Top 8 Symptoms and Remedies of Chlorosis in the Plants


Chlorosis is a major problem for gardeners. Especially to newbies. The topic discussed in this article is what is chlorosis disease? How your plant gets affected by chlorosis and how to cure the plant from this disease. Leaves turn yellow due to a lack of nutrients in plant leaves. Hence, the process of yellowing leaves is called chlorosis. Chlorophyll in leaves not only gives the leaves their green colour but also helps in making sugars or food needed for plant growth. In the absence of chlorophyll, plants cannot perform photosynthesis properly. As a result, the production of carbohydrates in the plant is disturbed. Affected leaves show various symptoms and eventually die if the plant is not treated properly. Trees can be affected by this disease for multiple reasons. Such as soil mineral deficiency, poor drainage and overly alkaline soils. Chlorosis disease is discussed in detail below….


What is chlorosis?

In simple terms, chlorosis is the result of chlorophyll deficiency. This disease occurs due to various deficiencies in the soil of the plant. As a result, the leaves of the tree gradually turn yellow. At one point the tree loses its greenness and becomes unable to produce its own energy. The plant may die slowly if the disease extends to its last stage. Now the question may be what is chlorophyll?

What is chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is a green pigment molecule that absorbs sunlight and helps synthesize carbohydrates from water and carbon dioxide. And this whole process is called photosynthesis. If this photosynthesis process is disrupted, the tree loses its natural features. As a result, various diseases and insects attack the tree. And it fails to give flowers and fruits.

What are the symptoms of chlorosis?

The main symptom of chlorosis is the yellowing of the leaves. At first, the leaves turn pale green and gradually turn full yellow. The leaves are a little smaller in size than usual. When the effects of the disease are most pronounced, the edges of the leaves turn brown and gradually spread to the whole leaf, eventually the leaves fall off.

Another symptom of chlorosis is that the veins and sub-veins of the leaves turn green and the rest of the body becomes pale. In such cases, the leaves often shrink. This is mainly due to the inadequacy of iron.

The effects of chlorosis first appear on the new leaves of the plant and as a result, the growth of the plant is hindered. Other stems or branches are affected if proper measures are not taken, and the leaves turn yellow and fall off. Leaf yellowing is caused by insufficient chlorophyll, which causes the plant to fail to produce the food it needs. Gradually the affected stems dry out. And lack of proper treatment can lead to the death of the plant.

 Causes of chlorosis:

Plants get affected by chlorosis due to various reasons. Among all these reasons the following reasons are noteworthy.

  • Soil malnutrition
  • More alkaline soils
  • Poor drainage system
  • Compressed soil
  • Damaged roots or compressed roots
  • Excessive levels of chemicals
  • Herbicide use
  • Damaged by insects

Soil malnutrition:

One of the main causes of chlorosis is nutritional deficiency. If the soil is deficient in macronutrients and micronutrients. Nutrient deficiency occurs in plants. As a result, various problems related to malnutrition occur in plants. Chlorosis is one of them. We will now know the symptoms of deficiency of chlorophyll in leaves and discuss its remedies.

What are macronutrients and micronutrients?

Macronutrients and micronutrients are natural elements that make the soil nutritious, enabling plant growth and disease resistance. Macronutrients are elements that plants need in large amounts. Such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur and micronutrients are elements that plants require in small amounts. Such as iron, manganese, copper, zinc, boron, molybdenum, chlorine and cobalt.

Nitrogen deficiency:

Nitrogen plays a major role in the formation of chlorophyll in plant leaves. Nitrogen-deficient plants reduced growth and stunted leaf growth. Small leaves are especially stunted. In the absence of chlorophyll, plant leaves turn pale green and later turn yellow. Yellow leaves turn brown and brown leaves gradually begin to dry up. This symptom is especially noticeable on older leaves.

