A pumpkin plants turning yellow problem is caused by factors like over-exposure to light, unavailability of nutrients, watering stress, insect attack, diseases, and natural cycle ending.

Pumpkin Plants Turning Yellow

If you want to know the complete details of these causes and how to fix this problem quickly – think watering properly and adding nutrients – stay until the end.

What Are the Reasons Behind Pumpkin Plants Turning Yellow?

The reasons behind pumpkin plants turning yellow are incorrect lighting conditions, nutrient-deficient soil, drought stress, bugs, and bacterial/fungal diseases. Each of them causes a different type of complication, but the leaves and fruits face the most damage. Make sure the plants receive appropriate care requirements.

Continue reading to know the details about these plant problems.

– Over-exposure To Light

Like every other plant, Pumpkins need sufficient sunlight (six to eight hours) to grow properly. They use it to conduct photosynthesis, a natural process in which leaves generate energy. But if the light’s intensity increases, leaves start to face the music. Over-exposure to sunlight can cause moisture to dry up quickly. As a result, cell death will start to occur, which will cause yellowing.

If you are growing Pumpkins indoors, make sure pots are close enough to the grow lights. Placing them near can cause scorching, and leaves will start to discolor. You might see yellow, brown, and red spots due to light stress.

– Not Enough Nutrients

Nutrients are super important because they help photosynthesize sugars and carry out physiological functions in plants. For example, nitrogen helps in vines’ growth and plays its part in attaining proper plant height. Furthermore, potassium helps in the growth and production of fruits. Similarly, other nutrients also perform their functions in smooth growth. So, their shortage can cause many complications, including leaves turning yellow.

So, how to know which nutrients are not enough? If you see yellowing near the central leaf veins and on the margins of a pumpkin leaf, it is because of potassium, magnesium, and iron deficiency. If the whole leaf becomes yellow, then it is an indication of nitrogen deficiency.

Pumpkin Plants Turning Yellow Causes

– Water Shortage or Drought Stress

Plants need enough water for survival because it is crucial for photosynthesis and the uptake of essential nutrients. So, if there is drought stress, both of these things won’t take place. You will eventually notice pumpkin leaves turning yellow and dying when this condition persists.

– Disease Attack

If pumpkin leaves change color to yellow, it can also signify a disease attack. Pumpkins are prone to bacterial and fungal attacks, which can significantly deteriorate the plant’s appearance by turning the leaves yellow.

Downy mildew is a pumpkin’s worst nightmare. In this fungal disease, yellow or brown spots emerge on the leaves, causing them to wilt and die. When this happens, there won’t be enough healthy leaves to photosynthesize, which leads to stunted growth and poor fruit quality.

Yellow vine is another fungal disease that impacts both leaves and vines. In this, leaves initially become pale yellow. When it gets severe, they get bright yellow, and the vines start to rot. Ultimately, the wilting pumpkin will be non-consumable, and you will have to throw it out.

Verticillium wilt is another disease that usually develops during the fruit set. It causes discoloration of roots and leaves quicker than you can expect. In addition to these plant diseases, pumpkins can also get affected due to powdery mildew, black rot, root rot, bacterial wilt, gummy stem blight, and fusarium crown.

– Insects Infestation

Insects are another enemy of pumpkins – sucking the cell sap from the plant leaves and vines. Due to them, these parts start to wilt and curl. So, which are the common insects that love to feast on a pumpkin plant?

The insect that you will most likely find around pumpkins is squash bugs. They look like stink bugs and usually reside on the lower side of the leaves. Squash bugs are always in groups, so if you only spot one, get ready to see more of them.

Squash vine borer is another insect that is easy to detect. It has a green metallic-colored body with an orange or red-spotted abdomen. Squash vine borers have clear wings, and their larvae are about an inch long. Both of these insects suck cell juice and cause discoloration of leaves.

