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What Causes African Violet Leaves to Turn Yellow

What Causes African Violet Leaves to Turn Yellow

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The African Violets, also known as ‘Saintpaulia,’ are small colorful houseplants that produce clusters of white or purple flowers over fuzzy leaves.

These perennial plants often grace bedside tables with their vibrant tiny blooms. These beautiful plants remain green throughout the year; however, the blooms appear mostly during the growing seasons of summer and spring.


What Causes African Violet Leaves to Turn Yellow?

The African Violet has unique ruffled leaves that are either green or variegated. However, the beautiful leaves may turn yellow due to several reasons. One primary cause is old age, as these plants live for about a year only. But the leaves are also affected by inadequate lighting, under watering or overwatering, and pests.


Taking Care of African Violets

African violets are classic houseplants with beautiful blooms. The blooms on this compact plant variety vary in shades of pink, white and purple. The leaves are ruffled in shades of green or white.

This plant species was named by Baron Walter von Saint Paul. The plant has an overall fragile appearance with dainty flowers, but it is easy to grow.

African violets require bright filtered sun and a fast-draining soil mixture made from perlite, peat moss, vermiculite, and potting soil. They prefer warm conditions with a temperature of about 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).

Some varieties produce single flowers while others produce double flowers. I have listed the popular varieties of African Violet below.

Pixie Blue – this one produces single flowers in beautiful shades of blue. It is a miniature trailing plant.

Persian Prince – this is another miniature with scalloped leaves. The leaves are fleshy with blue flowers.

Rose Quartz – it produces pink blooms and glossy, medium green leaves.

Lonestar Snowstorm – the white flowers on this variety are called sticktite. These flowers do not drop even after fading.

Rob’s Boolaroo – this one is a semi miniature trailing plant. The flowers on this variety are multicolored in shades of pink, purple and blue.

Little Maya – this is another well-known semi miniature variety of African Violets. In addition to bright sunlight, this plant also needs 8 hours of darkness to produce the bright red blooms.


Issues Leading to Yellow Leaves on African Violet Plants

The African Violet plants are relatively easy to grow but, they face few issues like any other plant. Most growers struggle with yellow leaves because African Violets leaves can turn pale or yellow due to several reasons.

Identifying the root cause is the tricky part is dealing with yellow leaves.


Old Age

The yellowing of the African Violet leaves does not necessarily have to be due to a problem. The leaves may lose color and yellow due to old age, which is a natural and inevitable process and not something to worry about.

Providing the plant with excellent care may delay the process, but the lower leaves will eventually become yellow and drop.

This is also a way for the African Violet plant to give rise to new foliage and direct more of its nutrients to new growth. If the old foliage stays on for too long, it may disrupt the development of the plant’s other healthier vines and leaves.


Incorrect Watering

One of the leading causes of yellowing of African Violet leaves is incorrect watering.  Yellow Leaves are a simple reaction to overwatering. If the soil remains wet for too long, the leaves will turn bleached and form ring spots on them.

Another concerning reason is the water temperature. Using too cold or hot water can upset the plant, and consequently, the plant’s leaves will turn yellow.



When exposed to the direct, scorching sun rays, the African Violet plant’s leaves may lose color and turn yellow.

Low light is also disliked by these plants. Because if you place an African Violet in a dark room with insufficient lighting, the leaves react by turning yellow.

Establishing a balance between extreme lighting conditions is essential to nurture a healthy African Violet plant.


The African Violet plant prefers humidity ranging from 50% to 80%. Continuous exposure to high humidity without any care can lead to increased susceptibility to infections.

On the contrary, when put in low moisture, the African Violet plant may turn its leaves yellow.



Pests can also be a reason for the yellowing of the leaves. African Violets are vulnerable to pests like mealybugs, spider mites, and thrips.

All these pests feed on the plant nutrients, which weakens the plant system. If you are using a pebble tray for humidity, make sure the water is refreshed every other day; else, fungus gnats can start infecting your African Violet.


Root Rot

If the lower leaves of your African Violet are drooping and turning yellow, it is infected with root rot.

Root rot symptoms mostly appear on the lower leaves or the leaves that are near the base of the plant. As the disease progresses, the yellow leaves will soon become mushy and brown.



Your African Violet plant may form yellow leaves if it cannot absorb the provided nutrients from the soil or there is a lack of nutrients.

Your African Violet can also develop yellow leaves if you over-fertilize it. This happens because the fertilizer salts accumulate in the soil and can burn the roots. Chlorinated water is another source of buildups or toxicity of potting soil.

You will also notice white salt buildups on the surface of the container. Remove this residue, or it can damage the leaves on your African Violet.


Avoiding Yellow Leaves on African Violets

  • Monitor the water temperature and only use lukewarm water. Avoid giving chlorinated water to your African Violet plants.
  • The African Violet plant thrives in bright, dappled sunlight. Therefore grow it in a well-aerated, brightly lit area. Southeast and west-facing windows are the best locations for such flowering beauties.
  • To maintain the ideal humidity levels, mist your plant’s surroundings or place it with other houseplants. Alternatively, you can put it on a water-filled pebble tray. Change the water after every 3-4 days to minimize fungus gnats.
  • If infected by a fungal infection or insects, spray some neem oil on the foliage and flowers of the African Violet plant.
  • A balanced liquid fertilizer should be applied once or twice a month in the growing seasons. You can also use fertilizers designed for flowering plants like African Violets.
  • Proper fertilization can fulfill all the nutrient requirements. But dilute and fertilize based on the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never over-fertilize your African Violet plant. You should use a good quality fertilizer because the cheap fertilizers have salts and chemicals that can harm your houseplants.
  • Leaching the potting soil is necessary to eliminate all the excess salts and minerals. African Violet soil should be washed at last twice a year.


Frequently Asked Questions about Yellow Leaves on African Violets


Can I trim the yellow leaves on my African Violet?

The yellow leaves on your plant should be trimmed to save energy and reduce the spread of pests or infection. But you should use sharp and clean tools.


How often should I water my African Violet?

These plants should be watered only when the top of the potting soil has dried. Never overwater, because it will not only yellow the leaves but can also kill your plant.


Is it necessary to repot my African Violet plant if it develops yellow leaves?

African Violets bloom when they are root-bound. Unnecessary repotting can delay or reduce flowering. You should repot only if the plant is suffering from a disease or rot. However, pruning the yellow leaves is a good idea.