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Oh you guys, I love succulents. They are the official flower of my life, now and forever. So now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about why your succulents keep dying, k?
I hear from so many people how they are succulent obsessed too, only to get these little beauties home and have them die within a few weeks.
So let’s dive deeper and talk about the 5 reasons your succulents are dying and how to help them. Chances are a few quick fixes can bring your succulents back to life so you can enjoy them for years (yes years!) to come.
5 Reasons Your Succulents are Dying and How to Help Them:
1. You are watering them wayyyyy too much.
Don’t forget that succulents are very much like cacti in the sense that they love dry air, dry soil, and live a dry life.
Sure you want your babies to grow quickly, but drowning them isn’t the way to do it. Put the watering can down and back away. This is often one of the main reasons your succulents are dying.
How to help over watered succulents:
Thoroughly allow the soil to dry out before you water the succulents again. Be sure there are drainage holes in your flower pot so water can run through.
Once the soil is completely dry, start using a spray or misting bottle to spray the soil thoroughly only one time per week. For an extra boost, you can try this easy to use small and shallow succulents pots
2. Your flower pot is too deep.
Succulents are shallow. No I don’t mean that in the sense of their character, but in the sense of their roots. They have shallow roots and don’t feel so cozy in deep pots.
If your succulents don’t seem to be thriving, pot depth may be an issue. Your water may be running to the bottom of the pot before the roots have a chance to sip what they need.
Want to properly prep your flower pots before planting? Check out my Essential Oil based Flower Pot Spray recipe found here.
How to help stunted succulents:
Move them to a shallow planting space where the roots can get all cozy. It is better to have succulents planted in a variety of small planters than to try and stuff them all in one huge planter.
Check out this set of small and shallow succulents pots perfect for finding success with.
Want to see some fun succulent crafts we did? See this Simple Succulents Wreath or this DIY Succulents Vertical Wall Hanging.
3. You are being stingy with the sun.
Succulents are much like cacti, remember? So they love HEAT. This might mean moving your succulents to follow the sun pattern that works its way through your home. A few hours of sun in a window won’t do it.
How to bring the heat:
Watch where the sun comes into your space. Track it and find a spot that gets a good 6 hours or more of sun per day. Keep succulents away from drafty windows and doors or cooling vents.
4. You stuffed a bunch in a pot so it would look full and cute and now they are dying.
I am so guilty of this. Perhaps you wanted a full and lush pot of succulents so you crammed a dozen of them into a tin and now they are all struggling.
Just like other plants, succulents benefit from room to grow. They will show you how much they hate being crammed into containers by dying on you.
How to properly space succulents:
You should allow at least 2-3 inches between your succulents. Give them time to mature and naturally fill out.
If it bothers you that there is space between your plantings, try sprinkling some stones or sand in between them.
5. You chose the wrong color.
If you are new to succulent growing, stick to bright green plants. Sure the rainbow of colors is fun, but you will find that the streamline green are easier to grow.
You will also find that the fancier varieties such as the orange, purple, and red hues do better when grown outdoors in dry heat, which is their natural habitat.
How to pick the perfect succulent plant:
Make sure leaves are lush, free from holes or scratches, and feel full to the touch. Look for bright green foliage. Feel the soil the succulents are planted in and make sure it isn’t a swamp.
Look for signs that the greenhouse has properly cared for the succulents (in a warm sunny spot, away from cold, properly watered) so you know you are getting quality plants.
When it comes down to it, there are basically 5 reasons your succulents are dying. Luckily, you now know what to do it about it.
With a few quick fixes you can be the succulents whisperer and get gorgeous succulents that will make everyone jealous. For an even greener thumb, check out the other gardening posts we have been working on!
– Tips for Growing Gorgeous Hydrangeas
– Tips for Growing Coleus
– How to Plant a Rainbow Garden: Flowers by Color
For even more information on succulents, check out this book Succulents: The Ultimate Growing Guide available for Kindle for just $10.