In addition, aphids also love to eat leaves and spread mosaic viruses. Virus-affected plants are weak and look unattractive. The reason is that such plants have yellow leaves, which droop off if you don’t apply any treatment.

– Nature

When the veins of pumpkins start changing their color to yellow and the growing season is near the end, chances are plants are not facing any stress. Yellowing is happening because their natural life cycle is coming to an end. It is nature’s way of telling the gardeners to harvest the fruits. If the growing season has some time left and the leaves still become yellow, plants face any stress (those discussed above). 

How to Fix Yellow Pumpkin Leaves?

When pumpkin plants turn yellow, there are several fixes you can try. You should start by  watering adequately, applying extra nutrients, and ensuring plants are receiving proper light. Also, use insecticides, bactericides, and fungicides to control pests and disease attacks.

– Water Properly

Pumpkins prefer moist and well-drained soil to grow well. Therefore, you must water at least once a week. However, how much water to add depends on the moisture condition of the soil.

If there is no moisture, apply water in such a quantity (by trusting your instincts) that you think it is enough to moisten every part of the root. You can also apply compost, coconut coir, or peat moss to improve the soil’s water retention properties.

If there is a little moisture left, don’t add water more than two inches above the soil. But if there is more moisture, wait for the soil to dry completely. It is because overly moist soil can lead to overwatered pumpkin plants with different complications, like fungal diseases.

To know about moisture conditions in the soil, use a moisture meter. It will give you an accurate reading about the presence of water, which will help in planning how much water to apply or when to skip the irrigation.

– Place Pots Where Proper Sunlight Falls

If your plants face more or less light, the first thing to do is to relocate them to such spots where they receive sunlight sufficiently. But sometimes, relocation is not an option. Try giving your pumpkin plant shade to protect it from high-intensity light.

If you are growing indoors, then everything gets easier. You can either move the LED lights or push the pots to maintain a proper distance from the light source. Furthermore, some grow lights also come with an intensity adjuster. You can change it according to the plant’s requirements and have high-quality fruits.

Pumpkin Plants Turning Yellow Remedies

– Add Nutrients in a Smart Way

If you don’t want your plants to have a nutrient deficiency, you must add fertilizers at the right time. So, what’s the perfect time to apply nutrients? Before sowing seeds, you should apply organic fertilizers. Then, add one more dose just before the flowering. For better results, use Nitrogen and phosphorus-rich fertilizers.

– Apply Insecticides

To control the insect population, use a soapy water spray. You can also use neem oil spray or thyme oil to eliminate unwanted pests. You can also handpick insects, put them in a bag, and throw them away. However, handpicking is only possible if insects are adults.

If you spot squash or bore larvae, remove them by slitting the affected stem. If larva infestation worsens, then use natural predators like Braconid wasps. But if you want quicker results, then choose chemical insecticides.

– Deal With Diseases

You should remove the yellow leaves as soon as you spot them to control the disease spread. Furthermore, apply water sensibly if it is a fungal attack, as overwatering can promote fungi’s growth.

When the disease gets severe, then use some fungicides and bactericides. If you decide to go for them, follow every dosage instruction carefully, or they will only work optimally. In addition, you should wear gloves and a mask while applying them. Follow these plant care tips, and no problem will occur during pumpkin growing.

Conclusion of Pumpkin Plants Turning Yellow


All-in-all, it is super important you keep plants from staying yellow if you want good fruit yield. This guide discusses every reason for yellowing and solutions in detail.

Here are the key points to sum up everything:

  • Grow Pumpkins where sufficient light falls, as both over and under-exposure can cause yellowing.
  • You should also add water adequately if you want plants to stay in good shape.
  • Adding fertilizers at the right time is recommended to avoid deficient vital nutrients.
  • Apply insecticides, fungicides, and bactericides depending on the problems plants face.

Follow these points and enjoy successful pumpkin plant growth! Did you know that there are a lot of pumpkin varieties out there?

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