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Why Are My Philodendron Leaves Falling Off? (Causes+How To Fix)

Philodendrons are tropical plants that come with unique foliage that have different shapes and colors. However, if these beautiful leaves start falling off, your philodendron will not look as beautiful. Falling leaves indicate that your philodendron is not getting proper care.

So, in this article, we will learn why is your philodendron leaves falling off and how you can fix the same?

Inadequate lighting, incorrect watering, and pest infestation are primary problems resulting in falling off leaves in philodendron. Other causes include temperature fluctuations and a poor drainage system. Move the plant to a brightly lit spot and water only when the soil is 80% dry.

We will go through all the possible reasons that cause your philodendron leaves to fall off. We will also share the solutions so that you can fix these problems.

Keep reading this article to figure why your philodendron might be losing its leaves and how you must deal with it.


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Improper lighting

Philodendrons are known for adjusting in different weather conditions, such as low light, but they don’t thrive in low light. Philodendrons prefer medium to bright indirect sunlight.

If it gets too much direct light or too little light, you’ll start noticing different signs with which the plant is trying to tell you about its problem.

Causes

Low light can become a problem if your philodendron lives in such a condition for a prolonged period.

Low light doesn’t let the soil dry fast, leading to overwatering, root rot, and pest infestation.

Plants use sunlight to perform all their daily activities, and lack of light will reduce the rate of photosynthesis, resulting in slow growth and lack of energy in the plant.

Direct sunlight is also not ideal for the philodendrons as it is too harsh for the plant and can scorch the leaves. If the philodendron is exposed to direct sunlight for too long, it can even kill the plant by dehydrating it.

Both low light and direct sunlight can make the leaves of your philodendron fall off.

Solution

If your philodendron is placed under direct sunlight, you must relocate it to a different spot that gets indirect sunlight. 

If your philodendron is scorched, you must prune those leaves as those leaves will not become healthy again.

If you want to provide enough light to your philodendron, you can follow the below-mentioned steps.

  • Place your philodendron away from the afternoon sunlight.
  • If your philodendron is placed outdoors, consider placing it under a larger tree or shade so that the plant doesn’t get direct light.
  • Bring your philodendron inside during winter and keep it away from the window to protect it from cold drafts and low temperatures.
  • If you don’t have enough natural light, you can use artificial lights to provide enough light to your philodendron.

Also read: What Kind Of Light Does A Philodendron Need? (Light Requirements)

Incorrect watering

If you do not water your philodendron correctly, the plant can have falling leaves. Both overwatering and under-watering can cause various problems for the plant if it persists for long. Watering issues will also cause stress to your philodendron.

Causes

Overwatering is a common mistake of house-plant owners who intend to take care of their philodendron but don’t realize that it will be harmful to the plant.

Overwatering can cause serious problems that can kill the plant if you don’t understand the signs and don’t do anything about it.

When you overwater the philodendron, the soil remains moist, and the roots get suffocated, due to which they fail to absorb water or nutrients. The excess water also blocks the oxygen flow into the roots.

All these make the plant weak and lead to yellow or brown leaves that eventually fall off. 

On the other hand, philodendrons can tolerate under-watering for a while, but if you keep neglecting its water requirement, the plant will become dehydrated and weak due to a lack of water and nutrients.

The plant will lose the strength to hold its leaves, due to which the leaves will fall off.

Solution

You can use the following steps to help the philodendron recover from overwatering.

  • Find a bright spot that gets a lot of indirect light all day long and place your philodendron over there. This will let the soil dry fast.
  • Take the philodendron out of its container and prune the damaged roots. Also, prune the damaged leaves and stems to reduce the pressure on the plant.
  • Check the drainage holes to make sure they are not blocked.
  • Stop watering till the soil gets dry.
  • If the condition is severe, repot the philodendron.

If you have an under-watered philodendron, you can fix it with the help of the following steps.

  • Give the philodendron a good soak.
  • Water thoroughly till it starts coming out of the drainage holes of the pot.
  • Let the plant dry out by providing indirect light to it.
  • Once the soil is dry, water the philodendron again and let it dry.
  • Use a moisture meter to check the soil’s moisture and water only when the soil is 50-75% dry.

Also read: How Much Water Does A Philodendron Need? (Water Requirement+How Often)



Pest infestation

Pests such as scales, mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids can attack your philodendron. These plants feed on the plant’s sap and absorb all the nutrition from it, making it weak.

Causes

Low light, overwatering, and a poor drainage system create the ideal environment for the pests to thrive.

Pests can cause severe damages to your philodendron as they multiply very fast and can attack the roots, leading to root rot and bacterial or fungal infections.

Pests thrive in a damp environment where the soil remains moist most of the time and doesn’t get proper light.

Pests can attack your philodendron if it is living in an unhealthy and damp condition or grouped with plants that are already infested with pests.

