Loved for their cascading vines and heart-shaped leaves, Devil’s Ivy plants aren’t the hardest to look after. But one of the most common problems plant parents face with them is yellow leaves. But don’t panic, in this post, we will show you all the reasons why your plant may be developing yellow leaves and you can hopefully bring your plant back to full health in no time.
Too much natural sunlight
Intense, direct sunlight can be quite a common reason why Devil’s Ivy plants start to have yellow leaves. Though a lack of light can also cause several issues for them, they don’t do well in harsh direct sunlight.
Direct sunlight will very quickly scorch and burn the leaves of your Devil’s Ivy which is, unfortunately, irreversible. It will dry out and burn the leaves, causing brown and yellow patches throughout the affected areas.
If you think that direct sunlight is the cause of the yellow leaves on your Devil’s Ivy, remove the worst affected leaves and vines and move your plant to a slightly shadier spot in your home. If you are unsure how much light your plant is getting throughout the day/year, it can be useful to use a light meter to keep track.
Too much water is a very common reason behind yellow leaves on Devil’s Ivy plants so it’s a good idea to inspect the potting soil closely. Devil’s Ivy plants don’t like sitting in puddles of water for long periods of time. This will cause damage to the root system and mean your plant will develop yellow leaves, as well as become soft and fall off.
To figure out if overwatering is the reason your Devil’s Ivy is turning yellow, check the moisture levels in the soil immediately. If the soil is quite waterlogged and clumpy then replace it with fresh dry mix. Don’t wait for the potting mix to dry out naturally as this risks more damage. Trim away the rotten roots and adjust your watering schedule so you aren’t watering your Devil’s Ivy as much as you were before.
Due to the damage to the root system, your Devil’s Ivy may take a little while to fully recover and grow new healthy leaves. But be patient and use a moisture meter to keep an eye on the soil levels and your plant should recover soon.
If the leaves are turning quite dry and crispy all over as well as yellow then it may be due to a consistent lack of water. Devil’s Ivy plants like to have moist but never soggy potting mix. This means you have to get the right balance when watering which can be difficult. We always recommend a little but often approach to avoid any watering issues.
If you think that your Devil’s Ivy has been underwatered then check the soil before you do or change anything! You want to be sure that this is the cause otherwise you may very quickly be overwatering and causing a whole wealth of other problems. Once you are sure that the soil is bone dry, then slowly reintroduce watering. Your first instinct might be to drown your Devil’s Ivy in water but this can actually cause more damage and more yellow leaves. This is because plants get shocked by a sudden change in environment.
Water your Devil’s Ivy a little bit once a day for about a week. After then you want to go back to a more normal care routine, making sure to check the moisture in the soil frequently to avoid any yellow leaves from developing again!
Although quite rare with Devil’s Ivy plants, they can begin to show yellow leaves if infested by pests. Insects such as mealybugs or spider mites might be living on your plant and sucking their nutrients which will cause the leaves to turn yellow. Over time these leaves will begin to fall off the plant.
Most of the time you can spot the pests crawling on the leaves which makes confirming the problem fairly easy. We also recommend using a magnifying glass to try and spot the pests on the plant if you can’t see any with the naked eye. They like to hang out on the undersides of leaves or near the leaf and stem joints so look extra carefully there. Other signs of pests include small brown and yellow spots, white webbing or holes in the leaves.
Although spotting pests isn’t always difficult, treating them can be a bit of a pain. Shower down your plant, treat with neem oil and a natural insecticide.
If it’s only the oldest top leaves on your Devil’s Ivy that are turning yellow then this may be simply natural ageing. Over time, your Devil’s Ivy will drop some of its oldest leaves in favour of growing bigger healthier new ones at the end of the vine. This is completely natural and isn’t something you did wrong. The rate of natural ageing should be about 1 or 2 of the oldest leaves every few months. Monitor the rate of yellowing to see if it is speeding up or well above this rate as there might be another cause you need to look out for.
Should I trim away the yellow leaves on my Devil’s Ivy?
We always recommend getting rid of the yellow leaves on your Devil’s Ivy. Unfortunately, once the leaf has turned yellow, there is no going back to their usual green or variegation. So trimming away the yellow leaves means your plant can begin to focus all the energy on growing new healthy leaves and vines.
When trimming the leaves off, always cut them with a sharp pair of scissors rather than ripping them off as this risks damaging the vines.
So those are the most common reasons why your Devil’s Ivy has developed yellow leaves. If you have caught the issue early then you shouldn’t have any problem getting your plant back to full health. Take a close look at the environment and your care routine to spot the main cause of the yellow leaves.
To find out more about caring for your plant, as well as propagation tips and common problems, check out our full Devil’s Ivy care guide.
Written by Billy Dawson