Why Are My Croton Leaves Turning Yellow?

Croton plants are tropical shrubs that grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 11 and 12, where they need to be planted outdoors all year round or moved indoors during cold winter months.

These colorful foliage plants add a splash of color when grown as houseplants, but can also make great outdoor landscape specimens for warmer climates from spring through fall.

However, it’s not so easy to keep these plants inside. In fact, sometimes their leaves can turn yellow. Let’s find out why this happens…

Why Are My Croton Leaves Turning Yellow?

Your croton leaves are turning yellow because they are receiving too much water, not enough sunlight, or stress from their environment. However, overwatering is the most common reason for yellow croton leaves.

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

1. It Has Been Given Too Much Water

One of the most common reasons for yellow croton leaves is overwatering. Crotons don’t like constantly moist soil and will rot if they sit in water or soggy soil.

So, as a general rule, you should only water your plant when the top two inches (five centimeters) of potting mix feels dry to touch. You can test this by simply using your finger to check the soil’s moisture level.

You can also use a finger or spoon to dig down into the potting mix about an inch (two and a half centimeters) below the surface of each container you’re growing your croton in, where it will feel dry if not watered recently.

Alternatively, you can use a moisture meter, which you can find at your local garden center for between $15 and $50, to test the soil’s moisture level.

Typically, you will water a croton every week during spring and summer, and every two weeks during fall and winter. It’s best to always be cautious with your approach to watering.

If your croton has root rot from being overwatered, you will need to prune all mushy roots with a pair of sterilized scissors. Then, you should let the plant dry out and repot your croton into fresh soil.

To allow your croton to recover, don’t add any more water for at least one week. This will give the plant enough time to dry out, and allow you plenty of time to assess the health.

2. Too Far from the Sun

Another common reason for yellow croton leaves is a lack of sunlight. If your plant isn’t receiving enough bright light, its older leaves will start to turn yellow and drop off the stem.

This happens because the leaf cells that make up these older foliage pieces can no longer perform photosynthesis – they’re too shaded from not getting enough direct sunlight.

So, to prevent this from happening again in the future, you should move your plant into a location where it can receive at least six hours of sunlight every day. The more sun exposure your croton receives, the deeper green its leaves will be and less likely they are to turn yellow or drop off the stem entirely.

If you live in a dark environment, you may want to use artificial grow lights (Amazon link) to provide your croton with enough sunlight.

3. Stress

In some cases, yellow croton leaves can indicate the plant is being stressed from its environment. This is most often the case when you move your houseplant outside for summer or bring it inside during winter.

When this happens, its leaves will lose some of their green color in response to the change in environment and light intensity. Once things have settled down again – either with indoor crotons that are moved back outdoors in spring, or outdoor plants brought indoors before autumn sets in – its leaves should return to normal once more.

Here is a great video on saving dying croton plants. As you can see in the picture, the leaves are changing color and slowly losing vibrancy.

Yellow Croton Leaves FAQs

Croton plants aren’t the easiest to manage. As such, I will now answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

Should I cut yellow leaves off the croton plant?

When it comes to yellowing leaves on croton, you should always prune away any of the plant’s foliage that looks mushy and starts falling off the stem.

If your plant has root rot from being overwatered for too long, remove all of its rotted roots with sterilized scissors before letting it dry out and repotting in fresh soil.

Will too little light cause my croton leaves to turn yellow?

Yes. If your croton isn’t getting the sunlight it needs, its older leaves will start to turn yellow and drop off the stem because they can no longer perform photosynthesis – they’re too shaded from not getting enough sunlight.

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

Yes, if your houseplant is overwatered, it will most likely develop root rot. If this happens to you, remove all of its mushy roots with sterilized scissors before letting the plant dry out and repotting in fresh soil.

Will yellow croton leaves turn green again?

No, it is highly unlikely that yellow croton leaves will turn green again. The good news is that these leaves can be pruned and new green foliage will grow. You can learn more here.


In conclusion, there are several reasons why your croton may be turning yellow. Make sure you’re watering it enough, and provide it with plenty of sunlight, and don’t cause unnecessary stress to the plant.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your houseplant’s health, feel free to leave me a comment down below! I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible. Thank You – Tim

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