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Not all plant problems are caused by insects or diseases. Sometimes an unhealthy plant is suffering from a nutrient deficiency. Plant nutrient deficiencies often manifest as discoloration or distortion of the leaves. Unfortunately many problems have similar symptoms and sometimes it is a combination of problems. Be sure you eliminate the obvious, like poor drainage or compacted soil, before you kill your plants with kindness. But if you think your garden plants are under nourished, here's a listing of some common nutrients and their deficiency symptoms to guide you.

Comments

March 26, 2007 at 8:31 pm
(1) Fred says:

So where’s the chart?

March 27, 2007 at 12:06 pm
(2) Marie Iannotti says:

Good catch. It started out as a table, but there were so many words I just made it a bulleted list. I’ve changed the heading. Thanks for letting me know.

April 3, 2007 at 7:01 pm
(3) Prof. Greenball says:

I have several yews whose needles are slightly yellow. What would you suggest I do? Is there even a problem, please?

Thank you.

MG

April 4, 2007 at 2:32 pm
(4) Marie Iannotti says:

If it’s the inside needles that are yellowing, it’s probably just normal aging. If the outside needles and/or all the needles are yellowing, I’d take a closer look.

First rule out insects, like spider mites or scale. (Look for webbing or discolored bumps.)

If there was a lot of snow or ice piled on the shrubs this winter, it could just be die back. Or if it’s been an especially wet winter, it could be soggy roots.

Finally if the needles seem to be turning pale gradually, it’s probably a nitrogen deficiency and they need feeding. But the only way to know for sure is to take a sample to a local nursery or Cooperative Extension office and have them look at it.

May 18, 2007 at 1:37 pm
(5) Mindy says:

My ice plants are wilting,. We have received a tremendous amount of rain lately. I check to see if the soil was too wet adn I repoted the plants and still wilting. HELP

May 18, 2007 at 3:50 pm
(6) gardening says:

I think you’re going to have to give them some time to readjust.

June 19, 2007 at 9:50 pm
(7) Denise says:

The bottom half of my tomatoe plant is yellowing….too much water? or not enough nutrients?

June 20, 2007 at 2:00 pm
(8) Marie Iannotti says:

Tomato plants often yellow on the bottom. Sometimes it’s just the natural progression as the leaves age. Usually it’s some fungus that splashed up from the soil. You’ll often see spots developing or leaves curling.

I’d remove the yellowing leaves. Actually, I remove the bottom foot of leaves on all my tomato plants, once they get a couple of feet high. This limits the splashing.

June 20, 2007 at 11:19 pm
(9) TJ Daley says:

I have a hibiscus plant that I bought this year and planted outside. It gets sun 7 am-5-pm. Some of the leaves are yellowing and falling off. I see some buds, but it hasn’t bloomed yet. I see no insects but it looks as though some leaves have been eaten. Is this (yellowing) a over watering problem. I do water every night before bed. Right beside the hibiscus, I planted a peony. It has some browning at the tip of it’s leaves. In the same bed, a little further down a peony has no signs of this. Both have not bloomed yet. Could this be a drainage problem at one end of the bed?

June 25, 2007 at 3:24 pm
(10) gardening says:

It’s hard to say without seeing your plants. If you just planted the hibiscus, it’s not uncommon for a few leaves to yellow and fall. They don’t like to sit in water or even soil that is never allowed to dry out. If that’s the case in the spot you’ve planted them, you’ll continue to have problems.

Brown tips on the peony could be either dry conditions or the beginning of gray mold. If it’s very humid and the plants aren’t getting good air circulation, you’ll get this fugus disease on the leaves. It won’t kill the plant, but the leaves will get ugly. Make sure the plants aren’t crowded and dispose of all the affected leaves. You can also use a fugicide, if you wish.

If you just planted the peonies, you won’t get any flowers this year and maybe not for a few years. Peonies don’t like being disturbed and they need a period of freezing in order to set buds. Who knows what they got in the nursery.

If they’ve been in that spot for awhile and haven’t bloomed, it could be that you planted them too deeply. The crown should be only an inch or two below the soil line and that includes mulch.

And a few holes in the leaves is to be expected in a garden. You don’t want to get rid of all the insects.

If you still have questions, either post a photo on the forum or take a sample leaf to a good nursery or your local Extension office.

July 6, 2007 at 6:55 pm
(11) L. Bush says:

I just planted a rose bush in the east sun. It gets sun from 8-1. I just planted it along with some other hostas that are turning white at the edges. Could it be an overwatering problem? I followed the directions for the rosebush which suggest continuous watering for the first week. Have I overdone it on both plants? I was told I couldn’t kill the hostas, but they’re displaying signs of distress too…

July 16, 2007 at 11:15 am
(12) gardening says:

The sun exposure sounds fine for both plants. The bluish hostas are the only ones that can’t take that much sun. It’s odd, because white edges usually mean sun scortch, but with only morning sun and plenty of water, that shouldn’t be the case.

Is the soil continually wet? That’s not good for plant roots, even for newly planted plants. Let the soil dry slightly between waterings.

Otherwise, I’d suggest checking the fertility of the soil. If it’s low in organic matter, add some compost and give the plants a shot of fertlizer, like a fish and seaweed emulsion.

July 27, 2007 at 9:33 pm
(13) Pam says:

I have a “Lucky Bamboo” plant. It has tripled in size yet the leaves are yellow-green rather than green. What am I doing wrong? I am only using bottled water.

July 31, 2007 at 4:51 pm
(14) gardening says:

Have you given it any food? You could try a couple of drops of water soluble fertilizer or a hydroponic food in the water. It’s hard to know how much to add, since the plant is sitting in water. It also depends on the size of the pot, plant and roots. But start with a very little and see if the leaves don’t start to green up a bit.

November 23, 2007 at 5:18 am
(15) Alex says:

I have a lovely little plant that sits on my desk. It almost dies once when i was away and didn’t get watered by my coleagues…but then came back in full bloom (i say that, it doesn’t have flowers!). But now the leaves are getting so big they’re drooping and almost sticking together. the leaves look wet and slightly stick together and feel rubbery. Its not scale and i have no idea whats happening. Can you shed some on whats going on?
Thanks
Alex

November 26, 2007 at 10:00 am
(16) gardening says:

Alex, it’s very difficult to help without knowing what type of plant it is and seeing a photo of the problem. If the leaves are drooping, it could be that the roots have out grown the pot and aren’t able to hold on to enough water.

To really be able to help, I’d need to see a photo. If you can, post a photo of the plant over on the Forum. That way several of us can take a look and hopefully give you an answer.

November 28, 2007 at 2:27 pm
(17) Sam says:

my kumquqt plant is 5 years old and it has produced plenty of fruits. This year there are fruits on the tree butnthe leaves are yellow. what is the reason?

November 29, 2007 at 2:51 pm
(18) gardening says:

Yellow leaves can be a sign of many things. Sometimes itís just environmental stress caused by too much water, dying out or just a change in weather. If thatís the case, the leaves should show some signs of recovering when the stress factor is gone.

Often itís a nutrient deficiency. The most common culprit is a lack of nitrogen, especially with potted plants. A regular dose of fish emulsion should fix that. Spray it on the foliage, for a quick fix. If the older leaves are still green and just the new growth is yellowing, it could be a lack of iron. An all purpose fertilizer with trace minerals should correct the imbalance. But since youíre tree has fruit, it probably isnít too serious, so donít overdo the fertilizing or youíll stress it that way too and it could drop its fruit. A single feeding with the fertilizer and a spray of fish emulsion should perk it back up. If not, start looking for other symptoms, like scale on the stems or spots on the leaves.

