Are Your African Violet Leaves Turning Yellow ?( Here’s Why and How to Fix it )

Are you anthophilous who loves to collect plants? You probably know African violet with their beautiful blooms that create charm in their environment. Many people love their bright-colored flowers and dark green leaves that transform wherever they are into a spectacular beauty. The African violet (AKA Saintpaulia ionantha) is a popular and beautiful houseplant that grows well and flowers under normal light conditions or artificial light, according to the University of Florida.

Are your African violet leaves turning yellow? And you don’t know what to do? African violets can blossom throughout the year, but it takes effort and time to care for them properly. You would want the plants to maintain their luster, but sometimes their leaves turn yellow. When you see the leaves of your African violet turn yellow, it signifies an excess or lack of something.

In addition, the leaves of your plants turning yellow is not a cause for excessive worry since they can be solved by knowing how to care for the plant.

This article addresses why this phenomenon happens and how you can fix it. Keep reading to find out more.

5 Reasons Why African Violet Leaves Turning Yellow and How to Fix them

African violet leaves often live on for approximately one year before dying off. It is a common phenomenon for older leaves to turn yellow before the drop-off, allowing new foliage to flourish. 

However, if the upper leaves instead of the lower ones that are turning yellow, your African violet could be having a problem. It could indicate that something vital is lacking or in excess supply. Part of taking care of the plant is figuring out the problem and providing solutions.  

Let’s consider some potential culprits for premature leaves turning yellow for your African violets. 

1- Your African Violet Might Have Water On their Leaves

African violets are delicate plants with sensitive watering issues. Their fuzzy leaves do not like water droplets lodging in them, so you want to water these plants as close to the soil as possible to avoid water sprinkling on the leaves. 

The leaves are also sensitive to excessively hot or cold water, which could collapse the fragile leaf cells, forming yellow ring-like spots. It is also wise to avoid using chlorinated or softened water on your African violet as it can cause damage to the leaves. 

How to prevent water issues With African violets

  • Though you cannot reverse yellow leaves, you can prevent further damage using special watering cans with longer stems reaching the soil beneath the foliage.
  • Additionally, you can ensure that the water you are using is at room temperature. Even though using tap water to water your violets should work fine. However, if the water is significantly warmer or colder than room temperature, bring it to room temperature before utilizing it to water your African violet.

2- Insufficient or Too Much Lighting Can Cause African Violet Leaves To Turn Yellow

Although African violets need light like other plants for photosynthesis and blooming, they do not perform well when subjected to strong direct sun. You can place the plant near the north or east window during summers, but during winter, you could place them facing the south or west window. 

The ideal place should be 3 feet away from the window to ensure the right amount of light and heat. Suppose you place your Africa violet away from the window under unnatural light. In that case, their leaves may turn yellow by the edges, indicating that the plant is getting insufficient light. 

This discoloration can change if you move the plant to a location with more indirect sunlight. You can also move the plant to mild direct sunlight in the morning and late afternoon, but avoid the strong burning sunlight in the middle of the day. 

What Is The Ideal Location With Adequate Light for African Violet?

The west or south window is an ideal winter location, while the north and east windows are suitable during hotter weather. If the direct sunlight seems hot in the middle of the day, protect your African violet with sheer curtains and blinds. 

Since lack of enough lighting causes African violet leaves to turn yellow, you can supplement the lighting during winter with artificial lights, thus keeping your plants healthy and happy. 

It is worth figuring out the ideal location with adequate lighting for your African violets.

3- Improper Use Of Fertilizer Can Cause African Violet’s Leaves To Turn Yellow

African violet leaves can also turn yellow because of nutrient deficiency. You may see the edges of the leaves or spaces between the veins turn yellow, sending out a nutrition cry. 

If your African violets lack magnesium, iron, or zinc, their leaves will likely turn yellow.

How Do you fix fertilizer issue with African Violets?

