatered kalanchoe include leaves that are turning yellow, plump and soft. The plant will look depressed and even bend to one side because of the weight of all the water inside the leaves.

It can be difficult to save an overwatered kalanchoe plant, especially if the rot has reached the stem and the leaves. The first thing you should do is stop watering the plant and to allow the soil around it to dry. Pull the plant out of the soil and wash the roots gently with water so you can inspect it. If not all of the roots have turned brown or black, you may still be able to save it. Trim off all the brown and black rotten roots, making sure you disinfect the scissors after every snip. Next, powder the cut areas with crushed activated charcoal. Place the plant on a dry paper towel to air-dry.

After a few hours, plant the kalanchoe in a new pot with drainage holes, using new soil. Make sure the soil is well-draining. Do not water the plant for at least one week to give the roots enough time to properly heal from the trauma of the trimming and repotting.

You will know when the time is right to water your plant by touching the soil in the pot. If the soil is dry to the touch you can water the plant, but if the soil is still damp, wait one or two days and check the soil again.

Wrong lighting

You can tell if your kalanchoe plant is lacking sunlight if it looks like it is shrinking, turning yellow, and the shoots have become long and thin. A kalanchoe that gets too much light, on the other hand, will have leaves that are yellow, curled and dry. This plant also does not bloom when it gets too much light.

You can remedy this by making sure that the kalanchoe gets no more or less than 10 hours of bright light every day. You can do this by creating an artificially short day by covering the kalanchoe with an opaque material. Alternatively, you can also just place the plant in a position where it will only get a certain number of hours of light, such as in an east-facing window.

Humidity

When the kalanchoe is in a place with dry air or low humidity, its leaves will also turn yellow. This is especially true during the summer. You will notice the tips of the leaves on the plant will start to turn yellow, until the whole plant dries out completely. The trick is to increase the humidity around the plant. You can do this by spraying clean warm water onto the plant. You can also put containers of water around the plant, or cover the radiators close to the plant with wet towels. 

Changing temperatures

If the temperature around your kalanchoe plant becomes too high, its leaves will turn yellow and the plant will look shriveled but not dry.

You can remedy this by keeping the plant away from more direct sunlight than it needs. You can also use white paper or thick white cloth to protect the plant from the heat of the sun while still receiving light.

Improper feeding

When it comes to plants, giving too much fertilizer is just as bad as not giving enough fertilizer. Some people place handfuls of fertilizer in the pot of a plant that has just been repotted. This is the wrong thing to do because new soil is nutrient-rich and does not need feeding so soon.

Signs of an overfed kalanchoe are leaves that turn yellow and then brown, while the borders of the leaves are red or brown. The plant does not look healthy and will not bloom.

Stop feeding the plant for several months. You can also use water to wash out the fertilizer from the soil. When you do need to fertilize your plant, use half-strength fertilizer to avoid overfeeding.

Natural wilting

Not all yellowing kalanchoe leaves are due to negative factors. They can also turn yellow due to the plant’s normal life cycle.

You will know the leaves are yellowing due to natural wilt if the leaves that are turning yellow are at the bottom of the stem and fall off gradually. The rest of the plant tends to look healthy and vigorous.

There is nothing you need to do when your plant’s leaves turn yellow naturally. Just wait until the leaves fall off. Some people even pull the leaves off when they are on the verge of falling off, because they believe that the dying leaves suck up water and nutrients that could be used on new and healthy foliage.

Conclusion

Kalanchoe leaves can turn yellow if they are suffering from stress caused by an environmental factor. In order to correct this discoloration quickly, you will have to identify the cause of the problem.

The most common causes of kalanchoe leaves turning yellow are improper watering, improper lighting, humidity, temperature changes, improper feeding and natural wilt.

Kalanchoe plants are hardy and low-maintenance plants that don’t need much in order to stay healthy. They grow in the driest, most arid places on earth that have little to no rain. As long as you give the plant its most basic needs, it will have no problem thriving in your garden.

Image: istockphoto.com / skymoon13