Why Are My Succulents Turning Yellow?

Succulents are well-known plants for their thick stems that can store water on the stems and leaves. This makes them low-maintenance plants and can grow indoors or outdoors in hardiness zones of 8 to 12. 

Being a low-maintenance plant means it can develop for a long time with minimal care, however, you have to care for it because it develops some problems along the way, such as succulent leaves turning yellow. Since succulents are green, it is easy to notice when there is a color change. 

You must be asking yourself, “why are my succulents turning yellow?” well, we have an answer for you. Throughout this article, we will find the cause of this problem and how to fix the succulent yellow leaves. 

Causes of succulent yellow leaves

The origin of succulents is in the desert, where they get hot and warm temperatures. They are used to these temperatures; thus, the water storage system in the stem and leaves. The thick stem ensures the plant has enough water to sustain itself all year round. 

However, they need other requirements other than water to survive. And if they aren’t taken care of, they start to stress and, in turn, change their color. The yellow leaves can be an indication of one of the following problems. 

It’s better to understand that sometimes the yellow leaves don’t mean the succulent plant has a problem. Some go through the process of changing colors as they mature to produce new succulent growths.


A succulent plant can survive without water for long periods. So, when you choose to water, ensure you give it enough water that does not become stagnant around the soil. Excess water can cause the roots to lack oxygen, and the roots will start rotting. When the roots rot, the plant won’t get enough food, which makes the leaves wilt. 

Once you see the leaves turning yellow, it’s a sign of overwatering. Also, if you touch the leaves, they feel soggy or mushy, which means it has too much water. Another sign is if the leaves fall off if you apply minimal pressure, such as a slight bump. If the plant gets black spots, it can be hard to salvage the plant. 


Identifying a problem is easy, so how will you fix it? Firstly, stop watering the plant immediately after you notice succulent yellow leaves. Secondly, check the dead roots and see how far they have gone. If there are dead roots, remove them and leave only fresh roots. Also, don’t forget to cut off the yellow leaves. Thirdly, change the soil before you pot the plant. 

Once you remove all the dead plants and repot the succulent plant, leave it for at least a week without water. Start watering the plant after you spot a new small green plant growing. Even so, water slowly once every two weeks until the plant returns to normal. 

If the plant’s root didn’t rot, leave it for a few to see if it absorbs the water, and if it doesn’t, you can transplant the succulent into a new pot with better drainage holes. 


Underwatering is another common reason that causes succulent leaves to turn yellow. Even though the plant can store its water, you must water it from time to time. Once it lacks water, the succulent will wilt, as the lower leaves turn yellow, and you start seeing dead plant tissue at the bottom of the plant.  

The first sign of underwatering is that the succulent leaves turn yellow and then wrinkle. 


If you have this problem, check if it has progressed beyond revival or if you can save the plant. The best thing to do is to soak your plant once a week to give it enough water. You can do this by giving it enough water while improving the watering schedule. 

When you soak it, ensure the pot has good drainage holes to avoid overwatering the plant. This way, only the water the soil can handle remains in the pot. 

Lack of sunlight

The succulent plant is generally made for the desert; thus, it requires enough sunlight throughout the day. Once it lacks enough exposure to the sun, the succulent leaves turn yellow. 

The first sign of lack of sunlight is the plant starting to grow fast into a tall and skinny plant. It’s a sign that it’s trying to find the source of light. And as it grows tall, the leaves turn yellow. If you don’t notice earlier, it will become tall and thin. 


To fix this problem, you need to place the plant in an area with access to direct sunlight. The plant should get a minimum of 3 hours of direct sunlight daily. 

Bug infestation

Bugs are a menace to every gardener, especially indoor gardeners. The succulent plant is not immune to bugs. They like to feed on succulent leaves, and as a result, it causes plant stress. 

Once a plant is stressed, some parts of it get affected, including the leaves. Their leaves start to turn yellow. 


The solution to bug infestation is to treat the succulents immediately after you notice the infestation. Use insecticides and ask for instructions before you spray on your plant. 

Low-quality soil

Like other plants, succulents must be planted in high-quality soil that is rich in nutrient, has proper drainage, and is rich in microorganisms. The most important of all is soil with good drainage properties. 

If the soil is not draining water properly, you will have stagnant water, which causes root rot or fungal infections after some time. This, in turn, causes succulent leaves to turn yellow and start wilting. 


If you find this is the cause of your yellow, the best cause of action is to repot the succulents with a high-quality soil with good drainage capabilities. Also, remember to add gravel or pebble at the bottom of the pot to ensure water doesn’t stagnate at the bottom. 

If you can’t save the plant, you can cut a healthy part of the plant and propagate it in fresh soil. You will see the result after a few weeks. 

Measures to take to prevent succulents turning yellow

It is sometimes better to prevent problems rather than wait for them to find a viable solution. For succulent leaves, it’s better to maintain them to get consistent green leaves during their growing period. Here are a few things to do to prevent succulent leaves from turning yellow:

  1. Proper watering of the plant — you should water your plant regularly, leaving some time between the watering periods for the soil to dry. 
  2. Proper exposure to direct sunlight — this plant requires direct sunlight for about 6 to 8 hours each day. Sunlight ensures that the plant can make its food remain green. 
  3. Accurate temperatures — It should have correct temperatures of between 50 and 90 degrees F and humidity levels of 40% to 70%. If the temperatures drop, the leaves can turn yellow, so it’s best if the room has accurate temperatures. 
  4. Good soil drainage — soil that can drain off water easily is good to ensure that excess water comes out at the bottom of the pot. 
  5. Proper Pruning — pruning involves removing extra large leaves or dead leaves. By removing the dead leaves, you leave the plant with only healthy leaves. Dead leaves can attract fungi or bacteria to the plant, so it’s better to remove them before it spreads.


When a plant starts to turn yellow, it’s for one of the reasons above. With these tips, you can take care of your succulent plant to ensure the leaves don’t turn yellow, and if they do, you have a solution to the problem. 

Other than using these practices on yellow leaves, you can use them to care for your succulents and prevent other problems from occurring in the future. 

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