Why My Columbine Leaves Turning Yellow? [Causes & Solutions]

Columbines are gorgeous perennial garden herbs with bright blooms. These spring beauties are easy to handle and serve multiple health benefits too.

But sometimes it gets difficult to maintain them due to some stress. In herbs like columbine, the yellowing of leaves is a major issue that may lead to drying and death of the whole bush. So, there is no scope for overlooking this.

If you are dealing with something similar, you are in the right place. In this article, I’ll discuss the yellowing of columbine leaves with some effective measures. Mainly I’ll focus on soil moisture and pH, the need for sunlight, pests and diseases and nutrient supplies.

So, let’s crush this without further ado.

Columbine Leaves Turning Yellow – Reasons And Solutions

Improper soil moistureTry to add water to the soil once or twice a week according to soil needs.
Lack of sunlightProvide at least 6 hours of sunlight.
Incorrect soil pHMaintain a soil pH ranging from slightly acidic to neutral.
Pest and diseasesKeep regular monitoring and use recommended insecticides and fungicides.
Lack of nutrientsAdd a balanced dose of fertilizers according to your plant’s needs.

1. Improper Soil Moisture

Improper Soil Moisture for Columbine Leaves

During hot summer days, columbine plants can turn yellow and end up drying easily. Soil moisture level has a close association with this. Both over and under-watering can affect your plants.

Let’s check how you can deal with the dry and cracked soil near your plant base with balanced moisture.


Moisture management in plants like Columbine is not that tricky. You just need to keep the root zone moist. Watering once a week works fine, so do not overwater your plants. But during summers you may need to apply water twice.

If you notice that the leaves are completely yellow and on the verge of drying, it would be a wise option to trim them off at the basal zone. Don’t worry, they will come back again till next fall season.

Garden mulches are a great option to conserve soil moisture for a long time. You can put your plant debris and litter at the base of your columbine. But be careful about not putting diseased plant parts as mulches.

2. Lack of Sunlight

Columbine needs at least 6 hours of sunlight. As herbaceous plants thrive on sunlight for continuous photosynthesis, sunlight is quite important. Insufficient photosynthesis can cause chlorosis and turn your columbine leaves yellow.


Columbine grows well in partially shaded places with 6 hours of sunlight. So, at the initial growth stage, such placement is very much needed.

If your region fails to supply continuous sunlight for Columbine, you may need some LED or fluorescent light in your garden. These are pretty effective substitutes for natural sunlight

Overexposure to the hot scorching sun is also not expected. This can easily cause wilting to your columbines. In this case, try to add shades as soon as possible. 

3. Incorrect Soil pH

Columbine is adapted mostly to slightly acidic and neutral soils. So, soil pH and associated reactions greatly affect your fragile plants. Yellowing leaves is one of the major symptoms of such a condition which may lead to the death of the whole bush in your garden.

So, if you are wondering why the Columbine plant is dying, this can be a reason too. Now, without any delay let’s check what you can do for your plants.


To assess the pH levels of your garden soil you may need to install a good-quality pH meter. This one helps in easy monitoring and planning the further steps.(Our Pick: SONKIR Soil pH Meter, MS02 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester)

As columbine can’t tolerate alkalinity, to restore this you can add organic mulches like garden litters, grass clips, pine needles and sphagnum moss, compost, or even fresh coffee grounds to your soil. Make sure to place these a few centimeters surrounding your columbine bush and mix them with the soil properly.

However, strongly acidic soil can also cause harm to your pretty bush. To reduce soil acidification, liming can be a great option. So, you may get some garden lime from a local shop and use it according to the instructions.

4. Pests and Diseases

Leaf miners, sawflies, and aphids feedings are prominent in Columbines. These are mostly found at the lower leaf surface or on tender stems where they keep sucking off the plant sap. Thus columbine leaves or even the whole plant can turn yellow.

Among diseases, root rot is the major one that can cause the yellowing of columbine leaves and flowers. Other internal infestations due to fungal attacks can also lead to such conditions.

So, let’s check how you can deal with such enemies in your garden.