  • You could start by checking your fertilizer’s nutritional value. The fertilizer used on African violet should be balanced.
  • You could also replant the African violet to a different soil. The nutrient imbalance often results from substances in the previous soil that hinder the plant from taking up necessary nutrients. 
  • After repotting the plant to new soil, you should water the plant to remove any lingering substance from the previous pot on the root.
  • Give the plant a week to readjust to its new environment before you can begin fertilizing to ensure you provide needed nutrients. 

4- Pest Infestation Can Cause African violet Leaves To Turn Yellow

Your African violet could be infested with pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and plant scales that such vital nutrients from the plant. A lack of nutrients will likely result in the leaves turning yellow. 

You will know you have a pest problem if you see dark spots or white cotton-like areas on the leaves. If you realize a pest problem, you should immediately address the issue before they engulf the other plants.

How Do You Correct The Pest Problem?

  • Begin by plucking any yellow leaves and then spraying your African violets using neem oil solution every week until all the pests are gone.
  • Ensure you also spray under the foliage and the stems.
  • Isolate the plant you are treating until you kill all the bugs. 

5- Poor Soil Conditions Can Cause African Violet’s Leaves To Turn Yellow

Poor soil conditions can also cause the leaves on an African violet to turn yellow. African violets don’t do well in regular indoor potting soil because the typical indoor potting mix is too heavy and doesn’t provide the plant’s environment.

In addition, leaving African violets in the same soil for years without repotting can also aggravate the issue. Over time the soil degrades, making it challenging for African violets to get the water or nutrients they need to thrive.

To avoid these issues, generally repot your African violets and pick the right soil type to keep your plants healthy.

Generally, soil moisture and proper watering are crucial to growing African violets successfully. Remember, overwatering or underwatering can lead to plants’ death. How often you water and how much you give to your African violet varies depending on the soil, environmental conditions, pot, and plant sizes (source: the University of Georgia)

You might wonder how often you should repot African Violet? It is recommended to repot African violet every six months.

Best Ways To Repot African Violets

  • Start by gently and slowly removing the African violets from their pot. Some gardeners slide a knife around the edges of the containers, mainly if the plant is stuck.
  • It is recommended to use a different container, but if you use the same container again, ensure you properly clean it to avoid contamination.
  • Make sure you cut off any roots that appear rotted.
  • Choose the proper size for your new pot to accommodate your African violet growth. 
  • Put new soil middle to the top of the pot.
  • Put the African violet in its new pot and add more soil around the plant until you reach the area right beneath where the leaf stems begin. 
  • Water your newly repotted plant until water drains freely from the bottom of the container.
  • Avoid pressing down on the soil after repotting your African violet, as it can cause roots to suffocate. 

How To Prevent African Violet From Turning Yellow

No one wants their African violet leaves to turn yellow. It is an indication that something is wrong with the plants. We already know what causes the yellow leaves, so we want to avoid those things, thus preventing the condition. 

You can take several practical actions, including:

  • Using warm water eliminates salt and substances on the soil that could result in limp leaves. Warm water is recommended to avoid the leaf damage caused by cold water. 
  • Check if the soil surface or pot has a white crusty substance during your routine African violet. If you notice the substance, recognize it as salt build-up from fertilizers and water. 

This material can prematurely damage the African violet leaves, making the yellow when the leaves come into contact with it. You could scrap it off the soil’s surface and then pour room temperature water o the soil at 20 minutes intervals to drain away any excess salts on the soil. 

Alternatively, you can cover the rim of the planting container with foil to prevent African violet leaves from contacting the salt-laden rim. Others also plant them either in ceramic or plastic pots with good drainage holes to prevent salts from building up. 

  • ·         You can also prevent African violet leaves from turning yellow by ensuring the plants get the nutrients from a balanced fertilizer. The fertilizer you use should have magnesium, zinc, and iron to keep your plants healthy and happy. 
  • Ensure your African violets are placed where they can access adequate light. Inadequate light will interfere with the photosynthesis process, thus killing the green coloring matter (chlorophyll). 
  • During summer, ensure the plants are on the right window and change them during winter for proper lighting. However, if your house has limited lighting, you can improvise and use artificial lighting. 

