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Elephant Ear Plant leaves Turning Yellow – Why and How to Fix

Colocasia is a tropical plant which has large arrow shaped leaves but sometimes elephant ear plant leaves turning yellow due to overwatering, sunlight and pests.  All problems are related to their beautiful large foliage and sometimes with the broken stem

Reasons Why Elephant Ear Plant Leaves Turning Yellow :

  1. Improper Watering
  2. Root Problem
  3. Plant starts to go on dormant stage
  4. Sunlight Issue
  5. Fertilizing Issue
  6. Pest infestation
  7. Natural causes
  8. Soil Problem
  9. Pot is too small
  10. Humidity Issue
  11. Temperature is Not right

Elephant Ear Plant leaves Turning Yellow

Improper Watering

The main reason why elephant ear plant leaves turning yellow is due to improper watering or excessive water on soil. When the soil is soaked in water it creates problems for roots as fungal infection and root rot can occur with water. You may never notice these things in initial days when those large green leaves have few yellow spots or its edges. Once the whole leaf turns to yellow, then we pay attention and check for the solution. The elephant ear plant hates soggy soil that is dripping water. It’s a sign you may have been watering it too much.

Another reason like it might not get enough water and most of the water leaks out from the container or pot hole. Low water could also result in the elephant ear turning yellow. but most probably what me and my gardener friends notice is that this issue comes from overwatering and not under watering. When plants struggle to grow it shows some signs like yellowing of leaves which tells us that the plant is in trouble. 

Whenever you and anyone grows this large leaf elephant plant always check the soil for about 1-2 inches using your index finger. If you feel moist inside the soil then take rest and check the next day because you don’t want to water the plant more if it already has enough water in the ground. Elephant ear plants grow in the garden and whenever there is too much rain it affects my plant and some of the plant’s leaves may seem to have yellow spots. 

We also know that leaves are larger in elephant ears. That’s why many think that it needs more water than normally we could give to a plant. This is true but you should also check the soil. There is no issue if you check the soil before watering it would help to save the plant from losing pigmentation. Keeping yourself busy with gardening can make yellowing a lot less in all your plants.

Root Problem

Sometimes While repotting, root gets damage when handle harshly. As you know, even the stem of an elephant plant, when broken , can’t be fixed back. Same way when roots are not placed carefully in soil it leads to elephant ear plant leaves turning yellow. To fix this try to dig and be careful while taking it out and placing back to new location.

Elephant Ear Plant Turning Yellow

Plant starts to go on dormant stage

If your elephant ear plant turning yellow due to dormancy then first check if this is the winter season or if it’s starting to get cold because of winter bells. This is a very normal situation because most plants go in a dormant stage and sleep so that they conserve energy. They can’t grow in colder areas otherwise plants would freeze to “d”. Plants save themselves by going to dormant stage and that time they stop the growth, once your hit string it will again start to grow. 

Secondly if you live in a colder region of the globe it would be natural for your plant to face some issues. Elephant ear plants don’t want cooler weather and if you grow them it is most likely to show symptoms like yellowing of leaves and falling too. 

Sunlight Issue

Elephant ear plants generally need bright light and it is happy if placed in a partial shade area. You may also think that these plants are big and have large foliage so most probably it requires a good amount of direct sunlight but no, it’s not the case. Mostly if an elephant plant receives too much sunlight its leaves may turn to yellow but before that some leaves may burn themselves from the sunlight, they appear to be dried fully.

If an elephant ear plant doesn’t receive enough sunlight it may lose color and turn to yellowish. So placing plants in a good area would definitely impact their overall growth. I recommend that if you find elephant ear plant leaves turning yellow then change the location to a brighter spot or move it to have a partial shade area. Changing the plant location has worked in the past for many people. You could also try it, if your plant has no watering issue.

If you are growing it indoors then you may find it difficult to get an empty spot for your elephant ear plant. This plant is larger and may fit in the garden , not inside the house. Just grow them just below a tree or inside of the tree where it may get some light.

