Leaves Turning Transparent or Translucent: The Causes Explained

Leaves Turning Transparent

A plant’s leaf may turn translucent, transparent, or even flake due to a variety of physical, environmental, and soil-related issues. Chlorophyll depletion is the root cause of all of them.

When a leaf loses a considerable percentage of the chlorophyll that gives plants their green hue, the leaf will become translucent or transparent. Damaged roots, inadequate drainage, high alkalinity, nutritional shortage, and compacted roots are the reasons of this pigmentation loss.

A plant loses its color owing to distress, which can be defined as physical or biological, in plain terms. In either case, the plant is gradually perishing. The plant will eventually wilt, lose support, and die if you don’t step in.

Fear not, though, for we have explained why this occurs and how to correct it by knowing what is making your leaves appear translucent.

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Why Are My Plant Leaves Turning Transparent?

According to science, the green pigment chlorophyll inside the leaf is in charge of absorbing light, which transforms the water in the leaves into hydrogen and oxygen.

A number of chemical reactions take place as hydrogen and carbon dioxide combine to generate glucose, . Simple materials are transformed into complex dietary components, including proteins, vitamins, and carbs throughout this process.

We can thus infer from the straightforward explanation that a plant dies if its leaves are not green because it is unable to produce its own sustenance.

Sometimes as soon as a plant begins to produce new leaves, the old ones begin to wither and drop off.

What it Means when Leaves become Blotchy, Turn Translucent or Transparent

When a plant is green, fleshy, and growing vigorously, that is a sign that it is healthy.

Diseases, pests, or a deficiency in essential nutrients are to blame if the color begins to become transparent or translucent or if leaves begin to fold and appear blotchy.

Here is a thorough explanation of leaf issues on plants, along with some easy remedies.

  1. Pests
  2. Ionic Minerals
  3. Physical Conditions



These tiny, white moth-like leaves tend to group together near the base of the leaf. The nymphs can also be confused for the color of the nearby leaf because they are translucent.

The plant becomes stunted and discolored as a result of these insects sucking on its liquids. Spraying insect-killing soap on the plant will help to prevent whitefly infestation.

Powdery Mildew

The disease that causes this ailment causes a powder to form on the leaf edges, which kills the leaf by folding it up.

The layer shields leaves from direct sunlight and is especially noticeable in humid climates with inadequate airflow.

Powedery Mildew is a fungal invasion that flourishes in the dampness of the house and a poorly ventilated chamber is what has caused the white and brown blotches on the plant.

Simply make sure there is enough space for the plant to evaporate any excess moisture, and create an environment with a breeze to improve air exchange in the room, to prevent the fungal assault.

Without these, the powdery rust creates a relatively persistent sulfur deposit that inhibits growth.


These pests feed on sap and frequently attack plants, attaching themselves to the undersides of the leaves. Aphids can be brown, red, green, or white. They leave behind yellow patches, which are followed by drooping and eventually dying leaves.

Additionally, aphids spread viruses from plant to plant and emit honeydew, which encourages the development of black sooty mold. These bugs irritate plants and result in stunted growth.

However, you can get rid of them by spraying them with potassium salts of fatty acids, which will damage their exoskeleton and cause them to become weak, dehydrated, and ultimately die.

For resolving my leaf issues, I utilized the miracle grow potting mix from Amazon, and the customer reviews bear this out.

Nutrient Deficiency

Nitrogen Deficiency

The vegetative growth of a plant is caused by nitrogen. Insufficient nitrogen in the soil is to blame whenever lower leaves on the plant start to turn translucent, dry up, and die.

The cause of these differences is that when a plant begins to experience a nitrogen shortage, it allocates the available nitrogen to the newly developed leaves at the expense of the older ones.

Additionally, if the plant was in the fruit-forming stage, all of the nutrients would go toward the fruits rather than toward the development of new leaves.

Amino acid supplements and nitrogen-rich fertilizers can both significantly boost your plant’s nitrogen levels. Nitrogen is one of the main components of amino acids, which serve as the building blocks of protein.

Potassium Deficiency

When a plant does not receive enough potassium, it develops a blotchy appearance, making the leaves appear to be on fire.

The tips of the leaves typically become yellow or brown and curl inward. While the outer leaf region is burned, green leaf veins will still be visible.

This effect seems to be stronger during flowering or budding. Make sure to apply potassium-rich fertilizers on top of your soil.

Furthermore, even when fertilizer is administered, excessive soil PH may hinder potassium uptake, making the problem worse.

Phosphorus Deficiency

Plants deficient in phosphates may have terminal effects. Typically, a plant will have trouble growing and will begin to change color.

The lower leaves begin to change to lustrous, dark bluish or green leaves. The issue may then worsen to the point where the damaged leaves begin to curl downward.

When a plant is budding, phosphorus is abundantly required. This may need to be fixed before this time. Use phosphate fertilizers and watch out for low temperatures that prevent plants from absorbing phosphorus.

Physical Factors

These can be regarded as biological since they directly impact the plant’s capacity for survival. They consist of;

Heat Stress

Your plant may experience heat stress if it is housed in a space with temperatures that are too high or too low. Plants experience this phenomenon to save water.

In essence, a plant loses water through transpiration when it is exposed to extreme temperatures. As the water in the cells evaporates, the cells contract, sealing any pores that are left open and allow the water to escape. The effect is that the leaves curl, and the plant may also fold.

For a plant to support itself, water is necessary. The plant lacks turgor without it, especially in non-woody, mushy stems. Make sure the room where the plant is located has ventilation and a steady temperature to avoid plants from suffering from heat stress.

