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Geranium Leaves Turning Yellow [Quick Fixes]

The beauty of Geraniums remains incomplete without their green plate-like leaves, but if you notice Geranium leaves turning yellow, then beware, the plant’s beauty is in danger!

Geranium leaves turning yellow may be due to improper lighting, unusual temperature, watering issues, insufficient nutrients, pests, and diseases. To overcome these problems, provide the plant with adequate fertilizer, control lighting, temperature, and watering, or change the potting mix.

If you have a shortage of time to care for Geraniums, your plant is prone to yellow leaves. So, here is the follow-up guide for you!

Is it Normal For Geranium Leaves to Turn Yellow?

It is normal to witness Geranium yellow leaves if the plant is nearing the end of its lifecycle.

Other reasons may be improper watering and lack of nutritional care. Once they receive optimum supervision, they return to their green shade.

Image represents an old Geranium plant turning its leaves yellow
Geraniums turn their leaves yellow and drop them at the end of their lifecycle.

As the plant gets old, the color of the leaves fades to yellow/ red, and the leaf blade turns brown and crisp. Later, the plant suffers from leaf fallout.

This is when you must give up on the leaves and wait for them to grow again.

What Causes The Geranium Leaves to Turn Yellow?

Let’s look at some of the reasons why Geranium leaves turn yellow and possible remedies to overcome these problems that may help the plant recuperate its normal health!

1. Improper Watering

An incorrect watering schedule can be a possible culprit behind the yellowing of the leaves in your Geraniums.

Geraniums need water every 2-3 days or 1-2 times a week during spring and summer. Refrain from watering in fall and winter.

Overwatering and Underwatering can hurt the leaves. You can judge if the plant is having problems with watering by looking at the changes in leaf color and checking the soil.

Underwatering: Leaves begin to wilt, and the margins of the leaves turn yellow first. Slowly the whole leaf turns brown and brittle.

Overwatering: Leaves and blooms become soft and droopy, turning brown later. The roots begin to rot due to fungal infections and cannot take in enough oxygen for breathing.

Fortunately, you can avoid Geranium leaves turning yellow by getting a grip on a proper watering schedule.

Immediate Steps of Revival

  • As soon as the overwatering symptoms are evident, stop watering the plant.
  • If the soil gives off a foul or fishy smell, change it and repot the plant in a new terracotta container with extra drainage holes.
  • Amend sand or perlite or add a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot for drainage.
  • Dip a finger in the soil and only water if the top 1-2 inches of the soil is dry.
  • Water thoroughly around the plant’s root zone using the bottom watering approach.

2. Inappropriate Lighting

Geraniums can take full sunlight for a few hours in the day and longer in some cases with filtered sunlight. 

Normally, provide Geraniums need 4-8 hours of full sunlight daily. Keeping the plant in the south or west-facing windows can help retain the green leaves in spring and summer.

Additionally, Geraniums can dehydrate faster with too much sunlight, while less sunlight can fade the color from their leaves.

Extreme Sunlight: Leaves become dry, droopy, yellow, brown, and brittle. The soil dries faster due to surging temperatures from continuous exposure to harsh afternoon sunlight.

Less Sunlight: The plant stretches its stem and petiole towards the light source and becomes leggy. The leaves also turn yellow and drop.

However, you can revive your plant by managing its placement and controlling the amount of sunshine.

Immediate Steps of Revival

  • Remove the dead or dry leaves, and keep the plant in the shade for a week.
  • If you are growing Geranium indoors, place the plant in an east-facing window in the spring or summer mornings to offer delicate morning sunlight.
  • While growing Geraniums outside, shade the plant in the afternoon.
  • Locate Geraniums under grow lights for 10-12 hours while keeping them indoors in winter.

3. Optimum Fertilizer

Geraniums need fertilizer to maintain their growth and additional nutritional requirements.

Proffer Geraniums with a water-soluble balanced half-strength liquid fertilizer every 1-2 weeks in spring and switch to high potassium fertilizer in summer. Prevent fertilizer application in fall and winter.

Overfertilization and Underfertilization can turn the plant’s leaves yellow, with further issues.

Underfertilization: Nitrogen deficiency turn the lower leaves yellow. Lack of Phosphorous causes the older leaves to attain a purple, red, or yellow tinge along the margins.

Overfertilization: The leaf margin turn brown with light yellowing around the borders, followed by the whole leaf turning yellow. It’s a sign of fertilizer burn.

Luckily, these symptoms can also be managed if you correctly feed your plant.

Image represents Geranium leaves turning brown due to excessive fertilizer application
Margins of the Geranium leaves become yellow and then attain a brown color, a symptom of fertilizer burn.

Immediate Steps of Revival

  • Flush the soil 4-5 times with distillate water to leach out excess fertilizer salts.
  • Cut away the damaged or dead leaves to relieve the plant from fertilizer stress and change the soil if symptoms persist.
  • Place slow-release fertilizer pellets on the soil nearer to the root zone after one month of feeding in the growing season.
  • Fertilize the plant in small amounts until it regains healthy green leaves.

Use soil testing kit to test if the soil lacks nutrients. The kit allows testing the Electrical Conductivity (EC), which should be between 1 and 2 for nutrient-adequate soil.

4. Temperature Stress

Geraniums are drought-tolerant, sun-loving plants and handle hot spells to some extent but cannot handle cold snaps.

Indoor Geraniums require a temperature of around 65-70°F during the day and around 55°F at night in spring and summer. Protect the plant in winter. 