Fertilizing Issue

Nutrients can be lose because of overwatering or your plant soil has low in nutrition that might causing elephant ear plant leaves to turn yellow. To fix this issue you can obviously go for the best fertilizer or plant food. It is given in growing season of elephant ear plant and not in winters when they go in dormant stage. If you test your soil then you may find what is the particular nutrition that is needed to fulfill your large leafy elephant ear plant requirements. Whenever you buys a fertilizer always read the instruction for the usage. If a plant loses color and turns yellow from the top and slowly reaches to bottom it could be because of lack of nutrition so I highly recommend using a fertilizer according to the needs.

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Pest infestation

Pest is another problem that could make the leaves yellow in elephant ear plants. Pests like mealy bugs, spider mites, and aphids weaken the leaf by taking out all the sap or juice. When leaves lose all the liquid or moisture content it becomes dry and that results in elephant ear plant leaves yellowing. You can use any pesticide to counter those pests. Some people use neem oil for naturally kicking out all pests from the plant. 

For scale or some pest that sticks to the leaves you can use soapy water and spray on the leaves. Using gloves to take out insects manually would also work in this situation.

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Natural causes

Sometimes an elephant ear turning yellow may be because the leaves of the plant are old and now they may start to turn yellow, then brown and finally drop. It’s a natural phenomenon of a plant when their leaves get older and newer leaves replace them. This way the plant again grows green. Shredding of foliage may happen in fall mostly or when the tree gets mature it drops some of the leaves automatically and grows more new leaves.

Soil Problem

When you underwater or overwatered your outdoor plant, it’s the soil that hardens or gets too soggy. When this happens your elephant ear plant leaves turn to yellow. Too much watering makes soil wet that makes the roots incapable to circulate air and also the water supply to other parts like leaves and stem is restricted or blocked due to oversogginess of soil. I would recommend checking the soil dryness before pouring water to your elephant plant.

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Pot Size

Firstly elephant ear plants take up so much space that they need large containers to fit. If you are someone who grows plants in pots whether it’s a small or large plant you are courageous to grow it without any second thought. If you successfully grow an elephant plant in a pot and its leaves turn yellow it could be due to its root bound or the roots have no space to fill in. When the plant becomes bigger than your pot soil slowly falls from the top, with less soil and more rooting your plant can’t get enough space as well as sufficient nutrients. This results in the elephant ear plant turning yellow, which can be fixed by checking the pot. Use any gardening tool to dig and see clearfully if the roots have covered everything. Roots may be getting out from the bottom is another sign of root bound citation. 

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To resolve it, just repot your elephant plant in another larger pot. Plant might get a shock but it will recover in a few days and the older yellow leaves may fall but the existing foliage will stay green and healthy. You saved them from becoming yellow again.

Humidity Issue

It is large leafy plant that needs more water and if your climate is hot then it needs more water to fulfill daily requirements. Sometimes when your plant is not watering properly and the whole soil gets dry and drought- like situations occur it may lead to elephant ear turning yellow, brown or droopy. These plants don’t like excess heat or low humidity. To fix this you should water your elephant plant in a timely manner, spraying or misting water or using a humidifier if you are growing it indoors. Outside in the garden you have option to mist it once every evening or the best time would be early morning.

Temperature is Not right

If your plant is losing its original color just because the temperature is not right for them. Elephant ear plant is not the only plant that has problems like its leaves turning yellow due to cold temperature. Arborvitae plant has the same issue and its foliage turns brown while some plants feel more cold air early which makes their leaves curl inward. Shrubs also face browning and yellowing due to cold or hot temperatures. Tropical plants like elephant ear plants need an ideal temperature between 70 to 90 degree F which can be possible only indoors.

So to fix this problem, move your elephant ear plant inside the house and use a heater to warm the indoors. It will help the plant to stay green but you may somehow see some leaves turn yellow because it’s natural that in colder regions plants feel extremely cold.  There are some people who use frost blankets and cover their whole plant at night so they can be protected from the freezing temperature. 

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Final Thoughts

I hope you get the answer on why elephant ear plant leaves turning yellow and how to solve it. There are many reasons I suggest you determine which solution is the best that works for you. Keep growing.

Also Read :

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Amelia Clark

I have over 10 years experience in gardening and here I try to answer every question about plants and how you as a beginner gardener can able to solve various problems. Also If you would like to check our Designed Plant T-Shirts. Please do so.

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