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Why is my polka dot plant getting yellow leaves?

Are you worried about why your polka dot plant has yellow leaves? Check out our guide for some of the most common causes, as well as solutions on how to fix them!

Oh, the marvelous polka-dot plant! It is an incredible addition to any household, and as such, it brightens up any space you make their home.

If you’re wondering about polka dot plant care, it is easy to maintain, and people tend to get it for their homes a lot.

Still, a polka dot plant with yellow leaves isn’t uncommon at all, as it can happen to any of your plants.

In most cases, this takes up the entire plant and does not make it look good at all.

A multitude of problems can cause yellow leaves, so today, that is our main subject!

If you have a polka dot plant that’s turning yellow, there are potentially fatal reasons out there.

Discover them as soon as possible and act to improve things! You can see some of the more popular causes below:

  1. Lack of nutrients
  2. Pests
  3. Underwatering
  4. Powdery mildew
  5. Lighting

Now that you know what it is we are going to talk about, it is time to move on to dissecting each subject. Keep on reading!

polka dot plant getting yellow leaves

5 Reasons why polka dot plant getting yellow leaves

Lack of nutrients

Like most plants, the polka dot plant requires a set of nutrients to thrive.

The mixture it needs includes potassium, nitrogen, and some others.

Whenever nutrient deficiency happens, polka dot plant leaves start turning yellow – that is the first symptom.

If you leave it without them for a longer period, the plant will not only stop growing, but it will start getting affected by pests and diseases more easily, ultimately dying off.

Avoid overwatering your polka dot plant with yellow leaves as it washes away the nutrients from the soil.

If you want it to thrive, get some organic fertilizer, dilute it in water, and apply it once a month.

After a while, if you notice a change for the better, repot your plant with new, organically rich soil.

red polka dot plant


The polka dot is a hardy plant that can mainly thrive under various conditions.

But, it does not mean it is immune to pests. These can happen anywhere and anytime.

They suck on the sap from the stem and cause some serious damage to the plant. The result often comes in the form of a yellowing polka dot plant.

These pests are most often mealybugs but can be any other pest form, too, such as spider mites, aphids, vine weevils, etc.

  • To fix it, get a hose and spray down your polka-dot plant. The strong splash of water may knock off spider mites, whiteflies, aphids, and mealybugs.
  • Then, isolate the plant. It does not have to be near other plants if it is infected, as the pests will transfer from one to the next, causing a huge issue.
  • If there are not many pests on it, grab a cotton ball, add some alcohol to it, and rub down the polka dot plant with yellow leaves.
  • If the situation has gotten out of hand and now you are dealing with a wholly affected plant, then you can use neem oil or insecticidal soap.
polka dot plant cutting in a test tube of water


Polka dot plants love their fair share of water. It likes being watered regularly, and if you miss a day or two, it can react immediately.

Believe it or not, the most common reason for polka dot plant issues is lack of water.

The result will be somewhat scary – the leaves will start turning brown immediately, skipping the yellow phase.

This browning happens around the tips and the edges.

If you continue underwatering your plant, it will completely start to crunch.

First, make sure that the pot has proper drainage, and then water it thoroughly using water at room temperature.

Make an irrigation schedule and focus on the soil – it should not be completely dried out so that the plant will get everything it needs.

node of a polka dot plant

Powdery mildew

If you have never seen this until now and don’t know what it is – it is something that spreads all over the plant – starting from the leaf.

The powdery mildew starts with small circular white powdery spots, creating a tricky situation later on.

You can find most of these spots on the upper side of the foliage.

If you don’t come up with a solution soon, these posts will eventually spread, resulting in a yellowing polka dot plant, and then turn immediately brown and droopy.

If you don’t do anything about this, your plant will die.

Start by removing your plant from any shady and dark place you’ve put it into, and stop over-watering it.

Powdery mildew thrives in moist and dark conditions, so everything will seem better once you remove the plant from such a setting.

Prune the plant and remove all the heavily affected leaves.

Depending on the severity of the situation, you can even use neem oil or copper-based fungicide to act.

polka dot plant in a pot


Growth cannot happen without light – and the polka dot is a true embodiment of that.

The leaves going yellow and then brown is a common reaction to poor lighting.

As scorched leaves are due to too much direct sunlight, this can happen if they don’t get enough sunlight too.

Once the polka dot plant starts turning yellow and then brown, it will start to fall off – there is no turning back from this point.

Start by removing all the dead or affected foliage.

It is a critical step as it will only slow down the progress and development of the plant if you leave them on.

Remove the plant from its current place and put it in a place with a lot of light but not direct light.

As a guide, think of an east-facing window – that is your best bet.

Before you go…

So there you have it – if you notice that your polka dot plant has yellow leaves, it all comes down to inspecting the plant, finding the source, and removing it.

For the time being, keep on reading our blogs – there are many other interesting topics right here – just for you!

Thanks for reading!

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