May 30, 2008 at 4:24 pm
(19) kim says:

I am growing vegetable plants: squash,tomato,bell pepper, and eggplant in containers. I have them in direct sunlight for 4-6 hours and water every other day. I live in deep south louisiana, my problem is that my plants are wilting and leaves are yellow, I do give them miracle grow as needed. Why are they doing this and what can I do to fix it????? HELP Most plants are producing, they just dont look pretty and vibrant.

June 2, 2008 at 1:43 pm
(20) gardening says:

Make sure you’re watering deeply, when you do. Dig down at least 6 inches and see if the ground is wet down there. If not, the soil is drying out almost as soon as you finish watering.

It also sounds like maybe your soil is too lean. Rich, well-draining soil is better at keeping plants hydrated and giving them the nutrients they need. Since your plants are already in the ground, you could try top dressing or mulching with a good compost or composted manure.

June 12, 2008 at 10:42 am
(21) dottie marshall says:

I have patio tomato plants and on the top, in the center of stem there are quite a number of blossoms but the leaves around the entire mid section and also the buds are extremely wilted. They were fine no common problems are evident and the rest of the plant is fine. I have two of the same plants and they are both doing the same thing, HELP

June 13, 2008 at 4:00 pm
(22) gardening says:

If you don’t see sign of injury or perhaps something that may have burrowed into the stem, then I would suspect Fusarium wilt. This disease can cause wilting on just a section of the plant. However it will spread and I don’t know of anything to cure it. You should remove the plant so it doesn’t spread.

June 18, 2008 at 11:40 pm
(23) Kimberly says:

I’m having a terrible time with yellow leaves, dropping leaves, and wilting on my Hibiscus that I have planted in big pots. I have never raised Hibiscus before, and I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. I have 2 braided hibiscus trees and 2 bushy plants, they came in 3 gallon pots and they were beautiful when I got them. It has rained quiet a bit lately, and they wilt if they aren’t watered daily. I’m at a loss on this. Any ideas?

June 19, 2008 at 2:30 pm
(24) gardening says:

Two thoughts: Hibiscus don’t like change, especially temperature change. Since you just potted them up, it’s probably just a normal adjustment period. Try not to over pamper them and you should see new leaves coming in within a couple of weeks.

Also make sure the pots are large enough for the amount of roots the plants have. If more than 2/3s of the pot is filled with roots, the plants are going to keep drying out and wilting and they may never settle in and be happy.

June 25, 2008 at 10:40 pm
(25) Pat Giermann says:

Why are leaves on my Phaleonopsis orchid yellowing and falling off? I don’t think i overwater and i don’t let it get too dry.
This is growing inside with a south light in zone 9, So. California. Light is very filtered. Thanks!

July 1, 2008 at 4:06 pm
(26) gardening says:

Pat, unless you never feed your orchid, I doubt it’s a nutrient deficiency. The usual cause is too much light, but you say your light is filtered.

So I’d check that the crown and root are healthy looking and not buried too deeply. The roots need to get some air between waterings.

Another thing to watch out for is salt build up in the soil. Make sure that when you water, you do so until the water runs out the bottom of the pot. Don’t let the orchid sit in the excess water, but definetely flush the pot out.

July 12, 2008 at 1:12 pm
(27) Sandi says:

I’ve transplanted 2 of my grandmother’s peony bushes. Since she is no longer with us the bushes are very special to me. This is the 3rd year and still no blooms. When they come up they doesn’t spread, multiply or bloom. Only a few thin stalks. Can anyone give me a suggestion of what I should do?

July 14, 2008 at 3:26 pm
(28) gardening says:

Peonies don’t like being transplanted, so there’s usually a period of adjustment. Three suggestions though:

1) They need to be planted near the surface of the soil, no more than 2-3 inches deep. They need to get a good winter chill in order to set flower buds.

2) Make sure they’re in a spot with at least 6 hours of sun.

3) Give them some balanced flower fertilizer to get more foliage this season. The foliage will help feed the root system and hopefully give you a stronger plant next season.

July 28, 2008 at 10:33 am
(29) Sue says:

I’ve planted pumpkins this year and there are two healthy ones growing at the end of the vine, but the plant looks really poor where its main roots are. The vine is dark green and dry and the leaves are yellow or wilted. There are also lots of yellow stalks coming up from the vine, like they would be leaves, but they don’t have heads. I think I might have a vine grub, but can I save the pumpkins at the end of the vine? Are yellow leaves a sign of too much water?

July 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm
(30) gardening says:

It’s not uncommon for the older leaves near the base to yellow and wither as the season goes on. If the rest of the vine looks healthy, that’s probably the case.

If the whole plant looks in decline, you’ll need to look further. The most common causes of yellowing are lack of water and nutrients and a mildew disease that depletes the plant of nutrients. Since you asked about too much water, I’ll assume they’re getting enough. Have you fed the vines? Do you see any mottling or spotting on the yellowing leaves or any signs of white powder or fuzz?

August 4, 2008 at 3:33 pm
(31) Steve says:

O.K. I like to think that I have somewhat of a green thumb. I have (3) bell pepper plants and (2) hot pepper plant (hal’o'peano) (I’m a bad speller when it come to that) But on my green bell peppers I have (3) nice peppers on (1) plant and (5) on another that’s just getting to go. But I notice that on the (1) with (3) my leaves are / have white spots on it. With the scare of E coili, I want to make sure I’m not growing any diseae plants before I feed anyone. Can you tell me what’s happening??

August 7, 2008 at 5:37 pm
(32) gardening says:

Steve, most contamination of vegetables, like the e coli scare, occurs in processing. Unless you are using some very fresh manure, you’re plants probably just have some kind of fungus disease that isn’t too good for them, but won’t effect you. Many times they just effect the leaves and completely leave the peppers alone.

I’m not certain what the white spots are. Peppers do get mildew, but it’s not that common. Still, it’s probably a fungus and the best thing to do at this point is spray with some type of fungicide that’s labeled for use on edible plants. There are several organic fungicides out there now, like neem, Greencure and Serenade, or you can try whipping up your own baking soda recipe to use. Since it’s getting to be late in the season, you should be harvesting before the problem gets too bad.

August 14, 2008 at 4:27 pm
(33) yvonne says:

am I watering too much, need more ferilizer?

August 15, 2008 at 3:03 pm
(34) gardening says:

Yvonne, did part of your message get cut off?

August 18, 2008 at 7:18 pm
(35) rich says:

I have a bunch of outdoor potted plants on the east side of my home. The hydrangea, peony, daisies and petunias all have yellowing leaves and the petunias are yellow and shriveling, however they are still blooming. They get watered eveymorning at about 6 am. The are on an automatic watering system and have been doing exceptionally well until about three weeks ago. Nothing has changed. I tried fertilizing a week ago to no avail. Any thoughts?
Thanks.

August 19, 2008 at 3:31 pm
(36) gardening says:

Do you check the soil before you water? It could very likely be that the soil isn’t getting a chance to dry out between waterings, especially if it’s also been raining. That can be worse than forgetting to water.

September 11, 2008 at 1:01 pm
(37) Omar says:

I planted a Bottlebrush Tree in my yard 10 months ago. It is a young tree (about 8-10 ft high) it has not really flowered yet much at all. What could be the problem?

September 11, 2008 at 1:40 pm
(38) gardening says:

I would guess the tree is just too young to bloom profusely. Depending on where you are, they usually bloom sometime between late winter to late spring, so it’s not surprising it’s not blooming now. Bottlebrush trees tend to grow quickly, but they don’t really start blooming big time until about their 3rd year. So be patient.

September 30, 2008 at 1:13 pm
(39) Josh says:

I have started growing some Indigo plants from seeds in peat, and they germinated fine, popped up out the surface and their first set of leaves were fine and green. Now on their second set, they’ve developed a yellow kind of colour (to the second set) and the leaves are curling downwards and inwards, but it isn’t flopping over at all. What could be causing this? They are constantly moist which I think might be the problem.