How to fill nitrogen deficiency:

If the plant is deficient in nitrogen, it can be filled in two ways. One in an organic way and the other in an inorganic or chemical way. In this case, it is better to say that it is better to apply organic fertilizer. I prefer to apply organic fertilizer myself. Because it has many benefits, especially for new gardeners. If the level of application of organic manure is more or less, there is no possibility of any damage to the plant.

As an organic fertilizer, mustard oil cake water or powder can be used. It is a high source of nitrogen. In addition, any compost fertilizer can be used. DAP (Diammonium phosphate), NPK (10:10:10) and urea can be used as inorganic or chemical fertilizers. If the nitrogenous symptoms of chlorosis in the plant are at an early stage, it is better to treat it with organic fertilizer without using chemical fertilizer first. Chemical fertilizers can be used if there is an excess of symptoms.

Cholosis diseased leves
Cholosis diseased leaves

Potassium Deficiency:

Chlorosis symptoms may occur due to potassium deficiency in plants. For example, yellowing of leaf veins, curling of leaf tips, browning of leaves and chlorosis can also cause purple spots on the underside of leaves. Potassium deficiency reduces plant growth, root development, and flower and fruit development. Both organic and inorganic methods can be adopted to correct potassium deficiency.

How to fill Potassium deficiency:

You can use organic banana peels. Banana peels are an excellent source of potassium. Wood ash can also be used. But in this case, wood ash should be applied light quantity. Because the leaves and branches of the tree can be burnt in excessive use.

Potassium sulfate can be used as inorganic or chemical fertilizer. There are two types of potassium sulfate. Sulphate of Potash (SOP) and Muriate of Potash (MOP). However, it is better to apply SOP fertilizer to your preferred garden. MOP fertilizers can damage both plants and soil if not applied efficiently or mistakenly overapplied.

Magnesium deficiency: The role of magnesium in the production of chlorophyll in plant leaves is also very important. The greenness of older leaves decreases with magnesium deficiency. Its effect is that the veins and subveins of the leaves turn yellow or reddish. Magnesium deficiency is more noticeable in sandy soil, soil with low nutrient content or soil with low water holding capacity.

How to fill Magnesium deficiency:  Epsom salt should be applied if magnesium deficiency is noticed in the leaves. Epsom salt should be applied by slightly loosening the soil around the tub and if necessary, mixing a small teaspoon of Epson salt in a litre of water and spraying it on the plants works great.

Calcium deficiency:  Calciumdeficiency is another cause of chlorosis. Calcium deficiency in plants first appears in young leaves and tissues. The leaves of the plant become shrivelled and discoloured. The normal growth of the plant is reduced. Excessive calcium deficiency can lead to root rot. If all these symptoms are reflected, the soil should be enriched with calcium.

How to fill Calcium deficiency: Try enriching your plant soil with organic materials, such as bone meal, eggshells, gypsum or dolomite lime. You can also opt for calcium nitrate and calcium chloride to supplement calcium deficiency.

Iron deficiency:  Iron deficiency causes symptoms of chlorosis in the new leaves of the plant. Later caught in the old leaves. The veins of the leaves are green and the rest become turn pale and the leaves of the plant become smaller. If no action is taken, first the edges of the leaves turn brown and later spreads inwards.

Iron Chlorosis

What causes iron chlorosis?

The effect of iron chlorosis is that plants cannot get enough iron to their leaves. And, as a result, the leaves fail to produce the green pigment in chlorophyll. The source of this problem is soil. This disease is usually caused by iron deficiency in the soil or excessive alkaline soil. Alkaline soils (where pH > 7) prevent plants from absorbing iron. Even if there is enough iron in the soil. How do you know if your plant has an iron chlorosis problem?

The main symptom of chlorosis is yellowing of the leaves, if it is iron chlorosis, it usually appears first on new growth. The second is if the yellow leaf veins are green. In severe cases of iron chlorosis, yellow leaves may turn pale yellow and fall off. Plant branches may stop growing, and plants may not flower or bear fruit. In the absence of proper treatment, the plant eventually succumbs to death.

