Why Are My Succulents Shriveling

Water is stored in the stems, tissues, and leaves of succulents. These plants are able to resist prolonged droughts or extremely dry, arid circumstances because they have evolved to be highly adaptable to very dry growing conditions. But this does not negate their need for water.

Succulents actually enjoy a good sip of water. When they run out of water, they will exhibit symptoms that indicate they need more.

Here’s what to look for to know that your succulent is underwatered:

  • wilted leaves As the amount of water in a plant’s reservoir continues to diminish, the plant’s leaves will begin to wrinkle and shrivel. The more severe the water shortage, the more wilted and droopy the plant will appear.
  • brown, lifeless, and dried-up leaves
  • From the plant’s base, you will see a lot of dead, dried-up leaves. The lower leaves begin to dry out first as the plant begins to lose its ability to store water. In an effort to preserve water and energy for survival, certain plants will also begin to discard their dried leaves.
  • The leaves are supple and flat.
  • The leaves are soft and flat to the touch. The hardness and plumpness of the leaves will deteriorate. A succulent that has been submerged will feel as though its leaves have deflated.

How do you prevent your succulent from shriveling?

Follow these measures if the leaves of your succulent are shriveling, becoming brown, or even taking on a translucent look.

  • Restrict the irrigation. The most crucial element is to cut back on watering so that the soil can dry out. Determine when the soil in your succulent plants dries out. To do this, check to see if you can feel any moisture in the soil through the drainage hole. Wait a few days until the soil is completely dry before watering if it is still slightly moist. This might assist you in creating a trustworthy watering schedule to prevent overwatering.
  • Change the dirt. In order to prevent overwatering and shriveled leaves, replace any soil that is sluggish to drain with a particular succulent and cactus soil. This soil helps water to drain away from the roots more effectively.
  • The succulent should be repotted with drainage holes in the base to ensure appropriate drainage. Some succulents are sold in attractive pots without drainage holes, which prevents water from evaporating and results in an overabundance of moisture near the roots.
  • If you can, move your succulent to a room with less humidity. When succulents are kept in bathrooms, they frequently experience water stress. Attempt to place your succulent in a space without artificial humidity. An open window’s breeze may be helpful.

Following each of these guidelines will allow the succulent to have a watering cycle that meets their needs and let the leaves to recover from their shriveled state to a firm, green one.

However, if your succulent’s leaves do not improve after two weeks and begin to change color, you should remove any parts that are becoming black and attempt to replicate the succulent from cuttings and any healthy parts of the plant that are still there.

Succulents naturally reproduce vegetatively through the development of roots in their leaves, making their propagation quite simple. Cutting-based propagation also has a very high percentage of success. To learn how to effortlessly save your succulents, watch this YouTube video:

Key Takeaways:

  • Succulent leaves shrink because they do not get enough water or because the soil surrounding the roots is overly wet. The first indication that a succulent needs more water is shriveling leaves. Succulent leaves that have received too much water wilt, turn yellow, and become mushy.
  • To prevent withered leaves from underwatering, succulents should receive a good soak-watering once every one to two weeks. Succulents need a soil that drains properly.
  • To prevent succulents from shriveling from overwatering, let them dry out between watering sessions and place them in a pot with drainage holes at the base.
  • Succulents that have become shriveled and under-watered can be easily rejuvenated by increasing watering frequency, watering more liberally, and switching the potting mix. Succulents that have been overwatered need to dry off before being watered once again.

Can shriveled succulents be revived?

  • Restrict the irrigation. The leaves of your succulent are turning yellow, brown, or black as a symptom of stress as a result of overwatering if you are watering it more frequently than once a week. Only water succulents when the soil surrounding their roots has totally dried out. This usually takes around 14 days, although it may take longer or shorter depending on the environment, the size of the pot, and how well the soil drains.
  • Put fresh potting soil in. Your succulent can still become yellow, brown, or black if the potting soil holds moisture for a long time like a sponge instead of draining fast and not holding much moisture as it would in the succulent’s native environment, even if you are waiting for the soil to dry up before watering again. If your succulent was originally planted in regular potting soil, remove it from the container and replace it with special succulent and cactus soil (available at garden centers and on Amazon), which closely resembles the coarse, porous, well-draining soil conditions found in the succulent’s natural habitat and greatly reduces the risk of root rot.
  • Succulents should always be grown in pots with drainage holes at the bottom. As long as the pot has a hole at the bottom that allows excess water to drain out, succulents can be grown in a wide range of containers without risking root rot. As succulents prefer dryer soil conditions, terracotta or clay pots are the best choice because they have a more porous structure that allows the potting soil to dry out. Plant succulents in pots that are appropriate to their size because larger pots can store more soil and moisture, which delays the rate at which the earth dries up and raises the possibility that the succulent will turn yellow, brown, or black.

