Why Are My Kalanchoe Leaves Turning Yellow? (Plus Care Tips!)

Kalanchoe leaves turning yellow can be caused by many factors, including a disease, root rot, zinc deficiency, or pests. Here in this guide, I’ll explain how to diagnose your plant and what to do in response.

Growing kalanchoe for floristry, I’ve had to ensure that it keeps well and stays looking beautiful, so I’ve learned a few tricks on taking care of them and keeping them looking beautiful.

Kalanchoe yellowing leaves are unsightly but the problem can usually be solved by simple changes in your care regime.



These plants have beautiful glossy foliage and bloom readily if exposed to plenty of bright light. They need minimal watering and aren’t as picky as other household plants.

Although they normally flower in the spring, they can be coaxed into blooming year-round and the flowers come in shades of yellow, red, orange, pink, and white.

With some planning, you can get a kalanchoe to bloom any time of year. Keep the plant without light for a 14-hour period daily for 6 weeks.

Ensure that it’s warm and away from drafts and don’t water or feed it during this time. Once you see buds appearing, move it to a brighter spot and resume watering.

Of course, you won’t see these beautiful blooms if your plant is sickly, and yellowing leaves are a common sign of poor health in kalanchoe plants. So let’s look at the most common causes and how to fix them.


A fungal disease known as powdery mildew is known to affect kalanchoe. You’ll notice yellow, mottled leaves if your plant is infected, as well as a web-like substance.

This disease will stunt the plant’s growth if not treated. Use a fungicide like potassium bicarbonate to treat the disease.

A variety of bacterial infections, particularly ‘top spotting,’ also known as badnavirus, deforms the leaves of kalanchoe and causes sunken yellow spots to appear on the leaves. The plant may become mushy and odorous.

If infected, the best course of action is to discard the kalanchoe. Don’t add the plant to your compost to control the spread of disease.

Root Rot

root rot

Root rot is a common issue for kalanchoe plants. They require so little watering that people often overdo it. Poor drainage can then compound the problem. This can lead to the plant becoming waterlogged and, if not corrected, the roots turning black and rotting away.

Signs of root rot are stunted growth and yellowing leaves. You can prevent it by keeping the watering to a minimum and providing the plant with well-draining soil.

Kalanchoes require complete saturation only every few weeks. So if you’re a plant-owner who often forgets to water their plants, this could be the perfect pick for you! Let the plant completely dry out between waterings. Don’t worry, as a succulent it’s able to store water and will remain healthy with this watering schedule.

To provide good drainage, make sure the kalanchoe is growing in a pot with holes in the bottom. Make sure the soil around the roots isn’t overly compact. You can add sand, twigs, or compost into the soil mix to improve drainage.

With these measures, it should be easy to prevent root rot and keep your kalanchoe in perfect health.

Zinc Deficiency

Kalanchoe plants are particularly susceptible to zinc deficiencies. The signs include yellowing leaves, as well as curling and wilting leaves. This is worsened by soil that is high in phosphorus.

If you suspect that the plant is suffering from zinc deficiency, check the pH level of the soil using a soil test kit.

An ideal level is between 6.0 and 6.5. To decrease the acidity of your soil, apply ground agricultural limestone, or any material containing some form of lime. You can also plant the kalanchoe in equal measure of peat and perlite.


The major pest concern for kalanchoe is mealybugs. These insects look like tiny pieces of cotton. As they feed on the sap of the plant they cause it to wilt and turn yellow.

A natural way to defend against these creatures is to introduce their main predators, ladybugs. You can also control them with insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or by dabbing the pests with a swab soaked in alcohol.

Scale insects and spider mites are also possible concerns. You’ll find them underneath the leaves of the plant.

These can also be tackled using insecticidal soap and horticultural oil. A strong jet of water can also clear the majority of these pesky insects from the plant before they cause more damage.

Frequently Asked Questions


There’s so much to learn about kalanchoe plants, here’s the answer to some more common questions:

Q: Why isn’t my kalanchoe blooming?

A: If your kalanchoe doesn’t bloom, it is likely because it has not had enough darkness over the winter period.

Q: How long can kalanchoe live?

A: Kalanchoe can survive 6 or 7 years if basic needs are met.

Q: How big do kalanchoe get?

A: Properly cared for, kalanchoe will grow 8 to 12 inches long.

Kalanchoe Leaves Turning Yellow – Conclusion


As kalanchoes need so little water, the most likely solution to the cause of yellowing leaves is overwatering. If you are on a proper watering schedule, check the plant for signs of disease, zinc deficiency, and pests.

Once the plant has its basic needs met again, you should see the plant return to normal coloring. With this, your kalanchoe will live a long and happy life and bloom any time you choose!

Worried about other plants in your garden showing yellow leaves, check out our care guide to Oleander and Sunflower.