ZZ plant leaves turning yellow and the Solutions

ZZ plant yellow leaves mean you did not give proper care to your plants.

Yellow leaves on your ZZ plants are the result of overwatering, dry soil, high dosage of fertilizer, high-intensity light, etc.

In this article we will answer all the queries related to the ZZ plant leaves turning yellow and how to fix them in a few steps Once you fix all the issues the yellow leaves will not come back.

You’ll also learn how to water ZZ plants perfectly to avoid yellow leaves.

Let’s start

What causes yellow leaves in ZZ plants?

ZZ plants can handle the best to worst growing conditions. They can tolerate the drought for a few days.

Growers like to add ZZ plants to their indoor plant collection. Because they are beautiful and do not need much care.

But this does not mean they can grow their own without any help from the grower.

Despite being hardy plants, ZZ plants cannot tolerate the high amount of water in potting soil and direct high-intensity light waves.

Below are the common causes that are responsible for ZZ plant leaves turning yellow. Read carefully and know what causes yellow leaves in your ZZ plant and how you can fix the issue.

Frequent Watering

As I said, ZZ plants are hardy plants and they like to thrive in a little bit dry conditions.

When a plant is made to grow in dry conditions, supplying a heavy amount of water to it causes problems and yellow leaves are one of them.

Excessive watering results in wet roots that lead to root rot.

Root rot does not happen overnight, it takes a minimum of 7 to 10 days to get affected.

In this fungal disease the root ball stop functioning correctly. The plant sends a signal to the roots to absorb water and nutrients.

But due to the fungal disease, they become unable to follow the instructions. This results in a lack of water in the important parts of the plant.

They become unable to prepare their food due to the lack of water and nutrients. This makes the healthy plant weak. The first sign of weakness is ZZ plant yellow leaves.

How to save overwatered ZZ plants?

The very first thing that you can do is the plant inspection. Check the soil, if it is wet, immediately take the plant out of its pot and inspect the roots.

The roots of ZZ plants should be white in color.

If you see brown spots on the roots this means your plant roots are infected by fungus. In this condition, you need to fix the roots to fix the ZZ plant’s yellow leaves.

Take the sterilized pair of sharp pruners and cut the infected root ball. Make sure you only cut the infected part, we need healthy roots.

Wash the pruners with warm water and soap. This will disinfect the tool and you can safely use it on other plants without fear of spreading root fungal bacteria.

Now take the new potting soil and fill it in the pot. Make sure the new soil is well-draining soil. Because such soil has the ability to save roots from extra water.

They drain every extra drop of water after absorbing the desired amount of moisture.

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Dry soil

Dry soil is a result of a lack of watering schedule. No doubt ZZ plants need less water but this does not mean they do not need any amount of water.

Most of the time people neglect the watering needs of ZZ plants.

When the soil in the plant pot becomes 50 % dry this leads ZZ plants to yellow. In some cases when 90% of the soil gets dry then plants start dropping leaves.

This is a very painful condition for houseplant growers.

But there is also good news and that is you can easily fix the ZZ plant yellow leaves due to less watering. Your plant will revive its health in a few days.

How to fix yellow leaves due to less watering?

To fix less watering, start giving water to your plants. Do not flood it with water this will cause an overwatering problem.

Gradually increase the watering applications.

Your ZZ plant will start producing green healthy leaves in 10 days. Some dropping is common in this recovery time frame.

Note: Keep the ZZ plant in a highly humid place for a minimum of 12 hours to add direct moisture to its leaves. Do not use a spray bottle to mist water on its leaves. Let the plant absorb water from the soil through the root system.

How to water ZZ plants?

Because the excess water and less water both cause yellow leaves in ZZ plants.

It is best for you to learn the perfect watering techniques.

ZZ plants need water once a week in the summer season and once in 2 weeks in the winter season. Before watering you need to do a simple soil test.

This test is required to know the moisture level in the potting soil. Because you should only water your ZZ plant when the top 2 few inches of the potting soil get dry.

This will prevent the yellowing of leaves due to incorrect watering sessions.

For this test, you can use your index finger to poke in the soil to feel the moisture. If you do not like this traditional technique then you can use soil moisture meters.

They are the digital soil testing meters that tell the percentage of moisture in the potting soil in digital form.

Once you will insert the probe into the soil, the meter will display a reading on its Lcd display in a few seconds.

The water that you are going to use for watering should be clean and drinkable. Do not use tap water or hard water that contains heavy minerals.

Temperature Fluctuations

The ideal temperature range for the ZZ plant is 10 to 30 degrees C.

It is a wide range and your plant will not face problems until the temperature of the room changes frequently.

If there is an air conditioner in the room and you turn it ON and OFF several times a day. This changes the room temperature many times a day.

This puts stress on the plant which results in yellow leaves.

