Why Do Succulent Leaves Shrivel

Although there are general guidelines that are useful to know as a beginner succulent owner, perfecting the art of watering succulents takes time. When watering your succulents, keep these points in mind and make adjustments based on what works or doesn’t.

1. Succulents are prone to decay. Never let a succulent sit in a puddle of water, regardless of the variety. Remove excess water from saucers, avoid letting water pool on plants, avoid letting soil become soggy around leaves, and avoid letting roots rot in planters with poor drainage.

For extended periods of time, pools of water were always resting on these leaves. They’ve been overwatered, or flattened and turned into mush.

2. They will certainly survive prolonged droughts but probably not thrive in them. Some succulents, anywhere from a few times per week to once every two weeks, want to be watered more frequently than others. Most of the time, you should only water a succulent when the soil is completely dry (and drain).

3. During the winter, most succulents go dormant. Most people grow and bloom throughout the spring and summer, which need extra water. Water can be fatal to succulents during the dormant season, which is typically winter. In months of dormancy, watering needs to be drastically reduced, and in some cases, completely stopped. Be sure you’re aware of your succulent’s dormant months by doing a little research and water accordingly.

4. They’ll communicate with you if they receive too much or too little water. Succulents’ leaves begin to resemble shriveled fingers that have spent too much time in the jacuzzi when they receive too much water. If leaves are overwatered, they frequently turn brown, decay totally, and then start to fall off.

Succulents frequently get dry, dark blotches on their leaves when they don’t get enough water. As the plants start to shrivel up, fleshier leaves will also appear and feel much more brittle and dry than typical. If the leaves seem wrinkled, try touching them. You can use it to determine whether they are being over or under watered. Underwatered leaves will be considerably stiffer and firmer than overwatered leaves, which will feel mushy.

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.

Why are the leaves on my succulents wrinkling?

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!

Why are the leaves on my succulents shriveling and dropping off?

A lack of water will naturally lead succulents to wilt and lose their leaves, despite the fact that the vast majority of them are drought-tolerant. Similarly, too much water can make succulent leaves expand excessively and drop off. Search for indications of root rot.

Can a dried-out succulent still be revived?

Save a succulent from the water Even though your plant’s leaves appear dry, flat, and wrinkled, you should still be able to save it because succulent plants are designed to survive for extended periods of time without water. As soon as you observe any dry, crinkly leaves, deeply water your succulent using a watering can.

What does a succulent look like when it is overwatered?

How can you tell if your succulent is getting too much water? You can usually determine if a succulent is being overwatered or underwatered by looking for telltale indications. A plant that has received too much water will have soft, mushy leaves.

The leaves would either turn translucent in color or appear lighter than they would on a healthy plant. A succulent that had received too much water would frequently lose leaves readily, even when only lightly handled. Usually, the lowest leaves are the ones to suffer first.

The plant will look to be unhealthy overall. When this occurs, the plant is either being overwatered, sitting in the incorrect soil that does not dry out quickly enough, or both.

Your plants are being overwatered if you have been giving them regular waterings or if you have been following a watering schedule regardless of how the plant appears.

On the other hand, a succulent that has been submerged will have withered, wrinkled, and deflated-looking leaves. The leaves will appear thin and flat. The entire plant will appear withered and dry.

The leaves of a good succulent plant should be thick and solid, not mushy or desiccated.

To learn more about this subject, visit my post titled “How To Tell If Your Succulent is Over or Under Watered,” in which I go into great length about how you may determine whether your succulent plant is being over or under watered.

This String of Pearls ‘Senecio Rowleyanus’ plant leaf is one that has been overwatered. If a succulent’s water storage capacity has been exceeded, it may physically burst from overwatering.

What do withered leaves indicate?

Although there is typically some other outwardly evident indication before there is complete wilting, nutrient shortages can disfigure leaves and flowers. The common symptoms of a nutritional deficiency are yellow, stunted leaves and thin, sickly-looking growth. On the other hand, over use of undiluted fertilizers or excessive feeding might result in leaf burn. Fertilizer burn is typically identified by brown, crispy edges or a generally withered appearance. Plants might lose their blooms and their buds. If you think you may have burned something, water extensively and for a long time to dilute salts from harmful fertilizers.

Gardenia Leaf Curl and Spider Mites

When gardenia leaves begin to pucker, spider mites are frequently at fault. Because the pests are so small, you might not see them, but the fine webbing they leave on the leaf is a warning indicator. Spider mite damage to a gardenia may also result in yellow or spotted leaves.

You may frequently get rid of the eggs and mites with a strong stream of water from a garden hose if you determine that spider mites are to blame for the curling of gardenia leaves. Use a commercial insecticidal soap spray if that doesn’t work. Until the bugs are eliminated, you might need to reapply the spray every few days.

Try a systemic insecticide that will be absorbed throughout the plant if everything else fails. As mites are drawn to dry, dusty environments, make sure to water your plants appropriately.

Curly Gardenia Leaves due to Soil Problems

Acidic soils with a pH between 5.0 and 6.5 are preferred by gardenias. Before planting gardenias, it’s a good idea to evaluate the soil and, if necessary, make adjustments if the pH is too high.

Gardenias should be amended by adding chelated iron, aluminum sulfate, or water-soluble sulfur to the soil 3 feet (1 m) away from the plant if you have already planted them without first checking the soil. You might also mist chelated iron on the leaves.

Use a slow-release fertilizer for acid-loving plants like azaleas or rhododendrons on the plant once it starts to appear healthier. Maintain frequent soil testing and make modifications as necessary.

Wrinkled Garden Leaves from Improper Watering

Curly gardenia leaves can be an issue as a result of improper watering, either too much or too little. Gardenias require steady, routine irrigation, but neither the soil nor the air should ever get excessively moist or dry.

Gardenias often require 1 inch (2.5 cm) or more of water per week, either irrigation or rainfall. A thick layer of mulch will help keep the soil equally moist by preventing evaporation.