Why Is My Bear Paw Succulent Turning Yellow?

Yellowing of bear paw succulent leaves can be caused by several factors, including overwatering, underwatering, pests, or disease.
A bear claw plant.

Bear paw is a small, beautiful succulent that looks like a bear’s paw. That’s where the succulent got its name. Bear paw has plump, fuzzy green leaves with reddish tips on the ends that appeal to the naked eye. Though low-maintenance, your succulent may start turning yellow. You may want to know why this is happening to care better and maintain your plant.

So, why is my Bear paw succulent turning yellow? Bear paw generally turns yellow when underwatered or overwatered. But other reasons could contribute to yellowing, such as poor soil, lack of light, and fungal infection. Growing bear paw in the wrong pot, without proper drainage, can also cause it to turn yellow. Pests, common among succulents, can make your bear paw turn yellow. Also, yellowing can occur naturally as the old leaves fall off to make way for new ones. You must take immediate action to prevent your succulent from dying.

This post will discuss in detail the common reasons bear paws turn yellow. Read on to learn more.

Quick Facts About Bear Paw

Before getting into the details of why bear paws turn yellow, it is crucial to look at basic facts about this succulent plant.

Cotyledon tomentosa, also known as bear paw, is one of the cutest members of the succulent family. It is native to South Africa, specifically the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces.

Bear paw has unique thick, oval-shaped green fuzzy leaves with noticeable dark red serrated edges that resemble a bear’s paw.

With these leaves and velvety coating, this little succulent does a great job creating a beautiful contrast and peculiar texture to any indoor space.

Bear paw thrives in a low, shrub-like environment and can grow up to 30 cm tall. During spring, it often produces big orange bell-shaped flowers.

A close-up bear claw image.
It is crucial to look at basic facts about this succulent plant.

While Bear paw is low maintenance, its leaves are rather delicate. Therefore, it is essential to know how to take care of them.

8 Reasons for Bear Paw Turning Yellow

Bear paw is the easiest succulent to grow. The succulent requires proper care to grow healthy and attractive.

There are several things that your succulent may be lacking, causing it harm. Here are a few reasons why bear paw turns yellow.

1. Overwatering

Bear paw thrives with a relatively small amount of water. In fact, it can go for several weeks without water, and it will be just fine.

The plant leaves start turning yellow when you overwater it or even water when the soil is not completely dry.

Bear paw does not enjoy being soaked in water for extended periods, like any other succulent. Keeping the soil soggy will only affect it and cause irreversible root rot.

A bear claw watered and exposed to sunlight.
Bear paw thrives with a relatively small amount of water.

Yellowing leaves are the first sign that you have overwatered your succulent. When you notice this, consider adjusting your watering schedule immediately. 

How to fix

Water your bear paw only when the soil is completely dry. The soak-and-dry method is the best, given that the succulent doesn’t like sitting in water for too long.

Use a spray bottle or place your bear paw in a saucer full of warm water for an hour every few weeks. The key is to ensure excess moisture drains out after the hour or as soon as possible.

2. Underwatering

Bear paw’s leaves typically turn yellow when it is underwatered. Dry, yellow paws (leaves) indicate you are underwatering the succulent.

You might face this problem if you are among those who only water their succulents once a month or infrequently. Plant leaves might become pale and wilt.

How to fix

To remedy underwatering, ensure to water your succulent soon after the soil dries up. This will help you fully understand the plant’s requirements and prevent the potential of stressing the plant out.

3. Inadequate light

Bear paw succulent thrives in bright light, and they become healthy and appealing when exposed to adequate sunlight throughout the day.

The succulent requires at least six hours of sunlight per day and needs to be frequently rotated so that it does not burn in one part only.

When you notice an unusual growth pattern, such as yellowing leaves, thinning, or stretching out to a particular direction, this is a sign that your succulent is not getting sufficient light.

A bear claw plant exposed to sunlight.
Ensure your bear paw only gets partial sun, as direct sunlight exposure might stress the plant.

Generally, succulents are slow-growing plants; thus, their sudden growth would be unhealthy.

