Why Is My Succulent Stem Shriveling

Plants known as succulents have unique stems, roots, and leaves that can retain water for use during dry spells. They are much more drought tolerant as a result than the majority of houseplants. They also need very little care and attention to survive, making them low-maintenance.

They are less likely to have issues than some other plants, but it does not imply they are totally trouble-free.

When a succulent’s stem starts to shrink, this is one of the most frequent issues owners go through. This is a symptom of stress brought on by a modification in one or more environmental conditions affecting the plant.

The most frequent reasons for shriveling succulent stems are nutrient deficiency, overwatering, or underwatering.

You must accurately determine what is causing your succulent’s shriveling stem; the earlier you do so, the sooner you may take the required actions to save your plant.

How can a succulent with shriveled stalks be saved?

Overwatering and underwatering are the two most frequent causes of succulents’ shivering appearance.

Being mindful of how much water you are giving succulents is crucial because they are quite sensitive to watering levels.

Succulents can endure for extended periods of time without water because they store water in their leaves and roots.

The succulent plant won’t be able to store water if it is consistently damp, and it will eventually shrivel up.

A succulent may also appear withered if it is kept underwater. To survive, succulents require at least some water.

Their leaves will start to droop and finally shrivel if they do not get adequate water.

The succulent may begin to wilt if it is placed in an environment that is excessively hot or cold.

They’ll start to expand and finally shrivel if they don’t get enough light.

Overwatered Succulent

Succulents require extremely little water, therefore if you water it too frequently, the plant can perish.

Although succulents require water, they do not require constant moisture. You are probably overwatering your succulent if you water it every day.

Your succulent will begin to drown if it is consistently wet because the water cannot evaporate. The leaves will go brown and grow mold or root rot.

How to Save a Shriveled Succulent Due to Overwatering

It is crucial to cease watering your succulent for a few days if you suspect you are overwatering it.

As a result, the plant will have more time to dry out, which will help keep the roots from rotting.

The roots must be taken out if they have already begun to decay. You can also prune the plant’s dead stems and leaves.

You can re-water the succulent once it has dried up. One or two times per week is all that should be watered.

By examining the soil, you can determine whether the plant needs water. Before you water it again, the soil needs to be completely dry.

Make careful to water it thoroughly and let the water drain from the pot. In order to prevent the roots from rotting, make sure the pot has a drainage hole.

Always use soil that drains adequately so that water may escape and the roots won’t rot. To aid with drainage, you can also add some pebbles to the pot’s bottom.

Brown leaf tips

If there is too much water present at the roots, too many nutrients are in suspension and are frequently absorbed by the plant whether it need them or not. Leaf edges and tips may burn due to this overabundance. Particularly vulnerable to tip burn are dragon trees (Dracaena marginata).

Stem elongation

A plant that doesn’t receive enough light is more likely to become overwatered since it requires less water and grows more slowly. Its growth pattern will be lengthy and spindly, with more space between leaves that are smaller than usual and shaky, floppy stems. If it hadn’t been overwatered, this ZZ plant’s (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) stems would have dark green leaves spaced farther apart on strong, tall stalks.

Yellowed leaves

When a plant is overwatered, the older leaves are the first to become yellow. They could also be accompanied with oedema, which occurs when cells burst from having absorbed too much water, or blistering blisters. Damaged roots that are unable to absorb nutrients can also result in yellowed leaves, which causes a deficiency. This can be observed frequently on rubber plants (Ficus elasticus), whose thick lower leaves soon turn yellow and drop off when they are overwatered.

Root rot

A plant may get root rot if it is left standing in too much water. Verify this by removing the plant from its container and looking at the roots; they should be brown or mushy. The stems at the soil line of a plant with decaying roots may also be mushy and black, and the plant may lean. As a result of overwatering, umbrella plants (Schefflera spp. & hybrids) develop root rot, blackened stems, and feeble new growth that droops at the leaf nodes.

How can a succulent stem be revived?

Yes, I am aware that it seems illogical to remove extra water from the soil, but bear with me. This is the justification. Too much water has already put the succulent under stress, and exposure to sunlight makes matters worse. Direct sunlight is a big no because most succulents require brilliant indirect light.

Place the succulent that has been overwatered somewhere dry and bright, but out of direct sunshine.

2. Permit the roots to breathe.

Cut off any brown or black roots as they are already rotting. Dig the succulent out of the ground and remove any excess soil that has become stuck to the roots. Place the plant on a mesh or other strainer until the roots have had two to three days to air dry. Replant the roots in the pot once they have dried completely.

Remove the entire root system and any puckered, spotty, black, or brown stems if the roots are entirely rotted. The succulent stem can be buried in the ground for propagation.

Keep the overwatered succulent on a mesh screen or other strainer until the roots have had two to three days to air dry.

3. Modify the ground

You might not need to entirely alter your succulent if it is already rooted in homemade or commercial succulent soil. Algae (green living matter) typically grows on soil that is too wet. If so, it is your responsibility to remove all of the top soil from the area around your plants and replace it with new succulent soil.

