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Friday, March 3, 2017

Why is my ivy turning yellow?

This was actually a question from one of our librarians, who had received a potted ivy plant which she had been keeping by the library window. The plant was getting lots of sunlight, but the leaves were turning yellow. We checked The House Plant Encyclopedia by Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Krüger, What’s Wrong with My Houseplant? by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth, and Kristi Waterworth’s “Ivy Turning Yellow” article on to find out why.

According to Jantra and Krüger, ivy leaves may turn pale if they’re getting too much light, but, in general, yellow leaves are caused by too little light, a nutrient deficiency, or too much watering. Deardorff and Wadsworth agree. Evidently, it’s difficult to tell exactly what causes yellow leaves – they’re a symptom of some sort of problem, anything from fungus, insects, or a bacterial infection to the issues mentioned above. Waterworth adds that it may be something in the ivy’s environmental stressing it out. Dry air, high levels of salt in the soil (either from tap water or overfertilizing), or a draft can all make an ivy’s leaves go yellow.

Our librarian guessed that it may have been a draft, since her ivy sat in a cold window. She has since moved it and is waiting to see if its condition improves.

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