There’s nothing more aggravating than discovering that one of your houseplants’ leaves has begun to discolor. My croton leaves, too, started turning yellow with time.
I didn’t pay attention since I assumed it was a natural process of plants maturing, but to my surprise, the plant began to deteriorate over time. And as a plant owner, it’s a nightmare!
The majority of the croton leaves will become yellow as it matures. However, inappropriate care like overwatering, underwatering, temperature fluctuations, nutritional deficiencies, and others, can sometimes be a role.
Luckily, I spent a lot of time with the plants trying to figure out what was wrong.
And because our plants are constantly communicating with us, I was able to pinpoint the problem. And behold, what was dead is now alive!
You must diagnose a sick houseplant quickly and offer your plant the care it demands.
Keep on reading because this article will go through everything.
Table of Contents
- Is It Normal for Croton Leaves to Turn Yellow?
- Reasons for Croton Leaves Turning Yellow
- Should I Remove the Yellow Leaves from Crotons?
Is It Normal for Croton Leaves to Turn Yellow?
When we garden, we naturally tend to interpret the color yellow as a warning that the plant has gone bad and is ready to die.
It might be a source of concern for you. Even I experienced a similar feeling at first, but don’t worry.
Croton plants, on the other hand, have colored leaves that vary over time. As the croton matures, it is natural for the majority of them to become yellow.
It’s natural for a few croton leaves to turn yellow or even fall off as the plant grows older and produces new leaves.
Green is the color of fresh leaves when they emerge. This color fades over time, turning yellow, and then the color intensifies as they develop.
As a result, the yellow color on your Croton’s leaves indicates maturity rather than fading.
A yellow leaf here and there isn’t the reason for alarm if your plant is otherwise healthy.
Reasons for Croton Leaves Turning Yellow
Keep in mind that Croton can have healthy yellow leaves, but if the plant appears to be sick, you’ll want to investigate more to see what’s causing it.
There is no single thing that causes Croton leaves to become yellow, although there are many possibilities.
Check out the points below in more detail to see if you can figure out where and what you did wrong.
1. Overwatering the Plant
Our usual assumption is that the more we water our plant, the better it will develop fully. But it is essential to recognize that this can sometimes backfire.
Giving your plant too much water can kill it.
The leaves of the croton plant become yellow and drop off as an indication of stress when they are overwatered.
If you keep your potting soil moist for an extended amount of time, the roots will be exposed to liquid for an extended period, which can lead to root rot.
If your roots rot, your plant will not absorb water, and your leaves will become yellow.
- It’s nearly always a good idea to let the surface of your soil dry out before watering again to avoid yellow leaves from your soil becoming too damp. The plant could take a few days to dry out.
- You can also loosen the soil to generate air pockets that will aid in the drying of your roots.
- Finally, do the finger test the next time you water your plant.
- To check if the soil is dry, prick your finger into it a few centimeters below. If it is, give your plant a drink.
How to Prevent Overwatering?
- Let your plants drain for about 5 minutes after soaking them in the soil to ensure no surplus water stays in the pot after watering.
- Watering plants on a regular basis is not recommended. It is preferable to lift potted plants to check the heaviness of the pot. Heavy pot means it has been watered recently.
- You might also use a pencil to create holes in the soil to assist air to circulate.
2. Underwatering the Plant
We are sometimes too preoccupied with our own lives to give our plants the attention and love they need.
And as a result, one of the most common mistakes we make is forgetting to water them, causing the plants to suffer.
One of the most prevalent reasons for yellow leaves on your houseplants is underwatering. When you keep your houseplant soil dry for an extended period, the leaves will usually turn yellow.
- Crotons love to be kept damp, so water them frequently and thoroughly to keep the soil evenly moist. To avoid cold-water shock, use lukewarm water.
- Mist the leaves, then remove the plant from its pot and soak it in a basin of clean water to allow the roots to absorb as much water as needed. This will assist your croton plant to recover rapidly from being underwater.
- To ensure that the water is effectively absorbed, use the gradual watering strategy.
How to Prevent Underwatering?
- Avoid maintaining the plant in overly warm or arid circumstances.
- Consider switching to a different soil that is more suited to your plant if you suspect the potting mix and soil may be loose or too well-draining.
- Develop a habit of checking your plants every few days and watering those that require it.
3. Improper Lighting
Plants require light to survive. The amount of light a plant receives determines its rate of development and how long it stays active.
If the color of your Croton plant’s leaves fades, this could indicate that it isn’t getting enough sunlight.
If you don’t give your croton adequate light, it will grow tall and slim, with sparse leaves lacking rich, dark tones.
- Croton plants prefer full sun, but some can take moderate shade depending on the type.
- The intensity of the plant’s color is proportional to the amount of sunlight it receives. The plant should be kept in good light to achieve full, vibrant color.
- To maintain and create its magnificent foliage, place your croton plant in a sunny spot where it can enjoy direct sunlight or full sun for at least 6 to 8 hours each day.
- Keep in mind that Croton plants can turn yellow if they are exposed to too much sunshine; if you suspect this is the case, move the plant away from the window to a less bright spot.
