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What's wrong with my leaves?

Oct 07,2021 | Cassandra Low

As plant parents, you may already know that plant’s leaves are often the first sign of how healthy your plant is and also, the first sign of trouble. Leaves will tell you if your plant is receiving proper care. It is important to learn to identify the issues your plant might be facing by looking at the leaves and learning how to fix it. 

Some common problems with leaves 

Common Problem #1: Leaves are turning yellow/ brown and are falling off 

Reason #1: Plants may be stressed from overwatering or underwatering

Both overwatering and underwatering can cause moisture stress on a plant. This is especially so for houseplants as they are planted in pots with limited space which may increase the influence that the moisture of soil has on the plant's overall health.

When a plant is given too little water, the plant leaves may turn yellow. This is a sign that the leaves are going to drop soon so as to conserve water remaining in the plant. However, yellow leaves may appear too if you give it too much water, causing it to be oversaturated with water, which can drown the roots. When the roots die, leaves will turn yellow. 

Remedy #1: If your plant needs more water, let your plants be watered from the bottom as well by soaking it in a bowl of water. If your plant has been given too much water, replanting it with new soil might be necessary to reduce the chances of root rot and fungal development. 

Reason #2: Plants are not receiving enough light 


Plants need sunlight to thrive. Houseplants are susceptible to yellow leaves which will eventually fall off as they do not get the right amount of light. 

Remedy #2: Once a part of your plants’ leaves turn yellowish, you will need to move it to a location with a broader light source that will cover all of the leaves, and monitor its condition. Another option is to buy an artificial grow light if you are not able to find a spot that will provide enough light for all sides of the plant.

Common Problem #2: Leaves are deforming and falling off 

Reason #1: Pests infestation could be a reason for deforming leaves, such as splotched yellow patches on the plant's leaves. Sometimes, you may also notice flower discoloration or deformed leaf shape. Pests usually gather underneath the leaves and suck fluids from them, causing the leaves to deform and drop off. 


Remedy #1: Spray pesticides on leaves, soil, stems, and flowers of the plant when necessary. Continue checking the leaves every week for any new infestations. Read our pesticide guide to find out which pesticide will be suited for your infestation problem! 

Reason #2: Plants may experiencing nutrients deficiency 

For healthy development, plants require 16 different nutrients. When plants do not receive the right amount, leaves will start showing symptoms by looking strange and becoming more susceptible to diseases.

Here are some common signs that your plant is experiencing nutrients deficiency:

  • Boron – Young leaves turn light green and may be disfigured.
  • Calcium – Leaves are disfigured and may wilt or show signs of death of plant tissue
  • Copper – Leaves may be limp and/or curled.
  • Magnesium – Leaves show spotting and yellowing between green leaf veins. Outer edges of leaves may pucker or curl.
  • Nitrogen – Older leaves and veins turn a pale, yellow color. Other leaves turn light green and stay smaller than normal.
  • Phosphorus – Leaves look stunted and turn dark green or even a deep purple color (almost black for some plants). Leaf tips may look burnt.

Remedy #2: To fix and get your plants back into shape, it is important to give your plants the nutrients they need. This can be done easily by using fertilisers. Different fertilisers have different uses depending on their NPK values. It is crucial to understand what your plant needs and use the right fertiliser. 

Be sure to check your plants regularly to ensure that they are well-fed and healthy!