Why are my succulents turning yellow is a question that every succulent grower asks themselves when they don’t take care of their plants.

My Succulents Turning Yellow

A succulent turns yellow due to a grower’s negligence in watering, lighting, insect attack, and diseases. The problem is fixable by ensuring watering is correct and nutrients are balanced etc.

Continue reading to get more details.

Why Are My Succulents Turning Yellow?

Your succulents may turn yellow because of moisture and light stress. Both lack and excess of water and light can cause discoloration of the plants. In addition, nutrient insufficiency, insect infestation, and disease attack can also cause succulents to become yellow.

Reasons of My Succulents Turning Yellow

– Damp Soil

Succulent leaves turn yellow when you keep the soil overly moist. When the root hairs stay submerged in water, they face oxygen stress. As a result, they will feel suffocation and cannot uptake critical nutrients and even water. This will lead to a decline in photosynthesis and other processes in plants. In this condition, leaves turn yellow and ultimately die.

If you don’t do anything to dry the potting soil, the extra moist soil will become a launchpad for fungus to attack. When this happens, roots will get infected by diseases like root rot. Due to them, they won’t be able to soak up water and nutrients no matter how much you apply. Eventually, the leaves will curl up and start having big yellow patches.

– Watering Stress

When you apply less water than required, it’s a no-brainer that succulents won’t stay healthy. The first sign of this stress will be on leaves, which will start changing their color from green to yellow.

In watering stress, the upper leaves usually become yellow first. But the best way to determine whether your succulents face watering stress is to check the soil. If it is bone dry, it means succulents need water badly.

– Light is Insufficient

Succulent plants need around six hours of indirect light to thrive. But when you grow them in those locations where there is complete shade, they won’t be able to perform photosynthesis. As a result, you will see succulent leaves turning yellow and brown.

Note that when there is light stress, you will usually notice succulent leaves turning yellow at the bottom. It is because the upper leaves might still get some light, but the lower leaves won’t because the upper ones cast shade on them.

– Stress Due to Incorrect Temperature 

They face temperature stress when you see your succulents turning yellow and red. This stress can either be because of too hot or cold temperatures, as succulents are sensitive to both extremes.

When there is too much heat, plant leaves will dry out quickly, causing them to turn yellow. Similarly, when there is cold temperature or frost, then photosynthesis won’t happen as there is no sunlight in this weather.

Furthermore, leaf cells might also start to freeze in extremely cold conditions, causing the succulents to become yellow. The succulents sensitive to temperature stress are snake plants, echeveria, tree houseleek, pigmyweeds, stonecrop, and agave.

– Not Enough Nutrients

Nutrient deficiency can also be the reason behind the yellowing of succulents. Just like food is important for us, plants need nutrients to get energy, which they utilize to make their foliage green and healthy. So, when the nutrients are unavailable, problems occur.

The deficiencies that cause leaf yellowing are nitrogen, magnesium, and iron. It is because they form chlorophyll – a pigment that causes leaves to have a green color. So, discoloration is inevitable when plants don’t have enough of these nutrients.

– Insect Damage

If you see yellow succulents, then look for insect infestation. The reason is that insects suck the sap from the leaves and stem, causing them to discolor. Furthermore, termites also love to feast on roots. So, when there is a termite attack, roots get harmed, impacting moisture and nutrient absorption. Hence, succulents will become water-stressed and nutrient deficient, leading to yellowing.

Another way pest infestation leads to succulent leaves turning yellow and falling off is by aiding in the spread of diseases. Insects like aphids, scale, etc., suck the sap, causing fungus spores to appear on the leaves. Similarly, insects are also carriers of mosaic viruses. In these conditions, every leaf might turn yellow and drop off.

– Disease Attack

Succulents are prone to lots of bacterial and fungal diseases. The common bacterial diseases that cause yellowing leaves are bacterial rot, soft rot, and bacterial leaf spot. Similarly, the common fungal diseases are root rot, powdery mildew, and downy mildew. Due to these diseases, you will also notice a succulent turning brown, black, and white.

How Do You Fix Succulents That Are Yellowing?

To fix succulents that are yellowing , the first thing to do is to apply sufficient water to fulfill their needs. After this, make sure they receive adequate sunlight for proper growth. Applying appropriate treatments should be your priority for any pest or disease attack.

Solutions of My Succulents Turning Yellow

– Make Sure the Soil Has Enough Moisture

It would be best if you never overwatered succulents. These plants require less water than others, so overwatering is a common problem. But don’t leave them under water stress in fear of overwatering.

The best way to deal with this issue is to check the moisture present in the soil. If there is already some moisture, then wait a couple of days. Watering when the soil is dry and only adding two to three inches of water above it are recommended to ensure succulents get optimal moisture levels.

– Provide Proper Lighting Conditions

Succulents prefer to avoid facing too much or too little light. That is why leaves can start discoloration in both situations. So, if you don’t want succulent leaves turning brown and crispy, ensure these plants get the light they want (no more, no less).

Succulents prefer six hours of indirect light. So, relocate them to such spots where this much light falls. If you are an indoor gardener, providing sufficient light is much easier. Just position your pots to ensure they receive enough light from led grow lights.

– Take Care of Plant’s Nutrient Needs

To avoid nutrient deficiencies and leaves yellowing, ensure the soil stays enriched with important minerals. Therefore, you should add both organic and chemical fertilizers rich in macro and micronutrients.

Make organic fertilizers (compost, bone meal, rock phosphate, and kelp meal) a priority, as they do not damage the soil profile. However, if plants are showing really poor growth, then go for chemical fertilizers as they immediately release nutrients. This will prevent succulents from getting yellow further. However, only apply a few doses as this will cause nutrient toxicity in the soil.

– Apply Insecticides Safely

When there is insect infestation, you should immediately apply insecticides. Use the organic ones first, as they are cheap and do not cause any harm to the environment. The best organic insecticides or insect repellants are neem oil spray, diatomaceous earth, cayenne pepper, and baking soda solution.

Try chemical insecticides if more insects are roaming after using organic repellents. These are super effective in getting rid of all insects, but the problem with them is that they are expensive and need to be more environmentally friendly.

– Treat Diseases

When the yellow leaves are because of diseases, you should follow treatments and preventive measures as soon as possible. People often ask, should I remove yellow leaves from succulents? Well, yes. Doing this is crucial to stop diseases from spreading.

In addition, you should also clean your garden of any dirt as they are home to harmful bacteria. Furthermore, prune off extra shoots and leaves to improve aeration and light passage. If the disease keeps on getting worse, then use fungicides and bactericides. Following these plant care tips will make your succulents healthier again.

Conclusion of My Succulents Turning Yellow


Altogether, succulents turning yellow is a serious problem, so you must know everything about its causes and solutions, which are discussed above in detail. Here are the main points of the article to revise every key detail about this condition:

  • Succulents should receive proper light and water for smooth growth, or else yellowing will occur.
  • Make sure the soil stays nutrient-rich to avoid any complications.
  • In case of a pest attack, use organic repellents first. If they don’t show 100 percent results, then go for chemical insecticides.
  • To effectively deal with the diseases that cause succulent yellowing, apply appropriate fungicides and bactericides.

That’s all about succulent plants getting yellow and how you can fix this problem!

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