Why Are My Yucca Leaves Turning Yellow?

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Yucca plants might not have a reputation for being indestructible like aloe plants, but they can still be quite tricky to kill.

These drought-tolerant desert plants are a popular choice for those on the go since they can take a lot of neglect without complaint.

Yellow Leaves of Yucca PlantPin

However, when you begin to see yellow leaves on your yucca, it’s a sign that something might be seriously wrong.

Why are My Yucca Leaves Turning Yellow?

There are several reasons you could be seeing yellow leaves on a yucca plant.

Here are the most common causes and what to do about them.


It’s almost funny how easily we forget that plants grow old over time like all living things.

Unlike the limbs on your body, the leaves of a yucca age more quickly than the plant itself and occasionally die while new leaves take their place.

If you’re taking good care of your yucca and see one or two leaves beginning to turn yellow, it’s probably a matter of age.

You can prune it away when a leaf begins dying of old age.


Yucca plants aren’t immune to infestations, and the indoor soft tip yucca elephantipes are especially susceptible to spider mites.

They can also be attacked by other common pests such as aphids and spider mites.

These piercing insects draw the sap from your plant’s leaves like little vampires.

Over time, the infestation can become so severe that the infested leaves will begin to turn yellow and die off.

Regular use of neem products can help prevent infestations and tackle them. Still, large colonies of spider mites may need immediate treatment with chemical insecticides to get the situation under control.


Yucca plants are adapted to survive with very little water available, so it’s easy to overwater one, especially if you aren’t accounting for rain when you have a yucca outside.

This results in yellow leaves and may lead to root rot.

The soak-and-dry method ensures that your yucca plant always has just the right amount of water.

Stick your finger in the soil and water when it feels dry 2 ½” inches down.

Pour slowly and thoroughly, working your way around the plant and ensuring the leaves don’t get wet.

Stop when you either see moisture beginning to seep from the container’s drainage holes or the surface is no longer absorbing at the same rate as you’re pouring.

Poor Lighting

Yucca plants need direct sunlight and lots of it.

When your plant isn’t getting enough light every day, the leaves may begin to turn yellow.

This particular problem can be solved simply by relocating the container or removing anything blocking the plant’s access to light.

Root Rot

This deadly disease usually occurs when a plant has been severely overwatered, but it can also be caused by contaminated soil.

The rot may be bacterial or fungal, and the only cure is an emergency amputation.

Excavate your yucca and remove any diseased roots with sharp, st4erile shears.

Next, dip the roots in a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water for 30 minutes and allow them to air dry completely.

You can use a fungicide to dip, but this won’t work against bacterial root rot.

Discard any soil the plant was in, and if it was potted, get a fresh pot.

Repot the yucca plant using fresh soil or potting mix and dampen to help it (and the plant) settle.

Note that it can take a month or two for the root system to recover, during which time you’ll need to avoid using fertilizer.

Transplant Shock

If you’ve recently repotted your yucca or transplanted it outdoors, you might be feeling a little stressed.

There’s not a lot you can do for this problem besides a little TLC, and the plant will recover once it’s had time to settle in.


This is a rare problem for the yucca but can result when you neglect to water it for long periods.

While it can handle drought conditions, it still needs a drink occasionally.

To avoid your poor yucca from dehydrating into a yellow mummy plant, use the soak-and-dry method to ensure it’s getting the proper water.

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