Give these 7 reasons your succulents are dying your consideration, make the changes needed, and enjoy the succulents you have always dreamed of.
Do you love the look of succulents but can’t seem to keep them alive? Do you typically have a green thumb (or not!) but succulents just don’t appear to be your thing? It sounds like you need a little Succulents 101!
There are several reasons why succulents just don’t make it, and by making a few tweaks, you can get some amazing results. Take a look below at 7 reasons your succulents are dying so you can give your succulents the care they need for success!
- 7 Reasons Your Succulents are Dying
- More Succulent Info
- How to Revive a Dying Succulent Plant
- Succulent Problems and How to revive a dying succulent plant
- Dead Bottom Leaves of a Succulent
- Signs of Overwatering
- Healing the Overwatered Succulent
- Be Careful About Exceptions
- Signs of Under-watering
- Healing Under-Watered Succulents
- Some Like to be Watered More Frequent
- Are Your Succulents Cold?
- Full, Direct Sunlight
- Bacteria, Bugs and Fungal Infections
- Keep an eye on them!
- This is Why Your Succulents Keep Dying
7 Reasons Your Succulents are Dying
1. You are giving them too much water.
Succulents don’t need to be watered like your ordinary or typical houseplant. They are a type of cacti after all, so they can get by with less water and enjoy well-drained soil. The soil should feel cool and damp to the touch, but never saturated or watered down and NEVER muddy. You might want to mist the ground instead of feeding directly for best results.
2. The planting container is too small.
Did you find a cute teacup or flower pot for your succulent? Sure it looks nice, but does it give the roots the room it needs to grow? Probably not. The depth of the container should be twice as deep as the roots of the plant, while the width should be at least three times as wide. Doing this gives the plant plenty of room to spread out!
3. The planting container doesn’t provide drainage.
People love planting succulents in cute containers, cups, boots, and all sorts of other containers, but the truth is if they don’t have proper drainage they will never work. Your container should have several drainage holes where water can escape. A piece of net or even pantyhose over the holes can help dirt from escaping in the process.
4. Your succulents aren’t warm enough.
Succulents love warm weather. They don’t want to be near a drafty window or out in cold weather. Keep them in a space where they can be warm and stay warm. They won’t do well if the weather is always changing on them.
5. They are too compacted.
Allow for your succulents to fill out naturally and avoid stuffing them closely in the planter. There should be several inches between plants, so they have room to grow and won’t smother each other. Let growth happen naturally and allow for a natural filling instead.
6. Your soil isn’t nutrient rich.
Succulents love nutrient-rich soil. Stir in some organic matter or try a planting mix when planting succulents. This way they get the feed they need to be healthy and look beautiful. Check your local garden center for a soil mix specifically for cactus or succulents, or better yet, make your own succulent soil! These will have the right density and nutrients for your plants.
7. You need to transplant them.
If your succulent has been in a container for several months and seems to be thriving, you need to re-pot it into a larger pot. By doing so, you will give it more room to grow, and it won’t get cramped and smothered by its roots. It is also a great time to think about using your succulent to start more plants now that it is bigger. It is easy to regrow succulents from a mother plant.
Another common problem is succulent stretching. Learn what causes it and how to fix it!
Are you ready to enjoy more healthy, vibrant, and ALIVE succulents? Give these 7 reasons your succulents are dying your consideration, make the changes needed, and enjoy the succulents you have always dreamed of.
More Succulent Info
- Printable Watercolor Succulent Wall Art for FREE!
- Check out the best place to buy succulents.
- How to Make Succulent Soil
- More Succulent Posts
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.
How to Revive a Dying Succulent Plant
Succulents are incredible plants: decorative, relatively easy to care for, and with a perfect size to be able to grow them in a pot.
Although succulents are easy to care for, it usually happens that people water their plants very little, or water them too much.
This usually happens when we start in the world of succulent cultivation.
As a result, our plants will weaken and, unless we avoid it, we will lose them forever.
But calm, it is not necessary to worry.
