Light Yellow Spots That Turn Brown on the Leaves of My Money Plant

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Money tree, or Pachira aquatica, grows up to 60 feet in the wild, but also grows successfully as a container plant. It has broad, elongated leaves, blooms white showy flowers and produces large edible nuts. Proper growing practices keep money trees healthy, but if not cared for properly, it starts to show signs of decline and stress.

Scorch

  • Scorch is caused when the money tree's leaves form yellow patches that turn brown. It's caused from long periods of drought or reflected heat, which occurs when direct sunlight shines onto the leaves and damages the tissues. If droplets remain on the leaves' surfaces, the reflected heat is magnified. Avoid scorch by following a regular watering regime that includes watering the soil immediately after the soil dries out. Additionally, don't surround money trees with pavement or place them in full, direct sunlight, especially the harsh afternoon sun.

Downy Mildew

  • If the money tree leaves form pale yellow angular spots on their upper surfaces and grayish-white fuzzy patches on the undersides, it's infected with downy mildew. The money tree fungus thrives in cool, wet conditions. Avoid downy mildew by improving air circulation and allowing the soil to dry out completely before re-watering. Remove infected plant areas and spray a potassium bicarbonate or Bordeaux mix fungicide to prevent further infection

Septoria Leaf Spot

  • Septoria leaf spot forms small yellow spots that eventually turn brown. The money tree fungus starts on the lower leaves and works its way up the tree. Whole leaves may turn yellow and prematurely drop from the pachira aquatica. Remove all infected leaves and debris and apply a copper-based fungicide to prevent further spread.

Bacterial Spot

  • Angular, oval or circular yellow spots that turn brown in the middle and grow are bacterial spot infections. The spots eventually fall out of the leaves, causing holes in the money tree foliage. Leaves with severe infections fall off completely. Bacterial spot pathogens harbor on dead plant debris, soil, garden tools and containers. Remove all infected leaves and debris, sterilize garden tools and apply a fungicide such as Bacillus subtilis or copper to the money tree

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References

  • The Organic Gardner's Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control; Fern Marshall, et al.
  • The Houseplant Encyclopedia; Ingrid Jantra, et. al
  • The Complete Guide to Houseplants; Valerie Bradley
  • Floridata.com: Pachira Aquatica
  • Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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