Why is my Prayer Plant turning yellow?

Why is my Prayer Plant turning yellow?

Known for the way their leaves fold up at night, Prayer Plants are becoming one of the most popular plants to find in shops across the world! If you are starting to notice your Prayer Plant developing yellow leaves, it could be an indicator that something isn’t quite right. Below we have outlined the most common causes of yellow leaves in Prayer Plants to help you diagnose the problem.


We always find that the most common cause of yellow leaves on Prayer Plants is overwatering. Too much water can lead to waterlogged soil and root rot which causes a whole range of issues, yellow leaves being one of the first signs. Prayer Plants hate sitting in puddles of water so you need to make sure you are watering your plant correctly. Both the frequency and amount of water are important to monitor.

Rotting and mushy roots mean that the plant is unable to take up nutrients and the leaves will turn yellow, mushy and fall off the plant.

If you suspect any overwatering then you must check the moisture levels in the soil immediately.  Waterlogged soil also gives off quite a damp and musty smell so get up close to your Prayer Plant and check for any smells.

If the soil is very soggy then replace it immediately rather than waiting for it to dry out naturally. This will prevent any further damage to the roots and will allow them to slowly recover. Check out our guide to handling root rot for more information.

Drainage issues

Sometimes it may not be your watering schedule that is causing the yellow leaves on your Prayer Plant, but the poor draining of the soil and pot. You can very easily increase the amount of drainage in your Prayer Plant’s soil by mixing in a small amount of perlite, this will make it far easier for water to flow through and out of the drainage holes of your pots (you should also check to make sure your pots have drainage holes). Another easy solution is to add a few small stones to the bottom of your pot which will make sure the drainage holes don’t get blocked by soil.

Terracotta pots are also great at regulating the moisture in the soil as they are permeable. This means that some of the water escapes through the sides of the pot. So sometimes it is worth investing a little more in terracotta pots to make sure that the roots of your Prayer Plant are not sitting in too much water. (Terracotta pots also look great so that’s an added bonus!)


Another cause of yellow leaves in Prayer Plants is sunburn. This can happen if the plant is exposed to too much bright direct sunlight. Prayer Plants have quite delicate leaves and so don’t do very well in intense light. Sunburn will show itself in patches of yellow across the leaves. Unfortunately, these patches are irreversible so you are best trimming them off if the leaves are quite severely damaged.

Make sure to move your plant away from the direct light to a shadier spot in your home and this should prevent any more yellow patches forming on the leaves.

Too much fluoride

90% of the time using tap water is totally fine for our houseplants. However, if you live in a particularly hard water area then over time a fluoride build-up may occur in the soil and the plant is unable to get the nutrients needed. It can be hard to diagnose this as sometimes it shows up as yellow leaves, brown leaf tips and even a mixture of the two, so we recommend eliminating all the possibilities first.

There are a few ways to make sure that the water you give them is fluoride-free. Firstly you can leave a jug of tap water for around 24 hours to allow for a lot of the chemicals to evaporate. Another method is leaving a tray outside to collect rainwater to give to your houseplants to make sure chemical levels are lower than the treated water that comes out of your tap.

Fungal Disease

Although rare, yellow Prayer Plant leaves can also be caused by a fungal disease. This happens when the plant is consistently overwatered or the leaves are often wet for long periods of time. In order to stop the disease use neem oil on the plant and water and mist less to prevent it from reoccuring.

Luckily, if you have caught the problem early and there aren’t too many yellow leaves on your Prayer Plant then correcting the issue should solve it and you should start to see new luscious patterned growth again very soon! We often get asked by plant parents if they should trim off the yellow leaves or leave them to naturally fall off. We always recommend removing yellow leaves as not only will it make your plant look better but it will stop it wasting energy trying to keep those leaves alive.

You can find out more about caring for your plant in our Prayer Plant guide. Or if you want to learn everything there is to know about houseplant care then our downloadable ebook is the one for you!!

Product Recommendation

How To Care For Your Houseplants (eBook)


Everything you need to know to keep your houseplants happy and healthy.

Find out More

Fiddle and Thorn is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Get our journal delivered

From us, direct to your inbox.