If we detect the problem in time and follow these tips, you can rescue your plant, before it dies.
You may like How to Propagate Succulents
Succulent Problems and How to revive a dying succulent plant
The first thing to do is to see if it is weakening or not, as we can take the necessary measures as the case may be.
Some symptoms that your succulents can present are:
- Yellow, transparent and / or soft sheets
- Closed sheets
- Fall of leaves out of season
- Wrinkled plant
- The stem or trunk feels very soft
- Black spots on the stem
- The appearance of fungi (gray or white powder)
What can kill your plant?
Excess water in your succulents
Now, if the leaves that have grown new in your succulent do not look very good, you will have to take note and determine what may be causing the change.
Inadequate irrigation is one of the major causes of death of succulents.
If succulent leaves turning yellow and transparent and feel moist or soft when touched, they are likely to have watered excessively.
An early sign of excess water in your succulent plants may be the ease with which the leaves fall off.
There are cases in which this occurs with just a tap.
If you notice black spots on the leaves or the stem, excessive watering is being critical and you should treat it immediately to save your rotten succulent.
Lack of water in your succulents
If your succulent begins to have wrinkled leaves and become dry and crunchy, your succulents probably need water.
Most succulents revive quite quickly if they are starting to wrinkle.
However, when they get wrinkled completely, there is a chance that they will not recover.
While it is more likely, in most cases, to revive a succulent with a lack of water than an excess; Ideally, learn how to water your succulents with the right amount of water.
Knowing these signs and symptoms of irrigation problems will help you save your succulents before it is too late.
Dry lower leaves are normal in succulents, but if those that are the product of new growth and the upper leaves begin to look different, there is a possibility that your succulents are not being adequately watered.
Succulents do not need much fertilizer, but after a long time in a pot, the soil may no longer have the nutrients the plant needs to develop properly.
If you suspect that your plant has nutritional deficiencies, you can give them a light diet during the spring and summer growing season.
But be careful not to overpay, as this can cause the plant to experience excessive growth followed by a weakening.
The substrate is very important for the life of your succulents.
These plants need a substrate with good drainage and the garden soil or a universal substrate may not be the most suitable.
When buying a substrate (soil) for your succulents, choose a specific substrate for cacti and succulents that is the one with the most appropriate composition.
You also have the option of preparing your own substrate mix at home, you just have to add it to the garden soil: sand, and perlite or pumice stone.
Succulents love light and need approximately six hours of sunshine a day, depending on the variety.
Freshly planted succulents can burn under direct sunlight, so you may have to gradually introduce them to sun exposure.
To start it is better to put them in light shade or under other bushes that protect it.
When you notice symptoms of growth, you can take it to a more exposed place.
If you observe that in addition to bowing it also grows stretched, it may be a sign that you need to be in a more illuminated place.
This phenomenon is called etiolation and occurs because the plant receives poor luminosity.
It can also happen that the leaves of your succulent are burned.
This is because the plant is very exposed to sunlight.
In that case you should reduce your plant’s sun exposure, especially in the hottest summer hours.
Use pots without a drain hole
It is true that succulents can live in these types of pots, but it is much harder to keep them alive.
Remember that succulents hate moisture and waterlogging.
When we use pots without a drainage hole, more care should be taken when watering the plant, since the substrate will take longer to dry, because the substrate has no place to remove excess water.
For this reason, I recommend using pots with holes or you can drill the pot in the bottom yourself, in case the pot you want to use does not have this hole.
If you use pots without a drain hole, be more careful when watering. Try to water the plant in the sunniest hours and make it a little less water, compared to a plant that was in a pot with drainage. And make sure you use a substrate that has good drainage and allows air to circulate.
Plagues and diseases
Bacterial wilt is a disease transmitted by insects that causes the breakdown and collapse of succulent.
Cochineals are a type of pest that causes succulents to lose their health.
To treat this problem with pests, the easiest is to buy a specific fertilizer for this type of pest and follow the packaging specifications.
