Why is Your Succulent Turning Yellow? Find Out Now!

succulent turning yellow

Succulents are popular houseplants known for their ability to tolerate dry conditions, but even they can experience issues that cause their leaves to turn yellow. If you’ve noticed your succulent leaves turning yellow, it’s important to identify the reasons behind this discoloration. In this article, we will explore some of the most common causes of yellowing succulent leaves and provide you with tips on how to address these issues and revive your plant’s health.

Key Takeaways:

  • Overwatering is a common cause of succulent discoloration, leading to soggy or mushy leaves.
  • Underwatering can also cause yellowing and dried-out leaves, so finding the right balance is crucial.
  • Lack of sunlight or too much sunlight can result in pale or sunburned leaves, respectively.
  • Root rot, a fungal disease caused by overwatering or poorly draining soil, can lead to yellow or black leaves. Proper soil and watering practices can help prevent this issue.
  • Pest infestations, such as mealybugs or aphids, can damage succulents and cause yellowing leaves. Treating infestations promptly is essential.

Overwatering and Underwatering

One of the most common reasons for succulent leaves turning yellow is overwatering. Succulents are adapted to dry conditions and storing water in their leaves, so watering them too frequently can lead to the roots becoming saturated and unable to absorb water properly. To prevent your succulent from turning yellow due to overwatering, make sure to water it only when the soil is dry. Check the moisture level by sticking your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water.

On the other hand, underwatering can also cause yellowing and dried-out leaves. Succulents still need water to survive, so neglecting to water them can lead to dehydration and discoloration. It’s important to find the right balance and provide your succulent with enough water without overdoing it. Remember that different succulent species have different water needs, so it’s always best to research the specific requirements of your plant.

How to prevent succulent from turning yellow due to overwatering:

  1. Ensure the soil has good drainage to prevent water from sitting in the pot.
  2. Use a well-draining potting mix specifically designed for succulents.
  3. Water your succulent thoroughly but allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again.
  4. Consider using a moisture meter to accurately gauge the moisture level of the soil.

How to save a yellow succulent due to underwatering:

  1. Gradually increase the frequency of watering, allowing the soil to fully absorb the water.
  2. Ensure that the soil is thoroughly saturated during watering sessions.
  3. Monitor the plant closely and adjust the watering schedule as needed to prevent underwatering or overwatering.

By understanding the importance of proper watering and finding the right balance between overwatering and underwatering, you can help prevent your succulent from turning yellow and keep it healthy and vibrant.

Lack of Sunlight and Too Much Sunlight

Lack of sunlight or too much sunlight can both contribute to yellowing succulent leaves. It’s important to find the right balance and provide your succulents with adequate sunlight to keep them healthy and vibrant.

Effects of Lack of Sunlight

When succulents don’t receive enough sunlight, their leaves may become pale or turn yellow. This is a sign that the plants are stretching and reaching for more light. Lack of sunlight can also slow down their growth and make them more susceptible to disease and pest infestations.

Effects of Too Much Sunlight

On the other hand, too much sunlight can cause sunburn and lead to brown or yellow leaves. Succulents that are exposed to intense, direct sunlight for prolonged periods can become stressed and show signs of sunburn. It’s important to provide indirect sunlight for at least 6 hours a day to prevent sunburn and keep your succulents healthy.

Causes of Lack of Sunlight Causes of Too Much Sunlight
  • Placement of succulents in shaded areas
  • Keeping succulents indoors with limited natural light
  • Obstruction by tall plants or structures
  • Placing succulents in direct sunlight without protection
  • Exposure to intense, midday sunlight
  • Leaving succulents in windowsills without curtains or blinds

Solutions and Prevention

To address the issue of lack of sunlight, you can try the following:

  1. Move your succulents to a brighter location, such as a south-facing window or a well-lit area in your home.
  2. Consider using grow lights to supplement natural sunlight, especially if you have limited access to sunlight.
  3. Rotate your succulents regularly to ensure all sides receive equal sunlight exposure.

To prevent the negative effects of too much sunlight, you can:

  • Provide shade for your succulents during the hottest part of the day, such as using sheer curtains or placing them under a patio umbrella.
  • Adjust the position of your succulents to avoid intense, direct sunlight, especially during the peak hours of midday sun.
  • Use window coverings like curtains or blinds to filter the light and protect your succulents from excessive sun exposure.

By maintaining the right balance of sunlight, you can help prevent yellowing of succulent leaves and promote their overall health and well-being.

yellow succulent leaves

Root Rot

One of the common causes of yellowing succulent leaves is root rot. This fungal disease occurs when succulents are overwatered or planted in poorly draining soil. It starts below the soil surface and can cause the leaves to turn yellow or black.

If you suspect root rot in your succulent, it’s important to take immediate action. Start by carefully removing the affected plant from the soil and gently shaking off any loose soil from the roots. Trim off any soft, mushy, or blackened roots using clean and sterilized scissors or shears. Be sure to also remove any yellow or blackened leaves.

After removing the affected parts, give the plant’s roots some time to dry out and heal before replanting. During this time, it’s crucial to provide the plant with fresh, well-draining soil. You can use a mix of succulent or cactus soil with added perlite or coarse sand to improve drainage. Avoid overwatering the plant during this period to prevent further damage and allow the roots to recover.