October 3, 2008 at 8:58 pm
(40) Dan says:

I recently started growing a large vegetable garden on my outdoor porch (it’s large and in full sun in southern California). So far things are going great – I have about 20 different vegetables and the tomatoes have started fruiting. I have 2 questions please –

1) the tomatoes have thick curled leaves and the cucumbers/gourds have leaves that wilt and get very thin .. am I over-watering?

2)(most important) question – I’ve never found an answer for this. Okay – So I started all of the plants from seeds in peat pots and transplanted them into bigger containers or self-watering ones that I made. As much as I’d like to thin them, I only brought myself to thin the first few batches down to 2 – so every plant that grows in a large container is really two plants that sprout up so close to eachother that it looks like 1. I have this with cucumbers/melons/pumpkins etc… q: Is that okay – will I get the same fruit yield – or do I really really need to thin all the way to one stalk out of the dirt? And if I do need to thin to one – what do I do with the plants that are already 1-2 ft tall? Do I just kill one of them even if its started producing fruit? I cant pull it out – they are like a little family and you would think they are all one plant unless you looked up close. And finally – the one cucumber plant that is solely on its own -just one seedling- flowered a week before the rest. Is this because it had no competition? Do you think I should murder half of my plants? Help!

October 7, 2008 at 3:35 pm
(41) gardening says:

Josh, peat doesn’t have any nutrients. It’s fine as a sterile potting mix, but you’ll need to start feeding your seedlings as soon as they have a couple of true leaves. That should green them up.

October 7, 2008 at 3:44 pm
(42) gardening says:

Dan, I suspect you are watering too much. Curled leathery tomato leaves are usually the result of wet soil and cool temperatures.

The cucs could also be wilting because the roots are too wet; it’s called water wilt. Once the plants are up, you don’t have to keep the soil consistently damp. Allow the soil to dry a little between waterings, so the roots get some air.

The doubled-up plants would be fine if you plan on putting them in the ground, where they can spread out. But if you are leaving them in containers, the root competition is going to prevent the plants from getting as large as they would alone and you will probably have less fruits per plant. However, since you have more plants, you may not notice.

I know it’s hard to sacrifice plants, but sometimes it’s tough love. I’d suggest leaving them for the short term, in case something happens to some of the plants. But in the long run, you’d be better off giving them the space they need to grow. Maybe you could lift the plants and shake the roots apart, then replant separately?

October 16, 2008 at 8:28 pm
(43) Erin says:

I have a potted ficus tree -and all the leaves are starting to turn somewhat yellow and are just falling off. I haven’t changed the watering schedule and it does get filtered light. Help!

October 17, 2008 at 2:28 pm
(44) gardening says:

Erin, I would suspect too little sunlight. If it’s not getting any supplemental light, the shorter days could be signaling it to go dormant. You could give it some food, to spur new growth, and try to provide it with brighter or longer light.

October 28, 2008 at 11:03 am
(45) Taruna says:

Planted 2 Buttefly weed plants: 3″ tall in early September, in Morrisville, North Carolina area.

By end of october, all the leaves of 1 of those plants are gone. The other plant is doing fine. Although no height change / signs of growth as such in it, compared with the other plants put in at the same time..

Why leaves of 1 might have fallen?

Observation: the plant that lost it’s leaves probably receives sun from East and West directions. While the other just from East (the afternoon sun is sufficiently blocked out by the wall behind them.

November 7, 2008 at 3:46 pm
(46) gardening says:

My first guess would be that something is attacking and weakening the plant. Mealy bugs and aphids love butterfly weed. Once they start feeding, the leaves yellow and fall. Have you looked closely at the leaves of the remaining plant?

November 8, 2008 at 12:23 am
(47) Nikki says:

My tomatoes are in pots, should I let them grow tall or train them to be bushie? Is it possible to train them to do that? How often should you fertilize them?

November 8, 2008 at 3:42 pm
(48) gardening says:

Nikki, you can trim your tomatoes if you don’t want them to get too tall, but they tend to bush out on their own. You’ll still need some type of staking, even in a pot, unless you want them to trail.

You need to fertilize plants in pots more often than those in the ground, because potting soil usually doesn’t have any nutrients and all that watering tends to leech away whatever nutrients are there. Using a water soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks should be fine. I like to spray the leaves with a mix of fish emulsion and kelp or some compost tea. Just avoid giving them a fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen (the first number on the package) or you’ll get a lot of leaves and few tomatoes.

January 15, 2009 at 10:52 am
(49) eric says:

i covered my outdoor hibiscus late in the evening w/ a plastic bag that i usually use to protect it from freezing. the bag was damp/wet inside. removed the bag the next day in early afternoon and all the leaves at the top portion and outer portion are wilted and black. did the damp plastic bag cause this to happen and/or did i cover it too late in the day? what should i do?

January 15, 2009 at 3:50 pm
(50) Marie Iannotti says:

The water in the bag exacerbated the effect of cold. It’s probably just superficial damage. Remove the black leaves and any damaged stem and the plant should be fine.

January 19, 2009 at 2:07 pm
(51) Barry Weinberg says:

Hello I have newly planted vegtable garden (1 month old). Our radishes have yellow, wilted leaves and when we pulled one out, the roots looked like they were rotting. ANy suggestions?
Thank You
Barry

January 26, 2009 at 2:34 pm
(52) Marie Iannotti says:

Barry, I don’t know of too many problems that affect radishes other than insects burrowing into them. The yellow leaves are often a sign of a deficiency, like maybe nitrogen. But if they are wilting and the radishes are rotting, it sounds more like the ground is staying wet too long. Is the ground draining and allowed to remain dry periodically?

April 4, 2009 at 4:43 pm
(53) Dana Hofmann says:

I have a miniature rose bush and I bought it 10 days ago. It is flowering and budding and seems to be doing good, BUT I noticed that some of the leaves are yellowing. Why? What should I do? I have them in flower pots.

April 14, 2009 at 2:52 pm
(54) Sue Grant says:

I have a mini rose bush that I transplanted to a pot in my house. Before I filled the pot with dirt I put about 2″ of rocks at the bottom.The rose has bloomed and continues to grow but it keeps getting yellow leaves and they fall off easily–do you know why?

April 16, 2009 at 4:43 pm
(55) Marie Iannotti says:

If there are no drainage holes, it’s possible that either there’s too much water puddling down there or the roses roots have grown down into the rocks and are getting too much water. Does the soil dry out between waterings?

Another problem with growing them indoors is the lower humidity. If you think that’s the problem, the old reliable tray of pebbles with water under the pot will usually fix it.

And finally, if you’re using a synthetic fertilizer, it could be a build up of salts, especially if the water isn’t draining out of the pot.

April 30, 2009 at 12:15 pm
(56) Erin says:

I recently potted several plants in pots around my apartment and most are doing well, yeah (!)…my narcissus is hetting yellow leaves. I have mixed in a slow released food 5-3-3, and put a water-mixed in fish food to help the roots take. Now the leaves are turning yellow. It’s a house plant…could it need a window or to sit outside for a day or two?

April 30, 2009 at 4:34 pm
(57) Marie Iannotti says:

Erin, I’m not aware of a narcissus that doesn’t go dormant for the summer. What type is it?

May 3, 2009 at 12:23 am
(58) Erin D. says:

I don’t know. I has yellow flowers with points on the saucers of the cups. There is a very faint scent and they are beautiful…

May 8, 2009 at 2:41 pm
(59) Marie Iannotti says:

Erin, I still can’t think of a year long narcissus. Why don’t you post your question on the Forum. Someone there may have grown it before.

May 11, 2009 at 1:36 pm
(60) Lindsey says:

I just planted radishes last saturday and have already sprouted. I am going them in doors first. When i took the lid off to water them the leaves are completely laying down, but still green. I left the lid off thinking that would help, but still no change.

