Are your succulents stretching taller and taller? Learn a simple solution to get them back to normal and how to prevent them from stretching again.
Succulents are a popular choice for houseplants. The fact that they are so hardy, and don’t need much care make them an excellent choice. One problem happens more often than it should. Some succulents stretch tall which distorts their look. Why do succulents stretch? Learn why it happens and how to fix it.
- What Causes Succulents to Stretch?
- Succulents Stretching Solution
- Start New Succulents
- Keep Your Succulents Healthy
- OMG my Succulent is Looking Leggy and Tall
- Succulent, leggy and tall sounds like the perfect recipe for an international supermodel, but when it’s applied to a plant-type of succulent it ain’t so grand. It happens. Sometimes your succulent gets out of hand, shooting upwards, growing wonky and looking a bit yellow, but don’t panic. All is well and you’ll actually get another free plant out of it. Maybe more if it’s very tall.
- Why a succulent grows tall and leggy?
- How to Prune Succulents
- Learn from a Professional Horticulturist
- How to stimulate root growth in succulents
- Encouraging Root Growth in Succulents
- Stimulating Roots Growth in Cuttings with Small Root System
- Why is it Important to Stimulate Root Growth in Succulents?
- Aerial Roots Signify a Healthy Plant
- The Bottom Line
- Succulents and their size and their growth
- How to Grow and Care for Succulents
- How to care for indoor succulents
- How to care for outdoor succulents
- How to grow a succulent
- How to Care for Succulents: The Ultimate Guide
- Clip and Cure
- Proper Potting
- When to Water
- Soak up some (indirect) Sun
What Causes Succulents to Stretch?
Succulents stretch for one main reason. Lack of light. It seems simple really. The first thing that happens is your succulents will gradually bend toward the light. This is the first sign that stretching is inevitable. Then as it grows, it will get taller with more space between the leaves.
The lack of light can cause other problems too. If your succulent is lighter in color, or less vibrant than usual or your leaves are smaller these can all be caused by just needing a little more sunlight.
Succulents Stretching Solution
The obvious succulents stretching solution is to move your succulents closer to the window or even place it outdoors for a couple of hours a day, so it gets plenty of sunshine. You can also purchase special lights for your indoor plants to help them grow properly. While you may not be able to reshape your succulents, you don’t have to start from scratch. You can start new succulents from a cutting and even doctor your old succulents too.
Want to make sure you have the right succulents for your environment? Check out 6 Types of Succulents you should grow now!
Start New Succulents
Grab a pair of sharp scissors and start by cutting off the top of the succulent. When you cut your succulent leave at least an inch or two on the base with 2-3 leaves. Be sure to leave enough stem on the cutting to plant in soil later. The base will do best if you leave a few leaves to absorb sunlight. You can place your base in a new sunny spot to continue to grow.
Let both the cutting and the base dry out for a few days. Once the end of the cutting has dried out completely and looks “scabbed” you can plant it in soil and begin watering it. You can learn more about regrowing succulents.
The cutting should start to put off roots, possibly within a couple of days, but certainly within 2-3 weeks. As the roots of the succulent become more established cut back on watering your new succulents.
The base, or original plant, will start to put off new offshoots within a few weeks. You can continue to care for this plant the same as you were before cutting. The leaves you left on the base plant initially may fall off or die at some point. This process is very normal, but won’t necessarily happen. Don’t worry if they do fall off though! The new rosettes will still be able to grow without the “parent” leaves.
Keep Your Succulents Healthy
If you are worried about your green thumb, check out the 7 Reasons Your Succulents are dying so you can stay on top of the correct succulent care for your new plants!
More succulent shortcuts
- How to Make Succulent Soil
- 6 Types of Succulents You Should Grow Right Now
- Printable Watercolor Succulent Wall Art
Amanda is a busy mom of 3 that is constantly on the lookout for shortcuts to add more happiness to the day. She loves creating recipes, printables, DIY, and sharing family fun tips with you.
OMG my Succulent is Looking Leggy and Tall
Why Is My Succulent Tall and Wonky?
Succulents don’t need much water but they do need lots of light. Succulents kept in a dark, shady place will put on a growth spurt to get itself into a sunnier position.