Feel the dirt at the bottom of the container via the drainage hole to determine whether the potting soil surrounding the roots of your succulent has dried out. Delay watering your succulent for a few days if the soil feels wet. This is the ideal time to water your succulent if the soil seems dry.

The natural conditions of intermittent rainfall followed by drought, to which succulents are well adapted, can be successfully imitated by watering your succulent after the soil has become dry.

If you are using saucers or trays underneath your pot, make sure they are frequently emptied to allow water to leave freely so that the soil may dry out in between watering sessions. Also, make sure that there are no roots or compacted soil covering the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

The succulent can begin to recover even if the leaves appear yellow or brown as long as you let the soil dry out once you have addressed the reasons why it is turning soft, mushy, and turning yellow or brown (adjusted how frequently you water and replaced the soil) and put in place the ideal watering practices.

How soon your succulent recovers will depend on how long it has been under stress, but over the coming weeks, it should start to show signs of recovery.

After the soil has dried out, if the succulent shows signs of recovery, such as a decrease in yellow/brown coloring and firmer-textured leaves, you should resume watering. Doing so will help you avoid going from one extreme of overwatering to underwatering your succulent, which can cause the plant to wilt and die back.

Depending on the kind, some of your succulent’s more damaged leaves may become limp or even fall off (this is common for jade succulents).

Cut the individual yellow or brown leaves back to the base of the succulent with a sterile pair of pruners if the discoloration is spreading and the leaves do not appear to be recovering. This will lessen the overall stress on the succulent and stop any rot from spreading, which aids in promoting recovery.

Root rot is the reason of your dying succulent if the yellow, brown, or black coloring of its leaves or stems worsens over time despite proper watering and replacement of the soil with a well-draining, grit-filled potting mix.

Although it may be impossible to salvage the entire succulent if it has root rot, you can still propagate the plant by taking cuttings from healthy tissue.

Since this is one of the mechanisms of reproduction in the native environment of succulents, all succulent plants can be easily propagated from a single leaf or from a healthy part of stem.

Watch this instructive YouTube video to learn how to quickly grow additional succulent plants with no additional cost using cuttings and leaves:

Succulents Turning Brown Due to Sun Burn

Overwatering is the most frequent cause of browning in succulents, but depending on how badly the sunburned the plant, it can also cause the leaves to turn pale brown or even yellow.

Varied succulents require different amounts of light, with some aloe succulents flourishing in direct sunlight while others prefer brilliant indirect light and are sensitive to direct sunlight (such as snake plants).

Succulents require some time to adapt to varied light intensities, so if they are relocated from a relatively shady place into an area of full sun, they could all get sunburned.

As a result, it’s critical to determine the light needs for your specific succulent type. If you do decide to move your succulent to a brighter location, do it gradually over the course of two weeks, exposing it to more sun each day.

Your succulent will have time to appropriately acclimatize to the area of higher light intensity without burning if it is gradually exposed to more sunshine.

If your succulent has become scorched brown from sunburn, temporarily transfer it to an area with bright indirect light.

Unfortunately, severely sunburned sections of succulents seldom recover in appearance. However, this does not always indicate the succulent is dead because, as long as it has been relocated out of the sun, the plant’s condition is unlikely to deteriorate.

Although sunburned leaves on succulents can survive, it is best practice to remove them for aesthetic reasons.

With a clean pair of pruners, trim any burned sections of leaves below the brown or yellowish patches, ideally all the way to the plant’s root. In order to fill their place, new leaves sprout as a result.

However, if your succulent has suffered severe sunburn, the best way to revive it is to look for leaves and cuttings on the side of the plant that receives more shade so you can propagate them and grow more plants from them in areas with better light conditions, which will satisfy the needs of that particular succulent.