May 11, 2009 at 3:33 pm
(61) gardening says:

Lindsey, I’ve never seen that happen, but I would guess it is probably because of either the heat or the humidity. Radishes like cool air. They may bolt if grown indoors. They also need good air circulation. The leaves could be flopping down because they’re too wet, from being in a closed container. I’d suggest moving it outdoors as soon as possible.

May 31, 2009 at 9:20 am
(62) Vu says:

I have a bell pepper plant that started to wilt 4 days ago. It was raining a lot for several days. I moved the plant to my porch for a day and the leaves perked up. However the next day, it started to wilt and remained so. The soil is wet, I have tried to drain the pot as much as I can. Plant is green. Any recommendation please?

June 1, 2009 at 9:36 am
(63) Ann says:

I have a raised bed garden but the soil that was added this year it is kind of sandy and dries hard. We have also had a lot of rain lately. The problem: my bell peppers leaves are turning yellow and dropping off and my tomatoes leaves don’t seem to be as green as they should be but they look healthy otherwise. I treat the garden for bugs with soapy water and periodically with Miracle Grow. The cucumbers, pole beans (producing), & egg plant look healthy right now and the squash is producing too. Too much water? Not enough nutrients? Pull up the peppers and works some nutrients in and start over? I’m stuck…

June 9, 2009 at 3:00 pm
(64) gardening says:

Vu, it could just be water logged. But if the leaves start curling upward and yellowing, it could also be a wilt disease. Fungal disease, Verticilium and Fusarium wilt are present in the soil and can affect plants in wet soils, especially in hot climates. Unfortunately there is no cure. The only thing you can do is replace the plants and look for resistant varieties.

June 9, 2009 at 3:06 pm
(65) gardening says:

Ann, peppers can be very temperamental when they’re getting established. I wouldn’t suggest lifting them. Too much water will yellow leaves as quickly as too little. Any sort of stress will bother them when they’re young.

If you haven’t giving your plants some fertilizer yet, try giving the tomatoes and peppers a dose of something high in nitrogen, like fish emulsion, to green them up. It could just be that the new soil is either nitrogen deficient or the pH is off.

And try and keep the water regular. Since the soil gets compacted, it would be worth it to try and work in some compost, to lighten it up.

June 11, 2009 at 11:07 am
(66) rick Korpusik says:

I planted tomotoes in a 5 gallon bucket. I made my own composts and used ashes, top soil and humas. I put holes in the bottom and side of the bucket for drainage and to let the heat out of the bucket. Some of the leaves are turning yellow while others have black spots on them. Any suggestions

June 11, 2009 at 1:53 pm
(67) Marie Iannotti says:

I don’t think that’s a nutrient problem. Older tomato leaves always turn yellow. If the whole plant is leaning toward yellow, then it needs a dose of nitrogen. Fish emulsion is great for this.

The black spots indicate some type of fugal disease, which are very common with tomatoes. Remove the affected leaves. You can spray with a copper and/or sulfur based fungicide. Most all of them are considered low toxic, but make sure you get one labeled for use on edible plants.

June 12, 2009 at 5:34 pm
(68) Kim says:

Hi I have some veggies growing in buckets on my patio. They get plenty of sun since I live in FLA. My issue is yellowing leaves. I bought tomato food today an plant food which is 10-10-10. Now I am nnew to all this so I am lost.I have been told I need fertilizer but I was so confused I got the plant food to start with. Most of the fertilizer said it was for grass so I didn’t want to ge tthe wrong kind an I was dying out in the heat looking for it at lowes. Any thoughts idea wuld rock.

June 15, 2009 at 1:18 pm
(69) Marie Iannotti says:

Kim. the plant food you bought sounds fine. Just make sure the label says it’s OK to use on vegetables. That’s usually more of any issue with pesticides than food, but check just in case.

Since your veggies are getting lots of sun and heat, they’re probably growing very fast and using up their nutrients quickly. I think feeding them regularly, every 2-4 weeks, should put the green back in their leaves and perk them up.

June 16, 2009 at 10:14 pm
(70) DEBI says:

I just planted a 7 foot butterfly bush tree that was purchased from a local nursery. Now the leaves look wilted and some are turning yellow. Could it be stress from the transplant? I planted it on 6/15/09 and i have since watered it twice for about 30 minutes each time. It looked fine when we bought it. Please help

June 16, 2009 at 10:16 pm
(71) debi says:

error in my last post. I planted it on 6/14/09 not 6/15/09. it got watered on the 14th and 15th. i chose not to water today because of how it was looking. please advise

June 17, 2009 at 7:09 am
(72) gardening says:

Debi, if you’re talking about a Buddleia, 7′ tall is a large plant to transplant. It could easily be transplant shock, especially if it’s been hot and sunny. Keep it watered and you should see improvement in about a week.

June 21, 2009 at 12:31 pm
(73) karan says:

we planted some green beans and they are very tall, almost over the wall. but… they have not gotten any fowers on them yet and the stems of a lot of them have like a cluster of black stuff. there are ants running all over the place but this looks like i guess very small particles of black dots but not dots cuz you can see it’s like a growth,help

June 26, 2009 at 3:22 pm
(74) Marie Iannotti says:

Karen, it sounds like you have black aphids on your bean plants and the ants are there to eat the aphids’ honeydew. You can sometimes get rid of aphids with several strong blasts of water from the hose. I’ve had better luck spraying with insecticidal soap. But get rid of them before they do damage to your plants.

As far as not having flowers yet, tall vining beans, or pole beans, set flowers much later than bush beans. They shoot all the way up before they start blooming. Be patient. Once they start, they keep going.

July 5, 2009 at 10:55 pm
(75) Paul says:

I have some pepper plants (banana pepper, cayenne, habaŮero, etc.) that are yellowing and many that are really short. I suspect overwatering. I buried a soaker hose this year and have two or three times now left it on for 8-9 hours overnight in addition to watering several times a week and an excess of rain. I will cut back on the water now but need to rescue these plants. I added Miracle Grow 15-30-15 this evening. Did I help or harm with that fertilizer? Is there anything else I can do to fix the problem? Thanks.

July 6, 2009 at 1:54 pm
(76) Marie Iannotti says:

Paul, it could be over watering. Peppers only need about an inch of water a week, unless it’s excessively hot. The fertilizer won’t hurt, but don’t over do it.

It could also be the weather. If it’s been wet and cooler than normal, peppers plants will grow slowly and the leaves may yellow. In that case, the only thing to do is be patient and wait for warmer weather.

July 13, 2009 at 10:34 am
(77) Sam Boateng says:

We have a south facing balcony with flower pots and vegetables. They were all doing really well with lots of produce. Suddenly, they all stopped growing with the leaves of the runner beans turning a lighter green. Then the leaves started to turn yellow from bottom upward. Tomatoes are yellow at the bottom and the tops are spindly now. Have I over fed these plants or overwatered them? I did put on a lot of plant nutrients (miracle grow etc). They were doing so well but are now dying even those in the hanging baskets.

July 13, 2009 at 2:40 pm
(78) Marie Iannotti says:

Sam, it’s hard to say without seeing the plants. It does sound like you might have overfed them. Don’t exceed the package recommendations or you can burn the roots. Too much fertilizer could also explain the spindly growth.

Make sure you don’t see any other symptoms of pests or disease on the plants. If all else looks fine, cut back on the food for awhile. Only water when the plants get dry.

Remember, vegetable plants don’t grow and produce for ever. Since you say these have been producing for awhile, it could just be that they are winding down.

