Clivia Leaves Turning Yellow: 6 Common Causes & Solutions

Clivias (also known as forest or thong lily) are striking plants that are pretty easy to keep and care for, so it can be quite worrying if your Clivias leaves are turning yellow.

Clivia leaves can turn yellow for several reasons, from overwatering to fluctuations in temperature. In this article, we’ll explore the six most common reasons and what you can do in each case.

We’ll also share some top care tips for avoiding yellowing leaves in the first place, so let’s get straight into it.

6 Causes for Clivia Leaves Turning Yellow

Below are the six most common causes for Clivia leaves turning yellow, along with their respective solutions.

1. Overwatering and Root Rot

One of the most common reasons Clivia leaves turn yellow is overwatering, leading to waterlogged conditions.

If the soil is overwatered, it stops the roots from being able to transport vital nutrients and moisture to the leaves, causing them to turn yellow and die.

Overwatered conditions are also breeding grounds for root rot, which can occur for two reasons:

  • Overwatered conditions favor the growth of fungi in the soil, leading to root rot.
  • Roots will suffocate in excess water. This causes them to die slowly, rotting as they do so, then spreading to other roots.

Root rot can kill the entire plant if not dealt with, so knowing what to do is important.


To prevent root rot, check the soil’s moisture levels before watering and allowing it to dry out slightly between waterings. If the top inch of soil is dry, it is time to water.

Over winter time, water sparingly to reduce the likelihood of overwatering.

The goal is to keep the soil moist rather than saturated with water. During spring and summer, you must water your Clivia more often but try to keep the soil moist again rather than waterlogged.

If the soil becomes waterlogged, replace it immediately with compost and prune any rotten roots.

2. Underwatering

Underwatering can also cause Clivia leaves to turn yellow.

While these plants can tolerate a bit of dryness, consistently depriving them of water may cause leaf yellowing due to a lack of moisture (and nutrients) reaching the leaves.

A classic sign of underwatered Clivias is when the leaves turn yellow, brown, and crispy shortly after. Underwatering is more common during the spring and summer as your Clivia will require more water.


Don’t let the soil dry out too much between watering – only let the top inch of soil become dry, and you should be fine.

3. Nutrient Deficiencies/Soil pH

Nutrient deficiencies can quickly lead to yellow leaves and other issues like stunted growth or a lack of flowers on Clivias.

Certain nutrients like nitrogen are especially important, and if your Clivia isn’t getting the right nutrients, it will show you that it is struggling.

Applying too much fertilizer can also be an issue, as it can burn the roots can cause discolored leaves and stunted growth.


There are a few ways to ensure your Clivias are getting the right amount of nutrients:

  • Use organic compost in the soil mix to boost its nutrient content.
  • Fertilize weekly during the spring and summer with a complete fertilizer. Complete fertilizers contain nitrogen for leaf growth and development, which is crucial for preventing yellow leaves.

Be careful to follow the instructions on the fertilizer label to ensure you aren’t overdoing it.

4. Temperature Fluctuations

Clivia plants are sensitive to sudden temperature fluctuations, which can cause leaves to turn yellow.

Over the fall and winter, they require lower temperatures to promote bud formation, around 50°F, and then in the spring and summer, anywhere from 60°F to 75°F.


Keep your Clivias protected from big fluctuations in temperature and frosts.

Over the winter, you should keep your Clivia inside if the temperature is going to get below 40°F, and they can be moved outside during the summer.

5. Sunlight Issues

Inadequate sunlight, as well as too much direct sunlight, can cause Clivia leaves to turn yellow:

  • Sunlight is essential for photosynthesis and overall growth. Without enough sunlight, your Clivia will struggle to grow and show signs of struggling, like yellowing or wilting leaves.
  • Too much direct sunlight on the leaves can cause sun scorch. Sun scorch affects many different types of plants, like pothos and hoyas, and causes yellow and brown spots on the leaves.

Don’t be surprised if you notice lots of yellow or brown leaves on your Clivia during a heatwave – it’s much more common than you would think.


Clivias prefer bright, indirect light.

Place your Clivia near a window with filtered light or in an area with bright, indirect light to ensure optimal growth. If the weather forecast is particularly hot, consider moving your Clivia into a more shaded position.

6. Diseases And Pests

Pests like spider mites, aphids, and mealy bugs can cause yellowing leaves in your Clivia.

These pests feed on the plant’s sap, causing damage to the foliage.

In addition to pests, fungal diseases like leaf spot can cause yellowing leaves. These diseases thrive in humid conditions with a lack of airflow.


You can use natural remedies like insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat pest infestations.

Remove affected plant parts for fungal diseases, maintain proper care conditions, and apply fungicide if necessary.

Check out this resource for a more in-depth guide specifically for Clivia pest and disease control.

Care Tips For Yellowing Clivia Leaves

If you’re worried about your Clivia leaves turning yellow or if some of the leaves have already started to turn yellow, these care tips will be helpful.

Drainage And Potting Mix

To keep your Clivia plants healthy, choosing a well-draining potting mix is important.

Most generic houseplant mixes will work well, but you can also use compost with perlite or sand added to improve drainage.

It’s also important to have drainage holes in the bottom to allow excess water to flow.

This will also allow you to test how well-draining your soil mix actually is – it should retain moisture while letting excess water flow out quickly.

Watering Techniques

Proper watering is also very important to prevent yellow leaves and a host of other issues.

Several red and orange blooming Clivia leaves

Allow the soil to dry out between waterings slightly using the once-inch rule. If the top inch of soil is dry, it is time to water.

During the dormant period, usually in the winter months, you won’t have to water as often as your Clivia won’t need as much water. Be careful in summer, though, as you might be surprised how much water they need during this period.

Providing Adequate Sunlight

Clivia plants thrive in bright, indirect light.

Too much sunlight will scorch the leaves, and a lack of sunlight will slow overall growth and cause leaves to wilt and turn yellow.

Place your Clivia near a north or east-facing window for the best light conditions, and move it into a more shaded location if there is a heatwave.


Nutrient deficiencies, specifically nitrogen, can cause Clivia leaves to turn yellow.

To prevent this, use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer weekly during the growing season. Make sure to follow the package instructions for the correct dilution.


Repot your Clivia every 2 to 3 years, as they like to be slightly root-bound.

Choose a container with good drainage and fresh soil. Prune back any yellow or damaged leaves and spent flower stems to maintain a bushy appearance.

In Summary

Yellow leaves are not usually a serious problem for Clivias as long as you can figure out the problem and remedy it.

Overwatering and pests or diseases are the most serious problems that yellow leaves can be a sign of, so it’s important to regularly check your Clivia leaves to ensure they are not affecting your plant.

Check out some of our recent articles on plant leaves turning yellow below:

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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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