Why Your Pilea Leaves Are Turning Yellow And How To Fix Them


Pilea plants (aka Chinese Money Plants) are incredibly popular within the houseplant community, this is because of their unique round leaves and awesome stem structure. However one of the most common problems that growers come across is leaves turning to yellow, this dulls the look of the plant and really takes away from its charm.

Pilea leaves turn yellow for various reasons, most commonly overwatering and excessively damp soil. Other factors that can contribute to yellowing leaves include low humidity, low light and pests.

Overwatering causing pilea leaves to turn yellow

The most common reason why pilea leaves turn yellow is overwatering and excessively damp soil. You should only water your pilea when the top 1/4 of soil has become dry. In the winter months you can let it dry out more. Pilea can deal with damp soil but not wet soil. If you’re not using the correct watering methods, that may lead to yellowing.

How can you fix this?
The fix for this is simple, start watering your plant correctly! It is important to let to top 1/4 of soil dry out before watering and to water thoroughly and completely until you see excess draining out the bottom of the pot. We’ve written a comprehensive article about The Absolute Best Way To Water Your Houseplants And Promote Strong Root Growth and if you follow those guidelines, watering shouldn’t be an issue for you anymore.

Low humidity causing pilea leaves to turn yellow

Yes, low humidity can make your pilea leaves turn yellow. You’ll notice leaf edges turning brown and then the entire leaf yellowing and browning. If low humidity is the issue the leaves and stems will also begin to droop.

How can you fix this?
You will need to add more humidity into your home. This can be done by buying a humidifier, grouping your plants closer together or misting your plants.

Low light causing pilea leaves to turn yellow

If low light is causing your pilea leaves to turn yellow you would notice that they first turned a darker green color. This is because with the absence of good lighting the plant will increase the density of chlorophyll in the leaves to absorb more light. If the lack of light continues then you will see yellowing occur.

How can you fix this?
Pilea will grow best when placed in bright indirect sunlight. So try to move your plant to somewhere more suitable.

Pests causing pilea leaves to turn yellow

A weakened or stressed pilea is more susceptible to insect infestations. Sap-sucking bugs like spider mites can drain your plant of moisture. This problem quickly manifests itself by yellowing leaflets and fronds. Scale, mealybugs, and spider mites occur frequently in indoor conditions. If not killed early on, these small pests proliferate and move all along frond parts into nooks and crannies. The piercing mouths of the insects exhaust your plant and accelerate yellowing, especially if your pilea is already unhealthy from poor lighting, a nutrient deficiency or improper soil moisture.

How can you fix this?
Well you’ll need to get rid of the pests, depending on what is harming your plant this can range from using neem oil to a hydrogen peroxide bath.

So now you know all about why pilea leaves can turn yellow and how to fix those issues. Please remember though that sometimes yellowing can be normal especially when your plant is pushing out new growth. Your plant sheds its old leaves and sends energy to new growth. So it isn’t all bad news, but as long as you keep an eye on things you should be able to stop anything bad from happening to your plant.

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