I didn’t know you could test the acidity of the soil using vinegar and baking soda!
We’ve covered the easy and obvious fixes – water, sunlight, and bugs. If your plants are still turning yellow, it’s time to get creative with our solutions. Plants require 13 essential mineral nutrients that are usually absorbed through the soil. If the balance is off, or a mineral is too low or too high in the soil, your plants will suffer. Here are six nutrient deficiencies that are known to cause yellow leaves, and how to correct them.
If the edges and tips of your leaves are turning yellow, you most likely have a potassium deficiency. To counter this, simply bury a few citrus rinds in some soil at the base of your plant, or add some compost that is rich in fruit and veggie waste.
If you notice the tips and center vein in your leaves becoming yellow, you probably have a nitrogen deficiency. The best way to fix this problem is to add manure, but if you don’t have access to manure (or just don’t like touching poop, like me), then you can add coffee grounds to the soil.
If you have misshapen leaves, chances are your soil has a calcium deficiency. You’ll need to determine if your soil is acidic or alkaline. You can do this by using a pH kit, OR you can test the soil with vinegar and baking soda. Simply take two samples of dirt and mix with distilled water to make mud. In one mud sample, add vinegar. If the mixture fizzes, your soil is alkaline, and you should add gypsum. In the other sample, add baking soda. If the mixture fizzes, you have acidic soil and you should add lime.
If your leaves show signs of discoloration between large veins, you probably have a zinc deficiency. Luckily this is a pretty easy fix, as you don’t have to mess with the soil. Simply spray the leaves with kelp spray!
If your leaves are fully yellow and have small, green veins, then you might have an iron deficiency. If you want to be extra accurate, get a pH testing kit and determine the pH level of soil. You will want to get it under 7. Adding compst to the soil can help reduce the amount of phosphorus, especially if it contains things like kelp, veggie peels, dried blood, or manure.
If you start to see white stripes along the viens of your leaves, you might have a magnesium deficiency. Add organic compost with a sprinkle of Epsom salt to the soil.