Elephant Ear Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?: 7 Reasons Why

There are many reasons why your elephant ear plant leaves are turning yellow. This may be due to improper watering, lack of sunlight, poor soil, or simply due to temperature.

In this post, I will explain all the possible reasons for elephant ear plant leaves turning yellow with a solution.

After reading the post all your queries will be answered regarding leaves turning yellow.

So, keep reading…

Elephant ear plant leaves turning yellow

Possible ReasonsSolutions
OverwateringWater only when the soil looks dry. Water thoroughly regularly.
UnderwateringWater thoroughly and regularly. Make sure the plant’s soil does get completely dry.
Lack of sunlightPlant in the bring sunlight or move the pot to a bright sunlight spot.
OverfertilizationStop regular fertilization. Add extra soil and water to remove excess salt from the soil.
Poor soilReplant the elephant ear plant with organic-rich soil.
Size of the potRepot the elephant ear plant in a bigger pot where its all root gets hidden.
Going dormantPrune back all your yellow leaves and wait for the next spring season.
Why Are my Elephant Ear Plant Leaves Turning Yellow

The maintenance of elephant ear plants is exciting due to their size and complexity. Elephant ear plants are so visually appealing, that a lot of people are drawn to them.

If you’ve just begun taking care of elephant ear plants, then it’s probable that you truly like the way that they appear. They have the potential to provide your garden with a great deal of attractiveness, but if there are any signs of issues, it will be a little bit disturbing.

You may have observed that your elephant ear plants do not have their typical appearance. When the leaves of an elephant ear plant begin to turn yellow, what may be the cause?

Improper watering 

Elephant Ears plant leaves turning yellow

Avoiding both underwatering and overwatering is essential while caring for an Elephant Ear plant.

Although these are two different things. But, most people fall into this. Many new gardeners do not water elephants daily to keep them moist but when they do they pour lots of water causing overwatering. 

Because the plant has such huge leaves, it requires a substantial amount of moisture to be present in the potting medium. However, not to the extent that the plant’s roots get permanently saturated or that they are allowed to soak in water.

In addition to this, it does not like to be fully dried up; after all, it is a tropical plant that must have moisture and humidity to flourish.

To strike a careful balance between these two needs, here are some things to keep an eye out for to get the watering requirements of this plant just right:

Watering in the pot

watering garden

When growing in a pot, water thoroughly till water starts coming out from drainage holes. If water stays on the top of the soil, it means the soil does not have good drainage. 

Water again once its base soil becomes dry. You can check by inserting your finger into the soil. If the soil is tough water again. Usually, watering once a day during summer is good practice.


Overwatering is usually a bigger problem than a lack of watering. If you forget to water your potted plant in the hot summer (for 1-2 days), giving them water will quickly revive them. But, reversing overwatering is not that simple. It often causes yellow-brown spots on the elephant ears and plant leaves and leads to diseases like root rot which kill them gradually.

Watering them thoroughly in the early morning is good practice. This will give your potted elephant plant a chance to flourish the whole day with substantial water.

Also, Overwatering is not a big issue when you are growing elephant ear plants in the ground. The reason is all the excessive water the plant receives drains inside the soil and gets stored as groundwater. This is the reason why elephant ear plants grow tall and big in tropical regions. If you’re growing them in the ground, there is very less chance they are turning yellow due to overwatering.

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Lack of Sunlight

lack of sunlight on Leaves of elephant ears

To ensure optimal growth, elephant ear plants need a certain level of exposure to direct sunlight.

This is something that you probably already knew. Because of their size, these plants can only thrive when exposed to a considerable amount of direct sunlight.

To get the best results from your elephant ear plants, you should try to choose a spot for them where they will be exposed to strong indirect sunlight.

The plant may suffer damage if it is exposed to an excessive amount of direct sunlight, which may cause the leaves to turn brown and eventually fall off.

However, burned leaves will not, in most cases, have a yellowish color to them. It is more probable for the leaf of a burned elephant ear plant to seem sort of crispy or brown than it is for the leaf to appear yellow.

It is important to keep in mind that if elephant ear plants do not get sufficient sunlight, the leaves on their plants will become yellowish.

It’s possible that the locations you’ve chosen for your elephant ear plants don’t provide them with the optimal amount of sunlight each day.

When elephant ear plants are kept in an environment with an excessive amount of shade, the leaves will likely turn yellow over time.

We may thank our luck that this is something that can be solved by just moving your potted plant to a more suitable location.

When you see that the leaves of the elephant ear plant are beginning to turn yellow, it is time to relocate them to a more suitable location.

Moving the potted plant to a different area might sometimes be all that is required to have it functioning normally again. If you’re growing in the ground you will have to transplant them.

Even if you keep your elephant ear plants indoors, it should be feasible to provide them with the necessary amount of sunlight.

Simply make an effort to position them in the room with the most natural light in the home while also ensuring that they are exposed to indirect light to prevent the leaves from being toasted.

Poor soil

Elephant ears

Keeping in mind that we are still discussing watering, you must be aware that any discoloration that occurs may be the result of poor soil conditions.

As was said before, the soil that you choose should be a porous medium that allows water to flow freely through it. 

This will help reduce moisture stress that may result from overwatering. A crumbly loam ought to be enough for the task at hand. Steer clear of rocky soils if you want to keep the corms on your plant in good condition.