July 15, 2009 at 9:27 pm
(79) Terry says:

I have four large Hibiscus planted in a row in good soil- sandy bottom land near the coast in So. Calif. with sufficient drainage and regular watering (sprinklers twice weekly). Some interior branches have died off to their ends and develope a peeling of the bark noticeable when examined, at the begining point of the damage and at many points where pruning occured. No insects or obvious fungus. Has anybody seen this thing? Please advise.

July 16, 2009 at 9:54 am
(80) Justme says:

There is no chart.

July 16, 2009 at 12:41 pm
(81) Marie Iannotti says:

Justme, the formatting has changed, but the “chart” is the listing by nutrients, at the bottom of the article.

July 27, 2009 at 6:28 pm
(82) Steve says:

Something is eating the flowers on my pumpkin vines. The vines are a nice size and each vine has many blooms, but we find the blooms lying on the ground close to the bare stems. A neighbor thinks it could be a groundhog. What do you think? If you agree is there a home remedy repellent to keep them away?

July 31, 2009 at 5:20 pm
(83) gardening says:

Steve, I think if something were eating the flowers, you wouldn’t see the flowers lying there.

Squash blossoms only last 1 day. The male flowers tend to drop off, leaving just the tip of the stem. Hopefully there were some female flowers around and they got pollinated. The female flowers dry out on the ends of the fruits and then fall off.

August 5, 2009 at 7:44 am
(84) Michele says:

Why are there white spots on the top side of my pumpkin plant’s leaves? Does this mean the plant is diseased?

August 5, 2009 at 12:29 pm
(85) Marie Iannotti says:

Michele, some squash plants have naturally mottled leaves. If it looks like it’s getting worse and it rubs off, it could be powdery mildew. Powdery mildew doesn’t kill the plant, but you could spray it with this baking soda mixture to keep it from spreading, if it worries you.

August 18, 2009 at 8:03 am
(86) Imran Malik says:

Hello, I live in central indiana. I lost two viburnums in a cluster of 3. The leaves gradually turned yellow and the plants died with leaves turning brown. Leaves never dropped. The 3rd one is actually doing great however not sure if it will do the same some time later. It took several months for the plants to die. Now I have a witch hazel ~30ft away with yellowing leaves. veins are still green but it is yellow in between veins. All of these plans are under mature trees (part shade) as I live in a wooded area. Any ideas?

Regards,

Imran

August 18, 2009 at 3:00 pm
(87) Debbie says:

I have 3 potted pepper plants that I planted about 8 weeks ago. In the beginning I had did a bit of a problem with something eating tiny pin holes in the fruit but I seem to have controlled that with a mixture of dish detergent and water. One of the plants has never produced many blooms and leans. I noticed several days ago that the plant was wilted very bad and a few of the leaves had fallen off, today I checked the plant and many of the leaves have now fallen off and it looks as if something has been biting them off rather than them falling off. Could it be some kind of bug or would the leaves just break and fall off by themselves. I look forward to any advice you may offer. Thanks!

August 19, 2009 at 2:03 pm
(88) Marie Iannotti says:

Debbie, I doubt something is biting the leaves and leaving them there. They’d probably eat at least part of the leaves.

Peppers tend to drop their leaves when they feel stressed. That could be drought or too much water. Since they’re in pots, it could be that the roots have gotten so large that the plants dry out more quickly. Or if it’s been very rainy by you, it could be that the roots aren’t getting enough air and the soil needs a chance to dry out.

Stressed peppers are also slow to set flowers. I think once you figure out if there’s too much or too little water, the plants will rebound.

August 19, 2009 at 2:10 pm
(89) Marie Iannotti says:

Imran, there are quick a few thing that will cause leaves to yellow and die. It’s almost impossible to diagnose without seeing the plants.

Some of the most common causes are lack of nitrogen, too much water or wet soil and damaged roots. Since these plants are under mature trees, I’m wondering if they are losing the competition for water and nutrients. I would try fertilizing the witch hazel and see if it improves. If not, take a sample down to your Cooperative Extension office or a good nursery. They would have a better chance of diagnosing after seeing it.

August 31, 2009 at 5:49 pm
(90) Debbie says:

I have several bell pepper plants that are dropping leaves due to overwatering. We have been getting a lot of rain in my area and it has been raining nearly all day today. I decided to move my plants under the patio, in doing so a coupld of the smaller peppers fell off. Are they okay to eat and will they turn red on a window seal? Many thanks

August 31, 2009 at 6:50 pm
(91) gardening says:

Debbie, that’s a good idea, getting your pepper plants out of the rain. The ones that fell are fine to eat. They probably won’t turn red, once they’ve fallen. You’d be better off eating them green and fresh.

September 23, 2009 at 5:36 pm
(92) Therese says:

I have seen yellow butterflies hovering over my broccoli plants. I noticed today that they have laid eggs. How can I safely remove or kill the butterfly eggs before they hatch. There are many of them so smashing each one is not an option. Also, is there a way to deter the butterflies from laying the eggs. Thank you

September 24, 2009 at 2:15 pm
(93) Marie Iannotti says:

Therese, it sounds like cabbage worm butterflies have found your borccoli. I don’t know of any method to kill the eggs, other than removal or squishing, but Bt will work on the green larvae. It’s especially effective when they’re first hatched. Spray it on the leaves and let them munch for awhile. You’ll lose some leaves, but they’ll be gone before they get to the buds.

The best way to keep cabbage butterflies off broccoli is to cover them with row cover, so they can’t land and lay their eggs

October 30, 2009 at 12:38 pm
(94) Newbie says:

I am growing brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and a few different lettuces in container planters. I noticed a infestation of aphids and used a mixture of dish soap and water to try to kill the bugs. Over a few days period the leaves of my once very healthy plants have started to turn a bit brown. Could I have suffocated the leaves by using to much soap? Does this effect the growth of the vegetables or the overall health of the plant. Many thanks!!!

October 30, 2009 at 3:21 pm
(95) Marie Iannotti says:

Hi Newbie. It’s possible you used a bit too much soap and it burned the leaves. That’s a risk when we mix up our own concoctions, especially if the soap has other ingredients, like fragrance. The browning could also be from the aphid damage.

It shouldn’t do any permanent damage, although the plants will need some time to recover. It would be wise to spray the plants well with straight water, just to remove any remaining soap residue. This will also zap the aphids again.

November 23, 2009 at 3:40 pm
(96) gina says:

i have a potted tree. the leaves started falling off and the tree is almost bear now. Do i need to trim the tree and roots? Do i re-pot the tree? What should i do?

November 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm
(97) gardening says:

Gina, I don’t think pruning or re-potting are needed now. There are several reasons a plant will drop its leaves and most are stress related. Usually it has to do with less than optimal conditions. New trees brought home from the greenhouse don’t like the low humidity indoors. It could be the heat is blowing on your tree an drying it out. Or maybe a draft from a window or door.

If you’ve checked that there are no insect or disease problems, check that you’re giving it the right lighting, water and humidity. Give it some time to recuperate and resist the urge to kill it with kindness. Water sparingly and you should see new leaves coming on in 2-4 weeks.

February 14, 2010 at 3:48 am
(98) Andrew says:

Hi Marie, can root pruning be the cause of yellowing leaves & nutrient difficiency? I recently got a small tree (ervatamia divaricata) transplanted into my balcony. In the process, the nursery contractor pruned the roots and branches. Shoots started growing within a week, and now, a month later, I noticed symtoms similar to molybdenum deficiency you described in your chart. I’m wondering shld I leave my tree alone for a while? Also, what wld be a good source of molybdenum? Thks

February 16, 2010 at 12:17 pm
(99) Marie Iannotti says:

Andrew, roots are often pruned when a tree has to be moved. Removing some of the branches at the same time takes some of the stress of the plant, since it won’t have to work so hard sustaining the top of the tree, while the roots regrow.

I would suspect your tree just needs time to adjust. Make sure it stays well watered, but not sitting in wet soil.

