Philodendron

(Question)

I have a philodendron which I have had for a very long time.  It was given me by a friend about 40 years ago.  Recently the leaves have started turning yellow and I pull them off.  I don’t want to lose the plant.  What can I do?

 

(Answer)

If the lower leaves of your plant have turned yellow that is part of the natural aging process for philodendron leaves and is nothing to worry about. When several leaves turn yellow at once that is an indication that the plant is under stress. It can be caused by a number of conditions – too much water, cold roots, too little light or inadequate fertilizer.  Unfortunately it may be a case of trial and error to find out what exactly is causing the leaves on your plant to turn yellow.

  • Overwatering is probably the number one cause of leaf yellowing.  To correct do not allow plant to sit in water, provide good drainage and allow potting mix to dry out between watering especially in winter. Underwatering can also cause leaf yellowing
  • Tropical plants are susceptible to cold drafts and in turn cold roots, which causes leaves to yellow.   If your plant has been outside during the summer months and it has been moved indoors this can cause leaves to turn yellow and drop as it becomes adjusted to its new environment. Try moving plant to a different location
  • Correct lighting is important for maintaining the plants green leaves. Again move plant to a different location where there’s more light.  Remember to keep the leaves clean.
  • If the top leaves of the plant have turned yellow it could indicate a nutrient deficiency. Apply a fertilizer with a higher nitrogen level. This plant may benefit from being repotted in a pot one size larger than the current one, in a sterilized potting soil

The different species vary in their requirements, so you may have to  experiment with different levels of light, water and fertilizer to understand  your plant. Once you determine and correct the cause of the stress, the plant  responds with green, healthy foliage.