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Its lush leaves and striking pattern make the Dieffenbachia a feast for the eyes and the center of countless plant arrangements on the windowsill or in the conservatory. But again and again this impressive plant can develop yellow leaves. We explain what can be the cause behind it and what the optimal solution looks like.

Yellow leaves - cause and solution

There can be a number of reasons why the leaves of the Dieffenbachia turn yellow. Depending on why the color change occurs, the solution approach to be chosen must also be designed individually. Basically, the reasons for yellowing differ according to the following main criteria:

  • location
  • maintenance
  • illness

NOTICE: Although identifying the causes of leaf discoloration is not always easy, small signs or idiosyncrasies of the discoloration encountered easily indicate the direction in which further investigation should go. These signs can include, for example, changes in leaf texture accompanying the color change, or a development of discoloration in a specific pattern.

The site

As a representative of the arum family, the Dieffenbachia also prefers a light location. Too much direct sunlight, on the other hand, quickly responds with the unloved yellow leaves. This cause is easily recognizable by the fact that the discoloration begins with brown leaf edges and then results in yellowing over the entire surface. Here the leaf cells "burn" due to the high light intensity. The cell destruction can be recognized by the breakdown of chlorophyll and thus the loss of the normal green leaf colour. Since the leaf structure receives the highest light intensity at the edge, this is where the change originates.


  • change location
  • Install sun protection

The care

When caring for Dieffenbachia, two aspects in particular come into play in relation to the issue of yellowing of the leaves. These are, on the one hand, the watering behavior and, on the other hand, the fertilization. Since a cut is usually not necessary, there are hardly any causes to worry about here.

the casting

Contrary to common assumptions, yellow leaves on the Dieffenbachia do not usually result from too little water, but much more from too much of a good thing. Although the plant needs permanently moist soil, it is sensitive to waterlogging. Root rot easily develops from this, so that the leaves can no longer maintain their vital functions as a result of an insufficient supply of water and nutrients. The result is yellow leaves, usually starting from a brown or yellow leaf edge. In many cases, this is accompanied by a lightening, softening stem of the plant.


  • reduce the amount of water
  • Optimize watering intervals, e.g. more frequent watering with smaller amounts each time for constant moisture in the pot without temporary waterlogging


When it comes to fertilizers, it is usually assumed that yellow leaves result from too few nutrients. However, the opposite is the case. If the potting soil is overloaded with nitrogen and various vital minerals, roots and especially the filigree root hairs can be damaged as a direct result.

The missing supply is visually noticeable in the same way as with root rot caused by waterlogging. Only the reason for the dying of the roots is different. Over-fertilization can also be announced before the complete yellowing by a yellowish to brownish leaf edge.


  • Suspend fertilizer application
  • Flush out excess fertilizer with short-term intensive watering
  • In the event of extreme over-fertilization, replace the soil with new potting soil, ideally not using pre-fertilized soil!
  • Carry out future nutrient intake according to the product description

ATTENTION: If you are not sure about the amount of nutrients to be supplied, a moderate dosage is recommended at first. If necessary, this can then be increased. While under-fertilization primarily results in slower growth, over-fertilization quickly has a far more dramatic effect!


Mealybugs (Pseudococcidae)

Finally, possible diseases of the Dieffenbachia remain as the cause of yellowing leaves. Compared to other plants, this plant is quite robust, so that no particular susceptibility to individual pathogens needs to be mentioned. However, she often shows a tendency to infestation with mealybugs. By tapping on the leaf veins, an overrunning infestation can lead to individual leaves being so severely damaged that they initially appear blotchy, later appearing yellow over the entire surface before they die.


  • chemical insecticides
  • biological measures to combat lice


Sometimes advisors also refer to the possibility that a plant pot that is too small leads to yellowing of the leaves. In fact, the assumption cannot be dismissed out of hand. Because even if the pot is too small, the supply of the plant can be restricted by reducing the water and nutrient storage, the soil.

However, your Dieffenbachia will initially signal that it has reached the size determined by the pot by decreasing its willingness to grow. The yellow leaves only appear much later as a result of a massive undersupply. An attentive gardener, on the other hand, should notice the need for a larger plant pot much earlier.

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