What I can recommend is that you try to buy the fertilizer with fewer chemicals you find, to avoid possible burns in the plant.
Fungal infections usually appear as small white cotton balls on the surface of the substrate and also under the leaves.
They are called dusty mold.
To eliminate the hogs of our succulents: remove the succulent from the pot and clean the plant especially the roots (remove the rotten parts), then disinfect the pot, and finally plant the succulent in the pot cpn a new substrate and with a good drainage
Succulent leaves drooping
Something that creates great confusion, are dead leaves at the bottom of a succulent. When this happens, we don’t know if it’s normal or not.
If this is your case I will explain; It is very normal to find dried leaves at the bottom of the succulent.
This is part of a plant life cycle and can often occur, depending on the type of succulents you have.
Some old and mature leaves at the bottom of the stem dry to make room for newly grown leaves.
In that circumstance, your succulent does not need special care or treatment. Simply pick up the dead leaves gently without disturbing the other living leaves.
When we have to worry is if the young leaves that come out, within a weak, dry and fall out.
If this is the case, it is important to detect what is causing the new leaves to grow weak, as this can be caused by several factors; excess water or lack of water, lack of sun, inadequate substrate, etc.
As a reference, the new leaves must be firm and new growth stems must grow where the dried ones used to be.
How to save a sick succulent from excessive watering.
The first thing you should do is reduce irrigation or see if it is necessary to change the substrate, for one that has better drainage.
If the stem is affected, which is detected because black spots of rot are seen on it, you should cut the top of the plant and then plant it in a substrate so that you can get a new and healthy plant.
Be sure to remove any areas with black spots from the plant and let a few days pass before planting to allow time to remove excess water stored inside.
You can also leave the lower part of the plant in the substrate if after removing all the rotten, there is enough aerial part that can be recovered from the root. Do not water at all until the soil is completely dry. And remember that if the substrate does not drain well you should change it.
If your plant is dying from excess water, keep in mind that if you manage to recover it you must reduce the irrigation to prevent the plant from becoming sick again.
How to save a sick succulent due to lack of irrigation.
If, on the contrary, your succulent is dying due to lack of water, what you should do is remove it from the direct sun and put it in semi-shade, so that the substrate does not dry out so quickly.
At the time of irrigation, add (gradually) more water.
You should gradually approach it so that your plant gets used to the new amount of water that you are going to give it.
Another very important point is that, but increase the amount of water at the time of irrigation, and not the days of irrigation.
You should only water your succulent when the substrate is completely dry, especially in winter seasons.
Steps to recover a rotten succulent.
1. Check the plant for infected areas. Infected areas usually appear as black or dark brown spots, usually at the bottom of the plant. Other signs of rotten root, or stem, include wrinkled skin with a dark tint bordering the infected area.
2. Since you detect these infected areas, stop watering the succulent plant.
3. Remove the succulent from its pot. Clean the pot thoroughly to ensure there are no remains of the fungus. You can use the substrate to sow the plant again, but my recommendation is to change the substrate for a new one to be sure that there will be no mushroom dough.
4. Cut the infected black stem of the plant with a garden knife. Let the healthy portion of the succulent dry naturally, in direct sunlight, for several hours. If other areas of the plant show signs of rot, even if they are minimal, keep it under surveillance or remove it from the plant.
5. Using the clean or new pot, combine with equal parts of soil, coarse sand and peat moss. Do not reuse any material used in the infected plant.
Pour about 5 cm of the mixture into the pot. Place the freshly cured succulent in the pot with the roots on the top of the soil. Fill the pot with the soil mixture until it reaches the base of the stems.
6. Firmly apply the soil around the plant.
Place your succulent in a bright and warm place. Succulents prefer dry climates, so they should not be placed in humid places.
7. Water the plant with enough water to moisten the soil until a week after replanting it. After the soil has dried completely, you can water more thoroughly.
I remember the first time I lost a succulent. One of my succulents got ill and it was dying slowly. I could not help with it, just because I did not know what was the problem, plus what was the solution.
