Why Are your Mint Leaves Turning Yellow? (And What To Do)

When you think of mint, its beautiful and unique green color probably springs to mind. That being said, when the leaves on your mint start turning different colors, specifically yellow, you may think there is some problem with your plant. Turns out, you’d be right! But what causes mint leaves to turn yellow?

If your mint leaves are turning yellow, there are a number of things that this could be caused by. Read on to find out some of the reasons your mint leaves are discolored!

Why Do Mint Leaves Turn Yellow?

Mint leaves turn yellow for a number of reasons. If your mint plant is being taken care of improperly or is in an improper environment, the leaves may be damaged, which is shown by discoloration. There is a number of mistakes that can be made that lead to this outcome.

They range from problems with how the plant is being watered, to where the plant is placed, and how much nutrients it is able to receive. 

Read on to find out why your leaves might be damaged, if you can fix them, and how to prevent them in the future!


Overwatering is one of the main causes of mint leaves becoming discolored. When you put too much water in the soil that your mint is growing in, it can lead to a number of problems. This is because not only do plants aerate and “breathe” through their leaves but through their roots as well. 

If the soil is too moist (especially if you’re growing your mint in a soil that retains a lot of water, such as clay-based soils) your mint may be experiencing some root rot. This is obviously very damaging to the plant, as it would become unable to intake nutrients through its roots. 

If root rot is not the problem, the overwatering could simply be choking out the plant’s roots, rendering it unable to aerate through its roots. This can lead to problems with your plant, which are indicated by leaves turning yellow. 

Humidity Issues

Keeping your mint, and most other plants, in an at least slightly humid area is extremely important. This allows the plant to remain moist without being overwatered and helps the plant meet the moisture requirements it needs to survive and thrive. 

If your plant is not in a humid place, it can suffer from being dried out. Dry air (especially in the winter) can shrivel up your mint leaves very quickly. This will start as some browning along the edges of the leaves and then turn into the entire leaf drying out, drooping, and turning a yellowish or brownish color. 

Make sure the room you keep your mint in is warm and a bit humid (but not too hot or too humid). As long as it’s comfortable for you, it’s probably fine for your mint as well!

Overexposure To Sunlight And Heat

You may think it best to put your mint directly in sunlight, as most plants thrive when given proper sunlight. However, this isn’t the case for mint. On the contrary, mint actually prefers growing in shady areas. This is because sunlight and heat are not good for mint, as they can dry out the leaves and damage the plant.

This exposure is another one of the most common reasons that mint plants turn yellow or brown. This process is called scorching, or the burning of the plant by constant direct exposure to sunlight, either outside or through a window. 

What To Do When Your Mint Leaves Turn Yellow

When your mint leaves turn yellow or yellowish-brown, it is important to quickly change the conditions of the plant in order to save it from further damage. This is not completely irreversible damage, so quick action can help save the life of your mint. 

Check if you’re over or under watering by inspecting the soil. If it’s very dry and sandy, you may be watering too little. Conversely, if it is extremely moist, you are most likely overwatering. These conditions should be fixed as quickly as possible by adjusting the watering schedule and the volume of water you’re using per watering session immediately. 

If your plant is in direct sunlight for a lot of the day, move it! Mint plants love the shade, so make sure it’s in a place where the sun can’t hit it directly and scorch its leaves. 

Can Yellow Leaves Be Turned Back To Green?

Your first thought when you see a yellow leaf is probably that you want it to turn back to normal! As for whether not this is possible, it is more complicated than just a yes or no answer. It depends on the circumstances in which the leaf was turned yellow. For some types of damage, it can be reversed, but for others, it is permanent. 

For instance, if you’ve been overwatering the plant, thus choking out the roots and cutting off the flow of nutrients to the leaf that’s turned yellow, this can be reversed. This is because if you fix your watering schedule, the roots will be able to provide the leaf the nutrients it needs, turning it back to normal and thus restoring its natural green coloring. 