Because when the temperature drops below the plant think that it is wintertime. Then suddenly in 1 to 2 hours, the room temperature rises to 25-degree C.

Then the plant feels that it is the summertime means the growing season.

This confusion puts stress on a plant’s immune system and makes it weak. This is another common reason for ZZ plant leaves turning yellow.

To keep eye on the grow room temperature, use a room temperature monitor.

Set the max or min temperature limit.

It will trigger the alarm when the device will find the room temperature is below or above the range.

Direct sunlight

Your ZZ plants can survive happily in low to moderate light conditions. This makes them an ideal choice for the less bright corners.

Their negative side is they cannot tolerate the direct sun rays or high intense rays of HPS grow lights.

If your plant is in direct sunlight for more than 3 hours per day. It will develop brown spots and yellow leaves.

Because the ZZ plant cannot handle the hot sun rays. Morning sunlight is good for the plant only when the light is less hot.

After 9 am move the plant pot inside and place it near the bright window.

If you are sure that excessive light exposure causes ZZ plant yellow leaves. Then to fix the problem move the plant pot to less bright location.

Place it near any sunny window where it can get indirect bright light for not more than 4 to 5 hours. The plant will recover soon.

ZZ plant leaves turning yellow due to Excessive fertilizers

Nutrient deficiency and over-fertilization both can result in ZZ plant yellow leaves.

Excessive use of fertilizers turns the green leaves yellow and also burns the leaves in an advanced stage. If you use fertilizer more than once a month then definitely over-fertilization is the cause of yellow leaves.

The extra nutrients start collecting in the root area and block the absorption of water and nutrients.

This turns the healthy ZZ plants into yellow color. To fix this problem limit the use of fertilizers.

Use water-soluble general-purpose houseplant fertilizer. Dilute it more than the recommended strength to avoid nutrient burn.

To fix it flush the soil with water and let the white slat build-up drain through the draining hole. Your plant will gain its health back in few days.

Similarly, in case of nutrient deficiency, give a nutrient boost to your growing plant and it will thrive again. Yellow leaves due to nutrient deficiency are common in spring and summer.

ZZ plant yellow leaves due to Pests

Common indoor plant pets like scales, mealybugs, and spider mites suck the sap of the plant.

They drink all the moisture from the plant leaves and turn the healthy leaves into yellow ZZ plant leaves.

To prevent pests, grow your ZZ plants in a clean and hygienic place.

If you see these pests on your plant, take quick actions and try to get rid of them as fast as possible.

Use isopropyl alcohol to wipe them manually from each leaf. If the problem is served then you should use insecticidal soap to kill them.

Buy it from the local pest control shop and wash your plant with it. This soap will kill the type of pests from the plant.

To prevent their future attacks, keep the growing room clean and separate any infected plant from the ZZ plant.

Use neem oil and dilute it with water and spray it on the entire plant. Neem is the best natural solution to plant pests. It will heal the plants few days and also prevent the re-attack of pests.

How to fix ZZ plant yellow leaves?

All the frequent causes of ZZ plants turning yellow are discussed above. To correct this problem, check the condition of the soil and roots.

Cut the infected roots with sterilized pruners and use fresh potting soil. The soil has to be fast darning.

Such soils do not hold a high amount of water for a long time. After absorbing the required amount of water, they allow the extra to drain out.

This saves the plants from accidental overwatering.

Correct the light issues and supply it adequate amount of fertilizer only in the active season.

Avoid winter fertilization this will only result in plant burn. Winter is the dormancy period to avoid propagating or fertilizing it.

How to keep your ZZ plant happy?

To prevent all the ZZ plant yellow leaf problems you need to correct the 3 things. Light, water, and temperature.  If you learn about them your ZZ plant will never turn yellow.


ZZ plants need 3 hours of morning light after that they need indirect bright light. In total, they need 8 hours of indirect bright light per day.

Do not exceed the light exposure to more than 12 hours. ZZ plants do need dark to rest like humans need a night to sleep and repair the body.

Plants do their repair work in the dark when they sleep.

Excessive light will result in burning the plant leaves.


Too much or too little water is equally deadly for the plant. Above in this post, I have explained everything about watering the ZZ plants.

Read that part and follow the exact instructions.


10 to 30 degrees C is the best range. Keep the plant in this ideal temperature range. Move the plant pot inside in winter.

Because it cannot handle the cold winds even if the outside temperature is 15 degrees C.

Dry leaves and stunted growth are signs of exposure to cold winds. Also, the plant slower its watering absorbing rate.

If you have any confusion related to the ZZ plant leaves turning yellow. You can write us and send us a picture of your plant. One of our team members will reply to your queries.

We are helping many new American growers in setting up their indoor and outdoor gardens. To know more about houseplants see our houseplant sections

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