Too much calcium and phosphorus in the soil inhibit iron absorption.  As a result plants unable to absorb it. In the case of leaf yellowing, the symptoms are more common in the new leaves of the plant and sometimes the deficiency is seen in the new and old leaves. If too much calcium fertilizer is applied to the soil, the plants cannot absorb the proper amount of iron from the soil. Applying limestone also reduces the ability to absorb iron. Iron deficiency is more common in soils rich in limestone. Its deficiency is one of the common nutritional causes of chlorosis.

Iron is a very important nutrient for the formation of chlorophyll. It is a major contributor to the green colour of plant leaf chlorophyll and to the formation of nutrients necessary for its own growth. Iron is a very important element in plant enzyme function, which regulates plant metabolism and respiration. As the soil pH rises above 6.5 to 6.7, iron becomes more insoluble (7.0 neutral – below 7.0, pH acidic; above 7.0, pH alkaline). With most plants, iron can only be absorbed as free ions (Fe ++) when the pH is between 5.0 and 6.5. Chlorosis problems in plants are often caused by high Ph soil.

How to fill Iron deficiency:

Chelates are naturally occurring chemicals that help prevent mineral leaching. Apply chelated iron to the soil to increase iron. Remove the topsoil from one and a half to two inches, spread the chelated iron, mix it well with the soil and press on the topsoil. A root feeder can be used in this case, but it is very important to follow the label instructions for the rate. Chelated iron is a readily available item that can be easily purchased at any nursery or online shop.

Iron deficiency is more common in limestone-rich soils. If such symptoms are seen, chelated zinc should be used. Deep well water contains a small amount of mineral iron, especially in the region. The use of deep well water in areas where mineral iron is found does not have much of an effect on iron chlorosis. Soil testing is the best way to diagnose iron chlorosis. Many use iron nails at the base of plants. Many people immerse nail in water and give that water to the roots of plants but when they come in contact with water they turn into an iron oxide that plants cannot absorb.

Apart from these minerals mentioned above, there are several minerals like manganese, zinc, copper, boron etc. which play a very important role in the production of chlorophyll in the leaves of the plant and keep the plant healthy and fresh. But this mineral deficiency is difficult to diagnose and treat separately. So the easy way is to use good micronutrient fertilizers. Which will act as a supplement to meet the lack of minerals in the plant. Liquid micronutrient fertilizers are superior to granular micronutrient fertilizers. Foliar spray can be done once a month with liquid micronutrient fertilizer mixed with water for best results.

More alkaline soils: 

Soil Ph plays a very important role in keeping plants healthy and normal.  Now the question may come what is Ph? Put simply, Ph is a value or number to measure alkalinity or acidity. This Ph scale ranges from 0 to 14 and 7 is considered neutral. Some plants prefer alkaline soil.  Similarly, plants prefer a little acidic soil. There are also several plants that prefer neutral soil. Therefore, it is very important to be well aware of the Ph of the plant while planting. Because of the high Ph, the possibility of chlorosis may remain.

If the appropriate Ph level in the soil is too high for the plant, the plant cannot properly absorb nutrients from the soil. For this you need to observe whether the plant is able to adapt to the soil Ph. Because the plant is unable to adapt to adverse soil conditions or changes in Ph and cannot absorb proper nutrients, the plant loses its normality and eventually dies in the absence of proper treatment. This symptom is more common in sensitive plants, so sensitive plants require special care.

The ideal soil Ph for most plants should be slightly acidic. Like 6.5 plus or minus 0.2. But this does not mean that plants cannot grow well outside this range. Soils in high rainfall areas are acidic. Again, the soil in dry areas is more likely to be alkaline. Here I will say, those who garden at home and plant different species of plants. In that case, it should be noted whether the pH level of the soil of the plants is correct.

