Why Your Chinese Money Plant Has Yellow Leaves

Chinese Money Plant
Chinese Money Plant

Chinese Money Plants are popular houseplants all over the world. They originally came from China, but it is now rare to find them in the wild.

People love them as their large pancake-shaped leaves are a striking green colour and they look fantastic against plain walls on a table or countertop. They will brighten up any home or office.

These plants are easy to care for, needing just medium sunlight, weekly watering when dry, and fertilizer every few months in the growing season.

Even though Chinese Money Plants are so easy to look after, sometimes you might find you have a problem with the plant developing yellow leaves.

Read on for top tips on how to get rid of yellowing leaves and have a healthy Chinese Money Plant!

Your Chinese Money Plant Leaves turning Yellow?

Plant leaves contain chlorophyll. This chemical reflects green light. Chlorophyll is necessary for the plant to photosynthesize. Plants use sunlight and water to make nutrients for themselves.

Chlorophyll helps this process, turning carbon dioxide into oxygen as part of the process. When one of the necessary ingredients is missing, the green pigment will disappear, and the plant will turn yellow.

The chemical breaks down and the yellow is what the leaf looks like without it.

The plant is losing some of the leaves due to age. If this is not the reason, then over-watering is the most common cause.

If water is the problem, you will be able to see many leaves turning yellow at once. Feel the soil to see if it is soggy. The roots can’t breathe in soil that is too wet, so the leaves can’t obtain the nutrients they need.

Stop watering your plant and allow it to dry out.

Other issues could be under-watering, too much light or not enough, lack of nutrients, or a reaction to the ingredients of tap water.

Also, your leaves could be yellow due to a pest infestation. Spider mites can drain your plant of moisture.

You can also have a problem with scale and mealy bugs. You need to kill these bugs to save your plant.

Naturally kill the insects by applying a pressure hose to your plant. You may need to repeat this procedure every few weeks. You can also introduce natural predators like ladybugs. Alternatively, you can apply a chemical control like neem oil or insecticidal oil.

What Nutrient Deficiency Causes Yellow Leaves?

The yellow leaves on your Chinese Money Plant may be caused by a lack of nutrients. Some soils may not contain enough nutrients, or the pH may be too high so that the nutrients in the soil are not available to the plant.

The most common lacking nutrient in the soil is iron. However, there could also be a lack of manganese, zinc, sulfur, or nitrogen.

  • Nitrogen deficiency – the leaves turn yellow all over. The oldest leaves turn yellow first. The younger leaves follow on later.
  • Potassium deficiency – the edges of the leaves turn yellow first.
  • Magnesium deficiency – the center of the leaf is the first to turn yellow.
  • Iron deficiency – you see yellowing on parts of the leaves.
  • Sulfur deficiency – the newest leaves turn yellow all over
  • Zinc deficiency – the lower leaves near the stem turn brown. This process moves up the plant to the top leaves.

Buy a soil test to work out the soil pH and nutrient levels. You can then apply the missing elements with commercial plant fertilizer. 

You may need to add fertilizers containing manure, bone meal, potash, tomato feed, or Epsom salts. 

How to Avoid Yellow Leaves on your Chinese Money Plant

If you care for your plant well, you will not have a problem with yellow leaves.

  • Use high quality well-draining potting compost that is rich in nutrients
  • Use a terracotta pot with a drainage hole
  • Place your plant in dappled, bright, but indirect sunlight
  • Water once a week with rainwater
  • Rotate your plant regularly
  • Fertilize once a month in the growing season
  • Repot your plant once a year
  • Kill pests as soon as you notice them.

Should I Cut Yellow Leaves Off?

Cutting yellow leaves from your Chinese Money Plant will do it no harm. It’s best to do a trim during the growing season in the spring or summer.

Use gardening shears or scissors to cut off the yellowing leaves. Yellow leaves can harbour pests and diseases, so it’s best to remove them straight away.

You may be able to pull them away with your fingers. Pinch your fingers just above the node of the leaf. Then, pull the leaf to remove the stem tip. You might want to wear gardening gloves to protect your hands.

Don’t remove too many leaves at once and allow two weeks between pruning sessions.

Can Yellow Leaves Turn Green Again?

When leaves become old they will turn yellow and fall off. Older leaves will be found near the bottom of the plant. This process is natural and nothing to worry about.

When young leaves start to yellow this is a sign that your Chinese Money Plant is in distress. Usually, they can’t turn green again.  If the leaves are just starting to discolour, you may be able to save them, but this outcome cannot be guaranteed.

You need to remove whatever is stressing your plant. Give it medium sunlight, enough water but not too much, and fertilizer once a month in the growing season.

Take a look at where you have placed your plant and move it if necessary near to an East-facing window with a slatted blind. Feel the soil and only water if it is very dry. Remove the yellow leaves. Apply a fertilizer.

How often should you Water a Chinese Money Plant?

Usually, you need to water your Chinese Money Plant just once a week. Take the time to give your plant a thorough watering and let the excess run out through the drainage hole.

Tip the water out of the saucer as you don’t want the plant to have wet feet. Let the top 2 inches of soil dry out between watering sessions.

The exact amount of water you should give your plant depends on the amount of light it is receiving. If the money plant is in bright light it will need more water. Shady spots will need less.

If you find it difficult to remember to water your plant you could consider a self-watering container.

You can also increase humidity for your plant by spraying a mist of water onto your plant regularly. You can also buy a humidifier or sit your plant on a pebble tray.

Why are the Leaves on my Chinese Money Plant Falling Off?

If the leaves on your plant are falling off in large numbers it is most probably a watering issue. You could invest in a soil probe to see how damp the soil is below the surface.

If the soil feels soggy you are watering too much. Cut it back to once a week. If the soil feels bone dry underneath you might not be watering enough.

Think about how much light your plant is receiving. Chinese Money Plants prefer bright but indirect sunlight.

They do well when near an East-facing window. Put your plant on a table near a window. Cover the window with a net curtain or a slatted blind to obtain a dappled sunlight effect.

Buy a good quality fertilizer and give it to your plant about once a month in spring or summer.

Be aware of the quality of your tap water. Some kinds of tap water contain chemicals and other elements that plants hate.

Consider collecting rainwater and give that to your plant. Failing that, you could water your money plant with bottled spring water.

Make sure your plant is at a constant temperature. If drafts are blowing through the room they could be causing the plant to wilt. Ensure your money plant is not too close to an air conditioner that is making it too cold.

Leaves may be falling off your plant because of compacted roots. Roots need room to breathe so your plant can grow. Repotting the plant into a larger pot about one or two inches larger than the old one can solve this problem.

I hope you enjoy your Chinese Money Plant for many years to come!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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