If you use artificial LED lights as a substitute for sunlight, you should do thorough research to establish the lighting specs. The bulbs or tubes should provide adequate heat and light to the plants; otherwise, their leaves will turn yellow. 

  • The type of soil you plant your African violet also plays a role in the plant’s health. Most people use nutrient-dense soilless materials, and with regular fertilizers, you can prevent leaves from yellowing. 

Should Yellow Leaves Be Removed From African Violets?

You maintain an African violet plant in your room because you want them to create a delightful sight. The leaves are often fuzzy and dark green, complementing well with their flowers. 

If the leaves turn yellow due to old age, you should remove them to maintain a vibrant look and allow new foliage to thrive. Removing old yellow leaves keeps your plant new a delightful to behold. 

However, if the upper leaves turn yellow, it could be a sign of a problem you should address instead of ignoring by plucking the yellowing ones. 

Failure to remove the yellow leaves could negatively affect the plant’s health, especially if they are infested with pests or diseases. It is also good for the vibrant green leaves since the energy and nutrients that could have been used to keep the yellow alive are available. 


In the wild, yellow leaves fall off themselves, decay, and add to the nutrients; however, in your home, you supply them through fertilizers. It is okay to pinch off the yellow leaves. 

Why Are Your African Violet Leaves Turning Brown?

African violets typically grow from the crown outward, a phenomenon where the oldest leaves are nearest to the soil. When these leaves arrive at the end of their natural life cycle, they turn brown and will ultimately detach from the plant thoroughly. This is a natural law of nature.

Additionally, when the edges of your plant’s leaves become brown and brittle, it typically means a problem with the African violet’s current growing conditions. The good news is that you can correct the problem after removing the injured leaves and identifying the cause.

  • Poor Air Circulation: Poor air circulation is one of the reasons your African violet leaves turning brownTo make sure your plant receives adequate air circulating, use a simple fan in the area at least once daily. Ensure you properly position the fan to avoid directly blowing on your violet.
  • Low Humidity: To thrive, African violets require at least 50 percent levels of humidity. If their humidity requirements are not met, African violet’ leaves will develop brown tips and edges. Regularly mist your plants with plain water daily and cover your plants, particularly during the winter.
  • Leaf Injury: Leaf injury can also cause brown leaf edges. Pesticides misapplied will “burn” the leaf surface and may also damage your African violet. Always carefully follow label directions when blending and applying pesticides. When trimming your violets, be delicate and use clean knives or scissors.
  • Unstable Soil Conditions: Your African violet leaves may turn brown if the soil is generally too moist or dry.
    • Ensure you water your plants from the top or bottom to moisten the soil.
    • Apply water until the soil is thoughtfully soaked.
    • Wait until the top inch of soil is dry before watering again, and avoid getting water on the crown of the plant. Generally, overwatering on the leaves can lead to brown spots and disease.

Why Do African Violets Change Colour?

African Violets change color because of the temperature, the amount and intensity of light they receive, the watering frequency and level they receive, and the fertilizer content. But, generally, African Violets change color because they are trying to revert to their original color.

African violets are generally sensitive to many environmental conditions. You can propagate your plant by leaf-cutting to refresh their looks.
There is another factor that could be contributing to African violets changing color is the pH content of the soil and water. I suggest you buy pH testing kits to measure the pH of the water to test the soil.

Final Thoughts

African violet leaves are often green, but sometimes they turn yellow when they grow old or when the plant has problems. A lack of nutrients and adequate light can make the leaves turn yellow.

Leaves can also turn yellow because of inappropriate watering practices, salt build-up, and pest infections. You can prevent the leaves from yellowing by adopting healthy practices and ensuring the plants have enough nutrients.

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