A leggy succulent will grow tall with large gaps between the leaves and it’ll be toppling to one side no doubt, trying to press its face against the window-pane.
Succulents stretch for light because they know they won’t survive without some of those bright, warming rays. It’s literally making a break for it because your chosen site is too dark – your succulent needs a new des-res.
What Can I Do About It?
Once your succulent has bolted, stretched, gone leggy whatever you want to call it, you can’t make it shrink back but all is not lost, all it takes is one small surgery.
- Get a sharp clean knife
- Cut through the whole stalk about one inch above soil level leaving 2-3 leaves on the stump to soak up some sun and recover
- That’s it
But hold on, you have a succulent cutting there just ripe for planting. Let it scab over on the windowsill – succulents are great at self-healing. When it’s dry on the base, push it into a separate pot of compost.
Put both stumps and cutting in a sunnier spot than before and you’ve two plants.
Here are a few other problems you might be facing:
- Falling leaves
This is usually due to over-generous watering. Cut back, only watering when the soil is completely bone dry and don’t leave it standing in a pool of water. Check inside the flowerpot because standing water just makes them mushy.
- An unhealthy colour
It’s gone a weird pale colour. This happens to us all when we’ve been inside for too long. A lack of sunlight creates a pale, floppy succulent. Put it somewhere sunny and cut back on the watering.
- It’s burnt!
If your succulent has got some brown marks it’s probably sun scorched. Succulents need light, but we all suffer in a direct blaze of the sun. Think about how hot your windows sill gets and shift the plant if it’s burning. If the leaves are really unsightly cut them off with a sharp clean knife.
- It isn’t looking right, but I’ve tried everything
If you are sure you’re not over-watering and your succulent is getting plenty of warmth and sunlight then the soil might not suit it. Grabbing some dirt from outside or using clumpy compost isn’t appreciated by a succulent. They need a free-draining soil – one that’s gritty and dries out quickly. It’s best to buy succulent compost or add plant grit to a decent one you already have.
Succulents are one of the easiest plants around if you stick to the three rules.
1. Don’t over-water
2. Keep it in a sunny spot
3. Make sure the compost drains well.
Follow these and your succulents will enjoy a long and happy life.
If your succulent grows tall and leggy you can use this simple trick that will help bring it back to its original beauty.
This pretty Echeveria ‘Perle Von Nürnberg‘ was looking so leggy, losing its pretty purple color, and some of the leaves were falling off.
Why a succulent grows tall and leggy?
The most likely reason is that they are stretching to find the light.
Last year my daughter wrote a post about caring for succulents and one of the main tips is to give succulents tons of light. I’m not sure what happened to this guy. I think it may have started in the nursery and the window I had it in to start just wasn’t getting enough light on an ongoing basis.
I decided to cut it off at the bottom. You can see after a little while a new rosette started forming.
I kept the top portion of the plant and a couple of leaves and allowed them to callus over for several days.
If you look to the left there are a couple of leaves on top of the soil that have started to regrow. To be honest, these almost never do well for me.
However, waiting until the top portion began to send out roots before re-planting worked really well.
Here it is 7 months later. The rosette in front is the top portion of the original plant. The two on the back right side are growing from the original cut stem. You can see a new one growing between the two.
The plants in this container are growing nice and tight. They look healthy and display beautiful color.
Now you know of one option to try if your succulent grows tall and leggy.
You may also notice a baby Kalanchoe up front. Soon I’ll transplant elsewhere eventually as it will grow to be too tall.
That shriveled leaf was an attempt to propagate the plant from a leaf. Though this works well for many succulents I haven’t had a lot of success with the process. The leaves start to send out growth but they never quite take to the soil
This planter is sitting in a south-eastern facing window. It’s watered lightly every week with the rest of my plants.
Here it is on the windowsill of my office right next to my desk so I can enjoy them as I work.
P.S. I have a few other posts about succulents that you may like. Tips about growing succulents, written by my daughter, a huge plant lover studying Botany. Another is all about hardy succulents that you can grow outside in colder climates, and a third is a cute project about how to make a succulent birdcage planter.
