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Pumpkin Leaves Turning Yellow: Causes & Fixes

In spite of the fact that the majority of people think pumpkins are vegetables, they actually are fruits and a single fruit has 500 seeds. Every piece of pumpkin is edible involving the skin, leaves, flowers, and stem. Morton, Illinois is producing 85% of the entire world’s pumpkin cans.

Pumpkins are considered as the mightily fruit and symbolizes prosperity, growth and profusion. It is a holy fruit of Halloween as they carve them

Fun Fact: The word pumpkin was first used in the Cinderella fairy tales.

It’s a frustrating feeling to see the leaves of your favorite plant turn yellow out of blue, sometimes it’s harder to notice the small change and one day you encounter unhealthy-looking leaves. Huge disappointment. 

In this article, we will go through every possible reason and fix the yellow leaves, so the plant can go back to the way it used to be.

Relativity Behind Pumpkin Leaves Turning Yellow

The most common yellow leaves come from excessive watering which can lead to root rot and eventually kill the plant. Extreme heat is unbearable for pumpkins and not creating a balance between nutrients can cause the leaves to turn yellow.

Another possible scenario is an insect attack, as a result not only do you end up with yellow leaves but also greet unnecessary peacock holes in random parts. 

The lack of sunlight and genetic type highly depends on leaf discoloration. Plus, it even is a normal end of the biological life cycle.

To identify the problem, you need close examination. 

Logical Explanation Why Pumpkin Leaves may Turn Brown

Insufficient Watering

Yellow leaves are mostly the result of overwatering or vice versa. If you spot drooping and wilting alongside yellow leaves, then most likely you have watered the plant while the soil was moistened.

Do not water the pumpkin without checking the soil is moist because the soil will determine if the water is needed. 

Nutrient Deficiencies

Do you eat? yes and then why do you forget to feed the plant, the lack of nutrients will impact the flavor. As a sign of nutrient shortage, the leaves will turn yellow.

  • Nitrogen especially in the early stages helps the root to grow healthier and gradually makes the pumpkin stronger.
  • During the growing time, potassium lack will cause the edges and tips of the leaves to turn yellow. 
  • Yellow veins are the shortage of either magnesium or iron.  

Keep in mind: Any lack of nutrients will impact the growth and less fruit production per plant.  

Hot Temperatures

For successful photosynthesis, three main things are needed, sunlight, water, and dioxide carbon. If it gets less than 6 hours of sunlight in a day, then this lack will react in the leaves. 

Still in doubt? check the shadow areas in the house for example if the huge tree is covering the plant, or the branches of another flower are getting in the way.

Genetic Type

If your plant seems like is doing ok and fills your expected amount of fruit, then you have to know some pumpkin genetics grow normally with yellow leaves, but if the leaves are brown and wilting, that’s another story.

The University of New Hampshire made research and stated that the “B gene” impacts squash and pumpkins and that turns the leaves yellow.

If the plant is giving each fruit and reached a certain size, then it’s just an aesthetic problem


There are three possible cases of diseases

  • Bacterial wilt
  • Downy mildew
  • Verticillium wilt

Downy mildew disease looks like some spots in the random underneath places that are gray and have a frizzy texture. Verticillium wilt is visible in the root and stems, not in the leaves.

A Final Part of the Biological Cycle

If the leaves are turning yellow at the end of the cycle and the pumpkins seem to be in the right size and color is vibrant, it means the pumpkin plant has completed the mission successfully. 

Dealing with Yellow Pumpkin Leaves

Use Fertilizer

Feeding the pumpkin plant with fertilizer, especially in the growing stage is a must. During this period, the plant is weaker and needs food for healthy growth.

Add nitrogen in the early stages and when the flowers start to show up, shift to phosphorus. After the pumpkins grow and reach the developed version, use potassium.

Change the Location for Better Sunlight, & Excessive Heat

The change of location is the easiest thing to do. For optimal growing, the pumpkin needs between 6-9 hours of full sun every day. Direct sun will be always preferable.

The ideal temperature for healthy growth is 65-95°F. This part is a little bit challenging because there isn’t anything you can do to fix the weather. Higher than 95°F pumpkin will start to lose health and react by turning leaves yellow.

Fix the Watering Frequency

  • In regular weather conditions, the pumpkin needs weekly watering for 1 inch deep from the topsoil.
  • Be careful not to wet the leaves and fruit during watering.
  • Always bottom-water the pumpkin.
  • Add mulch in peak heat, so the soil stays moistened for longer.

Disease Prevention

Squash bugs and vine borers love to create a living space underneath the leaves. These types of insects leave eggs for reproduction and the squash vine borer looks ecru and is approximately an inch long and will burrow the stem. 

A better solution will be to remove the bugs manually with hands. Here is a video of how to get rid of these insects.

A Brief Recap

Even though the struggle, pumpkins are fun to plant and carve on Halloween. Pumpkin leaves turn yellow for many reasons, but that wouldn’t kill the plant though.

In hopes that the article helped a lot and you figured out the cause, the solution is simple. With close examination, nothing is unrepairable. 

Further Reading 

If you want to know more about pumpkins, check out the article on how many pumpkins to expect from a single plant and the common problem of overwatering find out the onion watering frequency.

If you’re interested in a succulent family plant, getting aloe vera is a nice idea. Read the lifecycle of the aloe vera plant.

Natalia Michalska

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