Why Are the Leaves on My Calathea Turning Yellow?

Many people are surprised when their calathea starts to turn yellow. After all, they have been caring for it just as they should! The truth is that there are many things that can cause a leaf on your calathea to turn yellow. We will discuss the most common causes below and offer advice on how you might fix them.

Why Are the Leaves on My Calathea Turning Yellow?

Calathea leaves usually turn yellow because of overwatering or not receiving enough sunlight. The plant can also become stressed and start to turn yellow if it is moved or disturbed.

Let’s explore the most common causes of yellowing leaves on a calathea and what you can do about them.

1. Overwatering

If the leaves on your calathea are turning yellow from being overwatered, you need to reduce the amount of water that is going into it. This means getting rid of any standing water in its dish and not watering it for a few days until things turn around.

Overwatering is a serious problem because it can lead to root rot. If you overwater your calathea, it will begin to lose its leaves and eventually die if not treated quickly! Overwatering can also cause calathea leaves to turn brown.

So while yellow leaves can seem bad, they are a warning sign that things could get a lot worse if you don’t take action immediately. I recommend creating a strict watering schedule and only giving more water when the top inch of your calathea soil is dry.

2. Too Little Sunlight

Calahea leaves turning yellow from a lack of sunlight is generally not as serious because it can be fixed quickly. All you need to do is place your calathea in a brighter area and make sure that its soil doesn’t dry out too much.

You see, calathea are rainforest plants, so they receive dappled light on a daily basis. Keeping them in a dark corner will make your calathea sad and yellow.

If your calathea is inside, you may even want to use grow lights to give it the lighting that it needs. For most people, this is an easy fix! In fact, I use grow lights (Amazon link) on nearly all of my houseplants during winter.

The best grow lights for calathea plants are full-spectrum and come equipped with a hanging kit. Full-spectrum means they emit a wide range of lights that are perfect for growing plants. You can use regular incandescent or CFL bulbs, but they don’t emit the right kind of light and won’t do much for the yellow leaves.

3. Stress

If your calathea leaves turn yellow after moving it or touching its soil, don’t worry! This is actually completely normal and should go away within a few days. The reason this happens is that these plants like to be untouched as much as possible (especially when they are younger).

So if something scares them too badly, their first reaction will be to drop some of their leaves. You can help make sure that this doesn’t happen by never disturbing the roots of your calathea and not repotting it unless absolutely necessary. Calatheas also need room for their roots so always use a pot that is at least two inches wider than the one it came in.

These tips should help you get rid of any yellow leaves on your calathea and keep them looking healthy for years to come! If these problems continue, consider using a fertilizer with micronutrients or adding some mulch around the base of your plant.

Yellow Calathea Leaves FAQs

Calatheas are confusing plants, so you may have a few more questions. As such, I’ve answered a few of the most frequently asked questions.

Should I cut yellow leaves off the calathea plant?

Yes, you should cut off any yellow leaves. As long as you do not remove too many, the plant will be fine and new leaves will replace the old ones, as long as you cut above the leaf node.

Is it normal for my calathea to lose some of its lower leaves?

Yes, your calathea is probably just shedding older foliage in order to make room for newer growth. It can look a bit unkempt because all plants naturally grow this way!

Will slugs cause yellow calathea leaves?

No, slugs are not responsible for yellow calathea leaves. However, the slime they leave behind may be very difficult to remove without damaging your plant!

Will too little light cause my calathea’s leaves to turn yellow?

Yes, if the plant does not get enough sun its foliage can begin turning yellow and dropping off. This will continue until the plant is given more light. That’s why it is important to keep your plant in a bright area, but not from direct sunlight.

Will too much water cause my calathea leaves to turn yellow?

Yes, excessive watering can cause your calathea leaves to turn yellow and even fall off. Be sure not to water the plant more than once every week or so, depending on how fast it dries out!

Will yellow cathalea leaves turn green again?

No, usually a yellow calathea leaf will not turn green again. Although this is sad to hear, you can still prevent other leaves from turning yellow by taking action. Follow the tips in this guide to prevent any more leaves from turning yellow.


In conclusion, you can prevent yellow calathea leaves by making sure that your plant gets enough sunlight, is not overwatered, and does not get stressed. This may take some time to achieve if you are new to using this plant in the home!

I hope I’ve helped clear up any confusion about why your calathea keeps turning yellow on you! If anything’s unclear or if you have more questions, please do leave them down below so we can discuss 🙂

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