Succulents usually suffer from over-watering. If you notice that the leaves of your succulent turn yellow, transparent and smushy, this is a sign of it. The thing to do is simple: wait and see what is going to happen after stopping the irrigation for a while. If it is not the case, the problem of your dying succulent also might be something different like under-watering, sunburn, pesticides, so on… In this article you will find how to detect the illness and what to do about it.
I felt terrible back then when I had nothing to do while my plant was dying. So I must share everything I have learned through years on how to save a dying succulent.
Dead Bottom Leaves of a Succulent
It is a big confusion, are the dead leaves at the bottom of a succulent normal or not… Let’s make it clear, a few of dried out bottom leaves are totally normal for the succulents. They are part of a life cycle of the plant. It happens often, according to the type of every plant.
Some old and mature leaves from the lower part of the stem dries in order to leave space for the newly growing leaves. What matters in this situation is if the young leaves coming out are firm and rigid. You should have new growth stems where the dried out ones used to be.
In that circumstance, your succulent does not need a special care or a treatment. Just pick up the dead leaves gently without disturbing the other living leaves. A tweezer is very useful if the top leaves are too wide and preventing you to reach the bottom stem.
The dead leaves started to increase their number and all the leaves are shriveling, or the leaves turned yellow and translucent. That is when you should be worried.
Signs of Overwatering
Overwatering is the most common mistake that is done with succulent care. An early signal of an overwatered succulent is the leaves that are falling out with a bump. After a while, the leaves take a yellow-beige kind of a color and feels unpleasant, mushy when touched.
You do not have to be a psyche for understanding when and how much water does your succulent require. I wrote a full guide about succulent watering. Please check it out if you feel insecure about watering.
Giving a soak of water first and letting the soil to dry for a long time afterward is a good way of proper irrigation. By this way between two waterings, you should wait until the soil is completely dry from top to bottom.
Also, a good drainage is the lifesaver. In many cases, overwatering is caused by a poorly draining soil or a pot without the drainage holes, despite the succulent is given water with the right frequency.
Healing the Overwatered Succulent
If you can set a good watering schedule for your succulents, you will not have to deal with a dying plant in a good chance.
Cut the Water
An overwatered succulent probably will come back to its healthy state, when you cut the water for a while and give some space before the next irrigation. That is obvious. If lucky, the plant will grow brand new leaves in the places of dead leaves.
Switch to a Better Soil
Changing the soil of your plant also could help the recovery process. Maybe the soil was not so favorable for the succulent and kept it moistured. Plant your succulent into a specially mixed succulent soil to avoid this.
Take a Cutting
But sometimes it seems like it is too late for saving the overwatered succulent. The root and the stem have a difficulty of recovering once they are rotten because of the excess water.
You can try to cut out the healthy tip of your succulent. Leave it to dry on a surface for a couple of days, maybe a week. And then place the cutting in a succulent soil.
It takes one or two months for a perfectly fine new succulent to grow out of a cutting. See the details of propagation via cutting from the previous article that I prepared for you.
Be Careful About Exceptions
Some types of succulents need a very rare watering, while some others like a little more often watering better. Just like this, some specific types are more sensitive to overwatering.
For example, Echeverias are very common succulents which are very tender about excess irrigation when compared to other species. It is really hard to tolerate too much water for them and two or three days is what it takes for killing an Echeveria.
Signs of Under-watering
The succulents do better when they are watered very rarely. It does not mean that they can survive without it. They need water to store inside their body for using a long time bit by bit.
Under-watering can cause a huge stress on the succulents, like it does for any plant.
Wrinkled leaves are the most visible sign of under-watering. If gone too far, leaves crease and dry out, ending up dropping off dead.
Another sign of too little watering is that the leaves can not create bright and vivid color. They seem matt instead. You can tell a lot about a plant by looking at its leaves.
Healing Under-Watered Succulents
It is so much easier for the succulents to recover under-watering than over-watering. They were created for surviving through the drought overall.
