As a plant parent, it can be pretty upsetting to see that your plant has developed yellow leaves, even the sight of a few yellow spots or patches can mean that something isn’t right with your plant. If you notice that the foliage on your Autograph Tree has developed some yellowing, then it’s important you establish what is causing it so you know if you need to take action. The occasional yellow leaf can be quite harmless as it could be natural ageing (more on that below) but there are also some other more worrying and harmful causes that result in yellow Autograph Tree leaves.
In this post, we will be going through all of the most common reasons why Autograph Trees develop yellow leaves, spots or patches. We recommend grabbing your plant and having it alongside you as you go through each reason so you can take a close look and figure out what the cause is.
Overwatering is a common cause of yellow leaves
If the leaves on your Autograph Tree have turned yellow and are quite droopy and even soft to touch then you are likely overwatering. Another thing to look out for that often signals overwatering is that the yellow leaves start to fall off the plant.
Overwatering is one of the main killers of Autograph Trees (and a lot of other houseplant types too) as you often won’t be able to tell until the problem has progressed quite far. Autograph Trees don’t like to be sitting in really waterlogged soil for long periods of time as this can lead to root rot meaning the plant becomes unstable and also cannot get needed nutrients from its root system.
If you think that your Autograph Tree is waterlogged and this is the cause of the yellow leaves, check the moisture level in the potting mix using a moisture meter or just your finger and adjust your watering habits accordingly. We also recommend replacing the potting soil straight away (rather than waiting for it to naturally dry out) so that the roots on your Autograph Tree can begin to recover. Cut away the rotten roots and dead leaves so that your plant focuses on growing new healthy roots and leaves.
Nutrient issues could also be to blame
Some yellowing can occur on your Autograph Tree because of nutrient issues, more commonly a lack of or an imbalance! It’s a good idea to swap out some of the soil in the pot with a nutrient-rich potting mix to ensure your Autograph Tree is getting the right level of nutrients.
After doing this, it’s good to review how much you are fertilising your plant as too much or too little can cause yellow patches across the plant. Make sure that if you are feeding your plant that it’s no more than once or twice a month during spring and summer. Oh and make sure to dilute all fertiliser as you shouldn’t trust the dosage on the bottles. Each plant is unique, so there’s no one-fits-all dosage when it comes to feeding your plants.
Intense direct sunlight can scorch the leaves
Another cause of yellow leaves in Autograph Trees is sunburn. This can happen if the plant is exposed to a lot of bright direct sunlight. Sunburn will show itself in patches of yellow across the leaves that are facing the window. Unfortunately, these yellow patches are irreversible so you are best trimming the worst affected leaves off the plant.
To prevent the issue from causing any more yellow leaves on your Autograph Tree, make sure to move your plant away from the direct light to a shadier spot in your home.
Low light levels
As with a lot of things in the houseplant world, too much and too little of something can have a very similar effect. This can make diagnosing the issue a little tricky. In the case of sunlight, too much as well as too little can cause your Autograph Tree to develop yellow leaves.
Autograph Trees don’t grow very well in low light areas and will start to produce yellow leaves if they aren’t getting enough light. You might also notice some stunted or leggy growth on the plant which also indicates a lack of sunlight. Try and move your plant to a spot with more natural light (making sure it’s indirect) and your Autograph Tree should start to produce healthier green growth.
The yellow leaves may simply be due to natural ageing
If you have gone through all of the above but still can’t seem to find the right cause for the yellow leaves on your Autograph Tree, then it might just be down to the natural ageing process. It’s totally natural for your Autograph Tree to drop some of its oldest leaves as it focuses on new bigger growth. These old leaves will first turn yellow before falling off the plant. This process happens with most houseplant types so you don’t always have to be alarmed at the sight of a yellow leaves.
If the rate of yellowing is quite slow (1 or 2 of the oldest leaves every few months) then it probably is nothing to worry about and is simply part of the natural shedding process. Do keep an eye on how often they are turning yellow though as if the rate speeds up then it is worth checking the plant over again for the problems we outlined above.
Those are the main causes of yellow leaves on Autograph Trees. We are often asked whether or not it is a good idea to remove the yellow leaves or let them naturally fall off your plant. We tend to recommend carefully trimming away the worst affected areas so that your plant can focus its energy and nutrients on growing new healthy leaves. If some areas only have a few yellow patches then these can stay on as it becomes more of a question of aesthetic.
To learn more about how to care for your plant, as well as propagation advice and our secret top tips, check out our Autograph Tree care guide.
Written by Billy Dawson