For those who enjoy gardening, elephant ears are a popular choice because of their ability to thrive in a wide range of climates. The heart-shaped leaves of this plant are awe-inspiring. They can grow to a height of three to five feet, but they make excellent houseplants.

Green, green white variegated, and purplish-black are just some of the foliage colors available. Because of this, elephant ear leaves might turn yellow and fall off, which is why it’s important to keep a close eye on them. Elephant ear plants have yellowing leaves, which is a huge problem when trying to grow them.

Your elephant ears turning yellow could be due to a number of factors. The plant may be dormant due to a lack of light or water, or there may be a problem with the plant’s roots. Your elephant ears will benefit immensely if you find and correct the cause of the color shift. By reading this guide, you will be able to know, Elephant Ears Turning Yellow: 15 Reasons and How to Fix Them.

Elephant Ears Turning Yellow: 15 Reasons and How to Fix Them

Let’s start,

It’s a sign that something is amiss when the variegated leaves of the Elephant Ear plant begin to turn yellow. You must act fast before the plant degenerates any further.

However, some of the leaves may become yellow because they have a normal life cycle and finally perish. In contrast, the plant’s leaves turning yellow all at once is unusual.

What are the reasons for the yellowing leaves of the Elephant Ear plant?

There are 15 reasons explained which affect to yellow the leaves of your elephant ear plant. Do you want to know that how to fix them? It is also discussed below.

1. Low Humidity

Yellowing leaves can also be caused by low air humidity. The Elephant Ear plant, which is accustomed to a high humidity habitat, will struggle under dry conditions.

The plant’s yellowing leaves are an indication that it is having difficulty surviving in the low humidity.

How to fix it?

If the problem persists, try raising the humidity in the room where the plant is located or relocating it to an area that is already naturally humid.

Place the plant pot on a large saucer filled with pebbles and water to keep the humidity level high enough for your elephant ears plant to thrive. To remedy this, you can also utilize humidifiers, misting to ensure that your plants are getting enough humidity.

2. Lack of Sunlight

Your elephant ear may become yellow if it doesn’t get enough sunshine. Allow the plant to spend more time in direct sunshine if this occurs.

For these plants, bright, indirect sunlight is the best option. Because they are tolerant of medium light. If they are exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period of time, the foliage will be damaged.

If you don’t expose your plant to sunlight on a regular basis, it will die. Photosynthesis, the process through which plants obtain their sustenance, requires sunlight. If your plant isn’t getting enough sunshine, it will begin to lose its color sooner rather than later. Eventually, you’ll notice your plant’s lowest leaves turning yellow and then dropping off.

How to fix it?

You should move it to another place as soon as possible. In this way, they are able to get the ideal temperature for their growth without having to worry about their leaves yellowing.

This is a good sign that your plant isn’t getting the amount of sunlight it needs. The areas with the least exposure to sunlight will have the most yellowish hues. When you relocate your plant to a new location in your yard or home, it might make all the difference. Even if you only rotate your plant’s pot once or twice a week, it’s still beneficial.

3. Inconsistent Watering

The frequency with which you water your elephant ear plant may also be a role in its discoloration. There are two ways to cause yellowing the leaves of the plant such as over-watering and under-watering.

Because the plant is suffocated by over-watering, the nutrients it requires are unable to get to it. Additionally, if the plant is under-watered, it will not be able to absorb nutrients because water is the medium that transports nutrients to the plant.

If the ultimate outcome is the same, it can be hard to tell if you’re giving too much or too little water. Fortunately, the answer is straightforward.

How to fix it?

In order to tell if you’re over or under watering your plant, you need to examine the soil in your garden. To check the moisture content of the soil, stick your finger a few inches into it.

Before you start watering, do this. Give your plant a drink of water if it is getting too dry. If the pot overflows, it’s a good idea to leave it on a dish so the plant can catch the water. After the finger test, if the soil is still moist, wait a few days.

