Crown of Thorns plant’s leaves turning yellow: Causes and treatment is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

Crown of Thorns is one of the most amazing and beautiful plants you can have in your garden or inside of your house. This plant surely gives your space a new look, and works like a magnet for the eyes of your visitors. However, Crown of Thorns is one of the more vulnerable succulent plants, and changing of color is no. 1 issue people have while growing it. The leaves simply turn yellow, and the plant loses a lot from its beauty. Now I will explain why it happens, and what you can do to avoid it.

Let me get straight to the point: The most common cause of this phenomenon is over-watering. Like other succulent varieties, the Crown of Thorns is susceptible to too much moisture and excess water. Maybe even more susceptible than most succulents. Let’s have a look at how to do it right, to avoid seeing leaves of your beloved plant turning yellow.


How often should I water crown of thorns plant?

There are a lot of recommendations you can find online. Not all of them are correct though. What you should really do in this case is to determine whether your plant is actively growing at the moment. Growing conditions of the plant influence the amount of water it needs. Let me explain.

If the Crown of Thorns is in active growing season, it needs more water than when they are dormant. Actually much more. During this period, you should water again once half of the soil gets dried out.

During their dormancy, however, these plants don’t need much water. You know that they have entered this stage once they stop growing new leaves and flowers. At this point, watering should be reduced, but you should never allow the soil to get totally dried out. Always remember that succulents, although they are resistant to drought, need at least some water. Over and under watering can harm these plants including the Crown of Thorns. In a dormant season, however, it is sometimes enough watering your succulents every three weeks or so!

Crown of Thorns Plant Leaves Turning Yellow

Why is crown of thorns losing leaves?

Falling or dying of leaves of the Crown of Thorns plant suggests that the plants suffers from either over-watering or under-watering. As I already mentioned, the lack or excess of water (especially the second) is harmful to the succulent plants, and one of the ways of showing this to their owner is that their leaves will start to fall off.

Aside from this, high humidity and cold temperature could also contribute to the problem. If under and over watering are not the causes, then either of these two factors may have caused the Crown of Thorns to lose their leaves. Good news is that any of these problems can be easily addressed by implementing a few simple steps. For instance, if over-watering is the main issue, reduce the amount of water or reduce the watering frequency to get the results.

And when high humidity or cold temperature are to blame, you can simply bring the plants indoors. There you can provide Crown of Thorns appropriate temperature and light source. During the cold season, succulents still need a light source, either natural or artificial. For natural light, you can place the plants near the window–if you have at least some sun during the winter, which is of course not the case in all regions of the world… If natural light is not available, you can use grow light (click here to check my recommended grow light on Amazon). Grow lights will allow your succulent plants to thrive in the cold season, especially during winter.


Does the Crown of Thorns plant need strong sun exposure?

Crown of Thorns can survive in strong sun but definitely, in order to thrive and not merely survive, they need some shade. This means that they should get full sun exposure but not the whole day. What I recommend is to expose them in to the sun for about four to six hours a day, preferably in the morning when it is not too strong.

Succulents are native to semi-desert areas. Although they can adapt to the environment they are in, they still need fun sun exposure. But you don’t want to burn your Crown of Thorns. Succulents exposed to scourging sunlight can actually die. This is the reason why I provide some shade to my succulent plants every noon, simple once the temperatures get too hot for them over here. You can easily do this by placing them strategically in your garden.

How do you care for a Crown of Thorns indoors?

Like other succulent plants, Crown of Thorns is more susceptible to over-watering indoors, because the temperature inside is a lot cooler than outside. As a result, the water will take longer to evaporate, and it takes longer for the soil to dry out.

You can keep your succulents safe by implementing a strategic and effective watering method, which I call the soak and dry method. It is about soaking the soil with water completely, and then allow it to drain completely. Water again only once the soil is dry. In this case, the watering frequency is totally dependent on the moisture in the soil–which is the right procedure, because nature does not follow our schedule with days, weeks, and months….


Some tips on how to care about your Crown of Thorns plant

  • Enough light – As I already mentioned, the Crown of Thorns plants needs light. Although they can tolerate early morning sunlight, they are better off under bright indirect light. So my recommendation is to provide shade for these plants.
  • Enough water, but not too much -The amount of water that these plants need depends on their growing state. During active growth, the Crown of Thorns plants may need a lot more water than when they are dormant. Make sure that the soil is completely wet then let it dry.
  • Additional source of nutrients – Fertilizing can make a huge difference in the growth of the plant. When they are actively growing, you can give them fertilizer once a month. Choose a fertilizer that is phosphorus-rich and low in nitrogen. This inhibits the growth of the leaves which in turn triggers bloom of the flowers.
  • Right temperature – Crown of Thorns does not like cold temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. But they do well in warm temperatures between 60 and 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

    If you bring these plants indoors in winter, a grow light can be helpful to set the right temperature for the plants.

  • Observe humidity level – Crown of Thorn plants is native to semi-desert areas. They can grow well in areas with low to average humidity. They don’t like areas with too much moisture in the air. A condition like this makes these plants vulnerable to diseases such as fungal problems. Keep it on your mind.
  • Protect them from pests – Some of the most common pests that could potentially harm the Crown of Thorns plants are Mealy Bugs and Aphids. But the good thing is that this plant is more resistant to insects than other types of succulent plants. You can read my post on how to kill aphids. to learn how to deal with this plague.
  • Good soil mix is the key – Crown of Thorns succulent needs a fast-draining soil. A perfect succulent soil mix keeps the succulent plant from over-watering. Check my recommended succulent soil mix on Amazon.
  • Prune when the time is right – You can prune your Crown of Thorns plant only once the blooming has ended. Doing it during bloom can cause harm to your plants.
  • Propagate at the right time – The perfect time to propagate this plant is during early summer or in the spring. You can use the cuttings and follow regular propagating procedures like with a jade plant.

Hope this helps, and happy growing! Crown of thorns is definitely one of the special succulents, and I hope with my tips you manage to grow it to its full beauty.