Why are some leaves turning yellow?

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Lay off the water!!

Mild Yellowing on the Tips of Lower Leaves

Succulents turning yellow, soft, and mushy are usually an indication that they are getting too much water. They may have even been overwatered at the store before you even brought them home.

If you notice that the leaves of your succulent are starting to turn yellow, stop watering it. See if it will recover on its own.

The leaves that have yellowed will probably begin to start shriveling and eventually dry out as the plant uses that leaf for energy.

Lower Leaves are Fully Yellow and/or Translucent

If you see that there are many yellow leaves or even some leaves that have turned translucent, you’ll need to do more than just stop watering it for a while.

Translucent leaves mean that the cells have taken in too much water and are starting to burst. In this case, change the soil to a much more gritty mix. You need to make sure that the soil dries out faster than it did in its old soil.

Things Are Getting Dark

After leaves turn yellow, soft, mushy, and translucent, they will turn shades of brown and then black if the overwatering issue isn’t corrected.

If you have rotten leaves, there’s a good possibility that you also have some stem or root rot. Cut away any affected parts of the stem or roots with a sterile knife and make sure to remove anything that is discolored.

More signs that you’ve got an overwatered succulent:

Leaves falling off when touched

Perfectly healthy succulents don’t just drop leaves for no good reason.

When the cells inside of your succulent’s leaves are about to start bursting, the leaves will swell and the nodenode The point where a leaf, shoot or root grows from a stem where they are attached to the stem gets weaker so you may notice that they seem to fall off easily when touched.

Of course, this doesn’t always mean that you have an overwatered succulent because some leaves like Burro’s Tail (sedum morganianum) always pop off easily.

Leaves that fall off the stem won’t grow back as a single leaf, but might form an entirely new baby plant from that node over the next few weeks.

Just stop watering and wait and see what happens.

It stops growing

If your succulent is sitting in soggy soil because the pot doesn’t have a drainage hole, the soil is too dense/organic or it is just sitting in a saucerful of water, the roots may already be rotting and therefore, no longer able to take up any water. Roots need oxygen to survive and drowning them doesn’t help.

Solutions and preventing yellowing succulent leaves:

New, grittier soil (See my guide to succulent soil.)

Give your succulent better ventilation – open some windows, turn on a fan

Pots need to have drainage holes (No exceptions!)

Unglazed terracotta pots dry out faster than glazed pots or plastic

Aerateaerate introduce air into your soil periodically by poking it with a chopstick

Wait at least a week or more to water your succulents after you re-pot them


The soil will dry out long before your succulent shows signs of thirst and needs watering. Always watering right when the soil dries out doesn’t give your succulent a chance to use the water stored in its fleshy leaves.

Dehydrating a succulent to the point of no return takes a really really long time. They are meant to survive during long periods without water.

Moisture content in the air affects how quickly your soil dries out so if you live in a humid area, your soil needs to be amended heavily with an organic substratesubstrate the natural environment in which an organism lives, or the surface or medium on which an organism grows or is attached.

Water sparingly when succulents are dormant.

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