Why My ZZ Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?

You bought ZZ plant to beautify your living space; especially its green foliage turns your concrete room to wild green space.

But, all your dreams shattered when the ZZ plant started turning yellow.

This house plant can survive in low light and thrives with balanced fertilizer and moisture.

Overwatering could be the main cause of ZZ plant leaves turning yellow. However, other stress elements like underwatering insufficient light, low levels of fertilizers, bad growing soil and temperature can also be reason behind yellow foliage.

As a houseplant, ZZ plant doesn’t need to be watered daily.

Water the plant when you notice the growing soil is dry by 90 percent. When watering, ensure the excess water is drained from the container.

Nevertheless, each plant poses a problem of its own. In this case, the ZZ plant leaves turning yellow is still a problem that many of the potential house gardeners face.

In the preceding article, we will look at some of the most common reasons contributing to the yellow leaves and some amazing tips on how to treat them. Without further ado, let us begin!

Why My ZZ Plant is Turning Yellow?

There can be a lot of causes for ZZ plant leaves turning yellow. We have mentioned all of them below for your reference.

Also Read: Why Is My Jade Plant Losing Leaves?

Improper light

Too much or direct sunlight can cause leaf burn, thereby turning the leaves yellow and brown.

If you want to keep your ZZ plants indoors, you can expect them to survive well in dull places too.

They have serious reservations against too much sunlight. That being said, it does not mean that your ZZ plant does not need sunlight at all. Read ZZ plant light needs here.

On an average, expose your plant to about 4 hours of direct and bright sunlight daily, thus allowing them to carry out their basic life processes with ease.

If you are giving excessive light to your plant, moving it to a dark place immediately is not the solution. This rapid change is not tolerated well by the plant. Instead, move it indoors where it will receive indirect sunlight.

Also Read: Pothos Cuttings Not Rooting


Moisture might not seem to be a big problem for most of the plants.

Unfortunately, this is not the case with ZZ plants. Excessive water content and moist environment supports the yellowing of ZZ plant leaves.

On the other hand, if adequate moisture is not presented to the ZZ plant, it can soak up other nutrients from the leaves, thereby making them yellow.

Must Read: How much water does ZZ plant needs?

Underwatering and Overwatering

Improper water requirements can turn the leaves of your ZZ plant yellow. How much one should water their plants is never fixed.

This is because the requirements of your plant keep changing on the basis of where you live and how you treat your plant.

The best way to know when your plants need water is to check the soil firmly. Additionally, note that you should not stick to a schedule for watering your plants.

You should keep your routine flexible while also leaving room for adjustments according to the seasonal and climatic changes.

Also Read: Underwatered Snake Plant

Presence of pests

Contrary to popular belief, ZZ plants can actually invite the presence of harmful pests, insects, and other diseases.

In fact, if your plant is stressed or weak, it makes itself more vulnerable to infestation.

Some of the popular pests that attack your plant include scale, spider mites, mealy bugs, and other frequent insects. These pests act on your plant by sucking the much needed moisture from your plant, thereby making the leaves yellowish.

The longer they sustain on your plant, the more damage they cause to the plant. It is always advised to check the plants for signs of suspicion for the ease of early detection.

Nutrient Imbalance – not fertilizing your plant can turn them yellow

Nutrient imbalance does not only refer to nutrient deficiency. But it is also very closely related to over application of fertilizers, or excessive nutrients in the plant.

Each plant has different fertilizing requirements. What goes well for other plants might be a hazard for your ZZ plants.

Unlike the water needs, fixing a schedule for fertilization of the ZZ plants can actually help the plants to be habituated with the routine.

Also Read: Do ZZ Plants Like Coffee Grounds?

A water soluble, balanced fertilizer with the right nutrients is sufficient if sprayed once or twice a month properly, covering every area.

If you fertilize your plants more frequently than this, it can have negative impacts on the plant, yellowing of leaves being the most common.

On the other hand, if you do not indulge in the practice of using fertilizers for your ZZ plant, the leaves can turn yellow due to insufficient nutrients present in the plant.