How to Prune Succulents
Learn from a Professional Horticulturist
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Learn how to prune succulents the right way – it’s not that hard, honestly. The number of times people ask me how to work up the nerve to cut that bedraggled, scraggly overgrown thing in their succulent plant collection, and I’m brutal – just chop off its head!
So, you’ve worked up the courage to take the scissors to your poor plant.
First of all, take a good look at it in bright light, and see where you might be able to cut it off so that the cut is, first of all, above an outward facing leaf.
As all leaves protect a bud where new growth will emerge, this will create a cup shaped plant, ideal for giving each new branch some space.
This is a fundamental rule in every type of pruning, whether it’s an apple tree or a bonsai pine.
Here’s my thriving and healthy Senecio cylindrica, which offered to be my subject for showing you how to prune succulents:
You wouldn’t recognize this as the same plant that I pretty much neglected all winter under lights in a back bedroom.
It was totally dried out, and dessicated, and I actually wondered for a moment or two if I had killed it finally.
But no, it recovered after being outside in a semi shaded spot behind the house and getting some of the most beneficial natural treatment, rain fall.
I call this ‘putting it on neglect’ and it’s amazing how well it works for succulents.
Not fretting about killing off your plants does wonders for your stress level too!
As you may be able to see, some of the newest growth is actually thicker than the older growth.
This shows that it’s really happy, and it’s a good time to prune it.
Pruning plants that are in distress sometimes puts them over the edge and they’ll decline until they die.
Pruning a healthy, happy plant will only encourage it to bush out and grow some more, all things being equal, and some fertilizer is applied just after the appearance of new growth, and it is in bright enough light.
Other rules about pruning are to always remove dead, diseased or crossing growth, and to make sure each branch will have a bit of room around it.
In pruning apple trees, the advice is to make sure that a bird can fly between the branches, however, that’s not really applicable with succulents – a moth, maybe?
How to Propagate Succulents;
Buy the Succulent Plant Propagation E-Book; Click on the picture to find out more and purchase:
I also take the opportunity to check for bugs, remove any dead or shriveled leaves, and maybe add some lava rock mulch to cover the soil. Prettying it up can be just like you getting a haircut and a manicure – it changes your whole outlook.
Sharp, clean pruning tools are essentialThe result; five or six new cuttings, ready to callous
There, that wasn’t so difficult, now was it? Now I’ve got five or six new cuttings, which once they’ve calloused, will grow into lovely, lush new plants.
That’s the added bonus to pruning succulents. The aim of all this is to make the original plant more compact, healthier and with lots more new growth aimed outwards from the center.
Cuttings of Senecio cylindrica
I think a lot of times people are intimidated by pruning but really, the only way to learn how to do it is to do it.
Learning from seeing me do it won’t wrap your brain around the understanding of it, so get out there and prune a succulent plant or two; you’ll see what I mean.
Observe what happens when you cut a certain part off. See where the growth emerges, and soon you’ll be able to anticipate what the plant will look like after it starts to grow in again.
Check out these essential pruning tools and accessories from Amazon;
Want your succulents to survive the winter? Learn how to bring them indoors and be happy and healthy with this free e-course; Fill in your name and email address on the form below to enroll!
Winterizing Succulents E-Course
Tender Succulent Plants
Pruning Succulent Plants
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How to stimulate root growth in succulents
If you are fond of gardening, why not add a few succulents to your plant collection? Well, succulents are the most efficient plants that do not need much care as compared to other plants.
What’s more surprising is that they can easily thrive in rough and dry climates even if you forget to water them for a day or even a week. However, before growing your succulents, it is important to ensure that their roots are healthy enough.
In other words, the roots of succulents are fragile and need to be handled carefully. Keeping the roots and crown intact is essential to growing more greens. Therefore, if you decide to nurture your chubby plants, make sure that the roots of your existing succulents are healthy.
Encouraging Root Growth in Succulents
When the roots of succulents are not deep into the soil, it shows that you have not watered them properly. Although these plants don’t require frequent watering, you need to ensure the soil does not become dry. Moreover, too much watering can rot their roots. Therefore, water them thrice a week to grow the roots healthier.
