When Succulents Turn Yellow

by Succulent MarketNov 30, 2020


when succulents turn yellow


Why is my succulent turning yellow? 

Many succulent growers experience this problem, especially beginners. If you are one of these people, then this guide is for you.

Succulents require little to no maintenance. They are excellent at storing water in the toughest of environments, so they may ever survive if you neglect them.

But even so, succulents do have their needs. If they’re not met, they will start to behave differently than you anticipated. 

A common sign that something’s not quite right is when its leaves develop a strange color, of which being yellow.

Read on to learn more why your succulents turn yellow, how to cure it and how to prevent any further yellowing.

Why Is Your Succulent Turning Yellow?

When the leaves start turning yellow, there are three possible reasons:

  • Overwatering
  • Underwatering
  • Pot size

Any one or a combination of these three scenarios can cause a succulent to yellow.

To check if overwatering or underwatering is the issue, then take a look at the roots and stems. 

If there are signs of rotting, then it’s likely that the succulent has been overwatered. Simply reduce the frequency to prevent further rot spreading through the plant.

If the leaves are only just starting to yellow, the plant will eventually heal after reducing the watering schedule. However, if the rotting has started to take over the plant, then unfortunately, there’s not that much that can be done to save it.

On the other hand, if roots and extra stems develop alongside the yellow leaves, then it’s likely that the succulent has not been watered enough.

Now, while this means you must increase the watering frequency, be careful not to drown the plant. 

If neither of these signs are present, then the other reason why your succulents are turning yellow is likely to be the size of the pot.

Succulents can change color if there isn’t enough room to grow. This mostly happens in smaller pots. In this case, transfer the plant to a bigger one.

Note: yellow leaves don’t always mean something’s wrong.

Check the lower part of the leaves. If this is the only part that is yellow, then there’s no need to worry. This is perfectly natural in succulents; it’s just part of the growing process.

Only worry if the upper part of the leaves turn yellow. 

Check The Soil

Since overwatering is one of the leading causes of yellowing, you need to take actions to prevent it from happening in the first place.


First, examine the soil. Check the moisture in the soil and pot with your fingers. If it’s wet or there’s too much moisture, then you can be certain that overwatering is the issue.

Since one of the causes of the yellowing of the succulents’ leaves is overwatering, you need to make sure that it does not happen in your succulent plants. But how do you do that?

If the soil sticks to your finger, then the soil is very wet. If you don’t treat this soon, then it won’t be long before your succulent begins to rot in the roots, before heading up the steam and to the leaves.

Be proactive. The later you leave it, the more likely your plant will die.

Corrective Actions You Can Implement

Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Use the soak and dry watering method. This involves soaking the soil and not watering it again until the soil has completely dried out. In fact, succulents actually love this watering method as it's similar to what happens in their natural habitats.
  2. If the leaves are starting to yellow, stop watering altogether and wait for the soil to dry. It will take a couple of weeks for the plant to heal itself. Once the soil has dried out, start using the soak and dry method.
  3. Consider switching soil to a fast-draining soil and move the plant to a bigger pot. This will give the succulent extra room to spread its roots and grow, resulting in the leaves reverting back to their healthy green color. When choosing a new pot, make sure to select one with a large drainage hole. This helps to keep your succulent safe from overwatering.