If your Money Tree has started to develop yellow leaves, or even small yellow spots and patches, then this is a sign that your plant is unhappy. Diagnosing yellow leaves isn’t always the easiest thing as there are quite a few different factors that can lead to the same problem. To help you figure out what is causing the yellow leaves on your Money Tree we have put together this guide. Below we will go through each of the causes of yellow leaves, spots, tips and patches so that you can not only determine what is affecting your plant, but you can treat the issue properly and stop it from coming back again in future.
Yellow leaves are often caused by too much water
Let’s start with the most common cause of yellow leaves on Money Trees – too much water (often over a longer period of time). Your Money Tree will often forgive you for the odd overwatering, but if things continue for weeks and weeks, then the roots might start to rot in the waterlogged soil. This means that your Money Tree is unable to take up water and nutrients from the soil and photosynthesise properly, causing the leaves to go mushy, droopy and yellow.
The best way to know if the yellow leaves are caused by overwatering is by taking your plant out of its pot and inspecting the soil and roots. If the potting mix is very moist and clumpy, and the roots feels quite soft to touch then overwatering is most probably the cause of the yellow leaves on your Money Tree.
To treat the issue and prevent more yellow leaves from developing, trim away the rotten roots and worst affected yellow leaves. This will allow your Money Tree to focus on new growth rather than wasting energy trying to keep dying leaves and stems alive.
Moving forward, we recommend that you invest in a moisture meter to determine when it is time to water your Money Tree. These will really help ensure that you aren’t watering too frequently and you’re giving enough time for the potting mix to dry out.
Drainage Issues could also be causing yellow leaves
Sometimes it may not be how much you are watering your plant that is causing your Money Tree’s leaves to turn yellow, but the poor draining of the soil and pot. The first thing to look out for when you suspect issues with the drainage is that your Money Tree’s pot has enough drainage holes and that they aren’t clogged up with anything that is preventing excess water from flowing through.
You can also very easily increase the amount of drainage in the pot of your Money Tree by adding in some perlite. This helps with both water flowing through the potting mix but also with aeration
We also recommend that you buy some terracotta pots and replace any of your plastic pots. These are great for avoiding yellow leaves caused by overwatering as some of that excess water can evaporate out of the sides of the pot. So sometimes it is worth investing a little more to make sure that the roots of your Money Tree are not sitting in too much moisture. We love these terracotta pots from Amazon.
Intense direct sunlight can scorch the leaves
The correct light level is a really important element to monitor when taking care of your Money Tree, and all houseplants for that matter! If your Money Tree is getting a lot of direct sunlight each day you may start to notice yellow patches forming on the leaves. This is where the leaves are becoming sunburnt, something which is unfortunately irreversible. It tends to happen more in summer as the sun is a lot stronger and the days are longer too!
Although you can’t reverse the yellow leaves, solving the issue is super simple. If your Money Tree is receiving too much light then make sure to move it to a slightly shadier spot in your home immediately.
Whilst rarer than some of the other factors, your Money Tree’s leaves may also be turning yellow due to a pest infestation. Although this isn’t very common for plants that don’t spend any time outdoors, it is still possible on your houseplants.
Insects like spider mites damage your plants by sucking on their leaves which causes yellow spots and patches and even little holes. 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.
It could simply be natural ageing
There’s one more cause of yellow leaves on Money Tree plants that we want to go over and that is natural shedding. As your Money Tree grows and matures, it will want to spend a lot of energy on the new growth which can sometimes mean it drops a couple of its oldest and lowest and often smallest leaves. Before these leaves fall from the plant they usually turn yellow. This process is nothing to worry about and as long as the rate of yellowing stays very slow (a couple of leaves every year) then there shouldn’t be an issue.
Should I trim away the yellow leaves on my Money Tree?
More often than not we recommend getting rid of the yellow leaves on your Money Tree. Unfortunately, once they have turned yellow there is no going back to their usual green colour. So it’s best to trim away these yellow leaves so that your Money Tree can put all of its energy into new growth.
When removing the yellow leaves, make sure that you cut them off with sharp scissors rather than tearing the leaves off. This can damage the stems and plant further.
Those are the most common factors that lead to yellow leaves in Money Trees. There are quite a few possible factors so we recommend going through each one whilst looking over your plant and its environment to give you the best chance at finding the right issue. Once you have made a change, keep a very close eye on your plant to see if you can see any more yellow leaves appearing or if any other issues such as brown leaves or leaf drop occur.
To learn more about what your plant needs, check out our Money Tree care guide.
Written by Billy Dawson