Why does the ZZ Plant turn yellow and how to fix it?

Why does the ZZ Plant turn yellow?
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Today you will find out why the zamioculcas turns yellow?

Yellow zamioculcas leaves is a real problem. Zamioculcas is a beautiful succulent and it is worth ensuring that it grows and enjoys the eyes of its owner. Are you wondering why the ZZ Plant leaves turn yellow?

The leaves of the zamioculcas turn yellow most often due to excess water. Its leaves turn yellow as they rot, but this is not the only reason why the succulent leaves turn yellow.

However, this is not the only reason for the yellow leaves of the zamioculcas.

ZZ Plant – why does it turn yellow most often?

Before we get into that part of the article where I tell you why the zamioculcas turns yellow, let me say a few words about the plant itself. It is important because by getting to know our succulents, we can take better care of them.

The best way to care for your succulents is to create the best conditions for them to grow healthy.

Surely you have noticed that the most common cause of yellow zamioculcas leaves is excess water. Unfortunately, less water does not necessarily help.

So let me tell you a few words about this succulent.

Zamioculcas is often referred to as “ZZ Plant” or “ZZ plant”. Sometimes you can also meet common names such as the golden money tree or the eternal plant.

This African succulent plant grows perfectly in shaded places, protecting itself from direct sunlight. Zamioculcas does not tolerate low temperatures, so in many places, it can only be grown indoors.

Like other succulents, it stores water in its leaves. Such behaviour requires special growing conditions.

You are probably wondering what these terms are, so let me explain.

Garden soil

This is a very important element that affects the growing conditions of the ZZ plant. If you have the wrong soil in the pot, practically no matter how much water you add, it will remain in the pot.

Zamioculcas, like Echeveria, Aloe, Striped Haworsia and Guinea Sanseveria, like soil that is well-drained. I wrote about this in an article titled “What land for aloe.”

There you will find a detailed description of how to prepare your soil for aloe and other succulents.

In short, I can tell you that water cannot stand in the ground where succulents grow. You can tell the wrong soil by the fact that it is very compact and damp a few hours after watering.

Proper soil should have dried up long ago.

Zamioculcas without yellow leaves
Zamioculcas without yellow leaves

Drainage (holes on the bottom)

Drainage is another reason why the ZZ Plant leaves turn yellow. If you’re wondering why the zamioculcas turning yellow and you don’t have holes in your pot, then you may have just found a solution.

The holes at the bottom of the pot are there for excess water to escape from the pot. Thanks to this, the roots of the plant do not stand in the water and do not rot.

The openings should be of the appropriate size to suit the size of the pot. It’s hard to describe how big they should be, but I think a centimetre (0,4 inches) is a bare minimum. Anyway, nothing bad will happen if they are too big, and on the other hand, if they are too small, the roots will start to rot.

And here we come to the third element which is extremely important.

Why does the zamioculcas turn yellow by watering?

I remember when I started my adventure with succulents. I’ve always worried about pouring too little water on them and they will dry up.


Zamioculcas and other succulents will cope perfectly with rare watering

If you have the right soil and pot, you can water the ZZ Plant-like all other succulents.

For more information on watering, check out my article on how to water succulents.

However, remember that the zamioculcas turns yellow not only from excess water.

Why do the zamioculcas leaves turn yellow if I water it well?

Excess water is the most common problem with the yellow leaves of this plant. Unfortunately, not the only one. Do you want to know why the ZZ Plant leaves turn yellow even though you water it well, you have good soil and a pot?

The reason may be incorrect fertilizer.

During my adventure with succulents, I learned that sometimes the wrong composition of nutrients can cause the leaves of the plant to turn yellow.

Certain fertilizers make Aloe Vera brown. Such fertilizers will have a similar effect on the ZZ Plant, except that its leaves may turn yellow.

Mites and fungal diseases can also be another reason, although these are very rare.

