Why Do Succulents Turn Yellow? Top 3 Reasons Why

There are a few reasons why succulents turn yellow and that is what we are going to focus on in this article.

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Succulents can tolerate some neglect, in part because they store water in their leaves and stems and are not susceptible to dying from a lack of water, as 95 percent of all other plants are. Although succulents are adaptable and tolerant of extreme environmental circumstances, they do have requirements, and you must adhere to them unless you want to see some terrible scenes, such as your cherished plants’ leaves and branches turning yellow. However, what does this mean?

Examining The Plant

Indeed, when the leaves of a succulent turn yellow (or yellowish), it is often a symptom of one of the following three issues: excessive water, insufficient water, or inappropriate pot size. Any of these three factors might be detrimental to the succulent plant, causing yellowing of the stem or leaves. However, how do we determine whether the issue is caused by excessive or insufficient watering? To my mind, the most fundamental and straightforward method of fault-finding is to examine the plant.

Root Rot due to Overwatering

If you remove a small amount of dirt and notice that the roots or the bottom portion of the stem has begun to decay, this is a clear sign of excessive watering. Rotation can alter the appearance of the plant, most notably the color. However, the solution is pretty simple: lower the frequency of watering and the amount of water you give your succulent.

Make no mistake: If you catch the problem early enough, and the yellowing of the leaves is only beginning, the succulent plant can be quickly cured. After reducing the amount of water available, the plant will eventually recover on its own, without assistance. However, if the rotting has advanced significantly, you may be unable to preserve the plant. Rapid response is critical in this situation.

Roots on Stem Indicates Lack of Watering

When you notice roots growing on stems and leaves turning yellow at the same time, this is a strong indication that your plant requires additional water. However, this does not indicate that you should completely submerge your succulent in water. Providing just enough water is critical in this case since it promotes both healthy growth and the natural hue of the leaves.

If, after examining your plant and the situation, you determine that neither a shortage of water nor an excess of water is to a fault, you should probably check the size of the pot.

Succulents Change Color When They Don’t Have Enough Space to Grow

Succulents’ colors may alter if they don’t have enough space to grow. It frequently happens when your plants are in smaller containers. If this is the case, make sure to move the succulents to a larger pot that is appropriate for their size.

However, keep in mind that not all yellowing is a bad omen. If the succulent plant’s bottom leaves turn yellow, there’s usually nothing to worry about. It is a natural feature of almost all plants. Wilting of leaves is a natural aspect of the growth process. Some leaves become yellow and fall, allowing new leaves of a fresh green tint to grow in their place. Only when the top or upper leaves or the stem turn yellow should you be concerned.

Always Check the Soil

Let me provide you with a few more pointers. Examine the soil if you’re not sure whether over-watering is to blame. Examine the moisture or water content of the soil or pot. You do this by sticking our finger into the ground. Overwatering is most likely to blame for the yellowish tint of the leaves if you feel too much moisture or the soil is wet.

Once you’ve determined the source of the problem, take urgent action to give your plant the best chance of recovery. Late action frequently results in the plant’s mortality.

Also Read: How to Grow Succulents?

Reasons Why The Leaves Turn Yellow

Now that we know how to examine the plant, let’s now see the common reasons why it happens.

Lack of light

Lack of light isn’t usually the cause of succulents turning yellow, but it can be in some circumstances. Especially if you use a fast-draining soil, a large pot with a huge hole, and avoid over- or under-watering your plant. Allow me to explain.

When we expose succulents to high heat or intense sunshine for an extended period of time, the succulents’ leaves may become yellow. Although succulents are semi-desert plants, they cannot withstand high heat or blistering sun all day. I recommend that you expose them to direct sunshine in the morning. When the sun begins to shine brightly, move them into the shade so that they only receive indirect sunlight.


Pests are another possible explanation in this case. Succulents that have been infested may acquire yellow leaves. It shows that the plant is in actual distress. Mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites are examples of common insects. Some of these are more obvious than others. If aphids attack the plant, for example, you will usually find them inside the curled yellowing leaves.

Fortunately, you can simply deal with these insects. You can make your own solution by combining alcohol and water. The solution should then be sprayed on the afflicted succulents. If used correctly, it will kill the insects while allowing the plant to recuperate.

Also Read: Will Succulents Leaves Grow Back?

Corrective Actions You Can Implement

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use the soak and dry method of watering. This entails wetting the soil and not watering it again until it is fully dry. Succulents, in fact, prefer this watering approach since it mimics what occurs in their native habitats.
  • If the leaves begin to yellow, discontinue watering and let the soil dry. It will take a few weeks for the plant to recover. Begin utilizing the soak and dry process once the soil has dried out.
  • Consider switching to a fast-draining soil and relocating the plant to a larger pot. This will offer the succulent more room to expand its roots and thrive, causing the leaves to return to their healthy green hue. When shopping for a new pot, look for one with a large drainage hole. This protects your succulent from overwatering.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can we salvage a succulent that has been overwatered?

If you take immediate action, you can easily save the over-watered succulent. However, if rot has already taken its toll, the plant may perish. The yellowing of foliage is only one symptom of overwatering. Other indicators are mushy, squishy, and pale bottom leaves. If you notice any of these symptoms, stop watering the plant right away.

Will the succulent leaves regrow once they have fallen off?

In most circumstances, yes. The succulent plant will eventually recover if the amount of water is reduced. If the plant has lost many of its leaves, new leaves will grow once the problem has been resolved.

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