Why Are My Pumpkin Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?

As we are heading towards the monsoon, one of the most common complaints about pumpkin plants has started to come. These include the pumpkin plant leaves turning yellow, and dying without any specific reason.

Pumpkin plants are one of the most widely celebrated plant species for home gardeners for so many reasons and we can’t stress enough on the importance of keeping them under optimal conditions for continuous growth, productivity, and good health. So, if you are also facing problems with your pumpkin plants, you have arrived at just the right place.

In the following article, we decode some of the major reasons as to why the pumpkin plant leaves have started turning yellow and what you can do to restore the health of your plant.

In addition, there are some additional plant care tips that ensure that your pumpkins remain in the most exclusively amazing health throughout. Keep reading to get more insights.

Why Pumpkin Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?

As soon as people witness their pumpkin plant leaves going yellow in color, they fear if it is due to the prevalence of a disease or infection.

But, the good news is that more often than not, it is due to dehydration, rapidly changing weather, and nutrient deficiencies.

However, the not so good news is that while these causes are not adverse, they can evidently lead to conditions that are frightening, including plant death.

Before we jump on to the solutions for restoring your pumpkin plant health, let us inspect the major reasons and contributors a little more closely.

Also Read: Why Are Sweet Pea Leaves Turning Yellow?

It is all a part of the natural growth process

One of the reasons why your pumpkin plant leaves have started to turn yellow might be because it is just how it is supposed to be. This is by far one of the safest and most relieving causes for the yellowing leaves.

As a part of the natural process, the pumpkin plant starts to die when its fruit matures to its optimum condition, giving you an indication that it is now the right time to harvest your fruits and enjoy them. The vine becomes old and is unable to bear the weight of the full-grown fruit, thus dying eventually.

On a rough note, you can expect the fruits of your pumpkin plant to completely grow and mature after a period of 120 days from when you have sown the seeds.

You’d be surprised to know that not only do the plants die but the crown base also starts to show symptoms of deterioration. It is primarily because their role in the development of the plant has subsided and their presence is no longer needed for a healthy fruit.

This harmless process is actually good for the long-term health of your plant and is appreciated by many as a way of making the plant independent.

However, if left unnoticed for too long, the dead leaves of the plant can suffocate the air passages, disallowing the fruit to breathe completely. Also, it might promote the spread of root rot in certain cases.

To avoid such situations, it is best recommended to cut back the leaves of the plant as soon as they have turned yellow after fruit maturation.

An important point to remember is to chop the leaves very carefully with blunt scissors without leaving a mark on the fruit or other budding pumpkin plants or it can lead to infection and rot spread.

Also Read: How Deep to Plant Eggplant Seedlings?

Nutrient deficiency

Nutrients are the building blocks of humans and the story with plants is no different. If your plant is getting adequate sunlight, water, regular pest control services, and a good soil to grow into, you should not even wait for a millisecond to reach to the conclusion that your plants have turned yellow due to nutrient deficiency.

The macro and micronutrient profile of your plant says a lot about how it will keep itself during difficult times and how long it will actually be healthy. To make sure that all the nutrient needs of your plant are met, you should never compromise on the quality or quantity of fertilizer that you subject your plants to.

Nitrogen is the most important nutrient required by your pumpkin plant to keep the work going. To ensure that your plants have correctly restored their health from nutrient deficiency, follow the below mentioned steps:

  • Buy a commercially available fertilizer that represents the NPK ratio of 18-18-21.
  • Now, dilute the fertilizer before feeding it directly to the plant. An appropriate proportion is to dissolve one tablespoon of fertilizer in a gallon of water. This makes sure that the health of the plant is not compromised due to the high concentration of nutrients present in the fertilizer.
  • In addition, you can also follow the instructions as labeled on the packet of the fertilizer by the manufacturer of the product. Make sure to buy from a place that is not speculative of selling adulterated products and does the job just right.
  • A bonus tip to enhance the benefits provided by the fertilizer is to spread a layer of mulch or organic and well drained soil (approximately 3-inches in length) around the plant. Make sure that the layer does not directly touch the stem of the plant or it can block the flow of essential nutrients to and fro the plant.
  • The essence of making a manure layer around the plant lies in the fact that the plants never run out of adequate moisture conditions, and also ensuring that all the essential nutrients provided by the fertilizer are absorbed and retained in the right amounts.
  • Next, make sure to water your pumpkin plant in ample amounts. Make sure that you do not wash off the fertilizer completely. That would lead everything to go in vain. Instead, sit down and water the plant close to the ground to further the course of moisture in the plant. Do not overwater your plant or it could lead to root rot and a sodden soil bed.