Also, when you water your succulents, make sure to soak the soil completely; however, you must bed them in well-drained soil. It allows the excess water to drain off quickly, preventing it from pooling in the soil.
When it comes to growing your succulents, note that the plants take a few weeks to grow new roots.
Stimulating Roots Growth in Cuttings with Small Root System
If you see that your succulent is stretching toward the light, you will soon notice that this plump little plant become leggy in appearance. Keep in mind that it is the perfect time to grow your succulents, using its cuttings.
After two weeks of placing the cuttings on soil, you will see the growing roots and tiny plants. This is the time when you should water your miniature succulents once a week. Moreover, when the original rosette dies off, make sure to remove it to avoid the damage that it can cause to the roots of baby succulents.
Sempervivum Calcareum |
Don’t put your new plants in direct sunlight; however, once a strong root system is developed, you can transplant them into bigger yet shallower pots.
Why is it Important to Stimulate Root Growth in Succulents?
Healthy roots help hold the plant in its place, protecting it from harsh environmental conditions. They also keep it intact within the soil. Besides this, roots carry essential minerals and water to succulents. If your plants have a bad root system, they are likely to die soon.
While the roots of succulents are shallow, rooting them in a deep plant pot will prevent them from growing. Not only this, whenever you water them, the water will set at the bottom and the roots will rot due to too much moisture. For this reason, make sure to keep them in a shallow pot; it will prevent the water from pooling at the bottom and keep your succulents healthy.
Aerial Roots Signify a Healthy Plant
If you see little roots growing out of the stems of your succulent, do not panic! It is a sign that your plant is growing healthy. Not to mention, these tiny roots are called aerial roots. However, when you see aerial roots popping out of your green, keep in mind that you will need to care for them differently.
In case you are wondering what causes the aerial roots to grow, keep in mind that lower light setting and high humidity can be the reasons. However, if your succulents become leggy or stretchy after growing aerial roots, it shows that your plants are not getting enough light.
Kalanchoe Lavender Scallops |
Besides, you can snip off the aerial roots with a trimmer or clippers; it will not cause any harm to your succulents.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know all the nitty-gritty of succulents’ roots, make sure to take good care of your chubby plant to ensure that they stay happy and healthy this summer!
Moreover, if you see your succulents are growing little, pink roots on their stems, don’t forget that it is just a sign of a healthy plant. Last but not least, make sure to water your succulents properly or else they will die soon.
See more about How and When to Prune Your Succulents
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Succulents and their size and their growth
Succulents and their size and their growth .
We ship 1000′s and 1000′s of succulents out weekly, all over the country, all year round for dozens of events every week. Selling succulents is what we do full time!
a question that comes up periodically is my succulents are smaller than I thought they would be. Valid response. We sell succulents in different sized containers. Our top seller is our succulent favor in it’s plastic square 2″ container. They are cheap, $1.50 or so, and they are cute! But consider a 2″ square, that’s not too big?? And then factor in that the succulent inside that container may be even smaller, you are dealing with a very cute, but smaller sized favor. But…… succulents grow! Sometimes they grow faster when it’s hotter outside, days are longer, and they are properly cared for! Part of our business is shipping these little guys in their little containers, all over the country. do a youtube search on mishandled packages, and our succulents are handled often the same. Boxes are thrown, kicked, punched, dropped, rolled etc. fortunately we pack well and they are resilient little guys! sometimes some soil gets displaced, sometimes more soil than others, but 99.9% of the time the succulents are just fine. Pinch up the soil, repack it gently and give a drink! Watch our video on this!
So back to the size of the succulents. We have found that they ship best when their diameter is less than 2″ across, which means less than 2″ across! Smaller than 2″! Some of our pictures show some of them being full and lush and their edges hanging over their containers, but this is usually not how we’ll ship them unless they are super hardy types that handle bumps better than others. So what we often have do is factor in that if we ship a box on the 1st, and it takes 4 days to arrive to it’s destination, DAY 5, and (we usually always try and ship our plants to arrive 7-10 days prior to an event), DAY 12-15, it’s usually close to 2 weeks before they will actually be used in an event. So how much can a succulent grow in 1-2 weeks?