Excess Watering

The issue is too much water when leaves begin to droop and curl inward from the stem.

Just enough water should be given to the plant to ensure that salts in the sap of the cells are not diluted. As a result, before adding more water, let the water you just poured drain.

See our post on how to spray plants properly.

Why are my Plant Leaves Turning Translucent and Flaking?

Your indoor potted plants are like pets. Every little thing you notice them doing is an attempt to express a concern.

Plants typically begin to change color and may even become translucent or brown in some cases.

The most likely issue with potted plants and typical reasons for the color change are an insufficient supply of nutrients or illnesses. In the preceding part, we examined the most prevalent and widespread nutrients and illnesses.

Here, you will discover that your plant is equally likely to go completely colorless due to cold, overwatering, poor drainage, and poor soil mix.

A dry appearance that first appears on leaf tips and occasionally in the heart of the leaves, then spreads to the entire leaf, is the cause of flaking and papery leaves. When it’s hot and dry outside, fluid frequently evaporates before it can reach a plant’s roots.

The membrane is thin and translucent and is left behind after the leaf is flaking off. As a result of the chlorophyll membrane being destroyed, that portion of the leaf is typically dead and unable to photosynthesize light.

We now delve into the contributing elements.

Too much exposure to cold conditions

Drafts are the constantly circulating cold air currents in your home (cold drafts). Plants that aren’t used to cold currents are harmed by these drafts. Plants from tropical regions are particularly impacted.

Tropical plants suffer from drafts when kept in a room with these conditions since they cannot tolerate chilly temperatures.

For instance, the leaves of the Calathea plant begin to develop transparent and translucent spots when exposed to these temperatures. Tropical plants include calathea.

As a result, avoid exposing tropical plants to chilly drafts. Windows often let cold air in. Keep your plant away from windows and other sources of chilly air currents in your house if you want to preserve it.


Succulent plants can retain water for a long time. Regular watering and watering after brief intervals are not advised. As a result, these plants end up becoming mushy, transparent, and soft.

Succulent plants that are overwatered eventually rot. However, they will display these signs of becoming translucent yellow and mushy before they perish.

Reduce the frequency of watering the plants immediately to stop this process. Second, relocate the plant so that it is directly exposed to the sun. Third, wait until the soil is completely dry before watering the plant again.

Remove the damaged leaves and allow the remaining ones to develop.

Using a pot with holes that improve drainage and allow unrestricted air circulation to the roots is another precaution to take.

Additionally, excessive wetness may be the cause of leaf scorch, papery leaves, and flaking. This happens when the roots are starved of oxygen because the soil is so saturated and the crevices between the soil are filled with water. The plant eventually dies when the roots suffocate, causing the leaves to become papery and dry.

Bacterial or fungal disease

On your potted indoor plant, bacterial or fungal infections frequently result in the establishment of lesions as the tips of the leaves turn yellow or brown.

It may be difficult to contain these viruses and save your plant because you always face the risk of transmitting them to other plants. Therefore, the only way to stop a viral or bacterial attack is to burn or throw away the plant.

In the previous session, we looked at the development of powdery mildew. An effective fungicide can be sprayed to treat the resulting fungal infection.

It can also be reduced by controlling the humidity in the room. The ideal flourishing conditions for fungi are damp areas with low temperatures.

Sometimes the underside of the leaves of orchids show tiny translucent patches. Small insects that eat by sucking plant sap may be the source of these scars.

Applying insecticides will get rid of these insects. Therefore, before selecting the best solution for the issue, investigate the reason why the color of your plant is changing.

Bad drainage

The significance of having a well-drained pot for the plant pot has already been sufficiently emphasized.

A pot with good drainage ensures that any extra water drains away, keeping the soil moist enough to support the plant. Usually, keeping a plant in a container with poor drainage contributes to overwatering.

Bad soil mix

Different soil types have distinctive qualities that make them preferable for particular plants. Some plants struggle to grow on sandy soils.

Others can thrive in loamy soils but struggle in clay ones. Decide which sort of soil is best before you plant your houseplant, and then go forward.

We suggest combining perlite and vermiculite for a superior soil mix because it will provide the soil the best aeration and drainage qualities. For more information on using these soil amendments, see our in-depth article.

Nutritional Deficiency (chlorophyll synthesis)

Plants with etiolation lack chlorophyll. These are plants that become pale and lanky after several days of receiving insufficient light. Other than light, these plants also have access to vital substances like magnesium and iron, which play a significant role in the production of chlorophyll.

According to science, phytol and cyclic tetrapyrrole produce chlorophyll. Magnesium and iron make up the majority of these two substances. Four pyrrole rings form a datative connection with one magnesium atom.

A low level of chlorophyll production will occur if these main chemicals and other necessary components are absent. Citing our opening statement, a plant’s green color is a result of chlorophyll. It is transparent and drab without it.

Which plants are mostly affected by leaves becoming transparent or translucent?

Every plant is impacted. Keep in mind that leaves cannot absorb light without chlorophyll. In the absence of light, water molecules cannot be split into hydrogen and oxygen and plants lose their capacity to produce food and ultimately perish due to a loss of chlorophyll or, to a lesser extent, when they turn translucent. Literally, they are starving to death.


How do you fix translucent leaves?

Simply place a tropical plant away from an open window where it may receive low to strong sunlight would suffice. A plant’s color may occasionally fade and it may become translucent due to bacterial and fungal infections. If that occurs, you must remove and discard the harmed leaves.