Why does my Cast Iron Plant have yellow leaves?

Last Updated: January 24, 2022

Whilst it’s true that Cast Iron Plants are quite adaptable to various environments, they are still alive and if things aren’t right, they will still display much of the same signs, such as yellow leaves. It’s important that you take yellow leaves on Cast Iron Plants seriously as this usually means that something isn’t right. If you have caught the problem early, then fixing the issue should be relatively easy and you have a good chance of getting your plant back to its usual self. Although you can’t reverse any yellow leaves, you can definitely prevent any more from appearing if you know the right course of action. 

In this post, we will go through each of the different causes of yellow leaves on Cast Iron Plants, starting with the most common cause of overwatering before delving into light and pest issues. We will also guide you through the process of treating the issue and how to prevent it from returning and causing more yellow leaves on your Cast Iron Plant.

Waterlogged soil can lead to yellow leaves

One common reason why Cast Iron Plants develop yellow leaves or even just yellow spots or small patches is overwatering and subsequent root rot. 

To figure out if this is the cause of the yellow leaves on your Cast Iron Plant, the best thing to do is to take your plant out of its pot immediately and inspect the health of the root system. Carefully trim away any rotten, soft or black roots as these won’t be able to deliver needed nutrients and moisture to the plant anymore. By trimming these away you allow your Cast Iron Plant to generate new healthy roots. 

If the potting mix is still soggy and waterlogged when you take your plant out of its pot, replace it immediately with dry mix. Don’t wait for it to naturally dry out as this risks causing more harm to your Cast Iron Plant and could cause more yellow leaves.

Over the next few weeks, you need to water your Cast Iron Plant less than you were doing before so that it can start to recover. This can either be cutting down how frequently you water your plant or simply giving it less water each time you do. 

Using a moisture meter is a great way to know when your plant needs water and they have helped us avoid plenty of yellow leaves! You will also want to adjust your watering schedule depending on the seasons, making sure that you are cutting down on watering over the colder, darker months of autumn and winter where plants are more dormant.

Too much sunlight can also cause yellow leaves

If the yellowing on your Cast Iron Plant’s leaves is quite patchy and looks scorched then it may be due to too much direct sunlight. If your plant is receiving a lot of intense direct sunlight, it can burn the leaves. 

Cast Iron Plants like areas with bright light, but it needs to be indirect (especially in summer where the sun is stronger and out for more of the day) so try to avoid placing your plant right next to a window. During winter you can get away with moving your plant so it gets more sunlight so it’s all about creating a good balance.

Pests are a rarer but worrying cause of yellow foliage

Whilst rarer than the two other causes we outlined above, your Cast Iron Plant’s leaves may be turning yellow due to a pest infestation. Insects such as the dreaded spider mites, suck on the leaves of oyour plants, damaging and exhausting them. These unwanted pests leave behind yellow patches or holes in the leaves so it’s important you keep your eye out for any signs of pests. Get up close to your plants using a magnifying glass and inspect the tops and undersides of the leaves to see if you can spot any insects.

There are a few ways to get rid of spider mites and other pests, including showering, neem oil and insecticide sprays. If you have caught the infestation in its early stages then you should have a good chance at reviving your plant. You might also want to consider propagating a healthy section of it incase you aren’t able to get rid of the pests.

Should I cut away the yellow leaves?

After hopefully rectifying and solving the problem of your yellow Cast Iron Plant leaves, you may be wondering if it is best to keep them on the plant or trim them off. We always recommend pruning the yellow leaves off the plant. Not only will it make your Cast Iron Plant look better and healthier but it will also mean it doesn’t waste any energy trying to keep the dying (or already dead) leaves and stems alive. It can focus its energy and nutrients on new healthy leaves!

To find out more about how to care for your plant, and treat other common issues that might arise, take a look at our Cast Iron Plant care guide. 

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