I will describe them in another article, and now I would like to come back to the topic. You came here looking for an answer to why the zamioculcas leaves turn yellow, so I assume you have such a problem.

And you surely want to know what’s next?

Let me explain ?

How to deal with yellow leaves of ZZ Plant
How to deal with yellow leaves of ZZ Plant

ZZ Plant – why do the leaves turn yellow and how to deal with it?

Now it’s time for some practical advice on how to deal with the problem of why the ZZ Plant leaves turn yellow.

So let’s start from the beginning.

First, check the leaves for any signs of other unusual things. If you see small white insects, you may be dealing with aphids. In such a situation, I recommend using chemistry. Unfortunately – I don’t like it, but sometimes there’s no other way.

If there are no other signs of “sinister monsters” ? then put your finger on the ground. If the ZZ Plant soil is hard, compact and moist, even though several hours have passed since the last watering, it is time for the operation ?

Here’s what you will need:

  • newspaper
  • sharp scissors
  • scissors disinfectant
  • plant fungicide
  • new flowerpot
  • fresh soil for cacti (prepared by yourself or bought)

We take the plant out of the pot

First, of course, you need a little space. Place newspapers on the table as they will come in handy later. Ideally, these should be traditional, soaked newspapers, not the hard pages of colourful magazines.

Then remove the zamioculcas gently from the pot. Try to grab the plant as close to the ground as possible, tilt the whole thing to the side and pull it out.

Then put the plant on newspapers.


Now it’s time to take a look at the roots and tuber. Gently pick up the plant by the tuber and shake it off the ground. If it is wet enough, it should come off easily. Try to clear as much dirt as possible.

If your ZZ Plant is suffering from excess water, its roots may have started to rot. For this reason, mycelium spores may be present in the soil, and such soil is unfortunately unusable.

You have to apply completely new soil.

Once you discover the roots, it’s time for a proper inspection. Put the zamioculcas on the newspapers and carefully examine the roots. You will most likely find a lot of roots that will be soft and rotting.

You must remove such roots. It’s best to just cut them off with scissors. Before you use them, it is a good idea to clean or disinfect them thoroughly. Since the coronavirus entered our country, you certainly have a lot of disinfectants.

Use them on scissors before and after cutting the roots. It is worth keeping your home clean and you will avoid transferring mycelium to other plants, which you may want to trim the leaves with.

Let’s go back to saving the ZZ Plant.

Now that you’ve removed the rotting roots, it’s time to leave. Cut off all the yellow leaves. There can’t be one left. If the zamioculcas stem is also yellow, then you need to cut it off where it grows from the tuber.

Remember to check the tuber as well. If you find any signs of rot, you need to cut them out.

Now it’s worth applying a fungicide. Such a measure usually has to be prepared by yourself, mixing the concentrate with water in the right proportions. Pay special attention to them as too much concentrate can damage the plant and too little will have no effect. You must follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

It will be good to use a completely new pot. While there are ways to clean a pot that has soil with mycelium in it, I don’t think it makes much sense.

Using the soil prepared in advance, plant the ZZ Plant. Then place it in a warm room with little light.

After a week, you can water the plant for the first time and transfer it to the place where it stood before.

It’s good if the zamioculcas now has as much light as possible, but without the direct rays of the sun. A large amount of light will improve plant growth.

As for the temperature, it should be around 24-32 degrees C (75-89 degrees Fahrenheit). I know it’s sometimes hard to find a place in your home where the temperature is so high, but you have to manage somehow.

Zamioculcas comes from Africa and will do very well in high temperatures.

You can water normally, that is depending on the season.

Now it is worth observing the ZZ Plant to make sure that the leaves do not turn yellow anymore.

I hope this short guide will help you find the answer to why the zamioculcas turns yellow and how to deal with it ?

Good luck and see you next time!

By Marzena R.

I love all my baby plants. I'm a mother of two and a happy wife. I enjoy my free time by taking good care of my beloved family, plants and my bichon "Indiana" :)