Yellow leaves on Florida anise in spring

Q: The leaves on our large Florida anise shrubs are turning yellow and have black spots. What may be causing this? What can we do to address the problem?

A: Good news!

This is normal springtime behavior. Nothing to worry about.

It is common in spring to see yellow leaves on gardenia, holly, Southern magnolia and several other evergreen shrubs. The phenomenon is caused by the plant moving food resources out to new growth on the branch tips, leaving interior leaves to survive as best they can.

The weakened yellow leaves may get black spots from fungi taking advantage of them but the disease rarely moves to other parts of the plant.

If the yellow leaves are several inches back from the branch tips, and if the tip leaves are green, your plant is reacting normally. It will look fine in a few weeks.

Spraying with fungicide or fertilizing will not help the situation, it’s just a part of the lifecycle of the plant.