Why Does My ZZ Plant Have Yellow Leaves(Causes &Fixes)

zz plant

The majority of the time, ZZ plants are content, but they do occasionally experience problems. Yellowing of the leaves is among the more prevalent ones. So why do the leaves on your ZZ plant have a yellow tint? Find out what’s causing the problem with your plant, how to identify it, and most importantly, how to fix it and prevent it in the future.

Yellow leaves, like those of most plants, indicate a leaf that is struggling or is about to die. The leaf will eventually wither and fall off once it has turned completely yellow. This may be a normal part of the leaf’s life cycle or it may indicate a serious underlying problem.

You should always check the plant to see if it is doing okay otherwise and rule out any care or environmental issues whenever you see a yellow leaf on a plant that doesn’t naturally have yellow leaves.

Listed below are a few typical causes of yellowing ZZ plant leaves.

  • Overwatering
  • Low humidity
  • Root bound plant
  • The plant is Too Dense
  • Pests
  • Mechanical Damage
  • Insufficient light
  • Overfertilization

Why Does Your ZZ Plant Have Yellow Leaves?

Yellow leaves shouldn’t appear frequently with proper ZZ plant care. Let’s go over the possible causes of this so that we can figure out what’s going on.

ZZ Plant Has Yellow Leaves at the Bottom

An occasional yellow leaf, usually at the bottom, can be seen as the plant ages. Even an entire stalk with all the attached foliage may eventually start to turn yellow as a result 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 ZZ plant leaves are perfectly normal.

While a few yellow leaves at the bottom of the plant are typically not a problem, keep a close eye on it to see if this persists and more leaves begin to yellow.

Over Or Under Watering

Improper watering is the most frequent cause of yellowing ZZ plant leaves.

One of the most frequent reasons why ZZ plant leaves turn yellow is overwatering. Before watering again, the soil needs to have a little time to dry out. In general, you should water no more frequently than twice every two weeks. Root rot can occur if your soil is perpetually moist or damp.

Your plant is probably in a pot that is too big for it or the soil isn’t draining well if, after two weeks of watering, the soil is still wet or damp. It might be wise to repot in a smaller container.

Carefully remove your ZZ plant from the pot and look at the roots if you notice that the stalks are drooping and that many of the leaves are turning yellow.

Root rot should be simple to identify because the roots will be mushy, darker, and possibly smell bad. Dig up the surrounding soil and remove any damaged roots. The soil around healthy roots can be left if only a small area is impacted.

If the root system is too severely damaged, dig up the soil, scrub the roots, and then replant your ZZ plant. If the injury wasn’t too serious, it should recover.

If the soil is still drenched in moisture and there are signs of root rot, you will also need to repot the plant into the new soil. more so if your soil is poorly draining.

In the future, cut back on how often you water.

Too Little Water is An Issue Too

According to many care manuals, ZZ plants benefit from neglect. But it’s very simple to misinterpret this. Neglect doesn’t entail total disregard for your plant. It requires regular watering, just less frequent than many other houseplants. The leaves of your ZZ plant may start to turn yellow if the soil is frequently allowed to dry out and you don’t water it for several weeks or even months.

Plant Rootbound

It’s possible that there is no root rot when you check for it. The yellowing of your ZZ plant’s leaves can, however, be brought on by another problem. If your plant was healthy before and had a lot of new growth, it did not all occur above the soil. Your plant may be root-bound because the roots grew to a size that was too large for the pot.

Even the appearance of roots above the soil is a clear indication that you should investigate what is happening below.

You will need to repot your plant into a larger pot if there isn’t any more room for the roots to spread out.

ZZ Plant Leaves Turning Yellow After Repotting?

Even though it’s necessary, repotting stresses out plants. Your plant may struggle after you have replanted it, even if it was in perfect health before.

Some leaf yellowing and temporarily unhealthy-looking plants are both common. But the problem shouldn’t worsen and the plant should recover fairly quickly.

