Hens and Chicks don’t need too frequent watering because they store water in the leaves. Even if you forget to water them for a week or two, they will still stay fit. However, one problem you might find on them is yellow leaves.
But why are your hens and chicks turning yellow? Let’s find out.
The primary cause behind yellow leaves in hens and chicks plants is incorrect watering. While underwatering often lead to droopy and shriveled leaves, which eventually turn yellow. Overwatering is no different, as it leads to mushy and swollen leaves, which again turn yellow.
Other problems include low light, pest issues, or poor soil drainage.
With quick identification and treatment, Hens and Chicks will revive back. They are hardier than you can imagine. It will help you understand the reasons behind yellow leaves and solve them.
What are the causes behind yellow leaves on Hens and chicks?
Hens and Chicks naturally are found primarily in green.
They are found even in browns, oranges, blue, purple, red, and pink.
But when you see them changing their color to yellow, there is some issue.
However, the yellowing of leaves is not the end of the plant’s life.
Read further to know why and how the problems affect the plant’s health and ways of fixing it.
There are five different reasons behind this problem.
It is one of the leading causes of yellow leaves.
Since Hens and Chicks can store water in their leaves, they don’t need too much water.
The soil should stay evenly moist for hydration. That’s enough.
When the soil remains damp for a long time, the roots remain wet and suffocated.
The leaves turn mushy and soft due to excessive water.
It affects the functioning of photosynthesis, due to which the plant loses its color and turns transparent and yellow.
If not treated quickly, the roots start rotting and then the rosette itself, ultimately killing the plant.
- Yellow leaves
- Soft and mushy leaves
- Lower leaves turning yellow
- Leaves may fall off when touched
How to fix it?
After testing the soil moisture, stop watering for a while and check the plant’s reaction.
If they start behaving normally, it means you have overwatered them.
If the lower leaves turn yellow, they have stored too much water.
In such a case, add some porous ingredients or gritty materials with the soil mix.
Adding such materials will improve drainage.
If the leaves start rotting and turn brownish, they may be experiencing root rot.
In that case, take out the plant and plant it in some dry place. Also, remove some rotted roots.
Also read: Why Are My Hens And Chicks Rotting? (Causes+How To Fix)
Hens and chicks store water in the leaves and thus easily adapt to low moisture levels.
It doesn’t mean they will stay fit for months without water.
Eventually, they will require water to remain healthy hydrated.
Don’t worry because you can quickly solve this issue by giving the plant a good drink.
- Dry and yellow leaves.
- Shrunken and shriveled leaves.
- Dry soil.
How to fix it?
When they turn wrinkled and yellow, check the moisture level.
If the soil feels bone-dry, water it immediately.
Water them more frequently during the growing months, at least once a week.
If you live in such a region where the temperature at night doesn’t drop below 80-90°F, the plant will slow down its growth.
In such conditions, water very carefully. Don’t randomly increase watering because of high temperatures.
There are two best ways to solve both the problem of both the watering issues:
Check the moisture level regularly.
It will help you understand best the watering needs of Hens and Chicks.
When the soil is dry, soak it thoroughly with water.
Again water the plant when the soil bed gets dry.
In this way, the plant will suffer neither overwatering nor underwatering.
Also read: How Much Water Do Hens And Chicks Need? (Underwatering+Overwatering)
Low light issues
Hens and Chicks thrive when they receive adequate sunlight for 6 to 8 hours daily.
Without proper sunlight, they will not only turn yellow but will also start rotting.
Without sunlight, the plant will not show its color and turn yellow and pale.
It mainly affects the bright-colored varieties, red, purple, or blue.
- Yellow and pale leaves
- Leaf colors are not bright
- Stretched-out leaves
- Growing tall, trying to reach for some light source.
How to fix the light issue?
For eliminating such conditions, you must choose an ideal site in the beginning before planting.
Choose a sunny spot in your garden.
Look out for the southern, western, or eastern directions. These directions provide adequate sunlight.
If your Hens and chicks don’t get enough light, transplant them to a sunny spot.
If you think that the intensity is too much for the variety you own, put on shading nets.
It is much more effortless than fixing low lights.
Soon you will see your plant displaying bright colors.
Also read: How Much Sun Do Hen And Chicks Need? (Light Requirement)
Yellow leaves occur when you plant Hens and Chicks in soil that doesn’t drain water well.
As a result, the soil always remains soggy despite maintaining correct watering.
Poor soil drainage is another reason behind overwatering and root rot.
Always remember that good drainage is the key to healthy Hens and Chicks.
Another reason is pot without drainage holes if you are using it.
Many people keep potted Hens and Chicks outdoors because they look great in containers.