Use a good pH meter for that. The pH meter can be easily purchased from any online shop and its usage is also very simple1. Rainwater: If symptoms of chlorosis appear before monsoon. Then there is no reason to worry. Rainwater makes the soil alkaline or neutral, you don’t need to do anything. Rainwater makes the soil naturally acidic. Just test the soil once after rain and see if the Ph is correct.

Good Compost Soil:   Compost soil is the basic requirement for your plants. Prepare the soil with a mixture of 30 percent compost. As compost, you can use vermicompost or at least 3 months old cow or horse dung or composted leaves. It actually helps a lot in creating or maintaining the desired Ph value for your plants.

If you see symptoms of chlorosis in the early stages of the plant and the soil is not prepared as specified, then prepare the soil with a mixture of compost. Gradually your plant will become healthy and normal. Compost helps raise the pH level of naturally acidic soils and lowers very alkaline soils.

Vinegar: Vinegar can be applied to acidify the soil. It is very affordable and available at any grocery store. Prepare a mixture with 1 teaspoon per liter of vinegar or water. And apply this solution to the soil once in a month or once in 15 days as needed. If the soil at the base of the plant is dry, give it a little water a day before. And then use the solution. There is always a need to water thoroughly and test the soil Ph afterwards.

Coffee and Tea Leaf Waste: The tannic acid present in coffee and tea leaves helps to lower the pH of the soil slightly.

Poor Drainage system:

When preparing the soil at the time of planting, great attention should be paid to the drainage system. Especially in making tub soil. First check the drainage holes, if necessary increase the number of holes in the tub or enlarge the holes. So that excess water does not accumulate in the tub. Because chlorosis is considered one of the causes of poor drainage systems. Just as the tub must have good drainage, so must the media. Hard clay soil is not suitable for all plant chlorosis and root rot symptoms are more common when plants are planted in this soil.

So, if necessary, the soil should be prepared by mixing the right amount of sand and soil. So that excess water cannot be retained in the soil. Apart from this, organic materials like coco peat, cow dung or vermicompost, wood powder, rice husk etc. can be mixed with the soil to make very good soil. That is, the soil should be light and brittle.

Drainage system

The effects of chlorosis are more noticeable in plants planted in plastic tubs and in grow bags. Because plastic tubs and grow bags do not have the ability to absorb water. So it would be best to use clay tabs. If this is not possible, the drainage system of plastic tubs and grow bags should be improved. And from time to time the soil at the base of the tree should be loosened and dried.

Compressed soil:

If the soil is compacted, the tub soil should be loosened. So that oxygen can reach the roots of the plant. If oxygen does not reach the roots properly, the normal function of the roots is disrupted. And apply hydrogen peroxide if necessary. Mix 10 ml of 1 litre of water well and add it to the soil of the tub.

Damaged roots or compressed roots:

Plant roots can be damaged due to various reasons. If excess water accumulates in the tub or if the amount of water is reduced, if excess chemical fertilizers are applied and excess root pruning is done, the roots of the plant become weak. If the roots are weak, the plant cannot take food from the soil properly. As a result, the tree becomes weak and at one point shows symptoms of chlorosis. Eventually, the tree dies.

Herbicide use:

Frequent spraying of herbicides in the garden can damage both the soil and the plants in your garden. This can cause symptoms of chlorosis. To get rid of it, loosen the garden soil with weeding cleaning tools. If you can’t spend a lot of time in the garden. Black polythene sheets can be spread over bare areas of the garden to control weeds. No weeds can grow without sunlight. And sometimes the soil should be dried by lifting the polythene sheet. Failure to do so may result in drainage problems. That’s how I got rid of weeds myself. Now I don’t have to spend special weed sprays and weeding time to clear the weeds.

Damaged by insects:

Attacks of fungi and insects on plants are normal. As a result, the plant is damaged and chlorosis may occur if the plant is weakened. Special attention should be paid to nutrition to save the plant from this attack. If the plant is healthy and strong, the damage caused by its attack is less. And they should be controlled by applying the right pesticides regularly.