Common Causes of Yellow Geranium Leaves
Yellow geranium leaves are something you don’t like to see in your flower garden. They can be especially frustrating to see because geraniums are one of the easiest plants to grow. They aren’t particularly fussy, and they will at times even do reasonably well in poor soil or in a location that is a little on the shady side. If a youngster in your house wants to grow his or her own flowers, geraniums are one way to start. They grow fairly rapidly, they are easy to care for, they display a profusion of deep, green leaves to start with, and they will usually bloom all summer.
The Four Primary Causes of Yellow Geranium Leaves
There are at least four different things that can cause the leaves of geranium plants to turn yellow. They seldom will all turn yellow, although that’s possible. Most often, it’s the leaves near the bottom of the plant that are apt to turn yellow at first. If you remember that geraniums are warm weather loving plants, and are generally drought tolerant, you already have a couple of hints as why some of the leaves might be turning from green to yellow.
– The plants are getting too much water. This will often result in leaves turning yellow, particularly the lower leaves. If this is the case, give the plants a chance to dry out before the next watering.
– The plants have suffered a chill. They are either in a location that is out of the sun and too cool, or there has been an unusual dip in the temperature. Cool, wet weather over an extended period is especially hard on geranium plants and their leaves.
– The plants are thirsty. While the geraniums are drought tolerant, they need water just as any other plant does. If they’re in a location which tends to dry out, or are planted in a container that is not watered often, the leaves will usually begin to turn yellow. This is a sign that the plants need some water or they may eventually die. The first sign of insufficient watering is usually the appearance of yellow edges on the leaves, and not that of the entire leaf turning yellow.
– The wrong fertilizer could cause yellow geranium leaves, although the usual cause is a lack of nutrients. Most any all-purpose garden fertilizer will benefit geraniums. The one thing to watch out for is that some types of fertilizers may produce a lush, deep green amount of foliage at the expense of blossoms. A flower bed comprised of deep green geranium leaves can make an attractive background, but unless you put the plants there for that purpose, it’s nice to have geraniums that feature plenty of blooms.
Disease is a Possible Cause Though Not a Common One
There is a fifth reason why the leaves on a geranium plant might turn yellow, and that is disease. The most common type of disease that can cause leaves to turn yellow is a fungal disease. This common fungal infection is verticillium, which besides causing leaves to turn yellow will usually cause the entire plant to wilt. Verticillium wilt affects a great many plants, including trees and shrubs. The fungus resides in the soil, and some plants are more apt to be affected by it than are others. Geraniums that are planted in pots with a good potting soil are not apt to be affected by verticillium wilt or any other fungal disease. Once the verticillium fungus enters a plant’s root system it can’t be cured. The damaged done to larger trees or shrubs can sometimes be controlled, but for smaller plants like geraniums the only thing to be done is to discard the plant. The fungus will remain in the soil, so don’t plant more geraniums in the same spot. The fungus can be killed however by heating the top six inches of the soil.
Tender Loving Care Usually Suffices
Aside from fungus problems, most geraniums will do fine given a little tender living care. Geraniums are not high-maintenance plants, but they don’t thrive on neglect either. They are generally pest resistant, especially so when planted in containers. As many gardeners have found out, geraniums are not particularly frost hardy. Sometimes a plant will survive a light frost, but in most cases they need to be taken inside before a hard frost if you want to save the plant for use again next year. Geraniums tend to overwinter well in a household environment, or anywhere the temperature remains above freezing. They do require watering, but they don’t have to be watered all that often. When the time comes to set them out again they will usually have a nice growth of foliage, and perhaps a few buds ready to burst into bloom as well.
Locate your geraniums, whether they are in a container or in the ground, in a warm sunny location where they will not get soaked, and they should do well. A hard rain won’t cause the leaves to turn yellow if the plants get a chance to dry out, but lengthy rainy period combined with cool temperatures could cause problems.