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Why Are My Succulents Turning Yellow? 4 Reasons Why

Low maintenance and hardy plants like succulents have become popular indoor plants recently.

The variety of sizes, colors, patterns, and flowers means that you’re sure to find something that suits even the fussiest owner.

Being tough doesn’t mean they’re invincible, and lots of owners will ask themselves ‘Why are my succulents turning yellow?‘ 

Here are some of the main reasons, and how to fix them.

Why Are My Succulents Turning Yellow
Succulents Turning Yellow – via Reddit

Why Are My Succulents Turning Yellow4 Reasons

1. Underwatering your plants

Succulents are hardy plants that can go without water for a while but they still need some moisture to survive. 

An underwatered succulent will begin to have leaves which yellow and brown. The longer the plant goes without water, the worse the damage will become. 

You may be watering your plant, but you may not be giving it enough water. There might also be external factors like the sun or dry air, which dry out your soil quicker than you expect. 

If you notice yellowing leaves, press your finger into the soil and feel the soil. If it is bone dry and the plant feels loose in its pot, it’s worth giving the plant a good long soak in a water bath to really wet the soil. 

Repeat this process after a few days until the soil feels dry again, and repeat the watering process. 

Take note of how long it took to dry and keep this as a rough watering schedule. 

2. Overwatering of your plant. 

On the other side of the coin, a succulent can suffer from too much watering. 

This is a common issue in lots of indoor plants, and succulents aren’t an exception. 

So why are my succulents turning yellow from overwatering you ask?

Overwatering causes yellowing by placing stress on the succulents’ root system. If it is too wet, the roots aren’t able to exchange oxygen in the soil, which is essential for good plant health. 

Root rot is the most common symptom of overwatered plants, and this can cause soft, yellow, and limp leaves on your succulents.

Stick your finger deep into the soil on your pot. If the soil feels damp the entire way through, don’t water it. 

Try again in a few days, and only water when the soil is fully dry.

Once you have watered, leave it until it has dried out before watering again. 

Another easy sign is to smell the soil.

Root rot in the soil will have an unpleasant smell that is hard to miss.

3. Poor Soil.

Why are my succulents turning yellow? The problem might be underground.

The quality of your soil can impact how much moisture it retains, so this ties into the two previous reasons.

A soil that is hydrophobic, low in nutrients, or heavily compacted will cause different stresses on your succulents.

This will lead to yellowing and can compound a lot of other issues.

It’s good practice to repot your succulents every few years, particularly as they grow and begin to overcrowd their pot. 

When you repot, make sure you use a good quality potting mix.

Regularly adding a liquid fertilizer and wetting agent to the soil at least once a year will also maintain good health. 

Repotting and good fertilizing will ensure that the soil in the pot is not the cause of any problems.

Why Are My Succulents Turning Yellow 2
Help!! 🙁 succulent leaves turning yellow – via Reddit

4. Poor light conditions.

Succulents can prefer lots of light, or not much light, depending on the species.

If your plant is sitting in too little light, it will struggle and begin to turn yellow as it stops producing chlorophyll. The longer this goes on, the more yellow the leaf will become, before it finally dies. 

If your plant is in too much light, it can suffer from sunburn, which presents as yellow spots and patches on the leaf surface.

It’s best to check the label on any new succulents you buy to make sure you can provide enough lighting.

Another reason that might help answer the question “why my succulents are turning yellow” is that it’s a naturally occurring process. 

All plants have natural die off as they grow, and succulents are no different. 

Natural yellowing of leaves will occur around the base of your succulents. Look for the oldest parts of the plant. If there is yellowing here, it’s likely nothing to worry about. 

If your yellowing is happening on new growth or comes on quite suddenly, then it is something to look into.


To Summarize.

Why are my succulents turning yellow is a common question.

 There are a few reasons, and each is a pretty easy fix. 

  • Check the moisture levels of your soil by sticking your finger in deep.
    •  Soil that feels loose and dry can indicate underwatering.
    •  Soil that feels heavy and overly damp, or has a strong smell can indicate overwatering.
  • Make sure you have good soil in your pot by repotting it every few years or as soon as the plant has outgrown the pot. 
    • Keep your potting mix in the best condition it can be by adding liquid fertilizers and wetting agents regularly.
  • See how much light your specific variety of succulents needs to be happy.
    •  Some succulents like a lot of light, and others prefer a little light. 
    •  Make sure you place your plant in a location that is just the right amount of light to prevent yellowing and sunburn. 
    •  If you can’t get enough light, consider a small grow lamp.
  • If you do notice yellowing on your succulents and you think you’ve addressed the problem, the last step is to cut out any yellowing leaves.
    • Make your cut as close to the stem as possible and take out the entire leaf.
    • This will remove the ugly damage and encourage new growth.

Let us know if you have any questions or any other reasons why your succulents might be turning yellow!