Ideal Light for Croton
To ensure that a croton plant receives enough sunlight, place it in an east or west window.
You can also use a fluorescent light to supplement low light by positioning your croton under it. Place one or two bulbs 14 inches above the plant.
Either standard fluorescent lamps or grow lights should suffice.
4. Pest Infections
The best strategy to control insects and associated pests on houseplants are prevention because it is nearly always easier to prevent a pest infestation than it is to eliminate one.
Crotons are normally free of pests and diseases, but they are subject to common houseplant pests. These plant pests deplete the color of the leaves, causing the plant to wilt.
Keep a watchful eye on the croton’s leaves to catch any potential pest infestations early before they have a chance to do serious damage to your plant.
Here are a few pests that are harmful to croton, as well as what they do to the plant and how to get rid of them.
|Pests||How The Plant is Harmed||Diagnosis||Solution|
|Scale Insects||By draining important plants sap, weakening them and causing their leaves to be yellow and fall off.||They can be found on plant stems, twigs, trunks, foliage, or fruit.||Remove and destroy affected plant parts, scrub scales from twigs with a soft brush and soapy water, then rinse. Dormant oil or summer oil spray should be used to treat larger infestations.|
|Spider Mites||They zap a plant's vitality by causing leaves to turn yellow, brown, or gray and drop off because they feed on plant juices.||They reside on the undersides of plant leaves, where they weave silky webs around tree leaves and stems.||Spray with insecticidal soap, neem oil extract, or a sulfur-based insecticide, or saturate plants with water, including the undersides of leaves.|
|Mealy Bugs||They eat the leaves sap, causing stunted and deformed development and plant death in some cases.||They are typically seen on new growth, leaf veins, and leaf joints, but they can be found anywhere on the plant.||Individual mealybugs can be removed with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. It's also possible to apply an insecticidal soap spray.|
|Thrips||By drinking the plant's juice and scraping at their fruits, flowers, and leaves. Plant leaves may appear pale, splotchy, and silvery before dying.||They are found on the leaves or stems of plants, as well as in the petals of flowers.||Combine neem oil with insecticidal soap in a spray bottle. The addition of neem oil boosts the killing ability.|
5. Nutrient Deficiency
When a plant lacks enough of a critical nutrient for growth, it is nutrient deficient.
Plants that lack key nutrients will not grow effectively and will display a variety of symptoms to indicate the deficit.
Nutrient deficits in the soil can also induce the yellowing of houseplant leaves.
Many nutrient deficits might produce a variety of problems in your plant. Although, I’ve mentioned a few probable nutrients as well as the signs of deficiency.
|Nitrogen deficiency||Plants or leaves with pink tints that are spindly yellow.||Consider growing nitrogen-rich plants such as beans and peas nearby to correct a nitrogen shortage.|
|Potassium deficiency||Leaf hues are yellow, with browning towards the leaf's margin.||Bury banana peels and coffee grounds an inch below the soil's surface to increase potassium levels.|
|Iron deficiency||Yellowing between the leaf veins with browning of the leaf edges appears first on younger leaves.||Chelated irons placed into the soil are an effective way to increase the amount of iron accessible in the soil.|
|Magnesium deficiency||Early leaf fall and fading between the veins of older leaves.||Sprinkle Epsom salt on top of the soil before watering to remedy this deficiency. Its magnesium and sulfate component will restore the soil.|
In the spring and summer, fertilize with your organic fertilizer once a month for optimum growth and plant health.
6. Temperature Fluctuation
The weather impacts plants in many ways that we are aware of, but also in ones that we are unaware of. And shifting temperatures is undoubtedly a matter of concern.
It should come as no surprise that your plants require the appropriate temperature to thrive.
Croton plants thrive in warm climates. However, the plant’s leaves may begin to turn brown if the temperature drops below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
The croton plant thrives best in temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, as it does not survive in excessive heat.
How to Maintain Temperature?
- Find an appropriate location for your plants that meets their temperature needs.
- Do not move the plant too often if the plant is well-adjusted to the environment.
- Place it in a sunny spot where it will receive direct sunlight or full sun for at least six to eight hours each day.
Crotons prefer temperatures between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which are comparable to their natural environment.
In the winter, keep this houseplant away from cold air or drafts, as well as air conditioning equipment and windows that may leak cold air.
Cooler air can slow development and, in the worst-case scenario, harm your plant.
Did you know? Basil leaves turn yellow just like Croton leaves. Learn why Basil leaves turn yellow.
7. Humidity Issues
Crotons, being a humidity-loving plant, appreciate a lot of humidity.
Low humidity in croton leaves can result in them turning yellow, dieback, and fall off if the temperature drops below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Maintain Humidity?
- Find a suitable spot for your plants that will provide them with the necessary humidity.
- Increase the humidity by spraying the leaves once a week.
- You can also maintain the humidity in the air by clustering plants together because their leaves, stems, and flowers release moisture.
- You can store houseplants in the aquarium or plant them directly in the aquarium because the closed environment can help to maintain humidity levels.