That being said, loading your pumpkin plants with high amounts of nutrients alone will not do the job. You should always pair it with a moist and at the same time constantly well-drained soil to see the best results.

Check this out: Should I Cut Off Yellow Cucumber Leaves?

Presence of pests

Spider mites, whiteflies, and squash bugs are amongst the most dangerous pests that can cause tremendous harm and damage to your pumpkin plant. Their leaves turning yellow are the most common of them.

These pests operate by means of living on the stems and leaves of the plant, thus sucking all the sap that is present in the plant, making them turn yellow and devoting them of all the essential nutrients. Interestingly, and even more unfortunately squash bugs also feed on pumpkin fruit, which if left unnoticed and consumed directly, can cause tremendous damage to one’s health. 

Spider mites are usually present on the undersides of the leaves where they create their webs and stick to the plant, sucking all the sap out of the leaf. This leaves the leaf with almost nothing to live with, thus turning yellow.

Whiteflies, on the other hand, are comparatively easy to spot and are present everywhere from the plant root to the stem and finally even to the leaf.

One way to know if your plant has been infested with whiteflies is to shake your plant gently. If a small cloud of little white flies are seen dusting off from the plant, then you know who is to blame for the yellow leaves.

Squash bugs are most frequently observed as a pair of small brown eggs present in clusters on top of the leaves and even on the underside.

They adult themselves throughout their course of living on the plant and sucking out the sap from the plant.

If you want to get your plant rid of all the signs of infestation and pest damage, it is important that you check it weekly for any symptoms. Here is what you can do if you spot any signs of possible damage on the pumpkin plant from any of these pests mentioned above:

  • Always keep yourself stocked with good quality and low concentration insecticidal soap, either the liquid version or spray. Ideally, it is recommended to keep a spray as it becomes easier to apply on the plant when needed.
  • Each week, take out time to properly wet and gently rinse off each part of the plant, starting from the stem base to the main stem, the fruit, and finally the leaves. It is important that you clean your plant with water once a week to make sure that the pests stay away. Additionally, it also helps the plant parts absorb the moisture with maximum accuracy, thus giving you the best experience.
  • Do not spray water or soap spray when your plant is exposed to full sun. It can cause backlash from the plant and is not recommended by experts for scientific reasons.
  • Every morning, make it a routine to carefully examine the undersides of your pumpkin plant leaves. If you spot any usual development or eggs, remove them, wash the plant, and spray insecticides to avoid further risk of infection spread.
  • Another bonus tip to help you manage pumpkin pests is to take care of the plant debris that is easily available in winters. It does more harm than any good and is a major contributor the involvement of pests in your garden.

Also Read: Why Are My Spinach Leaves Curling?

Disease Infections

Pumpkin plants are not easy to grow and a major part of this comes from the fact that it is very easily vulnerable to diseases and getting sick.

Some of the most common diseases infections that you can witness your plant being exposed to include verticillium wilt, sudden wilt and downy mildew.

A mutual symptom of all of these insects is that they cause yellow pumpkin plant leaves and speed up the process of plant damage and death, which is not something that any house gardener wants.

To make sure that your plant stays away from catching such diseases, do not keep watering your plant beyond their holding capacity, and as mentioned earlier, remove plant debris as soon as the winters set in.

Check this out: What Size of Container Do I Need to Grow Cucumbers?


Now that you know what are the major reasons for which your pumpkin plant leaves have turned yellow and the measures that you can take to combat them make sure to apply them into your house garden as stated.

Follow the instructions and compositions mentioned to get the best results. You can also let us know in the comments what worked best for you. If you have more questions about the frequently prevalent problems about your pumpkin plant or any other plant, make sure to go through our other articles.

We have curated solutions to some of the most frequently witnessed plant problems after a lot of research and experimentation. Hope our content will be of help to you. Happy gardening!

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