You should wait until the soil has dried out a bit before watering it again as a general rule. Every week, these plants require 2 to 3 inches of water. Water your plant sparingly, and you should see a return to green in no time.

4. Inappropriate Temperature

It’s possible that your elephant ears are losing their green hue earlier than usual because of the weather. The discoloration could be the result of prolonged exposure to a cold draft. Elephant ears, as well as other tropical plants, will turn yellow in cold weather.

How to fix it?

If you keep your plant indoors, you may want to avoid placing it near an air conditioner or vent that is pushing out chilly air.

Protecting your elephant ear plant from frigid gusts is critical to its long-term health. Because this plant hails from Southeast Asia, it’s best to keep it at a temperature of 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you can, transfer your plant to a more hospitable location in your home. As a bonus, misting them can assist keep the humidity level they prefer, which should make them even more energetic.

5. Nutrient Deficiency

Your plant’s leaves yellowing could be caused by a lack of nourishment. If you don’t give your elephant ear plant enough food, it will suffer.

The yellowing of the top leaves will likewise begin earlier than the rest of the plant. The nutrients you are feeding your plant must be balanced if it looks like this.

How to fix it?

Insufficient fertilizer is unquestionably a concern. Feeding your plant some plant food is all that is needed to get it back on track. The package’s instructions should be followed as closely as possible, though. Too much fertilizer can burn a plant and create discoloration, so be sure to follow the directions on the container carefully.

If you intend to keep the elephant ears as a houseplant, be sure to get a houseplant fertilizer as well as seasonal fertilizer. Adding fertilizer to your plants in the fall and winter is unnecessary, and it could even be harmful to their well-being. A soil test kit can help you figure out what nutrients your plant needs the most. Restoring your plant’s lush, green appearance is as simple as meeting its nutrient requirements. If feasible, use organic fertilizer.

6. Quality of Water

Mineral toxicity is a problem for elephant ear plants. The leaves of these plants are often a sign of their sadness.

Elephant ears yellow spots are caused by mineral or tainted water.

Using filtered or distilled water would be a good idea. Plants are less likely to be affected by this type of water.

How to fix it?

Tap water and rainwater should be treated with a few drops of dechlorinating. It helps to counteract the compounds that cause leaf yellowing. It’s recommended to use filtered or purified water to water the plants, rather than tap water.

7. Pests and Diseases 

Spider mites and other sap-sucking parasites can really deplete a plant’s water supply. Because of this, Elephant Ears that are stressed or weak are more vulnerable to pest infestations. Yellowing leaflets and fronds are the plant’s first sign of this issue. The bugs Scale, Mealybugs, Aphids, or Spider mites can attack your plant in indoor settings.

How to fix it?

First and foremost, you should do anything to maintain your plant dust-free from the very beginning. Spray the Elephant Ear with warm, soapy water before planting to keep insects away from your delicate plant (every few weeks). The bugs that ravage your plant and speed up yellowing will be prevented by using this product.

The problem is that you’ve already been infested. You can now use Neem oil or ultra-fine pesticide oil. Pests and their eggs can be killed with the use of these products.

8. Plant Aging

Fortunately, not all of your Elephant Ear’s yellow leaves are an issue. A few simply occur as a result of the plant’s normal aging process or as it goes into dormancy. In order to promote new growth, your plant is exfoliating its old leaves.

You can assume that your plant is just shedding old leaves to focus more energy on new growth if only older leaves are affected, particularly those on the bottom side of your plant’s stem.

How to fix it?

Even though yellow leaves may not be a problem, you should nonetheless thoroughly examine your plant to ensure that you haven’t overlooked anything.

9. Poor Soil Conditions

In the same way as watering, you should be aware that discoloration might be caused by poor soil conditions. To avoid over-watering, the soil you use should be porous and well-draining, as previously suggested. Soil that has been broken down into crumbs should do the trick. Your plant’s corms will be harmed if you place it in rocky soil.

How to fix it?