We are going to see. Picture was taken today, I will update in 1 week, and then 2. So before complaining about your succulent being smaller than you thought it would be, give it another week until your event and then reassess. It’s likely there will still be growth, even during the coldest winters if kept warm inside and cared for properly. And if 2″ still sounds too small, consider our awesome and much fuller 2.5″ specialty line and our larger guys in 4″ containers!!
Thanks for reading and ordering! We truly appreciate your business!
and don’t hesitate to ask questions!
How to Grow and Care for Succulents
By Ashley Watters, Abshier House
Caring for Succulents can be easy. Because these plants are native to drought prone areas. As a result, they store water to last them through long periods with little or no water. This feature makes them ideal as indoor-home plants or outdoor as part of a low maintenance garden residing in warmer climates.
How to care for indoor succulents
If you choose to grow a succulent indoors, your plant will need the following:
- Plant your succulent in a pot that drains: Succulents do not like to live in wet soil. As plants accustomed to high temperatures and little moisture, they can actually rot, contract disease, or die if overwatered. Potting in a planter that has slots for drainage can help prevent overwatering.
- Use succulent soil or soil that drains well: Using the correct type of soil will help your plant thrive. Because succulents don’t appreciate overwatering, using soil that drains will keep your plants appropriately moist.
- Plenty of sunlight (at least half a day): These plants hail from hot, dry climates and love plenty of sunlight. Although they will go dormant in the winter and require less sunlight, most succulents like at least a half day to a full day of sunlight depending on what type of plant you have chosen.
- Water heavily, but not often: Overwatering is an issue with succulents. Watering every day and leaving the plant with soaking soil will kill your succulent. However, simply misting them will also leave them wanting more. Supply your plant with a large amount of water about once a week (also varies depending on the variety). Check the soil to see that it is drying between waterings.
- Maintain a warm temperature: Succulents like about 70-80 degrees in summer months and 50-60 in winter months.
How to care for outdoor succulents
Succulents make great houseplants, but they can also add an exotic edge to your outdoor garden.
When planting an outdoor garden, choose your succulents and accompanying plants carefully. Succulents prefer lots of sunshine, dry soil, and little watering. If this doesn’t fit the surrounding flora, consider using your succulents as houseplants or moving them to a separate location.
- Choose a sunny spot: Give your succulent lots of natural sunlight.
- Make sure you have appropriate soil: Does the soil drain well? If not, backfill the hole with sand or gravel to increase drainage capability. Many succulents will fall victim to rot if they are not set in the right kind of soil.
- If watering is necessary, pour water directly onto the base of the plant to keep the leaves dry. Water heavily until soil is moist. Let the soil dry before the next watering. Check out Succulents and Sunshine for more specific information on watering your plant.
- Bring your succulents indoors for the winter: Many of these exotic plants do not fare well in the winter. If you live in an area that has a cold winter, you an easily transplant into a container for indoor storage.
Regardless of what kind of succulent you choose, make sure you water it properly and it will be an interesting addition to your home or garden.
How to grow a succulent
If you already have existing succulents, you can propagate them yourself. Propagation is typically done with a leaf cutting or an offshoot.
Propagating succulents with leaf cuttings indoors
To grow a new succulent from a leaf cutting, follow these steps:
- Remove a leaf from the plant below the main flowering element.Make sure the leaf comes away clean and contains all parts of the leaf.
- Put leaf in dry area and allow to dry.This process generally takes a few days.
- When leaf becomes calloused, it is time to plant.When calloused, the leaf will appear splotchy, discolored, or brittle.
- Place well-draining or succulent soil in a drainable pot.
- Set leaf on top of soil.
- Leave for several weeks.
- Water your succulent very little, about once a week.Be careful to avoid overwatering.
- When roots appear, remove the parent leaf.Typically, this leaf will wither. Be careful not to damage the new roots in this process.
- Your plant will take root and you will have a new succulent.Happy gardening!
Propagating succulents with offshoots
If your succulent develops an offshoot at the base of the plant, you can gently remove it to grow a separate plant. To do so, simply allow the offshoot to develop roots for a period of 2-3 weeks. Once you see roots, remove with snips or simply twist to remove. Then follow steps 2-7 above to propagate your new succulent.
