Yuccas are a staple houseplant and one of the most popular around the world. With their barky appearance and low-effort care requirements, they are great for all homes, offices and outdoor spaces too! However, just because they are relatively low maintenance compared to a lot of other plant types, it doesn’t mean that the Yucca doesn’t come with its own set of issues from time to time. If things aren’t right, your Yucca may start drooping as a result so it’s important to get to the bottom of whatever is going on pretty quickly.
Below we will go through the multiple reasons why Yuccas begin drooping, as well as outlining ways to diagnose the issue, treat the problems and stop them from causing more problems in future.
Underwatering can cause a drooping Yucca
Consistent underwatering can lead to a variety of serious issues if not solved in time (we are talking brown leaves, leaf drop and a crispy root system), but even just the odd time you forget to water can result in drooping leaves. The lack of moisture in the soil means the leaves might feel a little softer to touch and look quite limp and sad.
Luckily though drooping leaves on a Yucca are completely reversible if you’ve caught the issue in time.
Before you start watering more frequently though, we recommend taking your plant out of the pot and seeing how dry the potting mix feels. The last thing you want to do is assume the drooping leaves are because of a lack of moisture and then start watering your plant more when it really doesn’t need it.
As Yuccas can get quite big, you don’t want to be lifting them up too much so using a moisture meter can really help detect whether underwatering is causing the drooping leaves.
Once you’ve made a diagnosis, your first instinct to solve the issue, might be to drown your Yucca to overcompensate for the lack of water, but this can actually cause more damage than the initial drooping leaves if your plant goes into shock.
Instead, the best way to bring your underwatered Yucca back to full health and reverse the drooping leaves is to water your plant a little bit once a day for a week. After a week you want to go back to a more normal care routine, making sure to increase your watering frequency slightly to prevent this issue from happening again.
We recommend buying a moisture meter to help you keep an eye on when your Yucca needs more or less water. If you want to take all of the worry out of watering your Yucca it could be worth investing in a self-watering pot like this one.
A drooping Yucca can also indicate overwatering
What’s strange about drooping leaves is that they can be caused by both underwatering and overwatering. This is because the root system becomes a little damaged with both problems, leaving your plant without the needed moisture, oxygen and nutrients.
Overwatering is a much more concerning issue though as alongside drooping leaves it can very quickly cause some nasty problems for your Yucca.
When caring for your Yucca, it’s important that the potting mix has fully dried out before watering again. Too much water will cause them to become very soft, limp and droopy.
How do I know if overwatering is the cause of the drooping leaves on my Yucca?
Luckily, a lot of the signs for overwatering are quite different to underwatering so you just need to know what to look out for.
The leaves are soft and mushy.
If the leaves on your Yucca feel quite soft as well as drooping, then overwatering is the most probable cause.
Dark patches on the leaves.
The leaves may also start to turn quite a dark brown or yellow if the problem has progressed far.
The potting mix is waterlogged.
Check the soil to see if it’s waterlogged and clumpy, as this suggests overwatering is probably the cause of your Yucca’s drooping leaves. You can also use a moisture meter to check this.
The potting mix will smell.
Waterlogged soil gives off an unpleasant musty and damp smell which is hard to miss.
How do I fix an overwatered Yucca?
Once you have confirmed that your Yucca’s drooping leaves are caused by too much moisture, then you must act quickly to prevent any more damage. Inspect the root system and trim away any rotten or damaged roots so that your plant can begin to recover. If the potting mix is soggy, replace it with fresh high-quality mix rather than wait for it to dry out as this risks more damage.
Going forward, make sure to only water your Yucca when the potting mix has fully dried out. This might mean you either water less frequently, or you give your Yucca less water each time. This will help avoid the problem recurring and help keep your plant happy, healthy and not drooping!
Too much sunlight can also cause a drooping Yucca
Although they can adapt well to a wide range of environments, it can happen that direct intense sunlight can cause your Yucca to dry out quicker than you might expect. This has two implications; firstly, it can dry out the leaves, turning them crispy, droopy and scorched but secondly, it dries out the potting mix very quickly which leads to all the problems associated with underwatering.
As long as the problem hasn’t progressed as far as severely damaging the leaves on your Yucca, the issue should be pretty reversible by moving your plant to a shadier spot in your home.
Drooping Yucca leaves can indicate temperature shock
If you have inspected the potting mix of your Yucca, analysed your watering schedule and just can’t be sure that watering issues is the cause of the drooping leaves, then the cultprit may be cold temperatures
Yucca plants are native to the tropics so thrive in warm temperature meaning they’ll struggle in homes with cold drafts. This won’t cause issues from one day to the next but over time it can cause your Yucca to droop down as well as turn brown.
Make sure that you draft-proof any windows or doors that are close to your Yucca (and other heat-loving houseplants) as well as moving them away from any air conditioning vents as these can be quite damaging to your plants during summer.
Alongside issues for the foliage, if your Yucca is living in a cool room, it’s also more at risk from overwatering and root rot. This is because the soil will take a lot longer to dry out which is the perfect mix for problems such as root rot to occur. If warming the room isn’t an option, try out a heat pad like this one through the colder months to mitigate the risk of root rot entirely.
Pests can also cause a Yucca to start drooping
A rarer but equally important cause of drooping leaves on Yuccas (and most other houseplants), is a pest infestation. It can be worrying for plant parents to think that pests might be making a home on their plants but if you catch the problem early, you can have a lot of success fighting against the pests. Insects that live on your plant will suck the nutrients from it which is why you’ll often see the leaves drooping down.
The first thing to do is isolate your plant away from your other houseplants to stop any spread of the pests. Then inspect your plant and others in the same room for any signs of pests. Other than drooping leaves this includes small holes in the leaves, brown or yellow spots, white webbing or powder and of course, pests themselves.
If you spot any signs of pests, cut away the worst affected leaves to curb the growth of the infestation. Then wash down the leaves and flush the soil in the shower using warm water. We also recommend treating your Yucca with neem oil and showering every few days.
Those are the main factors that can cause a drooping Yucca plant. As there are quite a few different causes, we recommend going through each one whilst inspecting your plant so that you can eliminate those that don’t fit with what’s going on with your plant.
Check out our Yucca care guide for more information on how to keep your plant happy and healthy!
Written by Billy Dawson