To prevent root rot in the future, it’s important to ensure your succulents are planted in well-draining soil and that you follow proper watering practices. Check the moisture level of the soil before watering and only water when it is completely dry. Avoid letting your succulents sit in standing water, as this can promote the growth of fungi and lead to root rot.

Table: Signs of Root Rot and Treatment

Signs of Root Rot Treatment
Yellowing or blackening of leaves Remove affected plant from soil, trim affected roots and leaves, replant in well-draining soil
Soggy or mushy roots Allow roots to dry out and heal before replanting, provide fresh soil with improved drainage
Foul odor from the soil Remove affected plant from soil, trim affected roots and leaves, replant in well-draining soil

Pest Infestations

One of the common causes of yellowing succulent leaves is pest infestations. Pests such as mealybugs and aphids can damage the plant by feeding on its sap. This can lead to stress and discoloration of the leaves. If you notice pests on your succulents, it is important to take immediate action to prevent further infestations and save your plant.

To address pest infestations, start by isolating the affected plants to prevent the pests from spreading to other healthy plants. You can manually remove the pests by gently wiping them off the leaves with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol. For more severe infestations, you can use insecticides labeled for use on succulents or natural remedies like neem oil.

When using insecticides, always follow the instructions carefully and avoid applying them during the hottest part of the day or when the plant is under stress. Additionally, consider using organic and environmentally friendly pest control methods to minimize harm to beneficial insects and the environment as a whole.

Table: Common Pests and Treatment Methods

Pest Treatment
Mealybugs – Manual removal with rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton swabs
– Insecticides labeled for use on succulents
– Natural remedies like neem oil
Aphids – Manual removal with rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton swabs
– Insecticides labeled for use on succulents
– Natural remedies like neem oil

By promptly addressing pest infestations and providing the necessary treatment, you can save your succulent from further damage and encourage healthy growth. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests and take action as soon as you notice any. With proper care and attention, your succulents can thrive and maintain their vibrant green color.

yellowing succulent leaves causes

Can Low Light Conditions Cause Succulents to Turn Yellow?

Can low light conditions cause succulents to turn yellow? The answer is yes. Succulents thrive in bright and indirect light, so lack of light can lead to yellowing. However, some varieties are better suited for low light environments, like the best low light succulents. These hardy plants require minimal light, making them perfect for homes or offices with limited sun exposure.

Soil Quality and Nutrient Deficiencies

Succulents require well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients to thrive. Poor-quality soil or nutrient deficiencies can lead to yellowing leaves and overall decline in plant health. To prevent your succulent from turning yellow, it is essential to provide it with the right soil and necessary nutrients.

When it comes to soil, opt for a well-draining mixture that consists of potting soil and gritty materials like sand or gravel. This type of soil allows excess water to flow through, preventing waterlogged conditions that can lead to root rot and yellowing leaves. Repotting your succulent in fresh, well-draining soil can help provide the optimal growing environment.

In addition to proper soil, it is important to ensure your succulent receives the necessary nutrients. Fertilizing with a balanced fertilizer specially formulated for succulents can help address nutrient deficiencies and promote healthy growth. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for application rates and frequency. Remember not to over-fertilize, as this can cause burning and further damage to your succulent.

By ensuring your succulent has the right soil and nutrients, you can prevent yellowing leaves and promote vibrant, healthy growth. Regularly monitoring your plant’s condition and adjusting its care routine as needed will help keep your succulent thriving for years to come.

Table: Essential Nutrients for Succulents

Nutrient Function Signs of Deficiency Sources
Nitrogen Supports leaf and stem growth Pale leaves, stunted growth Nitrogen-rich fertilizers
Phosphorus Promotes root development and flower production Poor root growth, lack of flowers Phosphorus-rich fertilizers
Potassium Aids in overall plant health and disease resistance Weak stems, increased susceptibility to diseases Potassium-rich fertilizers
Calcium Strengthens cell walls and aids in nutrient uptake Leaf tip burn, stunted growth Calcium-rich fertilizers
Magnesium Essential for chlorophyll production and photosynthesis Yellowing between leaf veins, poor growth Magnesium-rich fertilizers


In conclusion, yellowing succulent leaves can be a sign of various issues that need to be addressed promptly to save your plant. Overwatering and underwatering are common causes of succulent discoloration, so finding the right watering balance is crucial. Providing adequate sunlight, but avoiding excessive exposure, is essential for maintaining healthy succulents. Root rot can be a serious problem, but by removing affected plants and using well-draining soil, you can prevent further damage. Pest infestations can also lead to yellowing leaves, so it’s important to control them using appropriate insecticides or natural remedies like neem oil.

Furthermore, the quality of the soil and nutrient deficiencies can contribute to yellowing succulent leaves. Using well-draining soil and fertilizing with a balanced succulent fertilizer can help address these issues. By monitoring your succulents and adjusting their care routine as needed, you can revive your yellowing succulent and ensure its health and vibrancy.

Remember, treating yellowing succulent leaves requires a combination of proper watering, adequate sunlight, well-draining soil, and pest control measures. With the right care, you can save your yellow succulent and enjoy its beauty for years to come.

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