Are Your Pilea Leaves Turning Yellow? (Here’s why and how to fix them!)

Are Your Pilea Leaves Turning Yellow

The Pilea plant (Pilea spp.), also popularly known as the Chinese money plant, is one of the most renowned houseplants because they are easy to care for.

Their unique green coin-shaped leaves make them ideal for your home décor. However, when you see yellowing leaves, something may be wrong and needs your immediate attention. 

You might wonder why are your Pilea leaves turning yellow? In general, the reasons your Pilea leaves include improper soil moisture, overwatering, insufficient lighting, and fertilizer. Noticing yellow leaves on this beautiful plant should not be a source of worrisome. When Pileas plants get too much water, they lose their deep green color and start to wilt from pale green to yellow before the leaves ultimately fall off and die.

Keep reading to discover what causes this problem and how to fix it. Most Pilea lovers delight in seeing the green round leaves on their plants, signifying that plant is healthy.

What Causes The Pilea Leaves To Turn Yellow?

No plant owner wants to see yellow leaves, so what causes this phenomenon?

1- Overwatering

The number one culprit for causing yellowing leaves for Pilea plants and many other indoor house plants is overwatering. Have you been too enthusiastic about watering your indoor plant daily? 

You see, plants do not love sitting in excess water unless you have planted an aquatic plant. Pilea is not an aquatic plant; extra water on its roots will rot them, leading to premature death. 

If you believe that the yellow leaves are due to overwatering, you can test this by sticking your finger into the soil and if it feels wet and boggy, avoid watering for a while until the pot dries out

Overwatered Pilea plants will develop yellow leaves and also get droopy. The excess water depletes oxygen and suffocates the roots, thus facilitating root rot. Decayed and damaged root inhibits nutrient absorption needed to keep the plant healthy, hence the yellowing of leaves. 

You may first notice the old leaves yellowing or brown spots appearing on these leaves. If you remove the plant from the pot, you may notice that the root rot disease has affected the plant, turning the roots black or dark brown. 

Moreover, you may notice mold growth on the pot surface, pointing to overwatering. Other signs of overwatering could include premature falling off of the green leaves. 

How To Fix Yellowing Leaves Of Pilea Due To Overwatering:

  • If the soil is mushy and the roots point to overwatering, you can act immediately to remedy the situation. If the roots are still healthy, you can remove the watering can so that the potting mix can dry. 
  • Drain the growing medium by ensuring the mixing pot has enough holes at the bottom to pass water
  • However, if you realize that the potting mix has poor drainage, you can substitute it with a properly drained new pot. Invest in a new terracotta pot if your current waterlogged pot is glazed ceramic or plastic.
  • If you bought a pot with inadequate bottom holes, you could increase the holes using nails or other DIY means to improve drainage. 
  • However, in extreme circumstances, you may be forced to repot the Pilea plant with a new potting mix, especially if the plant roots have decayed. 
  • When your problem is solved, take the lessons to hear and avoid overwatering your Pilea plant. Before you pour water into the pot, examine the soil to see if it still has moisture or is dry. 

See also: Best Insecticide for Japanese Beetles: A complete guide.

2- Bacteria Could Be Causing Your Pilea’s Yellow Leaves

Although Pilea is generally not prone to diseases, growing them indoors makes them susceptible to bacterial issues. 

You may notice leaves turning yellow or wilting if your plant is infested with bacteria. Pseudomonas Cichorium is a common bacterium that often attacks Pilea indoors. The symptoms of this attack include darkened stem and leave veins, leading to wilting. You may notice yellow spots that rapidly spread to engulf the entire foliage. 

Furthermore, you may notice water-soaked spots on the leaves, surrounded by regular size yellow color patches. If you prick them, you may see sticky substances oozing. 

These yellow spots caused by the bacteria could merge and form a large yellow patch, hence the yellowing of the leaves. However, if the conditions remain drier, the bacteria lesions will dry out and become reddish-brown before they engulf the entire foliage, resulting in a yellow speckled appearance on the leaves. 

How To Fix Bacterial Infection Problem:

One thing to remember is that bacterial infection for any house plant is very contagious and spreads like wildfire. However, you can curb the disease by properly removing all infected plants or leaves and disposing of them

Additionally, you can consider repotting the plant into another pot with fresh growing soil. 

You can also do the following things:

  • Avoid overwatering the plants. 
  • When watering the Pilea plant, avoid spraying water onto leaves.
  • Separate the houseplants to prevent overcrowding that could contribute to bacterial growth. 
  • Water the soil instead of using overhead irrigation.

You might also be interested in reading: Best Tips To Get Rid Of Cucumber Beetles Faster.

3- Fungal Issues

Pilea plants are often attacked by fungal diseases such as gray mold, Pythium root rot, powdery mildew, and Myrothecium leaf spot

The fungal infection can cause the leaves to turn yellow since they interfere with photosynthesis. When photosynthesis is hampered, the plant experiences nutrient deficiency and damaging leaves. 

