Why Are My Calathea Leaves Turning Yellow?

You might have noticed in your Calathea plant that its leaves turned yellow. Yellowing leaves on a plant not only look unattractive but also show that something is wrong with your plant. Yellowing leaves can be caused by many reasons and if not treated immediately, your plant may die.

One of the most common causes of Calathea plant leaves turn yellow is overwatering, underwatering, direct sunlight, lack of humidity and pests or disease.

Calathea is a tropical plant that belongs to the Marantaceae family and is known for its ravishing leaves with intricate patterns and colours. This plant is also sensitive to environmental changes and needs proper care and attention.

What Causes Calathea Leaves Turning Yellow?

Calathea leaves turning yellow

Calathea plant is a beautiful plant that can lighten up your room with its vibrant leaves and unique patterns. However, if you’re noticing that the leaves of your plant turning yellow then it’s time to take action now. Here are some causes why Calathea Leaves Turning Yellow-

1. Watering Problems

Calathea plant needs some attention to its watering needs. Too much or too little water can cause yellowing leaves, which can be distressing to any plant. Overwatering is a common mistake but with some right knowledge and a little bit of care, you can turn your plant again into a healthy one

On the other hand, underwatering can also be an issue. Calathea plants like their soil to be consistently moist. So if the soil is too dry, the plant can become dehydrated, and the leaves will start to turn yellow and eventually wilt. However, what type of water you use for your plant can also affect its yellowing problems.

To avoid these problems, use a well-draining potting mix that allows excess water to drain out from the roots. Try watering your plant regularly. 

Also, use stored rainwater or distilled water instead of tap water. If you are using tap water for your plant then try to leave your plant for at least 24 hrs. That can help evaporate the chemicals from them.

2. Insufficient Light

Calathea plants prefer bright, indirect light to thrive well. If your plant is not getting enough sunlight, the leaves can turn yellow.

Direct sunlight can be harmful to Calathea plants and can burn their leaves. Whereas in low light conditions, the plant may not be able to produce enough energy to maintain its healthy leaves, which can result in yellowing.

If your Calathea plant is not getting enough sunlight, then try moving it to a brighter spot but keep it away from direct sunlight. Another option to provide sufficient light for your Calathea plant is to use artificial lighting.

Proper lighting can help prevent yellowing leaves and keep your Calathea plant looking vibrant and healthy.

3. Fertilizer

Yes, you read it right! Fertilizers can also cause yellowing in Calathea plants. Fertilizing is an important part of plant care, but overdoing it can cause yellowing in leaves. This happens because it changes the soil’s pH levels. Whereas under-fertilizing can also cause yellowing in 

 the leaves, as the plant may not be getting enough nutrients to maintain healthy growth.

Use a balanced fertilizer that includes equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to boost healthy growth. Also, the Calathea plant needs slightly acidic soil of 6.5. Fertilize your plant when it really needs.

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4. Humidity Problems

The natural habitat of Calathea plants is the tropical rainforests of South America. They thrive well in humid environments. If the humidity levels around your plant are too low, the leaves can start to turn yellow and become crispy.

Whereas, if the humidity levels are too high, it can lead to fungal growth and root rot, which can also cause yellowing leaves. In general, Calathea plants prefer 50-80% of humidity levels. If it goes down to below 50%, your plant may suffer.

To avoid these problems, mist your Calathea plant regularly with water or use a humidifier to keep the air moist. Place a tray of water near the plant to help increase its humidity levels.

5. Pests Issue

Pests can also cause yellowing leaves. One of the common pests that can harm Calathea plants is spider mites. This pest feed on the plant’s leaves, which can cause them to turn yellow.

Spider mites are most attracted to Calathea plants and are hard to spot. Also, they dislike high humidity levels. But when it comes to the Calathea plant, they are even willing to suffer it. They look like tiny things white in colour.

To spot them, carefully check the underside of your Calathea leaves as well as the stems. You can either use pesticides or pruning can help. 

6. Temperature Problems

Calathea plants like warm and consistent temperatures between 62°F to 81°F (16°C to 27°C). If the temperature drops below this, the plant may be stressed out, and the leaves can turn yellow. On the other hand, exposure to high temperatures or sudden temperature changes can also cause yellowing leaves.

To prevent it from happening, keep your Calathea plant in a warm and stable environment. Avoid placing the plant near doors, windows, or air conditioning vents that can expose it to drafts or sudden temperature changes.

How to Revive Calathea with Yellow Leaves?

To revive Calathea with yellow leaves consider the following information below-

Watering problems – If the yellowing leaves are caused by over or under-watering, the first step is to adjust the watering schedule. Make sure to water the plant when the soil is dry. If it’s too wet, allow the soil to dry out before watering your plant again.

Insufficient light – If the plant is not getting enough light, move it to a brighter spot with indirect sunlight. Avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight as this can burn and yellow the leaves.

Low humidity – If the yellowing leaves are caused by low humidity, increase the humidity around the plant by placing a humidifier nearby or placing a tray of water near the plant. Regularly misting the leaves is another way to increase humidity around the Calathea plant and provide some additional moisture.