In addition to this, the soil must have a pH that is suitable for the elephant ear plant. These plants do best when grown in soil that has a pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5 and is acidic.

The plant’s health may suffer if the concentration is any greater than this, which may result in the leaves becoming yellow or brown.

If your plant is planted in soil that has the incorrect pH, no amount of fertilizer will be able to help it grow properly. Soil pH is crucial because it determines which nutrients in the soil are accessible to the plant. 

You may acquire a soil test kit to assess your soil’s pH. These solutions will often also come with instructions on additives that may be made to your soil to get the desired amount of pH adjustment.

To provide your plant with the boost in nutrients that it needs, it is vital that the soil in which it is grown be rich in organic matter.

If there is not enough organic matter in the soil, which may be caused by things like compost and fertilizer, your plant may have poor soil, which may then create yellowing as a result of a lack of nourishment. 



The leaves of your Elephant Ear plant can turn yellow if you give it too much fertilizer, which may be a surprise as Elephant Ears are typically heavy feeders.

These plants need consistent feeding to develop the enormous foliage that is characteristic of them.

However, using too much fertilizer or doing so too often may lead to difficulties, one of which is the yellowing of the leaves.

I strongly suggest that you make use of a water-soluble fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen and will encourage the creation of leaves as well as the development of leaves.

I try to limit how frequently I use fertilizer to no more than once a month. You are increasing the likelihood of overfertilization, which might result in the leaves becoming a yellowish color if you apply it more often.

A nitrogen deficiency may also induce leaf discoloration. On the other hand, this will often take a different form.

Younger leaves will have a color that is between yellow and extremely light green, while older leaves may become yellow.

Size of the pot

elephant ear plant in a pot

Do you currently take care of elephant ear plants that have been potted? When elephant ear plants are grown in containers, their owners may face challenges associated with the plants outgrowing the containers sooner than they thought.

It’s conceivable that the present container your elephant ear plant is in is no longer large enough to contain it.

This may be what’s causing the plant’s leaves to turn yellow, which might be a very unhealthy sign for the plant.

If you don’t do something about this, the leaves are going to continue turning yellow, and soon they’re going to fall off the tree.

Because you do not want your elephant ear plant to end up like this, you must check the pot often to see whether or not there is sufficient area for the plant’s roots.

To indicate how the plant’s roots are doing, you should be able to pull it up and see it into the bottom tray. If you look at the bottom of the pot and find roots showing, then the pot that you are using is too small for the plant.

The elephant ear plant should be able to return to its natural state after being repotted in a bigger container. In most cases, taking action is all that is required to get the plant back on track to appearing healthy again.

However, you will need to keep a close check on the plant for some time to make sure that everything is going well.

You need to make it a priority to check on the elephant ear plants in their pots on a more regular basis to see how well they are doing. Because of the amazing size that these plants are capable of attaining, it is recommended to repot them every so often into much larger containers.

If you make it a practice to check on your plant every so often, you should be able to prevent any problems with the leaves changing color. It is crucial to keep this in mind at all times.

Going dormant

Elephant ear going dormant in October

There is also the potential that the plant is going dormant for the season, which is another thing to think about.

You’ll be able to tell when elephant ear plants are getting ready to become dormant since the leaves won’t have the same intense shade of green anymore.

In this scenario, you should prune back the leaves that have turned yellow and then wait until the next spring for them to return. It is possible that the leaves of the elephant ear plant may turn yellow at some point throughout the year, although this will depend on the season.

Fortunately, if dormancy is the problem, it is not going to be essential to take any action at all. When the temperature outside begins to drop, this is something that will inevitably take place as a natural consequence.

If this is happening too early in the season, then it shouldn’t be connected to a dormancy problem since dormancy occurs after the season has ended. However, if your elephant ear plants have been subjected to weather that is typically colder than normal, there is a possibility that problems may arise from time to time.

For instance, you may have experienced the arrival of a cold front at the same time, which might have resulted in some difficulties.

If you keep your elephant ear plants indoors, then it is likely that a draughty window or putting it too near to a vent might cause them to go into early dormancy.

Both of these things can be avoided by positioning the plant farther away from the vent.

If dormancy is the result of natural causes, then you do not need to be concerned about it. In any other case, simply be sure to place your elephant ear plant in a suitable location where it will be shielded from the elements and have access to the resources it requires.

Should I cut off yellow elephant ear leaves?

Yes, you should cut off all yellow and leggy elephant ear leaves. These leaves might look dead but they keep sucking the plant’s energy cutting them down will redirect energy to grow new leaves.

Final Thoughts

I hope that at the end of this post, you have a better understanding of why your elephant ear plant is losing its green color and becoming yellow.

Even though there are a few distinct causes, locating the problem is rather straightforward. 

It is essential to do regular checks on your plant to ensure that it is receiving the attention and care that it needs.

If its requirements are addressed, it won’t have to worry about the discoloration that may otherwise be occurring.

You will then be able to take pleasure in the fact that your plant has been restored to its former beauty.

If you have any more inquiries about the transformation of the color of plants, please feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

When asked questions by other gardeners, we are always delighted to respond.

Happy Gardening 🙂

Read: Plant Similar to elephant ears