How to Care for Succulents: The Ultimate Guide
Have you heard that succulents are the easiest plants to care for, yet somehow yours keep dying? Never fear—The Succulent Source is here to teach you how to take care of succulents once and for all. Although you do not have to be a master gardener to keep your succulents alive and well, there are a handful common mistakes that people make when caring for a succulent, and we are here to help you set fact from fiction. Avoid any further gardening casualties by diving into our quick, yet comprehensive guide to succulent care.
Clip and Cure
Succulents have the amazing ability to grow from something as small as a leaf. Unlike your typical houseplant, succulents propagate, or grow from an offshoot of the parent plant. Although most succulents can grow from a clean clipping of a leaf, your best chance of growth is when a branch with multiple leaves is clipped.
Once you have your clippings, the next step is let the succulent clippings cure. This is the step that most people skip, leading to waterlogged, rotting succulents. Because succulents are drought tolerant plants, they cannot be oversaturated with water, especially when they are first potted. Avoid this by letting your succulent plant sit in indirect sunlight for three dayswhile drying. This will give the clipping time to callous over so that it does not rot once it is planted. After your clippings have cured, you are ready to move to the potting phase.
Another major mistake that people make when caring for their succulents is that they do not properly pot them. Unlike many houseplants, succulents do not do well in traditional soil. When shopping for soil, look for one that specifically mentions cacti or succulents. This type of soil will help water drain through so that your succulent does not rot.
If you love DIY projects, try making your own succulent-friendly potting soil at home. Do this by combining one part Perlite, two parts coarse sand, and three parts peat moss. It is important to use coarse sand and not fine sand so that it stays mixed in with the rest of the soil.
After your soil is complete and your cuttings have cured, you want to give your succulents time to form the beginnings of their roots. This process takes around three to four weeks, but will help your succulents in the long run. Do this by placing your clippings in a dry and shaded area. You do not want to put them in direct light where they will get sunburned. Let the succulents sit out for three to four weeks until you see tiny roots forming on the base of your succulent mix clippings. Do not be discouraged if not all of your clippings grow roots. This is common, you can still plant them as the soil may help activate the rooting process.
After this, you are now ready to pot your succulents into the soil. Select a pot or container that has good drainage ability (ideally one with drainage holes so that you do not drown your plants), and pour in your succulent-approved soil. Gently place your clipping into the soil deep enough for it to sit upright, and that is all there is to it!
When to Water
Succulents are widely known for being drought tolerant, so many people wonder, “how often do you water succulents?” The trick is not to over-water these tough guys. The reason that succulents’ claim to fame is that you cannot kill them is because unlike most plants, when you forget to water them for a few weeks they can still thrive.
Unfortunately, there is no magic number or schedule when determining how often you should be watering your succulent. You should check on your succulent once a week, but it is not guaranteed that it will need water every time you check. The key is to only water your succulent when the soil is dry. This will be dependent on the temperature, the amount of water your plant got last time, and the amount of sun it is getting. The rule of thumb is to simply check the soil and only water once it is completely dry.
Soak up some (indirect) Sun
The final element that impacts the success of your succulent plant is the amount of sunlight it gets. Because succulents are both popular indoor and outdoor plants, a common question is, “do succulents need sun?” People often assume since succulents look similar to cacti that they will flourish in desert-like conditions with high temperatures, but not all succulents need direct sunlight. Succulents generally do best with a combination of direct and indirect sunlight, while some types can thrive indoors without ever seeing the sun. It’s very important to monitor their direct sun exposure to avoid baking your succulents. In fact, succulents and their coloring, just like people, can either benefit or be harmed by the sun.
All in all, succulent care is an easy, low-maintenance task. Succulents come in many shapes, colors, textures, and sizes, but you can use the same basic care methods on mostvarieties. With this guide, you now have all of the information you need to know how to care for your succulents. By following these simple steps, you will have a garden full of happy and healthy plants! And always remember, “Water when dry, and never water if wet!” Over watering is one of the most harmful to your beautiful succulents.