How to fix

Place the bear paw at a place where it can receive plenty of direct light all day long. The best location to place it is near a window where it will enjoy adequate sunlight and fresh air throughout the day.

But remember, exposure to too much sunlight can also cause its leaves to turn yellow and fall off. To avoid this, ensure your bear paw only gets partial sun, as direct sunlight exposure might stress the plant.

Also, turn your plant frequently to protect the leaves from burning.

4. Pest infestation

Pest infestation is the worst nightmare for most succulents. Mealybugs are the most common pests that attack bear paw succulents.

Aphids can also attack the succulent and secret a sticky substance called honeydew which can attract ants. These pests are contagious and can swiftly spread among all other succulents.

When infested by pests, bear paws often turn yellow as their nutrient supply decreases. These pests consume the plant, slowly devouring it from the inside out.

How to fix

Early detection is the most crucial factor here. Isolate the plant immediately after you see these tiny bugs.

Spray insecticides on the succulent until the pests are gone. Insecticidal soap or neem oil can help eliminate aphids and mealybugs.

5. Poor soil

For bear paw succulents, good soil is like having a good home to live in. The plant may experience extensive problems such as irreversible root rot when planted in poor soil. A good example of poor soil is one with poor drainage capabilities.

Besides, poor soil lacks vital minerals that plants need to thrive. Such soil will cause the bear pa to have soggy leaves and turn yellow.

How to fix

You must use well-draining soil for your succulent. Such soil drains water faster, flushing out all excess water from the plant. Well-draining soil also contains all the nutrients the succulent needs to thrive.

A bear claw plant in a pot.
The plant may experience extensive problems such as irreversible root rot when planted in poor soil.

6. Growing in the wrong pot

Generally, succulents should be grown in a pot with proper drainage. When you plant a bear paw in a pot with no drainage holes, there will be no way to drain the excess water. It means that the excess water will sit at the bottom of the pot, dampening the soil, thus causing root rot.

How to fix

When choosing a pot, consider the size of your bear paw now and how much it will likely grow. Ensure the pot has enough holes at the base that will allow excess water to drain out.

You then need to fill this pot with well-draining soil. Combining these two can prevent overwatering and help keep the soil dry, thus preventing yellowing and promoting healthy growth.

7. Fungal infection

Bear paws will turn yellow when they contract fungal diseases like powdery mildew and root rot. Usually, this might happen when the succulent is under stress.  The stress can be a result of overwatering, overfeeding, or underwatering.

Poor soil and overwatering are the leading causes of fungal infection. In fact, bear paw is quite susceptible to fungal infections and diseases.

How to fix

If your bear paw has a fungal infection, remove the affected leaves or branches to prevent it from spreading.

Applying fungicides to the affected area can also help. Ensure the fungicide you use is organic because chemical ones can harm the plant. 

Also, as we already mentioned, you must use good quality, well-draining soil and avoid overwatering your succulent.

8. Natural process

Lastly, your bear paw turning yellow could be a natural process. This may also occur naturally as the old leaves fall off to make way for new ones.

Bear claw plant exposed to sunlight.
Your bear paw turning yellow could be a natural process.

Succulents frequently lose their old leaves when the seasons change by becoming yellow and dry.

Should You Remove the Yellow Succulent Leaves?

You can pull the leaves out if they are yellow and soggy. These leaves prevent the soil below them from drying and hinder the plant from breathing.

But you must be careful when removing the leaves to avoid harming the succulent. Instead of pulling, just cut them.

Also, use a sterilized cutting tool to prevent further damage to your bear paw. When succulents develop yellow leaves, you should determine why and act appropriately.

Final Thoughts

A bear paw makes a lovely stand-alone succulent in pots and can make a great eye-catcher when paired with your other succulent collections. 

However, bear paw succulents can turn yellow for all the above reasons, so they need extra care to thrive and grow healthy continually.

The most important thing is to act fast and identify the reason for yellowing to save the succulent from dying. You will be sure your succulent is healing when the leaves return to their original color.

Last update on 2024-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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