Ask a Question forum: Heliconia, Yellowing leaves

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Tracy, CA
Dec 28, 2017 9:19 PM CST
I recently bought a heliconia rostrata and it was doing fine. I had it on a weekly watering schedule until it suddenly began to develop yellow leaves, from the bottom up. The plant's leaves have been yellowing at a rapid pace. I've searched all over the internet but I can't seem to pinpoint exactly what's going on. However, there are a few things which I think could be the culprit. The first is that when I received it, I had it next to a banana plant which I later found mealybugs on. Despite this, I'm not sure if an infestation is the problem, because I've closely observed the leaves and found no telltale signs such as webbing. The second possibility is that it is not receiving enough light or too much light. In addition to placing the heliconia next to the banana plant, when I first received the heliconia, I had it near a grow lamp. Unfortunately, the only growing space I have access to is a room with a northern window, so I supplement my plants with a grow lamp I got as a gift. (SAFARI 28W LED Grow Light Kit for Indoor Plants with Adjustable Desk Lamp & Outlet Timer for Growing Seeds Basil Tomato Bonsai Marijuana & Herbs use in Office Home or Hydroponic Garden (1, Large) (the name of the grow lamp)). I also have images of the plant. I would greatly appreciate any insight into what is going on.
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Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Dec 29, 2017 10:45 AM CST
The leaf yellowing is a generic symptom with several possible causes. That is why you have a hard time finding a definitive answer online.

Heliconias require a lot of direct sunlight when kept indoors. From your description, I suspect lack of adequate light is the likely cause of the leaf yellowing. Do whatever you can to maximize the natural light supplemented with the artificial light.

Improper watering can also cause leaf yellowing. Allow the top half-inch of soil to dry before watering thoroughly enough that some water trickles through the drain hole.

I don't see any evidence of mealybugs or spider mites. It is spider mites, not mealybugs, that make webs.

Don't try to "fix" the problem by repotting or fertilizing. Improve the light as much as possible and pay close attention to the watering.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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