Your succulent will die of little watering only if you completely forget watering it and do not understand it is suffering a dryness.
Once you give a shriveled succulent a good amount of water, it will pull itself together in a very short time and continue to look amazing again!
I guess you already know that, but I have to tell again because I just can not help myself. If you are uncertain on whether your succulent needs a watering or not, wait a while more. They are resistant to dryness, sometimes a week or two.
Some Like to be Watered More Frequent
Senecio Haworthii is a well-known example of the succulents which require more watering than the others. This species is quite sensitive to be left without water. Try to give water to it just in time if you own one of them.
Senecio Haworthii (Wooly Senecio)
Are Your Succulents Cold?
Succulents love heat. They are used to live in hot climates originally. So they need the warmth of the sun and a stable room temperature.
If you have succulents that are having trouble of staying healthy, this might caused by an inproper warmth. They usually like around 15 or 20 degrees Celcius.
Don’t be concerned if you live in a place where the climate is harsh. You can keep your succulents alive throughout the winter with a little extra effort. Get the tips from my previous guide about winter care of succulents.
Full, Direct Sunlight
It is crucial that the succulents have adequate lightening. Many types of succulents need partial or direct sunlight everyday. Otherwise, they will wither quickly and possibly they can’t keep staying alive.
In addition, you should be introducing any change in lighting condition slowly and gradually to your succulent. For instance, if you take an outdoor succulent in a less lightened indoor space, it will hardly adapt to its new place.
Bacteria, Bugs and Fungal Infections
Bacterial wilt is a disease spread by insects, that cause rotting and collapsing of the plant. As known, there is no treatment for such alcohol at succulents, but you can take precautions by protecting your succulent with
Mealybugs are another widespread bug causing the succulent lose its health. They can be threatened easily with some rubbing alcohol applied by spraying on the plant and the soil.
Fungal infections usually appear as tiny white cotton balls on the surface of the soil and also under the leaves. They are called powdery mildew. Although the plant is able to live with it, sometimes the problem spreads too wide. Clean the fungus over the succulent and apply a fungicide as a preventive step.
As a summary of everything I have just mentioned, a dying succulent can be suffering from many various diseases. Let’s check respectively according to how common they are:
- Are you over-watering your succulent?
- Or are you under-watering it instead.
- Is it over or under heated?
- Is your succulent exposed to a sudden temperature change?
- Is it having enough sunlight?
- Are there any bugs, bacteria or fungi troubling the succulent?
Keep an eye on them!
Make sure that you try your best when it comes to watering of a succulent. Water stress is the most frequently seen reason for dying succulents. Although there are ways to heal the plant from a dryness or too much water, the best is not letting that happen anytime.
Always check if your succulents have any sign of an illness before it becomes too late to recover from.
If you have recently purchased a succulent, odds are you made the purchase thinking it would be easy to keep alive. Maybe it is starting to look a little sad or just isn’t growing as much as you had hoped. As a succulent amateur, I have definitely killed my fair share of plants and succulents. However, I have slowly learned what it takes to keep these tricky plants alive! Use these 6 tips to help you grow a beautiful succulent!
1. Water with care.
The easiest way to kill a succulent is from overwatering. Succulents are drought resistant plants and can thrive without regular watering. They only need water every other week to once a month. Make sure the soil has completely dried out before watering again. Some of my succulents have no had water in almost two months and are doing great!
Maybe you’re thinking, “What are the signs of over or under-watering?”
There are a few signs to look for if your plant isn’t receiving enough water. The soil will be completely dried out and the leaves on the succulent (especially near the bottom of the plant) will begin to wrinkle. This means the plant is low on water and rehydrating with the water stored in its leaves. Water modestly and the wrinkling should fix itself in about a day or so!
The leaves on the bottom succulent are beginning to wrinkle.
