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Why Is My Succulent Turning Yellow (9 Common Reasons & How To Fix)

Succulents are a group of plants with fleshy tissues to retain water in their leaves. They are such easy-growing and care houseplants because they require minimal care and maintenance during their life cycle.

However, some indoor gardeners may experience yellow leaves on their succulent plants. Hence, one question often comes to their mind is: “Why is my succulent turning yellow?”.

If yes, delve deeper into the article below to seek favorable answers and some golden tips to keep your plant green and pleasing year-round.

Why Is My Succulent Turning Yellow
Succulent Turning Yellow – via Reddit

Why Is My Succulent Turning Yellow9 Possible Reasons

1. Overwatering

Overwatering is one of the most common problems for yellowing succulents. If leaves start to turn yellow and fall off after a slight touch, check the plant if it is soggy or not. If so, the leaves and stem may also emerge black spots while the roots begin to rot, which turns out to be harder to save. 

2. Underwatering

Although underwatering is not expected as overwatering, some succulents such as Portulacaria alfa or Senecio haworthii can experience this issue. Under this circumstance, the plant leaves can develop yellow and look dry or brittle.

3. Inappropriate sunlight

Although the succulents often thrive in bright sunlight, too much sun exposure a day will also cause the plant’s leaves to begin to turn paler, grow yellow or brown, and die at an unexpected rate.

Another reason for yellowing succulents is due to a lack of sunlight. Along with the yellowing of the leaves, the plant may also seek a light source, resulting in growing tall and skinny instead of healthy and lush.

4. Nutrient issues

Nutrient deficiency occurs when the succulents lack nutrients, causing the leaves to turn yellow. Besides, this can be a sign of over-fertilizing. If you have fed your plant frequently, unhealthy growth may appear, and the lower leaves can develop yellow or brown.

Why Is My Succulent Turning Yellow 2
Why is my poor succulent dying? Bottom leaves turning yellow and falling off. – via Reddit

5. Cold temperatures

Cold temperatures can be the culprit of succulent leaves turning yellow and not thriving. As succulents are not cold-hardy plants, they cannot remain healthy when the cold weather arrives. Hence, before the first frost, the plants will be required to be brought indoors.

6. Sudden environmental changes

The succulents prefer stable temperatures, which means their leaves may emerge yellow when the temperatures suddenly decline or increase.

In this case, relocate the plant immediately into a spot with a stable condition to recover from a yellow appearance. 

7. Pest infestation

Succulent leaves turning yellow can also signify that bugs negatively affect the plant. Aphids and mealybugs are some of the most common succulent pests, likely to feed on the plant’s new growth, causing stress and turning leaves yellow.

8. Soil issue

The succulents require healthy and well-draining soil or some pebbles at the bottom so the roots do not suffer from rot. Hence, when the plant leaves turn yellow and develop root rot or other fungal infections, it signals that the pot has drainage issues. 

9. Natural cycle

Every plant goes through a natural cycle of yellowing leaves and dies eventually. Therefore, when the succulents turn yellow, they might reach the end of their life cycle or experience a different growing stage. Hence, prune off any damaged and dying leaves, so the plant continues to grow.

On the other hand, if the succulent has yellow leaves around the bottom, the plant is likely preparing for the flowering process and removing some unnecessary leaves to maintain energy to flower.

How To Prevent Succulent Leaves From Turning Yellow

Proper watering

Adjust the watering schedule properly and wait for the succulents to dry out between each watering session. Thus, water the plant only when the top inch of the soil is slightly damp. If you suspect the plant is underwatered, give it a generous soak to stay green.

In case black spots appear around the stem:

  • Remove the succulent and the soil from the pot immediately.
  • Get rid of any parts with black stem rot and allow the plant to dry out naturally.
  • Transplant the plant with a fresh soil mixture.

Sufficient sun exposure

For a fresh and healthy succulent, it should be exposed to at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. A south or east-facing window is ideal for providing sufficient sunlight for the plant. However, it is not suggested to place the plant directly from sunlight to prevent sun damage.

Another thing to remember is to avoid sudden changes, such as moving the plant from low lighting conditions to bright outdoors instantly, which may shock the plant. Hence, carefully raise the intensity of sunlight so succulents can adapt to the change actively.

Consider using a grow light (artificial light) when keeping the plant indoors to supplement the lack of sunlight coming in. Keep an eye on the plant to see how it reacts, then adjust or make changes when needed.

Succulent Sunshine
Succulent Sunshine – via Pixabay

Right conditions

Succulents grow best in temperatures between 50 and 90 °F with 40% – 70% humidity levels. Hence, it’s vital to keep the plant in its standard conditions. If the surrounding atmosphere in the room is dry, use a humidifier to provide the constant humidity for the plant.

Proper transplatation

Succulents thrive in sandy, gritty, well-draining soil. Thus, if you suspect that the plant is not given suitable drainage, consider repotting it into a new pot with a new well-draining soil mixture and better drainage holes.

In addition, you can place some gravel or pebbles to enhance water retention. Also, the new container should preferably be an appropriate size for the roots to grow.

After repotting, allow the plant to dry out for a couple of days and water thoroughly to moisten the soil. Then, apply the right fertilizer mixture specifically for succulents every two weeks during the growing season.


So, you have found out the desirable answer for the question: “Why is my succulent turning yellow?”. It’s essential to provide your succulent with adequate water, sunlight, temperatures, and drainage for a healthy and robust plant.

Then, follow proper care instructions to avoid the plant developing yellow leaves and falling off.