Ideal Temperature and Humidity
The ideal humidity range for croton plants is 40 to 80 percent.
8. Overfertilizing the Plant
Too much of anything is bad for nothing, as the saying goes, and the same is true when it comes to fertilizing plants.
Overfertilization could be one of the reasons why your Croton plants aren’t the optimum size and shape, or they are turning yellow.
How to Fix Overfertilized Croton?
Crotons are a plant with strong seasonal growth that might benefit from fertilizing under the right conditions. However, if you fertilize the plant too often, you’ll need to take a break.
Early in the spring, apply a low-nitrogen, slow-release granular fertilizer, such as a 3-1-2, to the soil around the base of the croton plant.
If the plant is overfertilized, flushing the soil will wash away some of the extra fertilizer and salts that the plant hasn’t yet absorbed.
Repot the plant to a larger pot with fresh soil.
Consult a reliable soil lab for recommendations, which may include adding a specialized nutrient to tie the hazardous nutrients in your overfertilized soil.
To begin releasing part of the fertilizer into the soil, irrigate the plants with at least 1 – 2 inches of water.
- Never fertilize without first doing a soil test, and never apply nutrients that aren’t required.
- Keep track of how much fertilizer your plants are getting.
- If you really need to apply fertilizer, go with a natural, organic brand because the nutrients are released more slowly.
Things to Avoid
- During the fall and winter months, when the plant is resting, stop fertilizing it. As the plant will receive less light during the winter, there is no need to offer additional fertilizers.
- Slow-release fertilizer should never be used with a soluble fertilizer.
Fertilizer Requirement for Croton
Fertilize with high-nitrogen and potassium fertilizers to encourage the growth of leaf bulk. The NPK fertilizer ratio of 8-2-10 is best for Crotons.
Coffee grounds can also be used as a natural fertilizer. Allow the grounds to dry before scattering them lightly about your plants.
You can also water plants with water used to cook. Many nutrients are released into the water that the food is cooked in, and these nutrients can also be used as fertilizer.
9. Repotting Shock
If the croton’s leaves start to fall off or change color suddenly, the problem is most likely due to the croton being moved from one location to another or being upset by repotting.
Croton plants dislike being relocated; transferring and repotting them causes them stress, which shows up in the quality of their leaves.
It is nearly impossible to avoid injuring some of the fine roots that help keep the plant healthy and hydrated plants are relocated.
Still, appropriate care, proper planting, and attention to plant health will boost the odds of the plant’s success.
Keep the following points in mind to not shock crotons from repotting.
- Providing extra nutrition when repotting.
- Remove any dead components from a recently repotted plant, such as withered leaves, branches, or stems.
- Keep the roots as wet as possible, the soil moist but not soggy.
- Ensure the pot has proper drainage and isn’t standing in water as you would not want your plant to drown.
- Cut the plant back as trimming the plant helps it to concentrate on root regrowth.
- A sugar and water solution can aid with transplant shock recovery time.
10. Wrong Potting Mix
There are many various types of soils available, and we understand how difficult it may be to choose the best one for your croton plant.
Croton plant health is heavily influenced by soil type. Planting croton in deep or clay soils will swiftly destroy the plant. Hence, loose and well-draining soil is necessary for your croton.
Most decent potting soils are fine, and a pH level of 4.5 – 6.5 is ideal. Croton thrives on alkaline and acidic soils.
Note: High pH rock soils, as well as calcium-rich soils, are not recommended.
Avoid using low-cost commercial potting soil since it’s often deficient in nutrients and can harbor a variety of bug eggs.
Should I Remove the Yellow Leaves from Crotons?
If your croton plant’s leaves are yellow, you don’t need to cut them off. However, if the leaves remain yellow over an extended period of time, the plant may be signaling something dangerous.
To maintain the plant looking healthy at all times, dead or damaged leaves must be removed regularly. This can be done in several ways.
- If the leaf does not simply snap off the plant, don’t pull it off. This has the potential to harm healthy tissue.
- Cut the leaf off as near the stem as possible, taking care not to cut into it.
- If the entire leaf is damaged, slowly peel it away from the root; it should come loose with little resistance.
Damaged leaves are easy to remove and do not require much work.
If the leaf does not detach from the stem, you can snip it off and try again in a few days.
To summarize what we learned here, check the below points.
- The croton plant has to be watered frequently, but not excessively. Too much water can cause root rot, while not enough water can dry up the humidity-loving plant.
- Keep your croton away from drafts and the cold. Croton has to be placed in a bright window.
- If your home has a low humidity level, you can add moisture to the air by placing the plant in a pebble tray filled with water or purchasing a tiny humidifier.
- In the spring and summer, fertilize the croton plant with a low-nitrogen, slow-release granular fertilizer.
- In the fall and winter, do not fertilize them.
Learn how to take complete care of croton plants in the YouTube video below.
I understand that houseplant maintenance can be perplexing for many people because there can be various reasons for particular things.
However, the plants don’t even ask for more; all they require is a good amount of everything in a proper ratio to be a happy, thriving croton plant.