Why do my succulent plants have wrinkles?

Most likely, if you recently bought a succulent, you did so with the idea that it would be simple to maintain. It can be beginning to look a little dejected or simply be developing more slowly than you had intended. I’ve undoubtedly killed my fair number of plants and succulents in my inexperience as a succulent grower. But I’ve progressively come to understand what it takes to maintain these challenging plants. Make use of these 6 suggestions to grow lovely succulents!

Water carefully, first.

Overwatering is the simplest way to kill a succulent. Due of their drought tolerance, succulents can survive without routine irrigation. Only every other week or once a month do they require water. Before watering the soil once more, make sure it is fully dry. Some of my succulents haven’t had water in nearly two months, yet they’re still flourishing!


There are a few warning indications that your plant needs more water. The succulent’s leaves will start to wrinkle and the soil will have entirely dried out, especially around the bottom of the plant. This indicates that the plant is dehydrated and is replenishing itself with the water in its leaves. If you water sparingly, the wrinkling should go away in about a day.


Sadly, overwatering is much more difficult to correct than underwatering. The apparent warning signals are that your succulent has received a little too much water: if the lower leaves are yellowing, mushy, or easily falling off the plant. Additionally, it is too late to salvage your plant if the stem is becoming black. Few alternatives COULD rescue your succulent if it is only dropping leaves. Allow the soil to totally dry before giving it further time before watering. Remove the succulent from the soil and any dirt adhering to the roots if you have already done this and the plant is still shedding leaves. Before repotting the succulent in fresh soil, let it sit in the sun for a day or two. This will let any moisture that was trapped in the soil to evaporate and dry out the roots. Don’t water for a week or more after planting in new soil. Delaying watering until your succulent stops dropping leaves or the leaves start to show signs of being under-watered is a wise precaution.

2. Employ the proper soil

Since succulents like little to no water, their soil plays a significant role in how happy they are. In order to assist them absorb any extra water, succulents require a certain type of well-draining soil that contains big particles (such as perlite or crushed rock). It’s simple to locate specialist soil for cacti and succulents at any gardening store. You might need to replace your succulent if it doesn’t look as well as it used to or if the soil never seems to dry out.

3. Pick the appropriate pot.

Although a succulent won’t reject the pot you put it in, some types do make them grow better. Terra-cotta pots aid in soil drying out and water absorption. They are not necessary, though! Any pot will suffice as long as everything else is in order! It is ESSENTIAL to use a pot with drainage holes. Without drainage, a pot will retain too much water, which will likely cause your succulent to rot.

4. The Sun

Succulents adore the light! They will grow more quickly if you place them on a sunny windowsill, which will also assist the soil to dry out in between waterings. While some succulents can tolerate bright sunshine all day, others will burn if exposed to it. That is correct! If your succulent is not used to receiving direct sun all day, they could burn. Given that early light is far less powerful than afternoon sun, many of the more delicate succulent species can survive just a few hours of morning light. Just gradually adapt them to more light to prevent sunburn!

An all-day sun-exposure succulent may be seen in the top image. The SAME succulent is shown in the bottom shot one month after being placed in a window with a north orientation. Although it is still expanding, the lack of direct sunshine has caused it to lose some of its brilliance.

5. Accept the outcome

Succulent maintenance can be debatably very difficult. If they pass away, don’t let it bother you. Due to careless mistakes, I have lost a ton of succulents. It occurs. Each one will increase your knowledge!

6. Avoid discarding discarded leaves.

Did one of your succulent’s seemingly healthy leaves fall off? Don’t discard it! Succulents are experts at self-propagation and can grow a brand-new plant from a single piece of dead foliage. Allow the leaf to callus over the area where it was linked to the main plant for a few days. When the soil is dry, place it on top of a layer of dirt and spritz it with water. I typically water mine every two or three days. White or hot pink roots and possibly a little leaf will start to emerge. You’ll have a scaled-down version of the original in a few months!

This blog post could easily go on for several pages, but I’ve kept it short and sweet by focusing on only the essentials of caring for succulents. Each plant is unique and could respond in a different way. I’m hoping these pointers will help you become a skilled succulent carer!