Why Do Cabbage Leaves Turn Yellow?

cabbage leaves turn yellow

Why do cabbage leaves turn yellow? Yellow leaf is quite common for any kind of plant. The old leaves just change color from green to yellow and then fall.

The cabbage leaves may also change color but most of the time it happens once the plant is overmature. You need to figure out what are other causes why cabbage leaves turn yellow too early.

Why Do Cabbage Leaves Turn Yellow?

Some causes why cabbage leaves turn yellow are due to; aging leaves, watering problems, lacking sunlight, pests, diseases, transplant shock, and nutrients problem.

It is lovely to eat green leafy vegetables just like cabbage. When you are growing cabbage for the second time, it will still be challenging but not as much as the first.

Cabbage Is Lacking Sunlight

Plant cabbage in a sunny location to grow well and build heads much faster. The cabbage plant needs sunlight for at least 6 hours per day.

More sunlight will also make the cabbage plant grow excellent. When the plant is just starting to grow a minimum of 4 hours per day is enough for the plant.

The young plant doesn’t have big plant parts and a few hours for them will be enough to grow. Once the plant matures, more sunlight is needed by the plant.

Taking care of the cabbage plants is really important to achieve a good yield.

Lacking In Water

When plants is lacking water, yellow leaves and brown leaves on the cabbage plants may appear. The cabbage plant needs 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week to achieve healthy growth.

Before watering your plants, you need to check the soil moisture first. Press your index finger 2 to 3 inches deep in the soil. If the soil is moist you don’t need to water your plant.

But if the soil is dry you need to get your watering tool and water your cabbage plants. Just make the soil moist and avoid it getting soggy.

The water will help cabbage plants to stay cool and makes leaves thrive well.


Overwatering cabbage plants can cause also yellow leaves. The cabbage plant is small and also has smaller size roots.

The plant cannot handle too much water which leads leaves to turn yellow. Make sure that you have well-draining soil to prevent water logging.

Also, just apply the right amount of water to your plant in that way yellow and curling leaves on the cabbage plants will be prevented.

Aside from overwatering, heavy rainfall can also affect the plant. You need to make sure that if you planted cabbage in a pot it has good drainage.

Or if you planted cabbage in the garden, make sure there are good waterways that will prevent flooding. The plant will be safe and there will be no additional problems like losing leaves on cabbage.

Improper Fertilization In Cabbage Plant

Too much chemical fertilizer can cause burns on the plant which can lead to yellow leaves. You need to apply the right amount of fertilizer to prevent problems like yellow leaves.

Some good fertilizer for cabbage plant are; 10-10-10, 12-12-12, and 8-16-16. Improving the soil nutrients will increase the cabbage head which is great to harvest.

Aside from using chemical fertilizer, you can also use organic one. You can use compost for your cabbage which will improve the soil in the long run. Animal manure is also a good element to add to the soil in the garden.

Contrary to overfertilizing, lacking fertilizer can also cause yellow leaves. Lacking nitrogen and iron can reduce the production of chlorophyll in the leaves.

When there is enough chlorophyll, the plants’ leaves will stay green.

Transplant Shock On Cabbage

Transplant shock on cabbage plants may also happen for some seedlings which causes yellow leaves. By being careful in handling and transferring the cabbage to the new location, transplant shock will be prevented.

There are gardeners who prefer to germinate the cabbage seeds in a seed tray first and once it has enough size they transplant cabbage seedlings.

It is best to do transplanting early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Avoid transferring cabbage especially when the weather is too hot.

Also, water the cabbage immediately after transplanting in that way the plants will have early access to the water which they needed to establish much faster.

Aging Cabbage Leaves

Yellow leaves on cabbage plants may appear especially if those leaves are old. During the early days, the cabbage seedlings grow leaves for the first time.

Those leaves will turn yellow the first. It is just normal to see yellow leaves under the plant. Old leaves will turn yellow and then change to brown and fall on the ground.

Most of the time, there will be a few yellow leaves on the plant and other leaves are green. You cannot stop leaves to turn yellow because it is part of their cycle.

Pests And Diseases Attack Cabbage

If you want to increase the lifespan of the cabbage plant, you need to control pests and diseases on the plant.

Pests can cause some serious damage to the plant and if not monitored and controlled, the cabbage plant will suffer much damage.

Some of the pests and diseases of cabbage are; (Aphids, worms, moths, and slugs) (Alternaria Leaf Spot, Blackleg, Black Rot, Bacterial Leaf Spot, Bacterial Soft Rot, Clubroot, Downy Mildew, and Bottom Rot).

Can You Eat Cabbage That Has Turned Yellow?

Yellow cabbage leaves will taste a little bit different compared to fresh and green leaves. You will notice that the leaves are a little bit bitter taste.

Also, if you grow the cabbage you need to know the cause why it turns yellow. If the cause is pests and disease most likely do not consume those leaves.

Just consume those healthy and fresh leaves to feel safer than consuming those leaves with pests and disease damage.

It is great to know why cabbage leaves turn yellow. Some of the reasons why cabbage leaves turn yellow are due to; transplant shock, aging leaves, pests, diseases, improper fertilization, and watering problems.

By observing the cabbage plant regularly, you will figure out the main cause more quickly and do the best solution to the problem.