Solution

  • If you have a new philodendron plant, keep it quarantined for a few days to ensure that the plant is healthy and doesn’t have pests.
  • Hand-pick the pests that are visible.
  • Give a good wash to your philodendron under running water to get rid of the pests.
  • Mix 2 tbsp of neem oil with 1-gallon water and pour it in a spray bottle. Spray this neem oil solution on your philodendron to kill the pests and their eggs.
  • You can use rubbing alcohol by taking a cotton ball and dipping it in the alcohol. Apply it on the infected areas of the plant to kill the pests.
  • You can use chemical pesticides, but you should read the instructions carefully to ensure that it is safe for your philodendron.

Temperature fluctuations

Houseplants are used to living in a controlled environment and they don’t do well when the temperatures fluctuate.

Sudden changes in the temperature levels don’t give the plants enough time to adjust to it and they get stressed or shocked due to which the leaves fall off.

Causes

The philodendrons prefer warm temperatures between 70-0°F. However, the temperature levels can drop below average during the winter and that becomes a problem for the philodendrons.

Low temperature, cold drafts, and frost can be extremely harmful to your philodendron so you should keep it away from all these.

But if you expose your philodendron to such temperature fluctuations, it will lose leaves.

Solution

  • Maintain temperature levels of 70-80°F to keep your philodendron healthy.
  • Bring the philodendron indoors during winter to protect it from cold drafts and low temperatures.
  • Keep the philodendron away from fireplaces, furnaces, or heating vents to protect it from getting burnt.
  • Reduce the watering in winter as it doesn’t require as much water during the dormant period.
  • Make sure that your philodendron receives good airflow around it.
  • Don’t relocate your philodendron too frequently as that can cause temperature fluctuations for your philodendron.

Wrong soil mix

If you don’t use the right soil mix, the health of the philodendron will deteriorate. Soil is essential as the plant gets water and nutrients from the soil.

If you don’t repot your philodendron every 2-3 years, the soil will become acidic and lose nutrients.

Causes

If you have planted your philodendron in a heavy soil mix, it will retain too much moisture. This indicates that the soil is too heavy.

On the other hand, soil that can’t even hold the required moisture is too light and cannot keep the plant hydrated.

If the soil loses all nutrients over time and doesn’t get the correct dose of fertilizers during the growing season, the plant will become weak due to a lack of nutrition.

This will lead to yellow leaves and falling leaves.

Solution

  • Repot your philodendron using well-draining soil if it is planted in a heavy soil mix.
  • You can take a regular potting mix and add perlite to it to make it well-draining.
  • Fertilize the philodendron during the growing season to add nutrition to the soil.
  • You can use a nutrient-rich fertilizer to boost the growth of the philodendron.
  • Water the philodendron after and before fertilizing it to ensure that the nutrients get evenly spread in the soil.

Also read: What Type Of Soil Does A Philodendron Need? (Best Soil Mix)

Poor drainage system

If the philodendron doesn’t have a sound drainage system, the plant will develop problems even if you are watering it correctly.

The excess water will reside in the pot and will not have any way of getting out of the pot. This will make the soil soggy and wet. 

Causes

If the pot doesn’t contain any drainage holes, it can lead to overwatering. When the soil remains wet due to excess water, the roots get affected.

Excess water blocks oxygen flow and suffocates the roots, due to which it is unable to absorb water and nutrients from the soil.

Due to weakness, the philodendron starts losing leaves.

Solution

If the philodendron has a poor drainage system, you must take steps to fix it.

  • You must first stop watering and let the soil get dry.
  • Check the bottom of the pot and make sure that the water drains out of the drainage holes within 1-2 minutes of watering.
  • If the drainage holes are not working correctly, repot your philodendron in a new pot with drainage holes.
  • Use well-draining soil that will not hold excess moisture.
  • Always check the soil’s moistness before watering the philodendron so that it doesn’t get overwatered.

Old leaves falling off

If your philodendron is losing old leaves, you should not get worried.

The falling of old leaves is natural.

Causes

Falling leaves can be a sign of a problem if your philodendron is losing young or mature leaves. But old leaves’ falling off is not a problem.

When old leaves or dead leaves fall off, it means that those leaves don’t have any life in them, and they fall off to make space for new growth.

You should look into your plant only if too many leaves that are dead are falling off.

Solution

  • Keep a note of the rate of falling leaves.
  • If too many leaves are falling off, check the plant and its external conditions thoroughly.
  • Your philodendron might be stressed due to it might be losing leaves.
  • If the philodendron is losing old leaves, you should let it be.

If you are looking to buy a lot of houseplants to brighten up your space and that too on a budget, try out Cellardoorplants. They offer a wide variety of plants, delivered right to your doorstep, and that too for every budget. If you haven't checked them yet, Try them now!


Final words

You should not neglect your philodendron if you notice that the plant is losing leaves. You must figure out the reason and try to fix it.

You must provide ideal conditions to your philodendron including proper light, sufficient water, and timely fertilization.

Don’t expose your philodendron to harsh weather conditions that can cause stress to the plant. If it is losing old leaves, you should not worry about that.


Ref: Evaluation of Different Species of Philodendron Under Indoor Conditions, University of Florida, University of Vermont, ScienceDirect, Academia, Wikipedia, Britannica.