Prayer plant leaves turning yellow usually happens when their care guide is not followed properly. Sometimes pests, diseases, and nutrient deficiency might also be responsible for this yellowing.

Prayer leaves Maranta Leuconeura in gray ceramic pot

In this guide, we bring you all these potential reasons and more. You will also learn how to identify and solve them.

Why Are Your Prayer Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?

Prayer plant leaves might be turning yellow due to sun scorching, overwatering or over-fertilizing. Occasionally, exposure to frost or poor drainage might also be responsible.

The prayer plant leaves turning yellow is a common problem in this species. The broad, dark-green and vivacious leaves of this plant turn yellow or develop yellow discolorations when either the plant’s cultural needs are not being met or if they are under attack by pests or diseases.

Continue reading to find out all about this.

– Too Much Light

Foremost among the most common prayer plant problems is sunburn. If the leaves of your plant have turned yellow, crisp and slightly brown at the edges, then it is most definitely getting scorched by the sun.

– Overwatering

While it is true that the prayer plant needs more water than the average household plant, it is still very easy and common to overwater them. Whenever you see a prayer plant with yellow leaves, one of your first instincts should be to check whether it’s being overwatered or not.

Overwatering is also dangerous because it can lead to fungal root rot that can destroy the whole plant.

– Signs You Are Overwatering the Prayer Plant

The leaves will also appear swollen and mushy due to the retention of extra water. Touch the soil in the pot; it will appear runny and too wet. The pot might also feel heavy upon lifting.

Reasons why Prayer Leaves Turn Yellow

– Cold Temperatures

When the prayer plant is exposed to temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, its leaves will start turning yellow. Sometimes the tips of the plant will appear brown. This will be followed by the death of the whole plant. Some species of the prayer plant will start dying even at 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

– Over-Fertilizing 

The prayer plant turning yellow can be an indication of using too much fertilizer. This plant needs to be fertilized only during the growth and blooming period from spring until fall. Otherwise, salt build-up in the soil will occur and all your leaves will turn yellow.

Buy a good quality liquid fertilizer and dilute it to half its original strength. Fertilize the base of the plant every two weeks. Don’t forget to deep water the soil each month to wash away all the built-up salts and toxins as well.

– Not Enough Drainage

The yellow leaves on prayer plant will often appear when the drainage of your soil isn’t ideal enough. Even a normal amount of water will lead to conditions of waterlogging and suffocate the roots and leaves.

– Low Humidity Levels 

As a tropical plant, prayer plants require at least 40 to 60 percent humidity all year round if it is to grow and thrive. Under prolonged conditions of low humidity levels, you might start noticing the yellowing of leaves. This will be more pronounced during winters when the atmosphere is drier than usual.

– Iron Deficiency

Yes, iron deficiency will not only turn the young leaves of your prayer plant yellow but can also lead to your prayer plant dying. This is because leaves use iron to make chlorophyll, which, in turn, is used to make food for the plants.

– What Causes Iron Deficiency?

The main reason behind iron deficiency is using alkaline soil. A soil with a high pH impedes the plant’s roots from absorbing the required amounts of iron.

– Pests: Spider Mites

A spider-mite infestation is quite common and often leads to severe weakening of the plant. This is because they suck all the nutrients from your plant.

– Signs of a Spider-mite Infestation

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • The appearance of yellow spots on the top side of the leaves
  • The appearance of a powder-grey substance on the lower side of the leaves
  • In advanced cases, proper webbing appears on the leaves
  • You will also notice colonies of red-brown spider mites under the leaves

– Disease: Cucumber Mosaic Virus

This is a viral disease that often affects prayer plants. It causes a yellow mottled pattern on the leaves of the affected plants, and the leaves soon turn crisp and start exfoliating at an alarming rate. Ultimately, the whole plant shrivels and dies.


How To Fix it

Relocating the prayer plant and planning a suitable watering routine are top priorities to fix yellowing leaves. The method you will use depends on the cause of the yellowing, so continue reading to find out these remedies.

– How To Treat Sunburn

Relocate your plant to a more shaded location right away. The prayer plant will grow beautifully even under indirect light. Make sure that it is being kept in a brightly lit room.