A container without enough drainage holes will make the plant suffer from overwatering and root rot.
In severe cases, the stems and leaves will have black and brown marks indicating signs of rot.
Symptoms of rotting:
- Yellow leaves
- Soggy and mushy leaves
- Black spots near the stem’s base
- Roots turning soft and black, releasing a foul smell
How to improve drainage?
Whether the ground or a container, always use porous materials to improve drainage.
If you wish to plant them in the ground, dig the planting area.
Mix some sand, perlite, or pea gravel to improve drainage.
If you have not done it in the beginning, do it now. An ideal soil mix is:
- 25% Potting soil
- 50% Sand
- 15% Perlite/Vermiculite
- 10% Compost/Worm casting
After planting, again add some gravel as toppings.
It will not only improve drainage more but will also give your plant a good look.
For potted Hens and Chicks, use straightaway cactus and succulent potting mix.
It contains perlite and pumice that improve drainage.
It will work great for this plant.
Also read: What Kind Of Soil Do You Use For Hens And Chicks? (+Best Soil Mix)
Pests like aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, scales, and spider mites love to feed on the saps of the leaves filled with lots of nutrients and juices.
Tiny spots on the leaves will be seen, which will turn yellow later on.
If you neglect it just because these plants are resistant, they will die.
Ultimately, the whole leaf will turn yellow and drop off the plant.
- Yellow leaves
- Sticky leaves
- Deformed leaves
- Bite marks and red spots
- Webbing on the leaves and stems, indicating spider mites
How to fix it?
There are many ways to treat the infection and remove them:
- First, shower the plant to wash them off.
- If you can, try to isolate the plant by transplanting it.
- You can apply neem oil. It is safe. Mix 1 tbsp of oil with 8 cups of water, shake and spray.
- The only thing you need to care about while using this oil is not to expose the plant to direct sunlight after spraying it. It can burn the leaves. Either shade the plant or do it in the night.
- Use insecticidal soaps like Safer Soaps.
- For making soapy water, mix a few drops of soap with a cup of water. Shake and spray generously.
- If the above methods fail, try chemical insecticides, like Sierra Natural Science SNS 209 or Take Down Garden Spray.
Also read: Hens And Chicks Pests (Common Bugs+How To Get Rid)
How to care for Hens and Chicks to avoid yellow leaves?
To prevent yellow leaves in the Hens and Chicks, you need to care for them with all their adequate requirements.
Water when 1-2 inches of topsoil gets dry.
Always check the moisture before watering.
If the top 1-2 inches have dried completely, start watering again.
Also, check it with a moisture meter if you are inexperienced at finger tests.
When the result in the meter shows between 1 and 3, give water to the plant.
Let them have enough sunlight.
At least 6-8 hours of sunlight is a must for Hens and Chicks.
Depending on the particular variety’s needs, it can be either filtered or direct. But never deprive them of light.
They will turn yellow and start rotting due to the slow absorption of water.
Use well-drained soil.
While planting the Hens and Chicks, tilt the soil bed, and mix some gritty materials like sand or pea gravel to improve drainage.
It will save the plant from overwatering and root rot.
Don’t worry about nutrition because they don’t need fertile soil.
Fertilize only once in the spring.
You can fertilize the Hens and chicks with a mild, balanced fertilizer only in the spring when the plant thrives.
Put only 2-3 pellets under each mother plant.
Though fertilizing is not needed, it increases their growth rate.
Avoid watering in the winter.
Most people think that the Hens and Chicks have stopped growing in the winters due to the lack of requirements.
But that’s not true. As Hens and chicks stay dormant in winters, they don’t need watering.
It will instead result in overwatering and root rot. So, be careful.
Check the plant regularly.
Checking the plant’s condition will help you know whether it is having any bug infestation or not. Bugs are too tiny to point out.
When you notice yellow leaves, the bugs have already invaded your plant and started feeding on it.
Watch the plant closely to catch the signs early.
Taking immediate or early steps will save your plant from extreme damage.
Don’t get worried if you see yellow leaves in your Hens and Chicks. Along with problems come the solutions. You only need to find out the right reasons and treat them according to that. Follow the suggestions I have shared to fix the problem.
Don’t hesitate to experiment with various things while fixing the issues. Gardening is all about trial and error. Try and experiment with all possible ways to figure out the real problem and fix it.
Should I remove the yellow leaves from the plant?
The leaves that turned yellow will not turn back green.
So, remove them from the plant. It will allow the plant to breathe.
It also saves energy, which the plant can use for recovery and growing new leaves.
Reference: Wikipedia, Iowa State University of Science and Technology, The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, NSDU, The Ohio State University, Missouri Botanical Garden.