In this section, let’s examine two major fungal diseases. 

Fungal Leaf Spots

This fungal infection is characterized by brown lesions with yellow edges on the Pilea leaves.

They could also come in the form of concentric rings, and in some cases, several fungal leaf spots on the same leaf can combine and engulf it, causing the yellowing and wilting phenomenon before the leaf falls off.

How To Fix Fungal Leaf Spots:

The first step is to get rid of all infected plant matter. 

Spray the remaining plants with copper soap, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, myclobutanil, or tebuconazole

Additionally, you can practice preventative measures to prevent future infections that necessitate using fungicides. These include:

  • When watering the plant, avoid spraying or splashing water on the foliage
  • Enhance air circulation around the plants by placing them near open windows
  • Avoid overwatering the plants

Gray Mold 

Gray mold, also called Botrytis blight, is a disease that attacks Pilea leaves. The fungi appear on the leaves as small yellow spots.

In no time, the entire foliage will be covered in yellow, and you may also notice black or orange lesions on the flowers. 

How To Fix Botrytis Blight Problem:

  • Move the plant to an aerated place
  • Avoid overwatering that can build high humidity for the plant
  • Use sterilized cutting equipment to remove infested parts of the plant immediately
  • Wash away the gray mold from the plant in the shower or outside. 
  • Spray a broad-spectrum fungicide on the plant leaves
  • Provide the plant with a nitrogen fertilizer to encourage the growth of new leaves

4- Lack Of Enough Water

Although overwatering is known to turn Pilea leaves yellow, insufficient water can also lead to a similar problem. Dry leaves will start curling, wrinkling, and drooping, eventually turning yellow. 

If you suspect lack of water causes the yellowing effects, stick your finger in the soil to confirm moisture content. If the soil feels dry, light, and crumbly, you will know that your beautiful Pilea plant is severely dehydrated.

Lack of adequate soil moisture means the plants cannot effectively absorb nutrients, thus causing yellowing foliage.

How To Fix The Yellow Leaves Caused By Underwatering:

  • If the plant soil is parched, thoroughly water it by dipping the pot into a bathtub or sink, thus allowing the soil to absorb the water.
  • You can also pour water from the top using special watering can to avoid splashing the leaves. 
  • During summer or spring, water your plant frequently because the evaporation process is faster, making the soil dry quickly

5- Too Much Light

Excessive light on Pilea leaves can cause pale coloration of the foliage. This problem is often experienced in the spring as the light intensifies.

When your indoor plant absorbs excessively bright light, it can develop yellow or light-colored leaves. 

How To Correct The Problem:

  • Avoid placing your plant in direct sunlight, which could scorch the foliage.
  • Ensure the plant is rotated to different locations weekly for uniform light exposure.  

6- Insect Infestation 

Some insects can wreak havoc on your Pilea plants, causing yellow leaves. Some of the known culprits include:


If your Pilea plants have yellow leaves due to insect attacks, the chances are aphids are the culprits.

As Aphids suck sap from the leaves, they excrete honeydew, which facilitates the growth of sooty mold and yellowing of the leaf’s upper surface

How to Get Rid of Aphids On Pilea plants

  • You can fix the problem by spraying the leaves with neem oil every 5-7 days.
  • Neem oil and insecticidal soaps are very effective against aphids when they come into contact with them.
  • You can also use Diatomaceous earth (DE) to get rid of aphids.
  • However, avoid applying DE when plants bloom because it will kill pollinators, including bees and butterflies.

If you are interested in getting rid of aphids on kale, I encourage you to read this helpful guide: How To Remove Aphids From Kale.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are also potential trouble markers for your Pilea plants, causing their leaves to turn yellow. If they attack your plant, you will notice white fuzzy clots under the leaves.

They are also responsible for the black mold forming on the leaf. 

How To Get Rid of Spider Mites:

  • You can kill spider mites by rubbing alcohol on the affected leaves. 
  • Use alcohol and water to remove and get rid of visible spider mites
  • Dilute 1 cup of alcohol in 30 oz of water and pour this solution into the spray bottle. 
  • Spray both sides of the leaves and wipe them off with a paper towel. 

Plant leaf yellowing can also be caused by a lack of essential micronutrients, which can be corrected using all-purpose manure. 

Final Thoughts

Pilea plants are a delight, especially when their leaves are green and healthy. However, they can sometimes turn yellow when the plants are overwatered or due to fungal or bacterial infection.

The leaves can also turn yellow due to inadequate light, lack of water, excessive lighting, insect attack, and lack of essential micronutrients. 

However, you can take corrective measures by caring for your plant around the clock. If you notice any yellow spots, take immediate action to identify the cause and correct it. 


Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind Plants Heaven is a blog that shares information about preparing, creating, and maintaining gardens in and out of your home, regardless of where you live. My goal is to help you learn to love gardening and reap the benefits that come with it. I am still learning; therefore, the information I share on this site may not always be “expert” advice or information. But, I do my VERY best to make sure the information shared on this blog is both accurate and helpful.

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