Chlorosis: Diagnosing Pale, Yellow, or Yellow-White Leaves
Are your leaves a pale, yellow, or yellow-white color? If so, your plant may be experiencing chlorosis.
Chlorosis is a condition where leaves yellow or blanch due to lack of chlorophyll, which is responsible for the green color of leaves. A plant that is chlorophyll deficient has little or no capacity to create carbohydrates using photosynthesis and may die unless the cause of the chlorosis is treated.
The most common cause of chlorosis is a lack of nutrients. The leaves will become pale or yellow if the plant does not have enough nutrients to synthesize all the chlorophyll it needs.
However, this process can also be natural. A plant will have two starter leaves known as cotyledons when the seedlings first emerge from the soil. Over time, the plant will start to produce its typical adult leaves. The cotyledons help the plant begin growing, but once it’s producing more leaves, they are no longer needed and will often yellow and eventually fall off. If these are your only yellow leaves, your plant is perfectly healthy!