Why Are My ZZ Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?

Are you puzzled by the yellowing leaves on your ZZ plant? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! ZZ plants are incredibly popular houseplants known for their unique shape and glossy leaves. They are often touted as “unkillable,” so it can be confusing when your ZZ plant isn’t thriving. Even easy plants can encounter issues and require some troubleshooting. In this article, we’ll discuss the possible reasons behind yellowing leaves on a ZZ plant and provide solutions to get your plant back to good health.

why are my zz plant leaves yellowing

Common Reasons for ZZ Plant Yellowing Leaves

Here are several common factors that may be causing your ZZ plant’s leaves to turn yellow:

  • Overwatering: Excess water and poor drainage can lead to root rot, which is a major cause of yellowing leaves in indoor plants. ZZ plants don’t require frequent watering and have water-storing bulbs under the soil. Check the moisture level in the soil by inserting your finger about 2 inches deep. If it feels wet, hold off on watering until it dries out. If your plant is overwatered, repot it with fresh potting mix and ensure the pot has drainage holes.

  • Low Humidity: Although less common, low humidity can cause leaf drop and yellowing in ZZ plants. If you notice brown, crispy spots on the leaves, it’s a sign that the plant is drying out. Misting the leaves can help improve humidity in the air.

  • Inconsistent Watering: While ZZ plants are generally low-maintenance, some experts recommend establishing a regular watering schedule to prevent stress and yellowing leaves. Fluctuating between bone-dry and saturated soil can impact plant health negatively.

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potted raven zz plant on a dresser

  • Insufficient Light: ZZ plants don’t require much light, but they still need some. Inadequate light can cause yellowing and drooping of leaves, particularly the older ones at the base of the plant. Relocate your ZZ plant to a brighter location to promote healthier growth.

  • Root Bound Plant: Check if your ZZ plant has become root bound, meaning the roots have outgrown the current pot. If the roots are tightly packed or even poking out of the drainage holes, it’s time to repot your plant in a larger pot with fresh potting soil.

  • Bacterial Leaf Spot: Soft, brown, mushy spots on leaves indicate a bacterial leaf infection caused by water sitting on the leaves and causing rot. Remove any affected leaves and be careful to avoid wetting the leaves during watering.

  • Pests: Pests such as spider mites, scale, and mealybugs can infest ZZ plants, sucking the nutrients out of the leaves. If you suspect pests, isolate the plant to prevent further spread to other plants.

  • Old Age: As plants age, it’s natural for some of the older leaves to turn yellow and drop off, making space for new growth. If only older leaves near the base of the plant are yellowing, it’s likely a sign of natural aging.

close up of raven zz plant with dirty leaves

FAQs about Yellowing ZZ Plant Leaves

Q: What should I do when ZZ plant leaves turn yellow?

A: Yellowing leaves on a ZZ plant indicate distress. Take action by identifying the problem from the list above and addressing it accordingly.

Q: Can yellow ZZ plant leaves turn green again?

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A: No, once ZZ plant leaves turn yellow or die, they won’t turn green again. The plant abandons them and focuses on new growth.

Q: Should I remove yellow leaves from ZZ plants?

A: Removing yellowing leaves is a personal preference. If they easily detach when lightly tugged, you can remove them.

Q: What does an overwatered ZZ plant look like?

A: Overwatered ZZ plants have limp, yellow leaves that may drop off. They can also develop mushy brown or black spots on the leaves.

Q: Do ZZ plants’ leaves turn yellow in the fall?

A: No, ZZ plant leaves don’t change color seasonally like maple trees. Yellowing leaves indicate a problem, though outdoor plants might be affected by colder weather.

Q: Why are my ZZ plant leaves turning yellow and brown?

A: Yellow and crispy brown leaves suggest the need for more water or humidity. On the other hand, mushy brown and yellow leaves indicate overwatering and potential root rot.

Q: Why are my ZZ plant leaves turning brown?

A: Brown and crispy leaves can result from insufficient water, low humidity, or excessive direct sunlight.

Q: Why are my ZZ plant leaves turning yellow with black spots?

A: Yellow leaves with black spots indicate severe overwatering. Repot the plant with fresh, dry soil and ensure the pot has drainage holes. Water only when the soil feels dry to the touch.

close up of raven ZZ plant

Q: Why are my ZZ plant leaves turning yellow after repotting?

A: Yellowing leaves after repotting can be a sign of stress or shock. Ensure your plant has proper drainage, isn’t over or under watered, and receives adequate light.

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Q: Why is the new growth on my ZZ plant yellow?

A: New growth on ZZ plants starts as bright green, almost neon in color. This is perfectly normal and will darken with age.

If you have any more questions or concerns about yellowing ZZ plant leaves, don’t hesitate to reach out! Happy gardening!

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