In winter to early spring, Geranium leaves may turn their leaves yellow, and the plant may suffer from leaf fallouts due to frost injuries. But extreme temperatures above 85°F can also harm the plant.

Excess Temperatures: Soil becomes dry and leaves droop due to lack of water. Leaves also lose color, suffer from chlorosis (yellowing), and later turn brown.

Low Temperatures: Water inside the leaves freezes, making the plant unable to prepare the food. The plant suffers from yellow leaves before quitting its leaves. 

If the symptoms linger, you can sustain a suitable temperature range for Geraniums to protect their remaining leaves.

Immediate Steps of Revival

  • Stay updated with the weather forecast in early spring for Geraniums growing outdoors.
  • Use frost blankets to cover your Geraniums during winter nights. Mulching can also provide the proper heat to the plant around the root zone.
  • Check the temperature using an outdoor thermometer. If the temperature drops below 55°F, bring the plant inside immediately.
  • Relocate Geraniums from radiators, heaters, coolers, or north-facing drafty windows in winter.
  • Mist the potting soil during the dry spells to let the excess water evaporate and heat up the leaves.

5. Improper Soil

Improper soil is one of the most common causes of Geranium leaves turning yellow.

Geraniums require a well-draining, organically rich soil that is amended with perlite, sand, sphagnum moss, and fertilizers. Maintain constant pH between 5.5 and 6.5. 

Lack of well-draining and nutrient-rich soil are the two main causes of the Geranium leaves turning yellow, but the effect is indirect.

Lack of Nutrient-Rich Soil: The depletion of nutrients in the soil or an unsuitable mixture of the soil components cause the Geranium to become yellow.

A Shortfall of Well-Draining Soil: Soggy soil leads to root rot, disabling the plant from taking enough water to the leaves, and the plant begets yellow leaves.

Image represents root rot in Geraniums
Poor and waterlogged soil causes root rot in Geraniums due to lack of oxygen.

Take immediate action by judging the soil condition or checking the plant leaves to revive the plant from peril.

Immediate Steps of Revival

  • For overwatered Geraniums, locate the plant under direct sunlight until the soil dries completely.
  • Amend the soil with fertilizer salts if the yellow leaves are due to nitrogen, phosphorous, or potassium deficiencies.
  • If the soil is slushy, mix it with more drainage components, like sand, perlite, or vermiculite.
  • Check the soil for dryness and water the plant frequently if the yellow leaves are due to underwatering.

6. Pests and Diseases

Pests hide under the leaves, group around the stem, and near the petioles, but disease symptoms are visible on the surface of the leaves.

Common pests of Geraniums are sawflies, white, green, and sciarid flies, whereas blights, leaf spots, rusts, and wilts are the major diseases giving rise to Geranium leaves turning yellow.

Some pests and diseases directly affect the leaves, while others indirectly harm them following a series of other issues.

Pests: Pests suck the sap from the leaves, causing them to dehydrate. The leaves also distort and turn yellow, brown, and crispy while leaving behind honeydews.

Diseases: Some diseases attack the lower leaves causing them to wilt and turn yellow. Others form yellow patches or blemishes along the leaf surface and margins.

Immediate Steps of Revival

  • Isolate the diseased plant from other healthy houseplants to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Snip the diseased leaves or parts and burn them for safe disposal.
  • Use Q-tips dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the pests and honeydews from the leaves manually, stems, or petioles.
  • Hang sticky traps around the plants for air-borne pests.
  • If the pest infestation is active, spray the plant leaves with neem oil twice weekly.
  • Deter the fliers with pyrethrin-based insecticides or copper-based fungicides by applying them to the leaves twice a week under serious infestations.
  • Uproot the plant and cut the pulpy, black roots using sterilized pruners. Repot the plant in fresh potting mix. 

Should I Cut off Geranium Yellow Leaves?

You can remove the yellow leaves from Geraniums year-round to encourage the plant to grow new leaves.

Also, removing yellow and diseased leaves prevent the spread of infection in nearby plants.

  • Select the yellow or injured leaves.
  • Using sterilized pruners, cut at the base of the leaves, where the petiole joins the main stem.
  • Cut the spent blooms as well from the base of the flowering stems.

Tired of ill Pothos and Calathea at your home? Learn about treating overwatered Pothos and yellow leaves of Calathea.

Additional Care Tips for Geraniums

Let’s look at some extra care tips for Geraniums to preserve their green leaves.

Image illustrates some extra caring tips for Geraniums
Geraniums require some additional care of pruning, proper humidity, and repotting to regain their leaves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Yellow Geranium Leaves Turn Green Again?

Yellow leaves cannot regain their green color, but you can save the plant by removing the yellow leaves and enticing it to produce green leaves again.

What Deficiency Causes the Geranium Leaves To Turn Yellow?

Although NPK is important and their deficiency leads to yellow leaves, Iron, Magnesium, and Sulfur are some other minerals that can induce Geraniums to get yellow leaves.

How Do You Make Geraniums Greener?

Sprinkle a touch of Epsom salt on the topsoil while watering to give Geraniums a nitrogen boost and assist in chlorophyll production.

From the Editorial Team

Control Watering to Prevent Geranium Leaves Turning Yellow

Since overwatering is the prominent cause of outbreaks and yellow leaves, maintain a watering schedule for Geraniums in the morning.

Prevent watering the lower leaves and wipe any water drops from the surface to keep them dry.

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