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:
- Succulent leaves shrivel because they do not get enough water or because the soil around the roots is too 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.
How come my succulent seems to be shriveling?
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. By doing some study, make sure you are aware of when your succulent goes dormant, 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.
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.