yellow leaf tips

8 Reasons Tips of Leaves Turn Yellow and How to Fix it

If you notice that the tips of your leaves are starting to turn yellow, don’t be alarmed. There are several possible causes, and many of them are easily remedied.

Common Causes of Tips of Leaves Turning Yellow

The most common cause of yellowing leaves is simply a lack of nutrients. If your plants are not getting enough nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium, their leaves will start to turn yellow. The solution is to fertilize your plants with a nutrient-rich fertilizer.

Another common cause of yellowing leaves is too much water. If your plants are getting too much water, their roots will start to rot, and their leaves will turn yellow. The solution is to water your plants less often.

If you’re not sure what’s causing the tips of your leaves to turn yellow, try doing a little detective work. Check for pests, diseases, and other problems that could be causing the issue. Identifying the problem means you can take steps to proffer solutions.

Causes and Treatment of Tips of Leaves Turning Yellow

In most cases, the yellowing is only a temporary problem and can be reversed with a few simple adjustments to your routine.

1. Excessive Nitrogen

Excessive nitrogen is one of the most common reasons that the tips of leaves turn yellow. Nitrogen is a vital nutrient for plants, but the excessive supply of it can cause issues for plants.

If your plant is getting too much nitrogen, you’ll notice that the leaves will turn yellow and then brown and eventually drop off.

Treatment of Excessive Nitrogen:

Reduce the amount of nitrogen you’re giving your plant. If you’re using a fertilizer that has a high nitrogen content, switch to something with a lower nitrogen content.

You can also reduce the frequency with which you fertilize your plant. Once you’ve made these changes, you should see the problem start to resolve itself within a few weeks.

2. Phosphorus Deficiency

If the tips of your plant leaves are turning yellow, it could be a phosphorus deficiency. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plants, helping with root growth, flower production, and general plant vigor. A lack of phosphorus can cause the tips of leaves to turn yellow and then brown and eventually die.

Treatment of Phosphorus Deficiency:

The good news is that a phosphorus deficiency is relatively easy to fix. You can either add phosphorus-rich fertilizer to the soil or use a foliar spray that contains phosphorus.

3. Iron Chlorosis

If your tips of leaves are turning yellow, another reason for it is likely due to iron chlorosis. This is when your plant can’t access the iron in the soil, which it needs to create chlorophyll (the green pigment in leaves).

You’ll notice this happening more in new growth, as that’s when plants need iron the most.

Treatment of Iron Chlorosis:

Make sure your plant is getting enough iron. To do this, you can either add iron sulfate to the soil or use a foliar spray (a liquid you spray on the leaves) that contains iron. I like to use foliar sprays because they’re quick-acting and you can see results within a few days. Ensure you go along with the directions and instructions on the chemical package.

4. Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium is an important macronutrient that helps with the formation of chlorophyll, so a lack of it will cause the tips of your leaves to turn yellow. Magnesium is found in the soil, but not all soils have enough of it to support plants.

Treatment of Magnesium Deficiency

If your soil is lacking in magnesium, you can add it by using Epsom salt or dolomite lime. Once you’ve added magnesium to your soil, you should see a difference in the color of your plants within a few days.

5. Potassium Deficiency

Yellowing leaves can also indicate a potassium deficiency. Potassium helps with a variety of things, including disease resistance, water uptake, and photosynthesis.

If your plant is lacking potassium, you’ll notice the tips and edges of the leaves turning yellow and then brown.

Treatment of Potassium Deficiency

The potassium deficiency issue is fairly easy to treat. Simply add some potassium-rich fertilizer to the soil and your plant should start to recover.

6. Too Much Water

Water is vital to a plant’s life, but too much of it can be just as harmful as too little. When plants receive too much water, the roots are unable to get the oxygen they need from the soil and the plant suffocates.

You’ll know if your plant is getting too much water if the leaves start to turn yellow, wilt, and fall off. Another telltale sign is if the stem feels soft or mushy.

Treatment of Too Much Water

If you think your plant is getting too much water, the best thing to do is to let the soil dry out completely before watering again. If the roots have been sitting in water for too long, they might need to be replanted in fresh, dry soil.

7. Poor Drainage

If your pot doesn’t have drainage holes, that could be the problem. When water can’t exit the pot, it will start to pool at the bottom and will eventually lead to the roots sitting in water, which will cause them to suffocate and die.

Treatment of Poor Drainage

The solution here is pretty simple: just add some drainage holes to your pot. If you’re using a ceramic pot, you can drill some holes into the bottom of it. If you’re using a plastic pot, you can just cut some holes into the sides near the bottom.

Pest or Disease

When there is yellowing of tips of leaves and other times premature leaf drop, it may point to a pest infestation of the plant or leaf disease.

Aphids are one of the most common garden pests. They may affect nearly every tree species known in the region and country. Aphids mostly do damage to young and newly planted trees, so you must handle these pests as quickly as possible.

Treatment of Pests or Disease

Getting rid of pests and diseases will need you to get insecticides and pesticides to spray on and around the plant.


If you notice any other symptoms along with the yellowing of tips, it’s best to seek professional help to diagnose the problem.