If it’s been planted in a container and the potting soil doesn’t contain any type of nutrients or fertilizer, you can feed it with a water soluble food labeled for trees and shrubs, but don’t over do it. More is not going to help it. I don’t know of any high molybdenum fertilizer available to home gardeners. But if the label says it contains trace minerals, it should have everything your tree needs.

February 27, 2010 at 7:56 am
(100) Stiles says:

I recently planted several different types of pepper plants from seed and did not mark the seeds. Now that the seedlings are growing and I will be transplanting them the containers soon I am worried that I will not be able to tell the difference between the plants. I planted jalapeno, bell and banana peppers. I have heard that you should not plant hot peppers right next to other peppers. Is there any way to tell the difference in the plants by the leaves or do I have to wait until they produce peppers. Any help is appreciated. Many thanks…

March 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm
(101) Bill Lindstrom says:

I have several bottle brush shrubs that use to be very dark green in color with many bright red flowers. Last season the color started to fade and is now more yellow than green. Someone suggested adding chelated iron. What do you suggest.
Thanks

March 2, 2010 at 3:28 pm
(102) gardening says:

Stiles, pepper plants look pretty much the same when they’re starting out. I don’t think you’ll be able to tell until the peppers form.

It’s true, you may get some cross pollinating that will add some zing to your sweet peppers. Hopefully you at least know what groups to keep separate.

March 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm
(103) gardening says:

Bill, bottle brush shrubs are sensitive to a lack of iron, but it might be that they can’t access the iron that’s already there. If the soil is frequently wet or if you’ve been using a synthetic fertilizer that leaves a lot of salt in the soil, it could be inhibiting the shrub’s ability to absorb iron.

If either of these is the case, I’d fix them first. You can flush the salt out of the soil and switch fertilizers. But a dose of iron wouldn’t hurt as a preventative measure.

March 26, 2010 at 2:54 pm
(104) Dave says:

I have some marijuana that has yellow leaves. I have lights on them on a 24 hour cycle with a fan blowing. I don’t think the lights are too close. What could be the problem? (I am feeding them in accurate amounts.)

March 26, 2010 at 3:25 pm
(105) Marie Iannotti says:

Dave, I can honestly say I know nothing about growing marijuana, but I don’t know of any plants that enjoy having lights on them 24 hours. I would suspect they are being depleted of all nutrients, if they’re growing non-stop.

March 27, 2010 at 9:55 am
(106) Dave says:

Since I added plant food a few days ago, I have noticed many of the leaves turning back to green. Thank you.

April 8, 2010 at 1:15 pm
(107) Deborah says:

I planted several spinach plants in a container in the fall. I noticed recently that the leaves were covered in small yellow spots. What could be causing this? I cut all the leaves off because I noticed a colony of aphids munching away. What can I do to prevent the spots once the plant starts to produce again. Also, how do I know when the plant is no longer making edible spinach? Thank you for any advice you may offer.

April 9, 2010 at 8:38 am
(108) Marie Iannotti says:

Deborah, the yellow spots on spinach are usually a fugal leaf spot disease. It happens a lot in cool, damp weather. The crinkled leaf varieties tend to be a bit more resistant.

It would help if you can give the plants more space between them, so they dry off during the day. You could also use a fungicide labeled for edible plants, if it’s a bad problem.

As for the aphids, blasting them with water would be the best option, as long as it’s a warm day and the plants can dry. I’m always hesitant to use any kind of insecticide on leafy crops, but insecticidal soap is very safe and effective on aphids.

April 22, 2010 at 9:37 am
(109) shepherd says:

i have 4 bell pepper plants next to a summer squash and cucumber plant in my small backyard garden. the peppers seem to be doing fine, while the squash and cucumber’s leaves are slowly turning yellow/ brown. we’ve not had any rain in about a week, with temps in the upper 80′s. i’m watering in the evening, when the sun isn’t directly on the garden, and the only fertilizer i use is organic worm castings. what advice can you give this eager gardener?

April 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm
(110) gardening says:

The worm castings should be providing enough nitrogen, if you’re giving adequate amounts. Does the soil get a chance to dry out during the day? Wet soil can cause yellowing faster than dry soil. The roots can’t access air and start to rot.

If it’s just the oldest leaves that are yellowing, don’t worry about it. These are the seed leaves, or cotyledons, and they dry and fall off once the true leaves start growing.

The only other thing I can think of is an insect feeding on the leaves. Check closely for something like aphids or white flies.

May 18, 2010 at 3:05 pm
(111) Marilyn Iverson says:

Yeh, where’s the chart!!

May 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm
(112) Marie Iannotti says:

Marilyn, it’s in the article. Click on the link. It’s bullet points instead of boxes, so it’s easier to read.

May 20, 2010 at 12:12 pm
(113) Blisco says:

Hello everybody, Nice forum here about yellow leaves!
I have the same problem with a russian vine (Fallopia Aubertii).Two years ago we put some ashes in the ground and since then the leaves are getting yellow and red some weeks after their born. I suppose that the ground now it’s too acid. In any case I dont know what to do. Any suggestion ? Thank you for your help.

May 24, 2010 at 1:41 pm
(114) Marie Iannotti says:

Blisco, wood ash tends to lower soil pH, so your soil pH could be to high for the vine to access nutrients. Or it could just have been too much ash at one time and the plant needed to adjust.

Your bet best would be to get your soil tested and make adjustments from there.

June 10, 2010 at 3:36 pm
(115) Mark says:

I have a yellow squash I recently transplanted into a hydroponic pot because of crowding. It and another I moved wilt during the day as the two I left close together stay strong. I read that some wilting is normal during the heat of the day. Should I be worried? Might they not be getting enough nutrients during this period?

June 11, 2010 at 2:04 pm
(116) Marie Iannotti says:

Mark, are your plant’s root constantly wet? Roots kept constantly wet won’t be able to access oxygen and can build up too much Carbon dioxide. This can cause them to wilt and can even cause them to rot and die. They call it water wilt. You’ll see it happen a lot after long periods of rain and in poor draining soil.

June 12, 2010 at 9:17 pm
(117) Pattie says:

I have a 8 year old viburnum bush that has flourished until this year. It is over 7 feet tall and is surrounded on 2 sides by spruce trees. this year, several of the branches have lost their leaves and I noticed the bark is peeling. The bush bloomed in the spring. Is it nutrient deficiency, bugs, deer or overcrowding that is the likely culprit.

June 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm
(118) rosstinghawk says:

I have thin webbing on my house plant with small orange dots within them They do not seem to move. The webbing is thin and spreading through out my plants. I can remove the webbing. I know what spider mites look like and these are not them. I have used insecticidal soap, but It damages my begonias. they cover the middle of my elephant ears.
?????

June 21, 2010 at 4:47 am
(119) marilyn says:

my fruit trees ,horsechestnut,grapevine sunflowers all seem to have rust marks on their leaves , i have tried a rust treatment on the fruit trees it does nt seem to be doing any thing , also the leaves are drooping .thesunflowers seem to have black mold on the leaves .any ideas ?

June 21, 2010 at 3:34 pm
(120) gardening says:

Pattie, the symptoms you describe strike me as a lack of water. It could be that the spruces are soaking up all the moisture. I’d try giving it some supplemental water and if it doesn’t improve in a couple of weeks, take a sample to your local Cooperative Extension or a good nursery.

June 21, 2010 at 3:47 pm
(121) gardening says:

rosstinghawk, spider mites can be orange, especially in cool weather. If there’s webbing, it’s probably spider mites.

If you don’t want to use soap, shower the plants off and wipe the leaf surfaces completely. You’ll need to repeat this a few times over the next couple of weeks, but it should get them under control. Keep the infested plants away from other plants.

