Yucca plant yellow leaves

Yellow Yucca Leaves – Why Is My Yucca Plant Yellow

Whether you grow it indoors or out, one plant that thrives in the face of neglect is the yucca plant. Yellowing leaves might indicate that you are trying too hard. This article tells you how to save a yellowing yucca.

Why is My Yucca Plant Yellow?

Extreme conditions are no problem for a yucca plant. In fact, once established, it doesn’t need any more help from you. Attempts at pampering this sturdy plant may result in a yucca plant leaves turning yellow.

Water – A common cause of yellow yucca leaves is too much water. If you water the plant regularly or plant it in soil that doesn’t drain freely, the roots begin to rot. For best results, plant yuccas in sandy soil and don’t use organic mulch. If you want to mulch for a neater appearance, use gravel or stones.

When you keep yuccas indoors, the best way to keep moisture to a minimum is to keep them in small pots. Large pots hold lots of moisture, and it takes a long time for a large pot to dry out between waterings. Wait until the soil feels completely dry a couple of inches (around 5 cm.) below the surface before watering the pot.

Light – Another reason for yellow leaves on yucca plants is poor sunlight. Plant yuccas where they can experience the direct rays of the sun all day. If surrounding plants grow enough to begin shading the yucca, cut the surrounding plants back or move the yucca to a better location.

You may think that setting your indoor yucca in a sunny window is enough for indoor yuccas, but it depends on the window. South-facing windows are the best. The direct sunlight coming through other windows isn’t as intense and doesn’t last long enough.

Yuccas may trick you into thinking you have found the perfect indoor location by turning dark green. This is actually a desperate attempt to take advantage of the little sunlight it receives, and the leaves soon begin to yellow when the food production can’t keep up with the plant’s needs.

Pests – Indoor yuccas often suffer from spider mites, which can cause discolored leaves. Wiping down the leaves with a damp cloth every two or three days removes the mites, or you can try putting them in the shower under a gentle spray for a few minutes.

Age – The lower leaves on a yucca plant yellow naturally as they age. In most cases, you can simply pull the yellowed leaves off with a gentle tug. If necessary, use a sharp knife to remove the discolored leaves.

Reviving a Dying Yucca Plant

A yucca plant is a hardy annual that thrives with little maintenance. It also produces a wonderful spray of white, bell-shaped flowers (even though they don’t last long). In many cases of dying yuccas, the problem is too much attention or not enough light.

Tip: Spider mites are a common problem with indoor yuccas as well. If you notice the tiny red mites on your plant, take your potted yucca outdoors or into the shower and spray well, including the underside of the leaves. A spray of dish soap and water will control bugs and mites.

Insufficient Light

Yuccas grow well indoors and can often extend themselves above the natural light coming through a window. The first sign of a light problem is when the leaves become a richer green as the plant produces more chlorophyll to take advantage of what little light there is. When the leaves are no longer in the direct light, you might not spot this color change, however.

This is followed by a yellowing of the leaves as they fail to produce the level of food necessary for the roots. The yellowing is caused by the plant trying to remove toxins that have developed. The leaves will then droop and die off. While the leaves are still alive, this situation is very quickly resolved by putting the plant in a position where the leaves are in full sunlight again.


The yucca is very susceptible to various kinds of rot and as such, needs to be in well-drained soil. The quality of the soil does not need to be high, as long as it’s loose. Overwatering can lead to yellow leaves, a spongy trunk, and root rot. Allowing the plant to dry out will cause a rapid recovery. If your yucca is in a pot without drainage, it must be repotted into one that does drain. Sometimes, having too large a pot can also have a similar effect, because the soil stays moist for too long. Most yucca plants can cope with about an inch of soil around the base of the trunk.

Root Rot

A major problem caused by overwatering is root rot. If the roots have turned a brown color instead of being pale, they have gone too far to recover. Remove the rotted roots by cutting the trunk so that you remove all signs of rot. The part of the trunk that is left, if it has sound roots, can be repotted into dry soil and allowed to recover before being watered again.

Trunk Problems

The trunk of the yucca can hold a lot of water and will do so, but this is a survival mechanism. If the trunk stays wet it will rot and grow very spongy. A tall yucca will start to lean and may even collapse as the trunk loses strength, so before watering your yucca, always check that the soil is dry.

Temperature Fluctuations

A yucca tends to do better in a constant temperature when grown indoors. If your yucca is in your garden, it will be able to tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but indoor yuccas like warm, dry air and lots of ventilation.

As long as you water it only when it’s dry and keep it in direct sunlight, your indoor yucca should remain healthy.

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