ZZ Plant Leaves Turning Yellow - Should I Remove Yellow Leaves

Written by Ivy

Jan 12 2023

ZZ Plant Leaves Turning Yellow - Should I Remove Yellow Leaves

Overwatering, which results in root rot, is the most frequent cause of yellowing leaves in ZZ plants. Yellowing leaves, however, can also be a sign of underwatering and, less frequently, can be caused by temperature extremes, light problems, or fertilization problems.

Yellow leaves on your ZZ plant could be caused by a variety of different things. The best course of action is to look into the causes to make sure you know what is upsetting your house plant and what to do about it. We discuss several possible causes of yellow leaves on your ZZ plant below, along with some advice on how to prevent yellow leaves from reappearing after the plant is revived.

Overwatering a ZZ Plant Can Lead to Yellowing Leaves

ZZ Plant

ZZ plants can react negatively to excessive watering because they are made to thrive in dry environments. This results from the plant's root system being exposed to a moist environment for an extended period of time, which causes fungal growth and root rot.

Wet roots cause root rot, which then interrupts the regular flow of water and nutrients to the plant's leaves and other parts, whether you are watering your plant too frequently or the soil isn't draining well.

When root rot develops, the root system is unable to perform as it should. As a result, the plant's vital areas receive insufficient water and nutrition, which causes the leaves to turn yellow. Yellowing leaves will occasionally even fall off.

What to do if root rot from overwatering is the cause of yellow leaves:

  • Checking the soil is the first thing you should do. Does the ground feel particularly moist? If so, you need to take the plant out of the pot so you can examine the roots more closely. The roots ought to be entirely white throughout. If not and you notice rotted areas that are brown, you may have a root rot issue. If detected in time, root rot can be reversed even though it prevents the root from functioning.
  • Pruners can be used to precisely cut the rot out of the roots. In order to promote new root growth, remove the worst-affected roots and make cuts in healthy ones. After removing the rot with pruners, make sure to wash them. For the reason that fungal growth causes root rot and can spread if it contaminates your pruners and other tools.
  • Replant the ZZ plant in a container with adequate drainage holes. Replace the contaminated soil with new soil. To stop the issue from coming up again, you should use a growing medium that drains well. Just enough water should be added to the soil to make it damp. Before watering it again, you must wait until the soil is completely dry.

Underwatering a ZZ Plant Can Lead to Yellowing Leaves

Since a ZZ plant doesn't require a lot of water, it's possible to completely overlook watering it. A severe lack of water will cause the color of the leaves to change, they will shrivel, and they will fall. For someone who loves house plants, this can be very upsetting!

The issue with underwatering may be caused by the extremely dry soil of your plant. The good news is that your ZZ plant can recover fairly quickly by altering your watering schedule.

What to do if your ZZ plant is turning yellow from underwatering:

  • Start watering the houseplant gradually; do not soak the soil. It can be tempting to start overwatering a plant if it isn't getting enough water when it is actually dehydrated. Use water responsibly.
  • Make sure to tip any extra water out of the drainage saucer. Never let the plant stand in water.
  • You can add soluble fertilizer to your water mix to improve health and nutrition. The dosage strength recommended on the package should only be diluted to 50%.

How Much Water Does a ZZ Plant Need?

ZZ Plant

Monitoring your ZZ plant's water needs is crucial because overwatering and underwatering are the two main causes of yellowing leaves. The temperature, humidity, sunlight, ventilation, the size of the pot, and your ZZ plant will all have an impact on how much water you need to give it.

The majority of ZZ plant owners claim that they can get away with watering their plants just once per week in the summer and just once every two to three weeks in the winter. However, it is best to examine the soil before watering.

Before you water the plant once more, let the soil dry out. Continuously leaving the roots of the ZZ plant wet is bad for them. When you do water the plant, be sure to give the soil a good soak. In order to prevent the plant from standing in too much water, you should empty the saucer no later than 30 minutes after watering.

Excessive Light Can Cause Yellow Leaves

ZZ plants can typically withstand a variety of lighting situations. They thrive in low light conditions, making them a great houseplant for rooms with less natural light. They can tolerate some direct sunlight, but not much.

If your ZZ plant receives more than 4 hours of direct sunlight each day, you should think about lighting as a possible cause of the plant's yellow leaves. The plant will be more likely to have brown spots or brown tips on the leaves due to sunburn if there is too much light.

If in doubt, relocate your ZZ plant to a spot with plenty of bright but indirect light. This will rule out this potential issue and, hopefully, help your plant recover.

Nutrient Imbalance Can Cause Yellow Leaves in ZZ Plants

Although quite tolerant of unfavorable growing conditions, it is still entirely possible for a plant to develop yellow leaves due to nutrient deficiency or excessive fertilizer application.

ZZ plants should typically only receive monthly fertilization from a balanced, water soluble fertilizer. To reduce the chance of nutrient burn, make it up at no more than half the recommended strength on the package.

