Calla Lily Leaves Turning Yellow: 8 Reasons & What To Do

The most common reasons for Calla Lily leaves turning yellow are usually due to overwatering, underwatering, or a nutrient deficiency.

In this guide, I’ll take you through 8 reasons for this happening, what you can do and how to prevent the leaves from turning yellow in the future.

Let’s get into it.

8 Most Common Reasons for Calla Lily Leaves Turning Yellow

As a long-time Calla Lily owner, I’ve come across a variety of reasons for Calla Lily leaves turning yellow.

In this section, I’ll discuss the most common causes and provide some helpful tips on how to address these issues.

1. Overwatering And Root Rot

One of the primary reasons I’ve noticed for the yellowing of Calla Lily leaves is overwatering.

Calla Lilies are native to marshy environments in South Africa and can tolerate wet conditions, but this often leads people to believe that they can be watered all the time, which isn’t the case.

Overwatered conditions favor the development of root rot for two reasons:

  • The roots suffocate due to a lack of oxygen and start to rot as they die
  • Dormant fungi in the soil can become active in overwatered conditions leading to root rot

If the roots are unable to absorb moisture or nutrients, the leaves obviously suffer and turn yellow as they die.

Ensuring that the soil has adequate drainage and limiting the amount of water provided can help to prevent this issue.

2. Underwatering

Underwatering can also cause yellowing leaves in Calla Lilies – as moisture is still required for the proper movement of nutrients via transpiration.

Without enough water, the leaves will dry out and turn yellow, then brown and crispy shortly after.

It is essential to balance the watering needs of your Calla Lilies, moistening the soil without causing waterlogging.

3. Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies, particularly nitrogen, iron, or zinc, are common reasons for Calla Lily leaves turning yellow; this is known as chlorosis.

These nutrients are essential for healthy leaf growth, so it is vital to supplement the soil with a balanced fertilizer when necessary to support the development of lush green foliage.

4. Diseases

There are several diseases that can affect Calla Lilies, such as Bacterial soft rot. These diseases can damage the leaves and cause them to turn yellow and die, and they can also affect other parts of the plant and lead to death in severe cases.

Regularly inspecting your plants and addressing any signs of disease early can help prevent issues related to yellowing leaves.

Diseased leaves should be removed, and preventative measures like fungicides can be applied as needed.

5. Sunlight Issues

Calla Lilies do best in full sun to partial shade, and a lack of sunlight can be detrimental as sunlight is needed for photosynthesis.

Without enough sunlight, a Calla Lily will grow much slower and lose several leaves in the process to ensure that the remaining leaves can make the most of the limited sunlight.

This can cause yellowing leaves as they slowly die.

6. Pests

Pests such as spider mites, aphids, caterpillars, scale, and Japanese beetles can cause damage to Calla Lily leaves, resulting in them turning yellow.

I like to check my Lilies once every week or so for signs of pests, and in the past, I’ve had to use insecticides to deal with infestations.

7. Lack of Drainage

Finally, a lack of proper drainage can also lead to yellowing leaves in Calla Lilies.

A lack of drainage, either through poor-draining soil or no drainage holes in potted Lilies, makes overwatering much more likely.

Overwatering suffocates the roots and potentially less to root rot, which affects the leaves in the process due to a lack of moisture and nutrients, causing them to turn yellow.

8. Age

It’s completely normal for a few leaves to turn yellow as they die and slowly fall off on Calla Lilies.

It’s usually pretty easy to tell the difference as there won’t be a pattern with leaves dying from old age, whereas if there is another cause, it will affect more than one leaf suddenly.

What To Do If Your Calla Lily Has Yellow Leaves

If your Calla Lily is suffering from yellow leaves, here’s a simple procedure you can follow to get your plant back into shape.

Find (And Fix) The Cause

The first thing to do if your Calla Lily is suffering from yellow leaves is to try and figure out what is causing it.

What Healthy Calla Lily Leaves Should Look Like

I would start by taking a look at some basic care requirements first to make sure you are meeting them:

  • Humidity – Moderate humidity is fine for Calla Lilies
  • Temperature – Aim for a temperature between 60 and 80 degrees
  • Sunlight – Full sun to partial shade is best
  • Fertilizer – Fertilize once per month in the growing season.

If these needs are met, check for signs of pests or disease on the stem and leaves. These need to be treated with either an insecticide or fungicide, depending on the cause.

After that, check the soil. If it looks saturated with water, then remove the plant from the soil wearing gloves and gently remove roil from the roots until you can see them.

If they are discolored, smelly, and mushy, then they are rotten and will need to be removed with a pruning tool. The rest of the roots will need to be treated with a fungicide, and the plant repotted with fresh soil.

Prune Affected Leaves

Once you’ve identified and treated the issue, focus on pruning the yellow or damaged leaves. This is important because it prevents the plant from wasting energy on unhealthy leaves, helping it to recover faster.

Using a clean pair of scissors or plant shears, cut off the yellow leaves, being careful not to damage the healthy parts of the plant.

Preventing Yellow Leaves On Calla Lilies

It’s much easier to prevent yellowing leaves on Calla lilies rather than deal with the consequences, so here are some easy tips you can use to stop it from happening in the first place.

Proper Watering Techniques

Calla Lilies prefer moist but not waterlogged soil, so I’ve found it essential to use a well-draining mix and avoid overwatering.

I water my Calla Lilies at their base, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. This helps prevent fungal growth and root rot, keeping my plants happy and healthy with vibrant green leaves.

Disease And Pest Control

Preventing diseases and pests can save Calla Lily plants from yellowing leaves and also potentially from death as well in severe cases. I inspect my Calla Lilies regularly for signs of pests like spider mites, aphids, and caterpillars.

If I spot any of these culprits, I apply a safe insecticide to keep the pests in check. I also pay attention to signs of diseases, like root rot or fungal infections, which can cause yellow leaves and more severe damage to the rest of the plant.

Meet The Other Care Requirements

Refer back to the list before to make sure you are meeting all of the basic needs of your Calla Lily – if you are, there shouldn’t be any yellow leaves aside from those that are dying from old age.

In Summary

There are a lot of reasons for Calla Lily leaves turning yellow, and my advice is always to rule out serious issues first and then make sure you are meeting the other care requirements for the plant.

Sometimes it is completely natural and due to old age, so it’s worth looking out for patterns when trying to investigate the root cause.

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About Me

Hi, I'm Joe! I'm the head of SEO and content management at Bloom and Bumble. I'm a huge plant lover and over the years my home has become more like an indoor rainforest. It has taken a lot of trial and error to keep my plants healthy and so I'm here to share my knowledge to the rest of the world.

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