Owning kalanchoe plants will be very satisfying overall. These succulents will look great in so many different parts of your home.
They’re easy to care for and you shouldn’t have too much trouble with them. However, things can go wrong from time to time.
If the kalanchoe plant has leaves that are turning yellow or brown, you’re going to be worried. Is this a sign that the plant is dying?
Continue reading to learn what causes kalanchoe leaves to turn brown or yellow. This will give you a better idea of what you need to do to help the plant.
1 – Watering Issues
Before going any further, it’s a good idea to consider whether you’re watering the kalanchoe plant properly. Many of the most common issues with these plants wind up being related to improper watering.
You see, kalanchoe plants are very sensitive when it comes to watering. They can’t stand being watered too much.
Often, people will make the mistake of watering these houseplants a bit too often. When you do this, it’s going to cause the plant to suffer in many ways.
You might notice the kalanchoe plant’s flowers will start to wilt. The leaves and stems of the plant might become mushy and weak if you continue to over-water the plant.
This is such an issue that you’d be better off watering the plant a bit less than you’re supposed to. Of course, it’s best to water these plants when they need it.
Not watering the plant enough can cause the leaves to become dry and they will eventually turn brown. You might see that the leaves will look wrinkly if you haven’t watered the plant in well over a month.
When keeping these plants indoors, you usually need to water them every two or three weeks. Of course, this can vary depending on various factors such as heat.
Never water these plants on a simple schedule. It’s best to check the soil to see if the plants need to be watered.
Use your fingers to touch the soil and see if the top two inches are completely dry. You’re only supposed to water kalanchoe plants when the top two inches of the soil are completely dry.
If you keep this in mind it should be easier to avoid having the leaves turn brown or yellow. Of course, there are other things that you need to consider as well.
2 – Scorching
Scorching can easily cause the leaves to turn brown. This happens more often than you might think since these plants like bright sunlight.
Giving kalanchoe plants enough sunlight is imperative when you want them to thrive. These plants simply don’t do well in low-light environments.
It’s certainly best to put these plants in a bright room that gets plenty of sunlight. However, you have to be careful where you position the plants.
These plants will get scorched if you give them direct sunlight. Bright direct sunlight is known to easily scorch kalanchoe plants.
It’s best to give these plants bright indirect sunlight to keep them safe. This gives them the sunlight that they need to grow strong without harming the leaves.
If you expose the plant to direct sunlight many parts of the plant will get scorched. The leaves will likely turn brown and other sections of the plant might have brown spots, too.
Thankfully, it’s easy to avoid this situation by planning ahead. Simply find a good spot where you can give the plant bright light that’s indirect enough to avoid harming it.
3 – Pests
Pests can cause the leaves to turn yellow or brown as well. There are several common pests that kalanchoe plants might have to deal with.
Spider mites, mealybugs, and scale are common threats that you should know about. It’s always best to monitor your plant and keep your eyes open for potential pest infestations.
It can be rather difficult to spot spider mites because of how small they are. Seeing them normally might be unlikely, but you will have better luck locating the little webs that they leave behind.
You might notice white webbing on the leaves of the plants or in other spots. This is a sure sign that spider mites are present.
It’s normal for these pests to cause the leaves to turn yellow and they might also become speckled. If left alone, the leaves will eventually turn brown and will begin to dry out.
Both scale and mealybugs will cause similar problems. These pests might cause the leaves to become sticky and sometimes you’ll notice sooty mold.
The leaves might even turn brown and then drop off of the plant. It’s clear why you need to take care of pest issues fast to avoid problems.
Getting rid of pests can be done in a few different ways. You might be able to remove them by simply spraying the plant with water, but you will need to take care to dry the plant out properly if you go this route.
Another option is to treat the plant using insecticidal soap. This will kill the pests and can provide your houseplants with extended protection.
Sometimes people will also choose to use insecticide to get rid of pests. This works well, but it’s usually not good to use such products indoors.
Also, it’s probably not going to be necessary since insecticidal soap will likely get the job done just fine. Plus, the soap is less harsh and will be better for the plants than most chemical-based solutions.
4 – Diseases
As you might expect, certain diseases can cause kalanchoe leaves to turn brown or yellow. There are a few common diseases that you should look out for.
Fungal diseases can be caused by watering the plant too much. You know that these plants are sensitive to being over-watered.
When you water the plant more than you should, it creates an environment where fungus can thrive. This leads to root rot and other fungal conditions that can kill the plant.
Bacterial infections can also cause the leaves of these plants to turn yellow. Over-watering can cause bacterial infections, but so can using too much fertilizer.
If you use fertilizer on these plants, it’s important not to go overboard. Only use the amount of fertilizer that you’re instructed to use.
Sometimes it’s even best to dilute the fertilizer to make it safer to use. You’re better off using fertilizer sparingly.
5 – Zinc Deficiency
If the leaves are turning yellow and the other issues above aren’t the cause, it could be that you’re dealing with a zinc deficiency.
These plants are susceptible to zinc deficiency. You might be keeping the plant in soil that is high in phosphorus.
Are you noticing that the leaves are turning yellow and curling? Often, you’ll see yellowing between the veins of the leaves when a zinc deficiency is to blame.
There are some other signs of zinc deficiency that you should know about. The plant will often become very branched and the stem will be flatted.
When this occurs, it’s known as fasciation. You’re going to want to improve the zinc levels as soon as you can to counter things.
The kalanchoe plant needs to be kept in soil with a pH balance between 6.0 and 6.5. The best soil consists of equal amounts of perlite and peat.
You can easily make the necessary changes to help the plant get better. If your plant has yellow leaves, it might very well be related to zinc deficiency.
You’ve learned a lot about what causes kalanchoe plants to have brown or yellow leaves. There are many potential issues that you’ll have to keep in mind.
It could be a simple matter of watering your kalanchoe plant too much. These plants don’t do well when watered too much and will start to look bad over time.
The leaves might become brown, mushy, and weak if you keep over-watering the plant. Under-watering the plant can also be bad.
When the plant doesn’t get enough water, it will cause the leaves to dry out. They turn brown and they might eventually fall off.
Pests can cause the plant to have brown or yellow leaves, too. Spider mates, scale, and mealybugs are known to be problems for these plants.
It’s easy enough to take care of pest issues, though. You can either wash them away using water or you can treat the plant using insecticidal soap.
These plants can become scorched if exposed to direct sunlight. You need to position them in a bright room that gives them access to indirect sunlight.
You’ll need to avoid bacterial diseases and fungal diseases as well. Be careful with your watering practices since watering too much will make it more likely that you’ll have to deal with such issues.
Even zinc deficiency has been known to cause yellow leaves. You might need to change the soil in the pot to help the plant thrive.
Do what you must to get the plant back in good shape. If the plant is dying due to mistakes that you’ve made, you can take what you’ve learned and use it to take better care of kalanchoe plants in the future.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.