Elephant ears thrive in soil with a pH that is just right. Acidic soil, ranging in pH from 5.5 to 6.5, is ideal for these plants. The plant’s health can be harmed if it is exposed to more than this level.

If your plants aren’t able to get all of the nutrients they need because they’re planted in soil with the wrong pH, no amount of fertilizer will help. You may test your soil’s pH with a soil test kit. Many of these solutions also provide instructions on how to modify the pH level of your soil to achieve the best results.

If your soil lacks organic matter, your plant will not receive the nutrients it needs to thrive. There could be a shortage of organic matter in your soil, which could lead to the yellowing of your plant as a result of a deficiency in nutrients.

10. Acclimation

Acclimatization could be causing this plant’s yellowing. Ensure that all other factors have been ruled out before making this determination. It’s normal for newly purchased plants to be a little startled when placed in a new environment.

Because they were raised in a greenhouse, they may have difficulty adjusting to a new environment. The lower leaves’ color has turned yellow. Perhaps your new plant just needs some time to get used to its new surroundings.

How to fix it?

Acclimatization is a natural process that requires your assistance, no matter how spectacular your plant appears to be. Keep your plant in good health by following the advice we’ve provided here, and you’ll soon see a noticeable improvement.

It should be able to adapt to its new surroundings in a few weeks. This will soon stop, and new growth will begin to appear. As long as you’re patient and on top of its treatment, it should recover quickly.

11. Over Fertilizing

The fact that over-fertilizing your Elephant Ear plant can also cause its leaves to turn yellow.

Although these plants require frequent feeding in order to maintain their enormous foliage and avoid leaf discoloration, overdoing it may lead to difficulties, such as a lack of foliage growth.

How to fix it?

Use a nitrogen-rich water-soluble fertilizer, which will promote leaf formation and expansion.

Only once a month is good to use the fertilizer. Use it less frequently to avoid causing over-fertilization, which can cause yellowing of the plant’s foliage.

Foliar yellowing can be caused by a lack of nitrogen. However, it’s likely to appear in a different way. While the older leaves may turn yellow, a young leaf’s color will be relatively pale green.

12. Lack of Room to Grow

Looking at the leaves, if you see yellow patches covering the entire surface, the root structure is caught in the pot and can’t expand. If the root structure does not have enough room to grow, the yellowing leaves will die and fall off.

How to fix it?

The solution is to repot the plant and avoid making the same mistakes again.

13. Dormancy

Another reason is that the plant is going into dormancy for the season. There will no longer be the same vivid green color on the leaves of elephant ear plants as they prepare to go into dormancy.

How to fix it?

Cut back the yellow leaves and wait for them to grow back in the spring, as instructed in this scenario. It’s possible that the elephant ear plant’s leaves will turn yellow depending on the season.

The good news is that if dormancy is the problem, there isn’t much you can do. When the temperature gets cooler, this is a normal occurrence.

14. Transplant Shock

Leaves yellowing of elephant ears plant may also be due to this. When you simply repot a plant, this is a stressful moment for the plant. You can alleviate this problem to some extent by performing a thorough repotting of your plant and then placing it in the shade for one week following the repotting.

How to fix it?

As soon as feasible, a plant that needs to be relocated outside and fertilized should be done so. It’s best to repot a houseplant into a larger pot.

15. Root Damage

Yellowing elephant ears might result from root damaging as well. Many factors contribute to this, including using a container that is too small, scooping the soil too hard, and even root rot.

When a plant has outgrown its container, its roots get compacted. Elephant ear plants can quickly outgrow their containers, making them difficult to maintain. Like oxygen, water, and nutrient circulation is impeded, the leaves may become yellow and drop.

How to fix it?

You can detect whether your plant is too big for its pot by looking at its bottom tray. Repotting is necessary if the roots are visible. This is a great way to revive your plant. Check the roots frequently as your plant grows so that you can repot it frequently enough to ensure it has enough space.

Cutting down the roots a bit can also help. To avoid root damage in landscape plantings, make sure the soil is well-aerated. It doesn’t matter if you’re growing your plants indoors or out, utilizing soil that drains well can assist minimize root compaction.

