Should I Remove Yellow Leaves from Succulents: 11 Scenarios & The Answer

They are the beauty of the plants, they are the centerpiece, they are the IT factor. Yet, as life is as it is, their beauty has an expiration date, and you are left to wonder to yourself: “Should I remove yellow leaves from succulents?”

should I remove yellow leaves from succulents

Whether you’re a succulent enthusiast with a jungle at home or just starting your green journey, the yellow leaf mystery is a rite of passage.

Fear not, fellow plant pals! We’re about to embark on a succulent adventure, decoding the secrets of yellow leaves and uncovering the wizardry to keep your succulents thriving and fabulous.

Let’s dive into the greenery together!

Should I Remove Yellow Leaves From Succulents

As your succulent rocks a yellow vibe, it might be just a little wardrobe change for them!

If it’s a subtle yellowing, that’s just part of the succulent makeover (I mean, no, you should not remove the leaves, let the plant process its own business).

should I remove yellow leaves from succulents

But when things get mushy and yellow, it’s like your succulent is waving a distress flag.

In this case, clippers are in for a business! Pruning those yellow leaves paves the way for fresh growth and ensuring your succulent stays in top-notch shape.

Ready to become the ultimate succulent whisperer? We’re diving into all things succulent care, so you can conquer the yellow leaf dilemma.

No yellowing can dampen your succulent spirit when you’ve got the know-how! Let’s jump in and master the art of succulent TLC.


Well, here’s the scoop: succulents are like desert royalty, born to thrive in dry, arid lands.

Their plump leaves are like water reserves for a succulent, but sometimes we can get a bit too generous with our watering can.

should I remove yellow leaves from succulents

So, here’s the lowdown: if your succulent’s leaves are going from perky to soggy and mushy, it’s likely a sign of too much H2O love.

These little guys are used to a sip, not a shower, so let’s keep them dancing in their happy, dry desert zone! 


Now, let’s flip the watering tale. If your succulents are feeling a bit neglected, they might throw a subtle yellowing-and-browning tantrum.

It’s their way of saying, “Hey, give us a drink!”

When succulents don’t get enough water, they resort to sipping from their own leaves, leading to a sad scene of dried and shriveled foliage.

Again, no leave cut for this scenario. Just cut down your watering routine to a more suitable frequency and the leaves will soon restore themselves. 

should I remove yellow leaves from succulents

Lack Of Sunlight

Succulents require an adequate amount of sunlight to thrive.

Insufficient sunlight can cause them to grow upwards and lose their vibrant colors, eventually turning yellow.

If you notice your succulents lacking sunlight, consider moving them to a brighter location.

Each succulent has different sunlight requirements, so it’s essential to research the needs of your specific variety.

Too Much Sunlight

While succulents need sunlight, excessive exposure can cause sunburn.

Unlike humans, succulents don’t turn red but rather brown when they are sunburned.

should I remove yellow leaves from succulents

Sunburn starts as white dots on the leaves and can turn them brown if left untreated.

To prevent sunburn, move your succulents to a shadier area, especially during intense afternoon sunlight.

If natural shade is not available, you can use shade cloth or plant them under taller plants to provide some protection.

Root Rot

Root rot, a fungal ailment, manifests when succulents find themselves in inadequately draining soils or undergo excessive watering.

This condition is identifiable by the discoloration of leaves, transitioning from a healthy green to hues of yellow or even black.

should I remove yellow leaves from succulents

To preemptively combat root rot, it is imperative to ensure that succulents are situated in well-draining soil and planted in containers equipped with proper drainage systems.

Should suspect the case for root rot, gently pluck the plant out of the soil, trim away the sad roots and leaves (they’re gone), and give it a fresh crib in some new dirt.


Pest infestations can cause yellowing of leaves. Mealybugs and aphids are common pests that feed on the sweet sap of succulents.

If your plants are infested, they will show signs of yellowing in areas where the pests have fed.

To treat pest infestations, remove affected plants from areas with other plants and use an insecticide designed for the specific pest, following the label instructions.

should I remove yellow leaves from succulents

Poor Draining Soils

Succulents thrive in well-draining soils that allow excess water to escape easily.

Adding gritty materials such as sand, gravel, or pumice to the soil can improve drainage.

Specific succulent soils already have a balanced mix of gritty materials and potting soil.

If planting directly into the ground, amend the soil with gritty material.

Regularly check the soil to ensure proper drainage, and transplant your succulents if water doesn’t drain well even after amending the soil.

should I remove yellow leaves from succulents

Nutrient Deficiency

While succulents are not heavy feeders, they can experience nutrient deficiencies if the soil becomes depleted over time.

Yellowing leaves and thin appearance are signs of a lack of nutrients.

Repotting your succulent with fresh soil or applying fertilizer can solve nutrient deficiency problems.

However, make sure to follow proper application guidelines to avoid burn.

should I remove yellow leaves from succulents

Incorrect Containers

Choosing the right container is crucial to prevent plant stress and discoloration.

Opt for containers made of breathable materials like terracotta or ceramic that promote proper air circulation and water drainage.

Make sure the container has drainage holes to prevent standing water.

Additionally, consider the size of the container, allowing enough room for root and plant growth.

should I remove yellow leaves from succulents


In colder regions, succulents left outdoors are susceptible to frost damage. Frost can cause leaves to turn yellow or brown and become mushy.

Some succulents can tolerate colder temperatures, while others need to be brought indoors during winter.

Protect your outdoor succulents from frost by covering them or bringing them indoors before the first frost.

should I remove yellow leaves from succulents

Natural Life Cycle

As succulents age, it is natural for their lower leaves to turn yellow and eventually brown and fall off. This is part of their natural life cycle.

The plant redirects nutrients from the lower leaves to support the growth of new leaves at the top.

This process is also common around flowering, as nutrients are transferred to the flower.

If you notice yellowing of the lower leaves, it is usually a sign of healthy growth.

should I remove yellow leaves from succulents

Conclusion: How to Rescue a Yellowing Succulent

  1. If you notice that your succulent is turning yellow and appears unhealthy, the first step to take is to evaluate its watering routine. It’s important to ensure that the soil of your plant allows for proper drainage, preventing water from accumulating in the saucer.
  2. In some cases, repotting your succulent may be necessary if the current soil mix lacks sufficient drainage for these types of plants.
  3. When choosing a suitable soil mixture for succulents, it’s recommended to use a combination of potting soil, grit, sand, or perlite.
  4. Also make sure that the pot you use has holes at the bottom to allow excess water to escape. Repotting can help rectify issues caused by overwatering when a plant has been sitting in excessively moist soil.
  5. If you’re experiencing issues with watering and drainage and have ruled those out as the problem, you may want to consider nutrient deficiencies in your succulents.
  6. A balanced fertilizer specifically made for succulents can help address this issue. It is recommended to lightly feed your plants in spring or summer.
  7. And if insects are causing problems for your plants, there are homemade bug sprays available that you can use.
should I remove yellow leaves from succulents

Final Thoughts

By understanding the reasons behind succulent discoloration and taking appropriate action, you can ensure that your plants remain healthy and vibrant.

Remember to provide the right amount of water, sunlight, and well-draining soil, and address any pest or nutrient issues promptly.

With proper care, your succulents will thrive and bring beauty to your space.