June 23, 2010 at 8:38 am
(122) rose says:

Hello I have a thalictrum plant in a pot it seems happy enough apart from it hasnt flowered yet and the bottom leaves are yellow. Do you think its got too big for the pot? Its a medium terracotta pot but it has been there for a year. I have given it a feed a while ago without an awful lot of change.It should be happy in the part sun part shaded postion i have put it in as I bought it as a shade loving plant.

July 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm
(123) Debbie says:

I planted a zucchini plant from seed this year. The plant has been doing great and producing nice fruit. I went out of town for a week and had a friend watering. She watered every other day. The plant looks fine but the fruit are now long and pear shaped. The end of one is quite a bit smaller and a dull green / yellow color. What could have happened in the week I was away and are they okay to eat. Thank you for any advice you can offer

July 2, 2010 at 10:57 am
(124) Diane says:

This is my first year with a garden. My green pepper plants look very thin – not thick bushy plants like I expected. In fact, they don’t even look like they could support a pepper. Is this normal? They are about 1 month old, but not getting full. Or are they just too young yet to expect anything? Thanks!

July 2, 2010 at 3:02 pm
(125) gardening says:

Marilyn, rust is ugly, but it doesn’t usually harm the tree. It’s almost impossible to eradicate completely, but fungicides with copper do the best job. Unfortunately, these are used for prevention, not once you see the spots. So let the trees be for this year. Just make sure they get plenty of water and a little food. Then clean up all the fallen leaves and dispose of them in the fall. Through down a layer of compost around the base, to eat up some of the remaining spores and spray early next spring, to prevent re-infestation.

As for the sunflowers, look for aphids or ants. The mold is probably growing on their honeydew.

July 2, 2010 at 3:04 pm
(126) gardening says:

Rose, I wouldn’t worry too much about the lower leaves yellowing. The older leaves eventually give out. You could prune them, if you like.

I’d make sure the plant isn’t too pot bound. Can you lift it a little, and see if the roots are taking over? Other than that, I’d recommend you try giving it a bit more sun. It’s young and it might need some encouragement.

July 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm
(127) gardening says:

Diane, peppers can be slow starters, especially in cool weather. I’m sure they’ll fill out soon.

A little extra high nitrogen fertilizer, early in the season, gives them a bit of a boost. After that, ease off on the nitrogen and focus on phosphorous and potassium.

July 2, 2010 at 3:17 pm
(128) gardening says:

Debbie, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a pear-shaped zucchini. But it sounds like your zucchini have just gotten over ripened. Like cucumbers, they’ll start to turn yellow when they go do seed.

If the new zucchini are fine, there’s nothing to worry about. If it happens again, I’d suggest having your soil pH tested.

July 11, 2010 at 9:40 pm
(129) Clare lukes says:

I have 5 coastal redwoods that are about 2o feet and we live at 3700 feet and we got alot of snow last year and some of the trees have quite a few yellow branches on the trees.. What do you suggest?

July 14, 2010 at 3:57 pm
(130) Marie Iannotti says:

Clare, if the branches initially had green leaves that are changing to yellow, the trees probably just need a little all purpose fertilizer with a good amount of nitrogen. If the snow had damaged the branches, they probably wouldn’t have leafed out at all.

July 24, 2010 at 3:45 pm
(131) mykol says:

Dawn Redwood. (Metsequoia glyptostroboides)
Size – about 2 & half to 3 foot.

I recently recieved 2 Dawn Redwoods, planted in seperate five gallon buckets (after i let them soak in sun pured water until leaves started to show) with the same mixture of soil. (equal parts -forest dirt, potting soil, topsil, and manure (w/o smell).

One is doing great.
The other is not so well.
Also, both plants are in same location.

The tips of the leaves are faded and curling, becoming dry.
Why?

July 24, 2010 at 5:43 pm
(132) Mykol says:

my bad…they are not dry nor brittle.
just faded and curled.

July 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm
(133) lillie burton says:

i ve two beautiful butterfly bushes but all their leaves are turning yellow and i dont know what to do

July 26, 2010 at 6:10 am
(134) Marie Iannotti says:

Mykol, I’m not that experienced with Dawn redwoods, but if the roots of the tree are OK, it could still be transplant shock. My only other guess would be too much water. If the soil is constantly moist, the roots won’t get any air.

July 26, 2010 at 6:14 am
(135) Marie Iannotti says:

Lillie, the most common causes for yellowing leaves are soil that is either too wet, dry for too long or too much fertilizer applied to a stressed, dry plant.

Heavy soil and a lot of rain or sandy soil with infrequent and irregular watering are the usual culprits.

July 30, 2010 at 10:18 am
(136) Marlene says:

Every year my petunias get these little black specks on them and they become very sticky and finally die out is this some kind of insect. I sprayed them with a bug spray but it didn’t seem to help

July 30, 2010 at 2:49 pm
(137) linda says:

I agree with Fred, where is the chart??????????????

July 30, 2010 at 4:05 pm
(138) gardening says:

Linda, did you click on the link? As I explained to Fred, “It started out as a table, but there were so many words I just made it a bullet list. Iíve changed the heading. Thanks for letting me know.”

August 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm
(139) gardening says:

Marlene, that’s hard to say, but I’ pretty sure it’s not a nutrient deficiency.

Lot’s of things cause black dots on petunias. The leaves are always a little sticky and sometimes the spots are nothing more than soil, seeds or insect droppings that are caught on the leaves.

Sometimes they are insect damage. Some insects, like flea beetles, feed by piercing holes in the leaves and the holes turn black.

Petunias are also susceptible to several viruses. Unfortunately, there are no cures for viruses. Since your plants are dying back, it could well be a virus. It could also be you’re spraying too much insecticide, over watering to compensate (and rotting the roots) or it might simply be too hot for your petunias.

August 25, 2010 at 4:05 pm
(140) Deborah says:

I have several tomato plants and they have been doing well until about 2 weeks ago. I noticed many of the stems were shriveling and dying at a rapid pace. They seem to grow new growth rather quickly but the new growth also seems to eventually wither away. I pruned about 75% of each plant yesterday and noticed the leaves look as if they are covered in a yellow powder and the stalks look like they are covered in dirt. I would throw them in the trash but since they are still producing new growth I am hoping they can be saved. Any ideas what could be causing this and how to correct it? Is it to late in the season to even try? Thank you for any advice you may offer.

August 26, 2010 at 5:15 am
(141) Marie Iannotti says:

Deborah, it sounds like some kind of fungus is spreading rapidly. There are so many this time of year, it would be hard to say. You could slow it down by pruning out the worst leaves and spraying the plants with a fungicide, like copper or lime sulfur. Most tomatoes start going downhill in the fall, but it might buy you some time.

September 15, 2010 at 3:08 am
(142) Cheryl in Abu Dhabi says:

Your list of nutrient problems is great. After reading so many posts asking about “where is the chart?” I think I figured out the problem. Those people are only seeing the first paragraph of the article. They don’t realize they have to click on the title to see the full article, which includes the very lengthy list.

September 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm
(143) Marie Iannotti says:

Cheryl in Abu Dhabi (what a great moniker), I think you’re right. Somehow the last link got lost. Thanks for noticing.

October 24, 2010 at 2:37 pm
(144) lynne says:

I don’t know what kind of plant my mom has but she is trying to find out why it has yellow spots on the leaves. The spots are also bumpy

October 25, 2010 at 1:37 pm
(145) gardening says:

Lynne, it’s almost impossible to say, without seeing it. Why don’t you post a photo of it on the Forum and we’ll take a look.

March 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm
(146) Richard Carlisle says:

Dear Marie Iannotti,

For decades I’ve been formulating and perfecting a better hydroponic nutrient for tomatoes and recently found it’s fantastic for rooting and growing mini roses in vases indoors in winter … please see my youtubes at richardcarlisle1; the first few are good illustrations of the nutrient’s potential and further info is available at my website LIQUIDSOIL.ORG.