Note the color of the roots on your plant when you examine them. A delicate, creamy golden hue denotes healthy roots. If the roots are discolored and there is a foul odor, this could be a sign of rot. It’s time to get-go of your plant and starts a new one, no matter how heartbreaking it may be.

Should I cut off the yellow leaves of the Elephant Ear plant?

There’s no turning back once your Elephant Ear plant’s leaves turn yellow. If the condition persists, these leaves will fall off.

You can go ahead and remove these leaves, as they will all die off at some point in the future anyhow. It’s imperative that you use a clean and sharp blade to remove them completely from the base.

A gentle but firm tug may also be all that is needed to remove the leaf. For the sake of keeping pests and fungal leaf disease under control, cutting off infested or diseased leaves is recommended.

Can Elephant Ear leaves turn green again?

After the leaves of the Elephant ear begin to turn yellow, it will never return to its original green color again.

Identifying the root reason for your elephant ear leaves becoming yellow is the most important step in preventing further yellowing. New, healthy leaves will eventually replace the yellowing ones if proper care conditions are maintained.

Top Elephant Ear varieties to grow

Many kinds are available, ranging from the smallest heart-shaped leaves to the largest arrowheads, with a variety of leaf forms, colors, and textures to choose from. As a result of their popularity as garden plants, many are also excellent houseplants. Here are 5 Elephant Ears varieties to grow in your garden.

1. Colocasia Esculenta Diamond Head

There is a beautiful sheen to Diamond Head’s broad, blue-black leaves, which reflect light. Grow it in full light for the greatest color. 3 to 4 feet tall, with leaves up to 2 feet wide; mature plants.

2. Colocasia Esculenta Black Magic

With red and orange blossoms, as well as delicate yellows, pinks, and white, the leaves’ deep, blue-black hues look fantastic. Colocasia bulbs can be planted in the spring, and by the end of the summer, the plants will be 3 to 5 feet tall.

3. Colocasia Esculenta Mojito

The blue-black splotches and dashes of Mojito’s variegated leaves will captivate you. It’s impossible to compare two leaves because they’re all unique. Mojito, like other elephant ears, requires a warm, moist soil environment.

4. Colocasia Esculenta Black Stem       

With its burgundy-black stems and arrow-shaped, teal blue leaves, this plant is as exciting as it is beautiful. In colder climates, the best place for Black Stem to thrive is in a container that is kept in a warm, sheltered spot.

5. Caladium Red Flash

Bright crimson veins and pink dots adorn the elephant ear-shaped leaves of Caladium ‘Red Flash’. This elephant ear plant’s leaves appear to have been sprayed with bright red paint. As compared to the other Caladium kinds, this one is the most tolerant of the sun.

Watch how to repot Elephant Ear houseplant | Video

Top 5 FAQs & answers related to Elephant ears turning yellow: 15 reasons and how to fix them

How much sunlight does an elephant ear need?

Because Elephant Ears grow in the tropics, they can’t handle any frost. When the soil temperature rises, they begin to grow. Select a place that receives at least six hours of sunlight a day and has rich, wet organic soil.

What is the best time to repot an elephant ear?

It’s best to repot your Elephant Ears plant every few years if you see that the roots are growing out of the container or that the soil is depleted of nutrients. Your plant should be moved into a larger grow pot if you want it to expand.

How do know elephant ears need water?

Keeping the soil equally moist but not saturated is the goal of watering. When the earth begins to dry out, sprinkle some water on it. In the event that you overwater your Elephant Ear plant, it will weep or drop water from the tip of one of its leaves.

How often do I fertilize my elephant ears?

Keep the soil moist, but not damp, and apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every two to three weeks.

What happens to elephant ears indoors?

You may also encounter a problem with your alocasia trying to fall dormant at the end of the growing season, even if it is kept indoors. Plants in their natural habitat die back and “rest” for a few months before beginning a new growth cycle.


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