Unfortunately, over-watering is a lot harder to fix than under-watering. The telltale signs are pretty obvious: If the leaves near the bottom are turning yellow, feel mushy, and fall off the plant very easily, your succulent has had a bit too much water. Also, if the stem of your plant is turning black, it is too late to save unfortunately. If your succulent is just losing leaves, there are few options that COULD save it. Let the soil completely dry out and give it some more time after that before watering. If you have already done this and are still losing leaves, remove the succulent from the soil and any dirt clinging to the roots. Let the succulent sit out of dirt for a day or two before repotting in new soil. This will allow the roots to dry out from any moisture that was stuck in the soil. Once in new soil, do not water for a week or more. A good measure is to hold off watering until your succulent is no longer losing leaves or when the leaves begin to show signs of being under-watered.
2. Use the correct soil
As mentioned, succulents do not like too much water, so the soil they are in plays a big factor in keeping them happy. Succulents need a special soil than is well draining; this soil should have large particles (like perlite or crushed rock) to help absorb any excess water. Succulent and cactus specialty soil is easy to find at any gardening center. If your succulent isn’t look so great or the soil never seems to dry out, you may need to replace it!
3. Choose the right pot.
A succulent won’t reject the pot you put it in, but they do grow better in certain kinds. Terra-cotta pots help to absorb water and dry out the soil. However, they are not mandatory! Any pot will do as long as other conditions are good! It is VERY important to have a pot that has drainage holes. A pot without drainage will hold in excess water and likely rot your succulent.
Succulents love light! Placing them in a sunny windowsill will help them grow and will also help to dry the soil out between watering. Some succulents thrive in bright light all day, but others will get sunburnt. That’s right! Your succulent can burn if they are not acclimated to getting direct sun all day. Many of the more delicate succulent varieties will do just fine with a few hours of morning light, as it is much less intense than afternoon sun. To prevent sunburn, just slowly acclimate them to getting more light!
The top photo is a succulent that was getting all day sun. The bottom photo is the SAME succulent 1-month later after being moved into a north-facing window. It is still growing, but has lost some of its vibrancy due to the lack of direct sunlight.
5. Accept what happens
Arguably, succulents can be really tricky to take care of. Don’t let it get to you if they die. I have lost tons of succulents to silly mistakes. It happens. You will learn more with each one!
6. Don’t throw away fallen leaves
Did your succulent lose a leaf that looks healthy? Don’t throw it away! Succulents are masters at propagating and can sprout a whole new plant from fallen leaves. Give it a few days to allow the leaf to callous over where it was attached to the main plant. After that, lay it on top of a layer of dirt and spritz with water when the soil is dry. I usually water mine every 2-3 days. You will begin to see white or hot pink roots form and even a small leaf. In a few months, you’ll have a mini version of the original!
This blog post could probably drone on for multiple pages but to keep things sweet, I have condensed it down to the bare essentials of caring for succulents. Every plant is different and may react in its own unique way. Hopefully these tips will bring out the master succulent caretaker in you!
This is Why Your Succulents Keep Dying
“Succulents are easy! Succulents are hard to kill! The perfect starter houseplant? – a succulent!”
So many lies. They’re not that easy, are the most common houseplant to suffer from overwatering and I would never give a succulent to a new plant parent. I love succulents of all types, especially since most of them are non toxic to cats and dogs, but someone needs to speak the truth.
Up until fairly recently, I always had problems with succulents. I could never just get them right and never knew why. I usually experienced one of the following:
- Leggy stems – the plants grows but look leggy; the leaves become inches apart and the plant is obviously stretching. It then starts to shrivel and die a horrible death.
- Leaves that shrivel and fall off one by one. It then dies a horrible death.
- The plant gradually gets gross mushy stems and leaves and you don’t know why (see pic below). In a month it will die a slow horrible death.
- Yellowing leaves that still fall off one by one but the plant looks healthy. Don’t worry – it soon will die a horrible death.
Sad right? I thought so too, and wanted to end my cluelessness right there and then. I didn’t give into the notion that I have a black thumb and should give up. Yes, it is a bit discouraging if you can’t keep an EASY plant alive. But these aren’t easy and I didn’t give up and you shouldn’t either. Don’t give up. Don’t stop believing.