Prune the most severely-affected leaves off. The less-severely affected ones will eventually fall off on their own. In due time, new and healthier leaves will grow back.

– How To Treat Yellow Leaves Due To Overwatering

Change your watering regime. Never water unless the soil becomes halfway dry at least; keep a moisture meter at hand for this purpose. Improve the drainage of your pot and make sure that its drainage hole is of a proper size to let extra water out.

Improve the drainage of your soil. You might need to change your soil if it is too compact and causes unnecessary water retention. Adding perlite or sand to ordinary potting mix works great.

Lastly, make sure to always remove the water-collecting pan at the bottom of the pot once it becomes filled with water.

– How To Save Prayer Plant From Cold Temperatures

You should always maintain a temperature range of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit for this plant to grow. This plant is not cold hardy at all; it will most definitely die in cold weather. Move it indoors as soon as fall starts in your area.

Even while keeping them indoors, make sure this plant is not being exposed to cold drafts of air. Don’t keep it under a vent or air-conditioner even during the summers.

– How To Fix Drainage Issues

As mentioned earlier, adding sand and peat to an ordinary potting mix will improve its drainage. Another thing you can add is tiny pebbles, but make sure these pebbles are placed at the bottom of the pot and not someplace high where they might interfere with root growth.

Solution to Prayer Plant Dying

– How To Increase Humidity

First of all, you should always have a hygrometer at hand to tell you the exact levels of air moisture around your yellowing plant. Then you can employ the following measures to increase humidity.

  • Put a water-filled pebble tray under the pot of the prayer plant. The evaporating water will increase humidity around the pot.
  • Set a particular time in the evenings for misting the plant.
  • Buy a humidifier and set its value to 50 percent in the room where the prayer plant is being kept.
  • Grouping several plants together will also work in increasing humidity.

– How to Fix Iron Deficiency

Change your soil so that it is more acidic than alkaline. You can do this by using a potting mix with more peat in it. As an instant fix, of course, chelated iron products are easily available in the market. Make sure you follow the instructions given by the manufacturer when using these products.

– How To Get Rid of Spider-mites

Wash your plant with soap and water. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to manually scrub as many of these pests as you can. Spray a potent insecticidal spray on your prayer plant.

Neem oil is a great DIY alternative to insecticidal spray. Simply dab a piece of cotton in neem oil and apply it to the colony of spider mites. They will suffocate and immediately die.

– How To Treat Cucumber Mosaic Virus

The thing about the Cucumber Mosaic Virus is that it is not really treatable. You must remove the diseased plant and burn it. This is because it cannot even be used as compost when it has been infected.

Prayer Plant Houseplant Maranta


Should I water yellow leaves on a Prayer Plant?

No, remove yellow leaves on a Prayer Plant as they indicate overwatering or underwatering.

Can I pinch yellow leaf patches off a Prayer Plant?

Yes, pinch off yellow leaf patches on a Prayer Plant to encourage healthy growth.

Where do you cut the leaves off a Prayer Plant?

Cut the leaves of a Prayer Plant just below where the leaf meets the stem to promote new growth.


Congratulations; you are now well-versed in all the causes that might be behind the yellowing leaves of your prayer plant. Let’s review everything to make sure we aren’t missing anything:

  • Overwatering will lead to water accumulation in the leaves and they will turn yellow in color. Only water the prayer plant once its soil is at least halfway dry.
  • Poor drainage is another reason that plants produce yellow leaves. Make sure your soil is well-draining with enough sand and perlite. The drainage hole at the bottom of the pot should also be large enough to let extra water out.
  • If you place this plant under direct sunlight then its leaves will turn yellow with brown edges. Move it to a location with indirect light.
  • The prayer plant cannot tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, its leaves will turn yellow, fall off, and eventually the whole plant will die.
  • Humidity levels below 40 percent or iron deficiency due to alkaline soil are other major reasons for your plant’s leaves turning yellow.

The next time yellow leaves appear on your prayer plant, don’t panic. Follow our guide to solve this problem strategically.

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