A great candidate for the fastest growing houseplant, the Wandering Jew Plant is a great plant for anyone who wants a splash of colour but doesn’t want to be constantly tending to an over-sensitive plant. But although these plants are fairly easy to keep happy, you may from time to time run into a few issues such as yellow leaves. Whilst yellow leaves can sometimes be simply down to the natural leaf cycle of your Wandering Jew Plant, there are a few other causes that are more concerning and mean that something is harming your plant.
In this post, we will be going through four main reasons why Wandering Jew Plants develop yellow leaves. We recommend grabbing your plant whilst you read this post so that you can take a close look at it which should help you correctly identify what is happening. As well as going through the causes of yellow leaves, we will also help you treat the problem and prevent it from harming your Wandering Jew Plant again in future.
Overwatering can cause yellow leaves
Let’s start off with the most common cause of yellow leaves on Wandering Jew Plants; too much water. If you accidentally overwater your plant by either watering too frequently or giving it too much water each time then the roots might start to rot in the waterlogged soil. It can also happen if you are watering fine, but the drainage holes are blocked meaning every single drop of moisture is stuck in the pot.
Once there is damage caused to the root system, this prevents your Wandering Jew Plant from getting any of the needed nutrients which will cause yellowing in the leaves.
An easy way to know if the soil is waterlogged is by smelling it. If the soil smells quite damp and musty then there’s a good chance it has been waterlogged. Take your Wandering Jew Plant out of its pot to double-check and if the soil is waterlogged and clumpy then you want to replace it straight away. It’s important that you monitor the moisture levels in your plant going forward so you can adjust your watering schedule accordingly. A great thing to invest in is a moisture meter as they help you determine when your plant needs water and means you can avoid problems such as yellow leaves.
Leaf rot can cause yellow spots (getting leaves wet when watering)
If you notice that your Wandering Jew Plant has yellow spots or small yellow patches on the leaves then it may be due to leaf rot. This happens when the leaves are splashed with water when you are watering them. It’s more common in winter as wet leaves and cold temperatures don’t go well together. When the leaves rot, they will turn yellowy-brown in colour and be quite soft to touch.
This tends to happen to the leaves closest to the soil as they are more likely to be splashed. To avoid this in future, it’s best to use a narrow spouted watering can as this lets you get super close to the soil when watering and will help avoid yellow spots on the leaves.
If the yellowing is not so consistent on the leaves and also shows up as spots or small patches on the leaves then pests could be the problem. Take a quick look over the plant for any unwanted insects, the most likely cause is spider mites which are small white insects.
If you do find pests on your Wandering Jew Plant then the best technique for removing them that we’ve found is taking your plant for a shower before treating it with neem oil. Just pop your Wandering Jew Plant in the shower, rinse down the leaves and stems with water and let them dry off, after a few showers and a consistent treatment using neem oil, the spider mites should be gone for good.
It’s important to note here that if the yellow leaves are caused by pests you will want to isolate your plant from your other houseplants immediately. Pests can easily spread if the leaves and stems are hanging close.
If it’s only the oldest top leaves on your Wandering Jew Plant that are turning yellow then this may be simply natural ageing. It’s totally normal for your Wandering Jew Plant to drop some of its oldest leaves as it ages. This allows it to focus energy on growing bigger healthier new leaves at the end of the vine.
Whilst this does happen throughout many houseplant types and varieties, it’s especially common in Wandering Jew Plants. Before falling off the plant, the leaves will turn yellow first.
Should I trim away the yellow leaves on my Wandering Jew Plant?
We always recommend getting rid of the yellow leaves on your Wandering Jew Plant. Unfortunately, once the leaf has turned yellow, there is no going back to their beautiful variegation. So trimming away the yellow leaves means your Wandering Jew Plant can begin to focus all the energy on growing new healthy leaves and stems. 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.
Those are the main four reasons why Wandering Jew Plants develop yellow leaves. It’s important to make any needed changes straight away as catching the problem as early as possible is key to keeping your plant alive. Other than natural ageing, the other three issues can develop quite quickly so keep a very close eye on your plant over the next few weeks to make sure that your changes are having a positive impact and no more yellow leaves are developing on your Wandering Jew Plant.
To find out more about how to best look after your plant, check out our Wandering Jew Plant care guide.