It is highly unlikely that nutrient deficiency will be the root of the yellow leaves on your ZZ plant if you fertilize it more than once or twice a year. Use a lot of water to flush the pot if you have been fertilizing your ZZ plant more frequently than once a month or with an overly potent solution to get rid of the extra nutrients. Alternatively, repot your ZZ plant in fresh, well draining potting media

Aging Causes ZZ Plant Yellow Leaves

ZZ Plant

Yellow leaves are a normal sign of aging, i.e., as plants edge, there will be chlorophyll and other pigment degradation. As a result, you will observe leaves turning from yellow to brown before they die and fall off the plant.

Only a couple of the lower, older leaves at a time will age. To stop it from happening, not much can be done. As they still rely on the plant but do not help it, we advise you to remove any yellow or brown leaves. Additionally, pests might find these leaves to be a haven.

How to Treat ZZ Plants With Yellow Leaves

The best course of action for treating root rot has already been discussed, but what about the rest of the plant? You should also take care of any stem discoloration and yellowing leaves. First and foremost, if overwatering was the issue, remove the ZZ plant from its pot in order to save it from the soil situation. Follow these tips to correctly treat your ZZ plant:

  • Get rid of the impacted areas. Remove the yellow leaves first by pruning. You might need to leave some leaves on if every one is yellow. To perform photosynthesis, the plant needs some leaves.
  • Look for contamination on the plant's stems. If any of the stems are yellow, remove them by pruning them right down to the tuber. Once recovery is under way, the plant ought to grow back healthy.

As soon as your ZZ plant begins to exhibit symptoms of illness, you should take immediate action. Spend some time looking into the potential underlying causes whenever you notice the first yellowing of the leaves. If you can determine the cause of the color change in the leaves, you can develop a treatment strategy that is effective for your particular plant.

Why My ZZ Plant Has Yellow Leaves at the Bottom

An occasional yellow leaf, usually at the bottom, can be seen on the plant as it gets older. You might even observe an entire stalk turn yellow over time, along with all the foliage it is attached to. This is a natural part of aging.

If the plant is otherwise healthy, the yellowing doesn't "spread," there was or is new growth on the plant, and you don't feel anything else could be causing this, then some yellowing of the Leaves from a ZZ plant are perfectly normal.

Keep a close eye on the plant to see if the yellowing persists and more leaves begin to turn yellow. A few yellow leaves at the bottom of the plant are typically not a problem.

ZZ Plant

Why My ZZ Plant Leaves Turning Yellow After Repotting?

Even though it is necessary, repotting stresses out plants. Your plant may experience difficulties after you have repotted it, even if it was in perfect health before.

While plants may initially appear unhealthy, some leaf yellowing is common. However, the plant should recover fairly quickly and the problem shouldn't worsen.

The use of soil that holds on to moisture excessively and allows the soil to remain wet for an extended period of time would be one exception. Your plant needs to be replanted in appropriate soil.

Problems can arise when repotting a plant into a container that is far too large because the soil will remain wet for a longer period of time.

Why My ZZ Plant Leaves Turning Yellow and Brown

On ZZ plants, the majority of the factors that cause yellow leaves also result in brown tips, edges, spots, or brown leaves. The most likely causes of yellow leaves with brown tips or margins are underwatering, excessive light, heat stress, and low humidity.

Brown blotches, on the other hand, might be an indication of overwatering or a cold draft, while yellowing and brown spots will indicate pests or diseases.

Should I Cut Yellow ZZ Plant Leaves?

Yes, it would be beneficial to cut the yellow ZZ plant leaves with sterile gardening shears. Why? Because, despite not contributing, the yellow leaves still rely on the plant. They may also draw pests and are susceptible to diseases.

The area and cause of the problem will determine how to proceed. If there is just a small area of yellowing on the tip or margin, cut the leaf off as close to the stem as you can. If a disease is the reason, remove every leaf and every component.

ZZ Plant

What a ZZ Plant Needs to Be Happy

Your ZZ plant needs three things in order to be healthy and content. There is adequate light, the right amount of water, and moderate temperatures here.

A healthy ZZ plant has firm, thick waxy leaves that are water-filled. Something is wrong when leaves start to yellow and develop dry tips. Your ZZ plant needs the following:


ZZ plants require a lot of direct, bright light. They dislike harsh sunlight. Your ZZ plant's leaves will begin to burn if you leave it in the hot sun for too long. A room with lots of natural light will be ideal for the plant to grow.


Watering the ZZ plant with too much or too little water can be harmful. The timing and quantity must be precisely calculated. In contrast to watering on a strict schedule, you should water the plant after evaluating the soil's dryness and the plant's health.


A temperature range of 70°F to 90°F is ideal for ZZ plants. These plants can withstand temperatures as low as 50°F, which is a little bit colder. The plant will start to suffer if it gets any colder.

Last Word

If you want a lovely, low-maintenance house plant, a ZZ plant is a wonderful addition. Yellowing leaves on your plant are almost always a sign of improper watering. Be prepared to adjust your watering schedule in the hopes that your beloved ZZ plant will recover its health.