While the yucca plant is noted for its hardiness, it can still fall victim to some problems that can cause it to wilt and die.
Whether you’re new to gardening or have a good deal of experience, it can be hard to pinpoint the problem that’s causing your yucca to die.
This leads you to wonder, why is my yucca plant dying?
Overwatering is the primary cause of yuccas’ death. It causes their roots to rot, and the foliage becomes yellow. Typically, overwatering occurs by frequent watering and inadequate drainage.
This article will discuss the causes of yucca plant death and share some practical solutions to keep your plants thriving.
Generally, yucca plants are easy to nurture and care for. However, they may die quickly due to negligence and lack of attention.
Here are the main reasons why yucca plants die:
The primary reason for yucca’s death is overwatering. When a yucca plant is overwatered, the soil becomes heavily flooded, which leads to root rot. The roots cease to absorb nutrients from the soil, and the plant eventually dies.
Also, overwatering may promote fungal growth, further damaging the roots and spreading to the healthy parts of the plant.
When a yucca is underwatered, the soil gets pretty dry, causing the plant to wilt and die.
Without an appropriate watering routine, the yucca plant can’t take in all the nutrients, resulting in leaves becoming brown and drying out.
It’s worth pointing out that a yucca plant can get too weakened to bounce back under extreme circumstances, even if you start watering it properly.
So, it’s best to prevent underwatering a yucca altogether. You’ll need to water it periodically but not overly. Also, you must make sure the soil offers sufficient drainage.
Yucca plants are native to dry regions and do well in humid and hot environments. Specifically, yucca plants thrive best in temperatures between 64–77°F.
If yuccas are constantly exposed to temperatures beyond their suitable range, they might get stressed and die. This is known as temperature stress.
And even though they can survive in temperatures as high as 90°F (30°C), they’re most likely to experience reduced growth outside of their ideal temperature range.
Moreover, if yucca plants are exposed to temperatures less than 45°F (7°C), their leaves might get withered or frozen, resulting in death.
On the other hand, if yucca plants are kept in overly hot locations, they can end up dehydrated and struggle to thrive.
Yuccas are sun-loving plants. So, if you keep your yucca plants indoors for a long time, they might not get the sunlight they need and then die.
An indication that your yucca is dying is if its leaves turn dark green at first, then yellow, and then gradually fall off.
If yucca plants aren’t getting ample sunshine, they’ll lose their ability to produce oxygen and glucose to sustain themselves.
As a result, they’re susceptible to several problems like decreased growth, fragility, less flower production, and death.
Fertilizers are intended to supply vital nutrients to plants. However, if utilized excessively, they may impair your yucca plant.
Overuse of fertilizers may eradicate your yucca plants by causing root damage, nutritional disparities, and exposure to toxic substances.
On the other hand, yuccas are generally hardy and don’t need extra fertilizer. Though, they may benefit from it in some cases.
As such, organic fertilizer with equal portions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) would be ideal. This fertilizer gives yuccas the necessary nutrients they require for growth and flourishing while avoiding the over-supply of a single mineral.
If you see any of the signs listed below on your yucca plant, it could be they’re over-fertilized:
- Browning of leaf edges and tips
- Yellowing and withering of bottom foliage
- Slow growth
- Increased leaf drop
In this case, you need to remove yellow and damaged leaves. Then, rinse the soil and cut back on fertilizer for a while.
Pests like scale insects, spider mites, mealy bugs, and aphids can harm the leaves, impair the plant, and spread diseases that could ultimately kill the yucca plant.
Often, these pests cause damage to the plant by eating the leaves, sucking out the sap, and forming holes, discoloration, and stains.
On top of that, long-term pest infestations may compromise yucca’s ability to generate energy through photosynthesis. As such, yucca may experience slowed growth, leaf yellowing, and worst, death.
Transplant shock could potentially kill yucca plants if not treated appropriately.
In general, this condition happens when a plant relocates from one place to another and faces strain as a consequence.
In particular, this may occur when a yucca is transplanted from a planter to the ground or from one area in the garden to a different one.
In addition to plant death, transplant shock may trigger the following:
- Root damage
- Moisture stress
- Environmental stress
Reviving a dying yucca can be quite tricky. However, with proper maintenance and care, you can restore your yucca’s elegance.
Here are a few tips for reviving your yucca plant:
Before you go about recovering your yucca plant, you have to inspect first the severity of the damage.
You may start checking any signs of withering or yellowing leaves, chapped or flimsy stems, and an overall decline in plant growth.
Once you’ve spotted the damaged leaves, snip them away with disinfected pruning scissors. Trim the leaves closest to the stem without harming it further.
By removing the wilted leaves, the plant may channel its nutrients to new growth and healthy foliage.
Likewise, cutting off impaired leaves is useful in keeping out the spread of pest infestations and other diseases that are potentially damaging the plant.
Your yucca plant could start dying due to a lack of nourishment. Replanting yucca is a good strategy for restoring the plant and ensuring it gets the nutrients to thrive to its ability.
Typically, the ideal season to repot yucca plants is in spring or fall when the temperature is slightly warmer.
To effectively repot a yucca plant, here’s everything you need to know:
- Choose a pot that’s one size larger than the current planter.
- Prepare a well-draining soil mixture, preferably cactus or succulent soil.
- If you want to make your mixture, combing potting soil, sand, and perlite is ideal.
- Check the roots for evidence of damage and disease.
- Fill the planter with soil mixture and place the plant in the center.
- Water the plant thoroughly and let the water drain out of the planter.
- Keep the plant in a location with sufficient sunlight.
Before watering the plant, assess the soil moisture by inserting a finger up to the first knuckle. It’s time to water the soil if it’s dry to the touch.
When watering your yucca, ensure the water gets to every layer of the soil. You can utilize a watering can or a garden hose with gentle nuzzles to hydrate the plant.
After some time, give the plant a moment to dry out between waterings. It’s also a good idea to reduce your watering frequency to prevent root rot and other overwatering issues.
Yucca plants grow on well-drained soil that’s rich in organic compounds. To enhance the soil quality, you may apply some compost, aged manure, peat moss, or fallen leaves to the soil.
Further, because yucca plants are light feeders and don’t need heavy fertilization, it’s best to utilize a balanced fertilizer with an equal ratio of NPK or specialized fertilizer for succulents.
Lastly, given that yucca plants oppose flooded soil, ensure the planter has proper drainage. If the soil is dense or porous, you may add sand, silt, and perlites to improve drainage.
To treat fungal and bacterial infections, you can prune any yellow or brown leaves and plant portions that were infected.
You may also spray a horticultural oil, like Neem oil, which is highly effective and 100% organic.
These pests prosper in humid, stale atmospheres. So, make sure your yucca plant has good ventilation to keep these pests at bay.
You may place your plant near a fan or any air outlet to improve air circulation.
Ideally, your yucca plant should be placed near a south-facing location or in a bright and sunny spot outside that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Meanwhile, if you’re keeping yucca indoors, you might need to rotate the plant on occasion so that each side of the yucca gets equal sunlight.
Besides that, you can try supplementing natural light with grow lights to offer additional illumination for your yucca plant.
So, why is my yucca plant dying? There are many causes of yucca plant death, including overwatering, underwatering, inadequate sunlight, and pest infestations.
By assessing the plant’s foliage, root system, and soil, you can spot what’s causing the issue and take appropriate measures to fix it.
Ultimately, with some tender loving care, you can revive your yucca plant and support it to flourish again.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.