If your succulent has experienced one of the symptoms above, read on. It did take me some serious trial and error to have one live in my house comfortably, so all the work is done for you! Let’s learn the language of these lovely little plants together.s
What are Succulents?
Succulents are fleshy little plants that typically live in arid climates and dry soil. Their muscular biceps (leaves) actually store water because they like these conditions. “Succulent” is actually derived from the Latin word sucus, meaning juice, or sap. Makes sense, right?
Which Succulent is Best for Indoors?
Many succulents do best outdoors and it’s very difficult to keep them happy in your home. There are a few pet safe options that don’t mind living under your roof at all such as:
- Burro’s Tail
- All types of Echeveria
- String of Pearls
Don’t have pets in your home? Then Jade, Aloe and Kalanchoe are also excellent easy to find options.
The Best Conditions for Succulents
The best place for succulents is bright and warm sunlight with no drafts or possibility of getting cold. This is very important, and may already offer insight on why your succulent is dying in your cold, air-conditioned office. They just don’t like that type of thing. Succulents need bright light a lot of the day, not air-conditioned or cold rooms.
Depending on where you live, you can leave succulents outdoors year round. Heck, most Southwest United States do. But if you’re like me and live in New York, which has four distinct seasons and temperature changes, that’s not an option. I leave succulents out in the sun all summer and early fall but bring them in as soon as temperature drops to 60 degrees at night.
When to Water
There is no rule as to how much one should water a succulent. One must simply know the signs. Watering on a schedule leads to overwatering, instead learning when and why a succulent needs water is much more beneficial for you and Planty. Basically, you are looking for a dried out plant. Succulents do not like to be moist, but to be 90% dry between waterings. I typically suggest purchasing a Moisture Meter until you become familiar with your plant’s needs.
You can’t have succulents in any old garden soil. Moisture-hoarding potting mixes are a death sentence, making any bit of overwatering bad news. In the gardening section, you should notice a succulent mix, which is a mix of soil, sand, perlite, and small rocks. I actually add a cup or so more sand to the bag and give it a good shake. The extra sand always helps. Pot your succulent in this mix in a well draining pot (yes one with a hole) and you’re good to go.
Where To Put Them So they Don’t Die
I’ll say it again – don’t put succulents in a cold, sunless office or room. In summer when the sun is hot I place them outside to soak it up fully and I think I’ve actually seen them dance with joy. I usually let rainwater take care of the watering, but do check them every day as the sun can make them toasty.
In cooler months, I crowd my succulents together on an IKEA cart (see below) indoors near a South-facing window. I don’t know what, but they do better inside in crowds.
What About Leggy Plants?
Speaking of winter, succulents definitely stretch and become leggy when it’s a bit cooler. Its usually because of lower light and lower temperatures. You might have noticed stretching before – it’s when the leaves become smaller and futher aprt on the stem. It looks like the plant is growing, but really it needs more light. Leaves should be small and compact like the assortment o succulents below.
What do I do? I chop their heads off. That’s right. Succulents are amazing growers and pruning them helps them stay pretty. I then plant the leaves and top from the cut piece in soil and make baby succulents.
How to Propagate
My topics are leading into each other like a boss. After I’ve chopped my succulent’s head off, those leaves easily become new plants. How?
Follow these steps:
Chop the top part of a succulent off. Don’t worry it will grow back even stronger.
Don’t be scared, just cut it.
- And now…
That you’ve chopped, take off a bunch of those leaves on the stem and arrange them in a planter wit soil. Keep them resting right at the top. Give them a mist.
- Remember to…
Keep the “head” of the plant in tact and you can plant that right into a pot with soil. That will continue to grow and develop roots quicker than you think.
- And last,
Mist the succulent babies every week or few days (more if it’s very warm out). You’ll see tiny tiny leaves sprout soon! It takes about a month. These are from the same plant as above, fast forward a few weeks.
Still having issues with your succulents? Need more help? Leave a comment below!
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