Plant Dropping Leaves – Why A Plant May Be Losing Leaves

A plant may be losing its leaves because it is dying or it may have other reasons. Some plants are not able to grow anymore due to disease, drought, pests attack or some other reason. If a plant loses all its leaves then it will die.

When a plant dies, it is called Green Leaf Drop (GLL).

Green Leaf Drop: What Is It?

In most cases when a plant drops its leaves, it means that the plant is going to die soon. However, there are some exceptions like GLL. The term “green leaf” refers to the color of the leaves and not their actual color. Some plants lose their entire foliage while others only lose part of them.

The main cause of GLL is heat stress. Heat stress causes the plant cells to stop producing new blood vessels and nutrients. The result is that the plant tissue becomes damaged and eventually falls off.

Sometimes even the roots can fall off if they get too hot. Another possible cause of GLL is root rot which occurs when bacteria from soil invade the root system causing damage to the plant’s vascular system.

How Does It Affect My Houseplant?

There are many ways heat stress can kill your houseplant. For example, the plant can suffer from leaf scorch or leaf tip burn. In both cases the affected leaves will eventually turn brown and fall off. The top of the plant will probably be brown as well if the condition worsens.

Can I Prevent It?

There are some measures you can take to prevent your plants from suffering from GLL. The first thing to do is water your plants, especially the ones that are used to cool interior rooms or outside in the summer, only when the soil is dry. You should also use a saucer so excess water can drain out. Another way to prevent GLL is to put your plants in a shady area during the hottest parts of the day. If you have outdoor plants, it’s a good idea to bring them inside during the hottest hours of the day. You can also buy a fan to place on a nearby table and aim the airflow at your plants. The circulating air will help keep the temperature down.

If you follow these tips, your plants should remain healthy and free from leaf drop.

How To Know That It Is Time To Repot A Plant?

Sources & references used in this article:

Influence of leaf surface wettability on the drop splash phenomenon by E Papierowska, R Mazur, T Stańczyk, M Beczek… – Agricultural and Forest …, 2019 – Elsevier

Winter leaf loss in the New Zealand woody flora by MS McGlone, RJ Dungan, GMJ Hall… – New Zealand Journal of …, 2004 – Taylor & Francis

Water deficits and hydraulic limits to leaf water supply by JS Sperry, UG Hacke, R Oren… – Plant, cell & …, 2002 – Wiley Online Library

Photosynthesis in intact leaves of C3 plants: Physics, physiology and rate limitations by TD Sharkey – The Botanical Review, 1985 – Springer

What limits evaporation from Mediterranean oak woodlands–The supply of moisture in the soil, physiological control by plants or the demand by the atmosphere? by DD Baldocchi, L Xu – Advances in Water Resources, 2007 – Elsevier

Photosynthesis and nitrogen relationships in leaves of C3 plants by JR Evans – Oecologia, 1989 – Springer

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