Please let me know how interesting it seems and whether I could send a supply of my product to try for yourself.

I’ve appreciated all the information you have been generously providing to so many interested gardeners.

Thank you, Richard Carlisle

March 31, 2011 at 1:05 pm
(147) gardening says:

Richard, I am not at all experienced in hydroponics, so I really can’t give you any feedback. I’m a hands in the dirt type, but it does look interesting and I wish you the best of luck getting the word out.

June 9, 2011 at 9:03 am
(148) Lillian says:

I have new rose bushes planted in large pots outdoors. I have found a powdery white spider eating my new flowering buds. One bush is a Kennedy rose and the other bush is a climbing wild rose. What can I use Naturally to keep the new buds from being eaten before they can totally bloom?

June 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm
(149) Marie Iannotti says:

Lillian, I don’t know of any spiders that eat plants. They’re predators.

The only powdery insect I can think of is scale. They can be sprayed with horticultural oil, but it’s most effective in the spring. There’s more info here.

June 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm
(150) Lillian says:

If the spider wasn’t eating the rose bud, then what does eat rose buds? How can I prevent the buds from being eaten? I would prefer a home remendy.

June 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm
(151) Lillian says:

I also have a problem with something eating the leaves of my hosta plants. I have new gladiolas growing amongst the hosta’s, I don’t want them to be eaten when they start to bloom. Is there a natural treatment I can use to keep them safe, and be able to enjoy the glads when they bloosum?

June 18, 2011 at 10:32 pm
(152) BradF says:

I’ve got ice plants on a small hillside behind my apt. At the top of the hill they are green and full. But in the middle and bottom section they are now rather yellowing. (Perhaps more yellow-green than outright yellow, certainly in comparison to the nice and dark green section at the top.)

I don’t THINK the difference in sun each section gets (there are some trees above) is THAT different. So my not-particularly-horticultural gut tells me it’s a soil issue. If so, how can I correct this? If not, what do you think the problem could be?

July 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm
(153) Marie Iannotti says:

Brad, somehow your post eluded me. Sorry I’m so late responding. I can’t say for sure without seeing them, but my guess, from what you describe, would be a drainage issue. If you had a rainy season, the top of the hill would dry faster than the lower levels. I hope they’re doing better now.

May 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm
(154) jake says:

Hi, ive planted butternut squash indoors andwhen they grew their leaves are yellowy why is this is this because of the lack of sun ?
cheers jake

May 24, 2012 at 6:59 am
(155) gardening says:

Jake, more likely it needs some fertilizer. Container plants aren’t getting any food from their soil. And if they are close to artificial lights, they’ll be growing fast and will need to be feed every couple of weeks.

December 18, 2012 at 6:54 am
(156) Jackie says:

I have transplanted a magnolia bush recently but the leaves are now wilting and some are blackening! is there anything I can do to save the bush?

December 18, 2012 at 11:46 am
(157) gardening says:

Jackie, there are a handful of things that cause magnolias to turn black, but it’s probably not a nutrient deficiency.

It’s not uncommon for recently transplanted plants to wilt for a short time. If they are kept watered, they will stop wilting when their plants adjust. However if you have wilting and the blackening is spotty, it could be a fungal disease. Fungicides are not very affective against these diseases, once they take hold. The best thing to do would be to cut off any affected leaves and spray the rest of the plant with a copper fungicide.

On the other hand, the black could be sooty mold, from aphids or scale. What I would recommend you do first is take a leaf in to your Cooperative Extension office or a good nursery. It is much easier and more accurate to diagnose after inspection.

January 24, 2013 at 9:25 am
(158) Amanda says:

Hi – I also live in Abu Dhabi – and we are having a bad time with our outdoor pot plants – two climbers on an east-facing terrace that were going very well a few months ago have lost a lot of leaves, and the leaves are very yellow. Same with a different plant on a west-facing terrace. Many of the plants/shrubs are dropping leaves like crazy. The frangipani has dropped about a third of its leaves. Given that it is “winter” here (70F daytime temperatures), could that be the problem? Also, my husband is concerned he has either over-fed them, or given them too much iron. If over-loving them is the case, what should we do? (We water every second or third day – about 1-3 litres per plant at the moment, depending on the size of the pot. The soil is kept moist, and there is excellent drainage in all the pots.) Thanks for your help.

February 5, 2013 at 12:53 pm
(159) gardening says:

Amanda, If many of your plants are having similar problems, it could be the weather change. The frangipani, in particular, will drop their leaves in cold weather, but they will resume growing when it warms up again.

Plants don’t need as much fertilizer in the winter, because they aren’t growing as much as they would in warm weather. Ease up a little on the food. As you water, any build up will become diluted.

But since you are seeing so many yellow leaves and problems, I’d do a thorough search of all the plants’ leaves, upper and lower, and make sure you don’t have a new pest problems.

And at 70 F., you might not need to water every other day. Make sure the soil has a little time on the dry side, so the roots can breath.

April 11, 2013 at 1:45 pm
(160) ellie says:

i’m looking for a plant that is hardy, grows fast and high so I can plant it in front of my chain link fence so the dogs don’t bark at every moving thing outside of the fence., thanks Oh, I live in southern Georgia

June 9, 2013 at 4:19 am
(161) Lyn says:

Why does my runner bean leaves have yellow dots on them?

June 9, 2013 at 9:01 am
(162) gardening says:

Lyn, it’s hard to say without seeing them, but dots and spots are not usually signs of nutrient deficiencies. More likely it is either insect damage, too much moisture causing a fungal disease or something like fertilizer that burned the leaves. If you post a photo in the forum, I might be able to give you more help.

June 9, 2013 at 9:04 am
(163) gardening says:

Ellie, I must have missed your comment. If you’re still looking, I would suggest a combination of annual and perennial vines. The perennial vines take a while to become established, but the annual vines would fill in temporarily.

September 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm
(164) Gordon Brown says:

I have multiple one inch long cucumbers. over half of them die off leaving
just a few are healthy

September 4, 2013 at 2:04 pm
(165) gardening says:

Gordon, that’s probably not a nutrient problem. The flowers of cucumbers, squash and melons need to be pollinated multiple times, in order to produce fruits that will fully mature. If that doesn’t happen, the small fruits whither and die.

There are multiple reasons for poor pollination: bad weather, a lack of pollinators or a lack of female blossoms. Female blossoms tend to start flowering later in the season than male blossoms.

April 10, 2014 at 1:24 pm
(166) Sandy says:

We did a raised bed, square-foot garden for our first vegetable garden ever. We used organic compost and peat moss, plus about 1/3 bag of dirt (miracle grow soil for vegetables) left from the previous year’s herb garden. I really have no idea what I’m doing, to be honest. My seedlings were all doing great until about a week ago. Then I noticed my beans, peas, lettuces, cucumbers and plants have all turned a pastel green. The beans’ leaves are also crunchy brown around the edges. My tomato plants (purchased from a nursery) are suddenly turning yellow from the bottom up, and those leaves have dark spots on them. My pea plants also have some leaves at the base that are paper thin and rubbery.

April 10, 2014 at 4:54 pm
(167) gardening says:

Sandy, I can’t say for sure without seeing it, but it could be a soil pH problem. If your bed is mostly peat and compost, the pH could be low. Try getting a little test kit at a garden center or taking a sample to cooperative extension and see if it is out of whack.

Have you given it any food other than what was in the Miracle Grow soil? They could just need a good dose of nitrogen, but I would check the pH first. If the pH is extremely off, the plants won’t be able to access the fertilizer anyway.

Another thought is too much water. Has the soil been damp for long periods of time. That can prevent the roots from taking up nutrients.

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