To control garden pests, you can simply use some horticultural oils or soaps. 2% neem oil-containing soaps are quite popular. Even you can mix some concentrated neem or rosemary oil in water and apply it to your columbine. This will drive away the insect pests as well as some fungal diseases easily.

You can also use some commercial insecticides. But try to pick a mild one specially formulated for herbaceous plants. (Our pick: Monterey LG 6145 70% Neem Oil Ready-To-Spray Insecticide, Miticide, & Fungicide)

In the case of root rot, balancing soil moisture is necessary. For this, you can use some charcoal dust near the plant base at the initial stage. If disease prevails in severe conditions, you may need to rely on a chemical fungicide.

To prevent root rots, I would say don’t keep your soil soggy for longer. Sometimes raw manure can lead to such problems. So, dry them properly before adding them to the soil.

Home Remedies

Home Remedies for Plant Pest Control

#Recipe 1: Dish soap to control pests


  •  A few drops of liquid dish soap (Preferably with minimal bleach content)
  • A gallon of water


  • Add dish soap to water and stir gently.
  • Transfer it to a sprayer and add it directly to the foliage to control pests.

#Recipe 2: Baking soda mixture to control fungal infestation


  • 4 teaspoons of baking soda.
  • A gallon of water.


  • Gradually add baking soda to the water
  • Pour this mixture into a garden sprayer or watering can and apply to focus on the basal portion of your columbine plants.

5. Lack of nutrients

Nutrient loss can develop chlorosis easily in columbine. Besides that, if you notice that columbine leaves are turning purple this may be a clear sign that your plant needs some good care. So, let’s check how you can handle this condition.


Manure and composts never go wrong when it comes to supplying necessary nutrients to Columbine. Just try to add a well-decomposed one and mix thoroughly in your soil.

I’ve seen my grandma putting bone meals, coffee grounds, and vegetable and fruit peels in herbs and they are quite effective too! So, do not hesitate to try all these.

In some cases, manure and household stuff may not be enough all the time. So, then you need to go for some well-balanced fertilizers for garden herbs. (our pick: Jobe’s Organics 09127, Granular Plant Food)

Moreover, keep one thing in mind any type of fertilizer incorporation should be done prior to the bloom time of columbine flowers.

Home Remedy

Here is a good homemade fertilizer that can be a quick fix.

#Recipe: Epsom salt fertilizer


  • 15 grams of Epsom salt
  • A gallon of water


  •  Add Epsom salt to the water and mix properly.
  • Apply this mixture to your plant base.

Caution- While applying this mixture avoid direct contact with your plant stems and don’t put this mixture more than once a month in your soil.


Question: What’s the lifespan of a Columbine plant?

Answer: Columbine plants are quite short-time survivors. But these can live up to three to four years.

Question: Can I grow columbine as a houseplant?

Answer: Columbines are not adapted to indoor conditions. However, you can grow them directly from seeds and allow some sunny conditions. This may initiate plant growth but may not survive or bloom further.

Question- Does Columbine spread?

Answer- Yes, columbine can grow branches and is mostly grown in a bush of multiple plants. So, with time they will spread.

Question- Why are my Columbine leaves turning brown?

Answer- Browning of columbine leaves can happen due to water stress, fungal attack or even because of environmental stress. Sometimes, indiscriminate use of herbicides to kill weeds may also affect your columbine bush by turning them brown.

Question- Why are my Columbine leaves turning red?

Answer– Red leaves in Columbine is a sign of stress. This may be due to adverse environmental conditions. Sometimes phosphorus deficiency can also lead to such problems.


Finally, I’ve come to an end now. It felt really nice writing to you. Hope you got the idea of how you can deal with the yellowing of columbine leaves.

Let’s have a quick recap. So, all you need to do is to maintain your soil with the necessary water and nutrient elements. Also, provide proper sun exposure and keep looking for pests and diseases often. These are not that hard to go with.

Finally, come back to my articles whenever new issues arise and don’t forget to share your experiences in the comments.

Happy growing.

James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg

James Rivenburg is the founder of plantandpest.com, a passionate gardener with valuable experience and knowledge gained through trial and error. The website has a large community of followers who trust his tips and techniques and have succeeded with his advice. He is always Committed to helping others create a beautiful and healthy garden.

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