10 Reasons Your Aloe Plant Leaves Are Turning Yellow or Brown

In my experience, the most common causes of Aloe plant leaves turning yellow or brown are due to environmental conditions like cold temperatures, excessive direct sunlight, and overwatering. Pests, nutrient deficiencies, disease, and other stressors can also cause yellow leaves. Optimal Aloe plant care is essential to return these popular plants to full health.

Aloe Plant Leaves Turning Yellow or Brown (10 Common Causes)

Healthy Aloe plants generally show a dark green to almost blue color in their thick leaves. Some varieties offer a more lime-green color when they’re healthy, but yellow and browning leaves generally indicate a problem. Here are the ten most common causes of yellowing in an Aloe plant.

Excessive Watering

A person watering a small collection of potted aloe plants

The number one cause of yellowing or dying Aloe plants is overwatering (whether you’re growing aloe plants indoors or outside). All the Aloe genus plants are adapted to relatively dry environments such as deserts and prairies. Succulents, in general, don’t like a lot of watering because they’re designed to hold moisture rather than shed it. 

If you push your fingers into the soil around the Aloe and it’s obviously wet, you’ve most likely discovered the cause of yellowing leaves. 

Lifting the plant out of the ground or its container may be the only way to save it if the roots have been compromised. Trimming the rotting roots off will shock it, but the Aloe may grow back if transplanted into a better-draining aloe plant soil mix.

High Humidity

While high humidity won’t directly cause an Aloe plant to turn yellow or brown, it can play a role in causing overwatering conditions. If you’re used to providing a specific amount of water for your Aloe, a sudden increase in humidity could lead to this being excessive due to a lack of evaporation. 

Pay attention to the varying humidity levels throughout the seasons to adjust your watering routine to the plant’s actual needs. Instead of watering on a routine, try adapting to only watering when the first three inches of soil or mix around the plant’s roots have completely dried out.

Overly hot or humid environments can also attract common aloe plant pests and fungal diseases, which may cause brown spots on your aloe plant leaves and droopy aloe plants.

Low Temperatures

An aloe plant that appears to be wilting with yellow and and brown leaves

Most Aloe varieties, especially Aloe vera plants, prefer warmer temperatures. Exposing them to freezing temperatures, or even just temperatures below 50 degrees F, can lead to rapid yellowing, browning, or the development of other colors like pink. 

While pink or yellow Aloe leaves may add color to the plant, they also indicate stress and damage. Keep your Aloe away from cold drafts and drops in temperature according to the specific needs of the species in question.

Underwatering

Aloe plants don’t need watering often, although they do respond well to deep watering when it is required. Watering too shallowly or adding a little water at a time to the container can result in yellowing leaves due to underwatering. 

Older and larger Aloe plants, in particular, can become so root-bound that it’s hard to thoroughly saturate the roots without soaking the plant for at least 10 minutes. 

If the soil is hard-packed or very dried out when the plant is developing yellow or brown leaves, consider giving it a deeper watering.

Seasonal Changes

An aloe plant with very light green leaves

In many cases, it’s just shock from sudden seasonal changes that cause an Aloe plant to develop just one or two yellow leaves. A sudden increase in rain, drop in nighttime temperatures, or exposure to a change in light exposure can lead to limited yellowing. This will end as soon as the offending condition also ends, which can be quick during shoulder seasons like fall and spring. In most cases, you won’t need to do anything about these minor cases of leaf damage or loss.

Too Much Light

Most Aloe species are designed to handle only partial sun, with some popular types like Aloe vera wanting entirely indirect light at all times. Direct sunlight can burn many Aloe varieties and also cause the leaves to curl. 

Larger outdoor types tend to be able to handle some direct light during the day, but they may still yellow and turn brown if seasonal changes in the angle of the sun lead to direct exposure. 

Sunburn may cause Aloe leaves to dry up and turn brown right away, or it may lead to yellow from the tips downward first.

For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position Aloe plants in the home for optimal growth and Feng Shui benefits.

Stress from Repotting

An unpotted aloe plant with roots and soil exposed in front of two different sized plant pots

Repotting is not necessary too often for most Aloe plants because they tend to grow slowly. With the proper care, an Aloe vera plant may only need a new pot once every two to three years. 

When the plant is genuinely rootbound, it will respond quickly to repotting. Repotting too often or when the plant is already affected by another issue may just stress it more, leading to yellowing or browning leaves.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Every Aloe has a different requirement for fertilization, with most of them needing only a few doses per year. Make sure to keep up with what fertilizer is required for deep blue-green color rather than a pale yellow-green.

Lack of Light

An aloe plant growing in a dark room with the curtain blinds drawn closed

Giving an Aloe too little light will cause it to grow slowly, and the plant may begin to lose its color overall. But it takes a lot of time in the dark to cause the plant to turn yellow from a lack of light. For most species, even low levels of light will keep the Aloe alive if not growing actively. Yellowing indicates a long history of being given insufficient light.

Aging

All Aloe plants eventually lose leaves, and they’re likely to turn yellow briefly before turning brown. However, a healthy plant will only lose one or two of the oldest leaves at a time.


How to Fix Yellow Leaves on an Aloe Plant

A close shot of an aloe plant leaf that is wilting and brown at the tips

Once the leaves turn yellow or brown on an Aloe, they won’t recover. These damaged leaves can be pruned and removed since they’ll only continue to dry out and may encourage disease later. Address the root cause and improve the general care of the plant to keep more leaves from turning yellow or brown.


Preventing Yellow Leaves with Proper Care

A vibrant green and healthy aloe plant

Most Aloe plants prefer indirect light, needing relatively bright conditions but no direct sun exposure. 

Only water them occasionally, checking that the soil is nearly completely dry first. Fertilize these plants monthly during the growing season, but avoid fertilizer during the winter. 

Watch out for temperatures below 32 to 50 degrees F, depending on the exact Aloe variety. 

Change out the soil or potting mix when it becomes compacted since it can cause drainage issues that lead to root rot in these plants.


Yellowing Aloe Plant Leaves FAQs:

How do you fix yellow leaves on an Aloe Plant? 

Yellow leaves can’t turn green again, so they’re best removed before they turn completely brown. There’s no benefit to waiting for yellow leaves to dry out.

Can yellow or brown Aloe Plant leaves turn green again? 

No, yellow or brown Aloe leaves are permanently damaged and will slowly dry out. Nothing will restore the original color.

Can direct sunlight cause Aloe Plant leaves to turn yellow or brown? 

Direct sunlight leads to sunburn in most Aloe species, which appears as yellowing leaves that rapidly dry up and go brown.

Does the type of water cause Aloe Plant leaves to turn yellow or brown? 

Water content doesn’t usually affect this species, but the watering frequency can be an issue. Don’t overwater; let the soil dry out thoroughly before watering again.

Can over-fertilizing cause Aloe Plant leaves to turn yellow or brown? 

Overapplication and avoiding fertilizer can lead to yellow leaves in Aloe plants. Make sure to use a diluted dose once a month during the active growing season to avoid both problems.


The Final Word

From Aloe vera to the exotic landscaping options for desert gardens, these plants have a distinct look that will draw the eye. Make sure your Aloe plants remain green and healthy no matter what by giving them the proper care. Pay attention to any leaves that suddenly go yellow since they are early indicators of problems with the conditions around the plant. Quick adjustments can prevent further yellowing. For more, see our in-depth guide on how to grow and care for Aloe plants at home.

Editorial Director | andrew@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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