If you are unsure about the acidic strength of the fertilizer, always combine it with more water parts than mentioned. This way you can identify the right capacity of your plant.

Also Read: Where Should I Put My Orchid in My House?

ZZ Plant Care Tips

There are sure a lot of causes and reasons for the development of yellowing of zz plant leaves.

However, there is no need to worry. With problems, we also have solutions for you!

You can just follow the plant care tips mentioned below to bring back the beautiful color of your ZZ plant leaves.

  • If the root rot has already set in, you should not panic and make provisions of separating the affected plant from the rest of the yield.
  • Pick it up carefully, without damaging the roots, prepare a pot with fresh soil and proper drainage systems and repot the affected ZZ plant for maximum efficiency.
  • After some time, you will notice that the yellowing of leaves has disappeared and your plant has become as good as new.

If you witness that the root rot is bad, water it thoroughly before repotting it to untangle the knots and remove the damage.

Also Read: How Often to Water Jade Plant?

  • Identify the yellow or slightly brownish leaves and prune them carefully, either with bare hands or with gardening scissors.
  • Take care not to prick out or cut the healthy green leaves. The task needs patience but is equally worthy.
  • If you observe that each leaf of the plant is yellow, prune out the worst one and leave rest. This is to support the process of photosynthesis in plants.
  • Now is the time to investigate the stems of the ZZ plant. If the damage is only nominal, then no other part of your plant would be affected other than the leaves.
  • It is always advised to observe the entire plant for additional damages. This helps in giving an idea about the damage stage that your plant is on.

If the stems have started to show signs of contamination in the form of yellowing or leaning, clip them off at the tuber (at the bottom). This supports the speedy recovery of the plant.

(Read my article on: How to Grow ZZ Plant Outside?)

How to Avoid or Stop ZZ Plant from Turning Yellow?

Now, you know why does your ZZ plant have yellow leaves? But, how can you avoid them.

As a gardener, it is always time and energy saving to avoid disorders than reviving.

Water it according to the suitability of the plant, provide it ample light and it be as healthy as ever soon.

  • It is very important to be alert when your ZZ plant is unwell. This is because the sickness might be fatal for your plants. The primary step of treatment is to identify the causes that have led your ZZ plant leaves to turn yellow.
  • If you are not sure about the cause, how will you treat it accordingly? Take about 5 to 7 days to know the reason, and then begin with the treatment plan.
  • If you are keeping your ZZ plants under direct sunlight, this is possibly the biggest mistake that you can make. Relocate them at a place where they can get indirect but bright sunlight. Too damp places can be dangerous for them. Given the sensitive nature of your ZZ plant leaves, direct and scorching hot sunlight can burn them, thus making them yellow or brown. This is not advised. Source natural sunlight and keep the plant indoors for most part of the day.
  • As we have seen how underwatering and overwatering can be a hazard to the ZZ plants, here are some tips to prevent the situation. If you follow a regular and strict schedule to water your plants, you should immediately stop doing that.

Following a schedule restricts you from providing the right water requirements to the plant.

Instead you should insert the tip of your finger into the potting mixture and assess if the soil is arid or wet. If you feel it is dry, water it in restricted amounts.

On the other hand if the soil looks soggy and wet, leave it be.

  • ZZ plants do not have any specific temperature preferences when it comes to yellowing of leaves.
  • However, by not following certain temperature norms, you might be exposing it to the vulnerability of developing yellow leaves.

Ideal temperature range preferred by ZZ plant leaves is 70 degrees F to 90 degrees F.

If they are predisposed to extremely cold temperatures (lower than 50 degrees F), the yellowing of leaves will start occurring.


If you are thinking of adding a ZZ plant to your backyard, we assure you that there cannot be a more suitable option.

In the present day and age and the fast-paced lives we are all leading, the ZZ plant provides the ideal condition for growth and development.

It is low maintenance, beautiful and makes a perfect green addition to your house garden. Additionally, even if you realize you plant care mistakes late, it will not take much time to recover from the ill-health.

Yellowing of ZZ plant leaves is a common issue, the causes and tips for which are aforementioned.