On the contrary, if you have left the plant out in the sun too long, the damage done by scorching is irreversible. This is because the actual outside of the leaf has been damaged. This can not be fixed by any amount of shade or proper nutrition, unfortunately. 

Poor humidity conditions are probably the most reversible of the damage types that can mess with your mint leaves. Simply fixing the humidity of the room your mint lives in will begin bringing those sad, droopy, brown, or yellow leaves back to life. 

So make sure to identify what damaged your mint’s leaves to know if it is in your best interest to spend time trying to fix the leaves, or to just understand that they can not be changed back to their original color. 

So what do you do if you’re in the latter situation? If your leaf has been damaged in a way or to a point where it can not be returned to normal, then the solution might be simpler than you think. 

Cutting Leaves Off

When your leaves turn yellow or brown, in many cases they can’t be turned back to green. If the yellowing is the result of nutritional deficiencies, then it can be turned back by fixing how the plant gets nutrition. An example of this would be to stop overwatering to eliminate the “choking out” of your mint’s roots so it can get more nutrition. 

However, sometimes the damage is irreversible, such as when the leaves are scorched by sunlight. In this case, if it is only one of the leaves, it may be best to simply trim the leaf off. 

This is because it is a more efficient use of the mint’s energy to have it stop sending nutrients, water, and other important materials to the dead or dying leaf. The still healthy leaves will benefit from this, and it will improve the overall health of your mint. 

Make sure not to cut leaves off without having done a thorough diagnosis of what caused the leaf to become discolored in the first place. It would be a waste to remove a leaf that could have been saved if you only took the time to look at it more closely. Take your time and inspect every possible reason that the plant could have leaf discoloration. 


Obviously cutting leaves off is a bit of a last resort. The best thing you can do for the health of your mint plant is to not have it become damaged in the first place. This may seem obvious, but a lot of mint owners don’t take preventative measures. 

So what kinds of prevention methods can you take to make sure the leaves on your mint plant stay healthy and green?

Make a Watering Schedule

Make and keep a watering schedule that tells you when to water your mint and how much water to use. Pay close attention to how your plant reacts to this watering, and whether or not you are slightly over or under watering it. 

If you are watering improperly, feel free to change the watering schedule accordingly! It is important to make changes based on how your mint reacts to watering. Remember, every plant is just a little bit different, so make sure you are adapting the way you take care of yourself based on how it reacts. 

The most important part of a watering schedule is sticking to it and watering the mint consistently and with the proper amounts of water. Again, feel free to change the schedule as you see fit, but don’t stray off of it too much or forget to water it on schedule. 

Create An Environment That A Mint Can Thrive In

Mint needs specific conditions in order to survive and thrive inside your home. The two most important factors in the environment you need to be in are light and humidity. 

Make sure that your mint is in a shady place. Make sure it isn’t dark, but sunlight should not, under any circumstances, be hitting your mint directly on its leaves. A shady place with some light during the day is probably the best environment your mint can be in, light-wise. 

The other important factor is humidity. Make sure that your mint is in a quite humid place, as the moisture in the air will be an important reason your mint leaves stay healthy and green. 


So, if you have a mint leaf that is yellow or brown when you want it to be green, it should be fixed if possible. Diagnose how the leaf became that way, whether it be from overwatering, underwatering, scorching from direct exposure to sunlight, lack of nutrients, or lack of humidity. 

Then, take the necessary steps to fix these problems if possible by adjusting how you supply your plant water and nutrients or placing it in an environment more suitable for mint. 

Finally, in the future, make sure to take preventative measures to protect your mint from leaf discoloration. Keeping a proper environment and watering schedule for your mint is of the utmost importance for keeping your mint leaves happy, healthy, and green. 

So what are you waiting for? Every second you spend reading this is another moment of sad, yellow mint leaves. Find that plant and get fixing, before you need to get a new one! 


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