Why Succulents Turn Yellow? Over-Watering your Plants

Why Did My Succulents Turn Yellow - Overwatering plants

If any part of your succulents turn yellow or transparent, you are overwatering it.

How this happens can vary, and are based on a number of factors.

But before we dive into that, it is important to understand how succulents operate.

Succulents are not used to having access to lots of water, so their shallow roots suck up water and store it in their leaves or stem in preparation for dry periods.

Succulents literally just do not know when enough is enough and will drink themselves to death.

And when they drink too much, they turn yellow or transparent, soften up and turn to mush.

You need some helpful tips to prevent this?  Perfect, we have 4 easy things you can do to avoid yellow, overwatered succulents.


A porous soil is key to keeping your succulents healthy.

The more porous, the better and faster the soil will drain.  A succulent and cacti soil mixed with pumice or perlite is the perfect mix to ensure epic drainage.

We advise you let soil completely dry out between the watering sessions.


A lack of airflow is another important and often overlooked factor to succulents turning yellow.

The more airflow available to the succulent and its soil, the faster it will dry out.

A couple of factors play into creating an environment that allows ample airflow:

1. Outdoor over Indoor

Airflow is naturally better outdoors.  Elements like wind and sun keep the soil drier than indoors.  

Indoors you lose those elements and make your succulents more susceptible to wet soil for longer periods of time.

The margin for error increases indoors simply due to lack of airflow.

2. Container

The container you choose can have quite an impact aeration. 

  • Glass retains water and has no drainage hole - not great aeration.
  • Plastic retain more water, do not breathe, but will provide a drainage hole.  Decent option but you can do better.
  • Wood containers are good at first, but after some time could start to soak up water, making for poor aeration.  Check these often to prevent this.
  • Terra cotta and ceramic containers are excellent aeration options, mostly because they help the soil breathe better and help keep the soil dry.

Not every container you use has a drainage hole.  It is very important, but not completely necessary if you are very careful with watering.  

If you have a drill, you can buy drill bits at your local home and garden store that would enable you to create drainage holes.  


Ideally, you have a drainage hole, the right succulent soil, excellent aeration, and a proper succulent container.

If you have all this, water the soil evenly and thoroughly.

If you don’t have all the ideal elements, it’s fine.

As long as you err on the side of less watering, the succulents should be fine.

Only water the soil when it is bone dry.

Outdoor succulents will need to be watered more often than indoor ones.

Follow these tips and you will never have succulents turn yellow again.

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