Prayer Plant Leaves Turning Yellow

Prayer Plant Leaves Turning Yellow – 9 Main Causes & Solutions!

Prayer plants are delightful and often easy to grow, with variegated leaves and beautiful coloring that is a lovely addition to any home garden. Prayer plants are known for their unique leaf movements and stunning appearance, making them a popular choice among plant enthusiasts. However, yellowing leaves can be a common issue for plant parents, and it’s essential to know the causes and solutions to maintain a healthy and thriving plant. But why are my Prayer Plant leaves turning yellow?

The most common reason for yellowing Prayer plants is overwatering or inadequate drainage. Other reasons can include cold temperatures, overexposure to bright sun, over fertilizing, and disease. 

You probably love watching your Prayer Plant in action–seeing its leaves flatten out during the day and then fold up as though praying at night. While these plants are typically easy to grow, a few key mistakes can lead to failure to thrive or death. Read on to understand the causes of yellow Prayer Plant leaves and how to fix it ASAP. 

Causes of Prayer Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?

1. Overwatering

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If you are watering your prayer plant everyday, know that it may be praying that you would stop! Even though Prayer Plant is a tropical plant, you only need to water when the top half of the soil is dry to the touch. You will need to test the soil with your finger or a chopstick to see how much has dried out. 

Typically, prayer plants only need water every 1-2 weeks. If you live in a very dry climate or your plant gets a lot of sun, you will typically need to water more. In the winter, your plant will typically need less water. 

If you are noticing yellow spots on your leaves, switch to distilled or rainwater. Some Prayer Plants are very sensitive to the chemicals in tap water. 

2. Poor Drainage

Poor drainage goes hand in hand with overwatering. If you are watering your plant infrequently but it is sitting in water, the roots will become waterlogged and “drown,” which may lead to root rot. Rotten roots cannot absorb water or nutrients adequately, leading to yellow leaves and eventually the death of the plant. 

Make sure your pot has drainage holes in the bottom, and never let the pot sit in a dish of water for long periods. 

3. Soil

Prayer Plant grows well in regular potting soil, though it will need to be growing in soil that can drain adequately. If you notice that your soil is waterlogged and very damp even days after watering, mix some succulent or cactus soil in with the potting soil to increase drainage. 

Yellow leaves can also be caused by problems with soil pH. Generally these problems can be solved by repotting your plant in fresh soil so it receives adequate nutrients. 

As a rule of thumb, you should repot your Prayer Plant every 2-3 years in fresh soil. Use a slightly larger pot if your plant is getting root bound, which means the roots are compacted in the bottom or growing out of the drainage holes. 

4. Cold Temperatures

Prayer plants are tropical plants that don’t like temperatures much below 55-60℉. Make sure your plant is away from drafty doors and windows, and AC vents. You can grow Prayer Plant outdoors in the summer, just make sure to bring it in when the night temps get down into the fifties or sixties if you live in a cool climate. 

5. Too Much Sun

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Prayer Plant thrives in a wide range of conditions, though if it is getting long hours in intense sun, its leaves may begin turning yellow and then brown as though they are sunburned. If your plant is outdoors, make sure it is only in sun for a short part of the day. 

Indoors, you may need to move it slightly away from a sunny window to avoid sunburn.  

6. Over Fertilizing

Prayer Plants do well with fertilizer during the summer growing season, but they are sensitive to chemicals in the environment and will not tolerate over fertilizing. 

Make sure you are diluting your fertilizer correctly, or fertilize less frequently if you think over fertilizing may be the culprit. You probably shouldn’t be fertilizing more than once a month.

If you notice fertilizer or salt buildup on the soil, or if your plant’s leaves look brown or burned, you are probably over fertilizing. You should repot your plant in fresh soil, or flush out the soil with water to remove the chemical buildup. 

7. Poor Humidity

As a tropical plant, Prayer Plant thrives in humidity. If you live in a very dry climate, your plant may not be getting enough moisture in the winter months. You can try misting your plant a few days per week and see if the leaves stop turning. You can also place your plant in a humid spot like a bathroom or kitchen, or among other plants that will share respiration. 

In extreme cases, you may want to use a humidifier or place your plant over a pebble tray filled with water. 

Make sure misting doesn’t lead to overwatering, however. If you are misting, you may need to water less. The soil should never be sitting in water. 

8. Stress

If you have moved or repotted your plant recently, that may be the reason it is yellowing or dropping leaves. Plants will take 2-3 weeks to adjust to a new environment. Make sure your plant is in healthy conditions otherwise, but if you just moved your plant, the yellowing may be due to stress and just watch to see if it resolves. 

9. Pests or Disease

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Prayer plants may get spider mites, mealybugs, or aphids, which may contribute to nutrient loss and yellowing  leaves. You can flush these off with a hose, or rub your plant with a solution of rubbing alcohol and water. 

In very bad cases, you may need to use neem oil or an insecticide. Make sure you remove an infected plant from all other plants. 

If you notice yellow spots that eventually turn brown, your plant probably has a disease. You will need to treat this with a fungicide or neem oil. Make sure your leaves and roots are not sitting in water. If you notice yellow and brown spots, only water your plant from the base. 

See a previous post: Hoya Retusa Care


If you see your prayer plant leaves turning yellow, don’t despair, but do make sure you get to the bottom of the problem so you can implement a solution right away. The most imperative thing is to not over water your plant, so maybe start there as a solution. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Fix a Yellow Prayer Plant?

Inspect the roots for black or brown rot and trim dead roots. Make sure your roots aren’t sitting in water, and switch to distilled or rain water. Repot your plant in a slightly larger pot if root bound. Move out of direct sunlight if your leaves are getting burned. 

Only water when the top half of the soil feels dry.

Should I remove yellow leaves from a Prayer Plant?

You can cut away dead leaves so the plant can focus on maintaining the healthy leaves. Use scissors or clippers sterilized with rubbing alcohol. 

Will yellow Prayer Plant leaves turn green again?

The yellow leaves will not turn green again, but with the proper care the plant itself will return to its healthy green color. 

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