Why Is My Air Plant Turning Yellow? Causes & Solutions

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If you’ve noticed that your air plant is turning yellow, it could be a sign of a problem. Yellowing is a common issue that can affect air plants, but it’s important to understand the underlying causes and potential solutions to help your plant thrive. In this article, we’ll explore why air plants turn yellow and provide tips to help you address the issue.

Symptoms of Yellowing Air Plants


Yellowing air plants often indicate a problem with their care or environment. Discoloration may start as subtle yellow hues on the leaves, and eventually progress to a more pronounced yellowing. One possible reason for this color change is too much light exposure, which could scorch the plant’s leaves, making them turn yellow1. On the other hand, too little light can also cause yellowing, as insufficient light inhibits proper photosynthesis, preventing the plant from effectively utilizing its nourishment2.

Another factor to consider when dealing with discolored air plants is watering regimens. Overwatering or poor watering habits can contribute to the yellowing of the leaves. Excess water can cause rot, which in turn leads to yellowing3. Incorrectly balanced soil nutrients, such as iron and manganese, can also cause yellow leaves, particularly if the soil is nutrient-poor4.


In addition to discoloration, yellowing air plants may also exhibit wilting. This symptom can be caused by a variety of factors, including temperature stress or overfertilization 3. Air plants thrive in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity level of 40% to 50%4. Exposure to temperatures outside this range can stress the plant, leading to wilting and yellowing. Overfertilization, on the other hand, can cause a buildup of excess nutrients, which can damage the plant and result in wilting and discoloration3.

To ensure the continued health and vitality of your air plant, take care to monitor its light exposure, watering habits, soil nutrients, and environmental conditions. By providing the optimal conditions for your air plant, you can help to prevent yellowing and wilting and keep your plant looking green and vibrant.

Common Causes of Yellowing


One of the main reasons your air plant may be turning yellow is overwatering. Soggy conditions can cause the roots to rot, leading to the yellowing of leaves. It’s important to understand the proper watering technique for air plants, which typically involves soaking the plants for a certain duration and then allowing them to air dry completely. Make sure to follow a consistent watering schedule to prevent overwatering issues.


Contrary to overwatering, underwatering can also cause air plant leaves to turn yellow. Due to their unique ability to absorb water from the air, air plants require regular care to maintain optimal moisture levels. Underwatering can lead to dehydration and consequently, yellow leaves. Be sure to monitor your plant’s condition and adjust your watering routine accordingly to prevent underwatering problems.

Poor Lighting

Poor lighting is another key factor contributing to the yellowing of air plant leaves. Air plants thrive in bright, indirect sunlight, and insufficient light can prevent them from performing proper photosynthesis. If your plant is placed in an area with insufficient light, it might be a good idea to move it to a brighter location with more indirect sunlight.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies may also cause air plant leaves to turn yellow. Air plants absorb nutrients through their leaves, and a deficiency in essential nutrients can hinder their growth and overall health. Although air plants don’t require much fertilizer, occasional feeding with a specialized air plant fertilizer can help maintain their nutrient levels. To prevent nutrient-related yellowing, be sure to provide your air plants with appropriate nutrients and avoid over-fertilization.

Prevention and Care

Watering Schedule

To prevent yellowing in air plants, it’s important to establish a proper watering schedule. Air plants should be watered approximately once a week, but this can vary depending on factors such as humidity and air circulation. When watering, fully submerge the plant in water for about 30 minutes and then allow it to dry completely before placing it back in its display. Overwatering can lead to yellowing, so be mindful of your plant’s needs and adjust the schedule accordingly.

Proper Lighting

Air plants require a certain amount of light to thrive. Too much or too little light can cause yellowing. Ideally, air plants should be placed in an area that receives bright, indirect light for most of the day. Direct sunlight can scorch the plant and cause yellowing, while insufficient light inhibits proper photosynthesis. Monitor the plant’s appearance and move it to a different location if you observe any signs of yellowing.


Fertilizing is an essential aspect of air plant care, but over-fertilization can lead to yellowing. It’s best to use a fertilizer specifically designed for air plants, and follow the recommended application instructions. Typically, air plants should be fertilized once a month during the growing season. Over-fertilization may cause yellowing and other issues, so always use the appropriate amount and frequency.

By following these guidelines on watering schedule, proper lighting, and fertilizing, you can effectively prevent and address the issue of yellowing in air plants. Remember, keeping an eye on your plant’s health will help ensure its long-term well-being.

When to Seek Expert Help

If your air plant is turning yellow, it’s essential to determine the cause and take appropriate action. In some cases, this might require seeking help from an expert.

One reason for yellowing leaves could be related to watering. Overwatering or frequent misting could cause the plant to develop problems similar to waterlogged soil. To address this issue, reduce the frequency of misting or bathing your air plant, and ensure proper drying after each session1.

Another possible cause for yellow leaves on your air plant might be due to light exposure. Too much direct sunlight could scorch the plant, while too little light might inhibit proper photosynthesis2. To fix this problem, try relocating your air plant to a spot that offers more appropriate lighting conditions, such as an area with bright, indirect sunlight3.

When addressing these common issues doesn’t resolve your air plant’s problem, it might be time to seek expert assistance. Some other potential factors contributing to the yellowing of leaves could include:

  • Over-fertilization
  • Copper toxicity
  • Unfavorable temperature or humidity levels

In these situations, consult with an expert to diagnose the underlying cause and implement a plan for improving your plant’s health. You might find an expert at your local nursery, botanical gardens, or through online forums and communities dedicated to air plants.

Remember always to use a confident, knowledgeable, and neutral tone of voice when seeking expert advice. This will help build trust, encourage open communication, and ensure that you receive accurate, unbiased guidance for nursing your air plant back to health.

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