One exception would be if you used soil that retains too much moisture and the soil is overly wet for an extended period of time. Your plant needs to be replanted in the right soil.

Repotting a plant into a container that is much larger than it needs to be can also lead to problems because the soil will remain wet for a longer period of time.

The plant is Too Dense

If your plant is actively producing new growth, things could become too congested, which could result in some stalks being damaged or even literally crushed to death.


Although pests don’t frequently make ZZ plants’ leaves turn yellow, they can harm the leaves sufficiently for this to happen.

Pests should always be ruled out, regardless of the cause.

Mechanical Damage

This plant has relatively delicate leaves. If you notice a strange leaf that is turning yellow, it may be because you or someone else recently brushed against it because it only takes a little force to snap a leaf off.

The leaf started yellowing if the base of the leaf was sufficiently damaged to cut off nutrients.

Not Enough Light

You might need to move your plant to a brighter location if it is currently in a dark corner and all other potential causes have been ruled out.

ZZ plants tolerate low light fairly well—better than most plants—but there is a limit to that as well.


Less is more in the case of the ZZ plant. They shouldn’t be fertilized frequently because doing so can damage the roots. Leaf yellowing can be caused by damaged roots.

In comparison to other plants, the ZZ plant requires half as much fertilizer as is advised. Your ZZ plant’s leaves may be turning yellow if you have been using fertilizer frequently.

Give the ground a good flush and let the water gently run through it for a minute or so. This season, don’t fertilize.

Yellow Leaves on New Growth

The new leaves should be a light shade of green, not yellow, which is normal.

Nutrient deficiency is a possibility if the other leaves are healthy and the new growth is turning yellow. The most delicate leaves are the new ones, but as time passes, other leaves will also start to yellow. The usual causes are low levels of potassium or iron.

Inadequate watering can also first become apparent in new growth.

How to Treat ZZ Plants With Yellow Leaves

We’ve already discussed what to do if root rot has already begun, but what about the rest of the plant? Dealing with yellowing leaves and discolored stems is also necessary. If overwatering has been the issue, take the ZZ plant out of its pot right away to save it from the soil situation. Follow these tips to correctly treat your ZZ plant:

  • Remove the troubled areas. Trimming off the yellow leaves is a good place to start. You might need to leave some on if every leaf is yellow. To perform photosynthesis, the plant needs some leaves.
  • Verify the plant’s stems for contamination. If any of the stems are yellow, remove them by pruning at the tuber, where they grow. Once recovery has begun, the plant should grow again in a healthy manner.

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 devise a treatment strategy that is effective for your particular plant.

How Much Water Does a ZZ Plant Need?

It’s critical to keep an eye on your ZZ plant’s water needs 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 affect 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. Prior to watering, it is best to check the soil, though.

Before you water the plant again, allow the soil to 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. So that the plant doesn’t stand in too much water, the saucer should be emptied no later than 30 minutes after watering.

What a ZZ Plant Needs to Be Happy

For your ZZ plant to be healthy and happy, there are three essential factors. There is a respectable quantity of light, the ideal volume of water, and moderate temperatures.

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 an abundance of direct light that is bright. They dislike direct sunlight. The leaves of your ZZ plant will begin to burn if you leave them in the hot sun. In a space with lots of natural light, the plant will flourish.


The ZZ plant can suffer from either too much or too little water. The timing and quantity must be perfect. As was already mentioned, rather than watering the plant on a strict schedule, you should water it after evaluating the soil’s dryness and the plant’s condition.


Temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for ZZ plants. These plants can endure slightly lower temperatures of up to 50°F. The plant will begin to suffer if it gets colder.

Last Word

Anyone looking for a lovely, low-maintenance house plant will find a ZZ plant to be a wonderful addition to their home. Yellowing leaves on your plant are most likely a result of insufficient watering. Be prepared to adjust your watering schedule in the hopes that your beloved ZZ plant will recover its health.