Why are my indoor plants getting yellow leaves?

Asked January 15, 2015, 9:02 AM EST

Many of the leaves on some of my indoor plants have turned yellow. This is the first time this has ocurred in many years.Is this probably due to over or underwatering or something else?

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

There can be numerous causes for leaf yellowing of houseplants. There is always a degree of environmental shock when plants are brought indoors for the winter and this can cause the malady. And, true, over- or under-watering can have the same effect. Typically, houseplants want to rest in the winter, so over-watering can cause them to yellow. On the other hand, the change in humidity can have a similar effect. It may be appropriate for you to either mist your plants occasionally or provide them with a humidifier. A simple method is to place the plants on trays that have a layer of pebbles on the tray. Keep just enough water in the trays to stay beneath the top of the pebbles and avoid allowing the bottom of the plant's container/pot to touch the water. The evaporation of the water will provide a good amount of humidity to the plants.
Avoid placing the plants in a draft, either a cold draft or a warm draft.
Be sure to examine your plants carefully for any insects such as mites or scale insects.
Your houseplants should recover as they re-adapt to the indoor conditions, but sometimes it is necessary to modify those indoor conditions.