Temperature problems – If the yellowing leaves are caused by temperature problems, make sure to keep the plant in a warm and stable environment. The ideal temperature is between 62°F to 81°F (16°C to 27°C). Avoid placing the plant near drafts, windows, or air conditioning vents.

Fertilizing problems – If the yellowing leaves are caused by a lack of nutrients, you can feed the plant with a balanced fertilizer every month during the growing season. Make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging and avoid over-fertilizing as this can also cause yellowing leaves.

Pest infestations – If the yellowing leaves are caused by pest infestations, treat the plant with pesticides to control the pest population. You can even cut the infested leave to prevent them from spreading.

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Calathea Plant Requirement

1. Watering – Calathea plants prefer to be kept evenly moist, but not too wet or too dry. Ensure that the soil feels dry to the touch before watering your Calathea plant again. Make sure that the pot has adequate drainage to prevent water from collecting in the soil.

2. Light – Calathea plants prefer bright, indirect light but can also thrive in medium to low-light conditions. Avoid it from direct sunlight.

3. Humidity – Calathea plants require high humidity levels to thrive. You can increase humidity by misting the leaves regularly or placing a tray of water near the plant can help.

4. Temperature – Calathea plants prefer warm temperatures between 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 29°C) and can’t tolerate cold temperatures or drafts well.

5. Soil – Calathea plants prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. You can use 50% garden soil, 25% cocopeat, and 25% organic compost for your Calathea plants.

6. Fertilizer – Calathea plants benefit from regular fertilization during the growing season (spring and summer).

7. Pruning – Calathea plants do not require frequent pruning, but you can trim off any yellow or brown leaves to maintain the plant’s appearance.

Should I cut yellow leaves off Calathea? 

Yellow leaves on a Calathea plant can indicate a variety of problems. If you notice yellow leaves on your Calathea plant, identify first what’s the reason behind it. 

In some cases, yellow leaves may not recover and can be removed to maintain the plant’s appearance. You can use sharp scissors to cut the yellow leaves off at the base of the stem. If the problem is different like fertilizing or watering issue, you can make changes accordingly to it.

However, the yellowing leaves of the Calathea plant can’t recover again. It’s best to cut them off.

With the right care, your Calathea plant can produce new, healthy leaves and continue to add beauty to your home.

Can yellow Calathea leaves turn green again? 

No, yellow leaves can’t recover back. It’s best to cut them off. However, avoid cutting off too many leaves, as this can harm the plant’s health.

With the right care, your Calathea plant can produce new, healthy leaves and continue to add beauty to your home.

How do you know if Calathea is overwatered? 

Overwatering is a common problem that can lead to yellowing leaves and even root rot in Calathea plants. Here are some signs to look out for to determine if your plant is overwatered .

  • Wilting or drooping leaves – Overwatering can cause the leaves to become soft and droopy. That is because the roots are unable to absorb the excess water, which can lead to oxygen deprivation in the soil.
  • Yellowing leaves – If the leaves appear to be yellow and droopy, it could be a sign of overwatering.
  • Mould or fungus growth – Overwatering can create a moist environment that encourages mould and fungus growth. This can be seen as a white or grey fuzzy coating on the soil surface.
  • Root rot – Overwatering can cause the roots to rot, which can be seen as brown, mushy roots when you remove the plant from the pot.

Lower leaves on my Calathea are yellowing – Should I worry?

It is common for the lower leaves on a Calathea plant to yellow and eventually die off as the plant grows. As long as the newer leaves are healthy and green, your plant is most likely healthy and thriving.

However, if the yellowing lower leaves are caused by other symptoms then it’s time to concern. In such cases, inspect the plant closely and address any issues that you may find.

Some common causes of yellowing lower leaves in Calathea plants include watering issues. By adjusting your watering schedule you can help your plant recover and prevent further yellowing.

Other Calathea Varieties that can have Common Problem

Other Calathea varieties that can have a common problem include Calathea Orbifolia, Calathea Zebrina, and Calathea Ornata.

1. Calathea Orbifolia – Calathea Orbifolia is known for its large leaves with silver-green stripes. Like most indoor plants this plant too thrives in bright, indirect light with high humidity levels. Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering can cause leaves to curl and turn brown at the edges.

2. Calathea Zebrina – Calathea Zebrina, also known as the Zebra plant, features striking green and silver-striped leaves with purple undersides. Overwatering can cause root rot while underwatering can lead to drooping leaves. Pests such as spider mites and mealybugs can also be a problem for the Calathea Zebrina, so it’s important to inspect your plant regularly for signs of infestation.

3. Calathea Ornata – Calathea Ornata, also known as the Pinstripe plant, is recognizable by its pink and white striped leaves with purple undersides. This plant requires bright, indirect light and consistently moist soil. Overwatering can cause root rot, while underwatering can cause leaves to curl and brown. Low humidity levels can also lead to brown tips on the leaves. 


Calathea plants are beautiful, vibrant, and excellent additions to any indoor plant collection. However, they require specific care to thrive well. If you notice yellowing leaves on your Calathea, it is important to identify the underlying cause and take the necessary steps to revive your plant again.

Remember to always check the soil moisture level before watering your Calathea, and consider using distilled or rainwater to avoid the build-up of chemicals in the soil.