Why is the stem on my succulent dying?

Overwatering and poorly draining soils are the main causes of succulent deaths. Succulents need the soil to dry out between waterings because they are drought-tolerant plants. Succulents get root rot in wet soil, which turns their leaves brown, black, or yellow and gives them a withering appearance.

While overwatering is the most frequent cause of dying succulents, there are several other potential causes as well:

Succulent plants typically die back when they are kept in environments that are drastically different from their native habitat.

Replicating some of the minimal rainfall, full or partial sun exposure, and stony, well-draining soil conditions will help revive dying succulents.

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.

How can a succulent plant appear to be under-watered?

The appearance of the leaves is the best indicator of whether your succulent is being overwatered or overwatered. While an overwatered plant will have mushy, nearly translucent leaves, an underwatered plant will have wrinkly, shriveled up foliage.

These are the plainly visible warning signals that your succulent is being overwatered or underwatered. However, the signs are frequently difficult to read. A succulent that has been submerged in water may act similarly to a plant that has been overwatered.

And here is the part where most folks are perplexed. Other indicators can help you determine whether you are indeed overwatering or underwatering your plants.

How is stem rot treated?

Wet conditions in the plant’s soil provide toxic fungi the chance to flourish, which results in the disease known as root rot. Because roots require air to function properly and prolonged immersion in water deprives them of oxygen, the roots decay. Since it’s more difficult to regulate moisture and water might become confined, houseplants in pots are more likely to develop root rot than their planted counterparts. While other causes can also contribute to root rot, overwatering is the main cause of root rot issues. So, we’ll focus on the precise method for treating root rot brought on by excessive moisture.

Root Rot Diagnosis:

You must first confirm that the roots of your plant are indeed rotting. Navigating the best remedy for your plant will be made easier by immediately removing any further potential problems. If you want to determine if your issue is genuinely indoor plant root rot, start by observing any obvious symptoms, such as:

Remember that it’s normal for older leaves to change color and fall, so pay greater attention to those younger ones. If you observe browning, yellowing, or dead leaves, it may be a sign that the roots are also dying. Wet soil and wilting foliage are two telltale signs of root rot.

Look at the saucer of the pot; if water is still there, too much water was supplied at some time, soaking the soil and roots of your plant. Standing water should never be present because it might create waterlogging of the soil and its roots.

Assess the roots at the bottom, which will have received the most water exposure, after slipping the plant out of the pot. Check the roots to see whether they are dark brown in color, squishy or spongy, or even covered in fuzzy moldy debris. These are all warning indications of rot. All of these are symptoms of weakened roots.

Root Rot Rx:

Firm roots and light colour are characteristics of healthy plants that are not rotting (usually either beige, green, or tan). The soil must be adequately moistened and the leaves must be in good condition. Once you’ve determined that your houseplant’s problem is actually root rot, it’s time to create a treatment strategy. Priorities first

1. Let the dirt dry out.

Allow the soil to air out if you’ve recently seen some standing water or a change in leaf color and are unsure whether it’s root rot yet. Allow the soil around the plant to dry out for 3-5 days. For plants that aren’t yet damaged, this technique occasionally works. Drying the soil is beneficial since plant roots require oxygen to function properly. However, if the roots of your plant are severely decomposing, go to the instructions below right away because it’s probably too late to dry the soil.

2. Get rid of all the browned leaves.

Attempting to remove any dead leaves is the first step in this process. As close to the plant’s root as you can, make sure to remove them from it.

3. Get rid of old soil.

The next step will be to repot. To do this, you must first dig the plant out of its present soil. As you take the plant out of the pot, carefully scoop out as much soil as you can. Brush off wet or clumpy soil being careful not to overly damage the root system.

4. Remove rotting and dead roots.

Trimming off rotten roots will be done carefully while the plant is still in its pot. Attempt to preserve as much as you can by removing dead roots and preserving good ones.

5. Replant in fresh soil.

Repot your plant next using sterile potting soil (one that is appropriate with your specific plant). Fresh soil will help ensure that any bacteria or fungi that may have developed have been largely eliminated. Additionally, it will provide nutrients that may have been lacking in the previous soil and aid in the plant’s recovery.

Remember that the plant is probably already susceptible and under stress from the root rot. And depending on how severe the damage is, repotting could make your plant much more stressed or even kill it. But given that the plant is already declining, it’s definitely worth a chance. Also, it’s actually your only opportunity. Allowing the root rot to continue in its current condition of decomposition will eventually kill the entire plant because root rot cannot be reversed and spreads swiftly.

Preventative Measures:

Always, prevention is the best course of action. So make an effort to develop a watering schedule that works for the particular indoor plant you have. Simple procedures like these can help prevent root rot in the future.

  • Use pots that have a drainage hole.
  • Use appropriate soil, and periodically check to make sure the water is draining properly.
  • The plant roots must have access to some air, as was previously said, in order to survive. The plant will be able to absorb oxygen and avoid probable root rot if the soil is allowed to somewhat dry out (only the top layer). The finger test—in which you wiggle your finger a few inches deep into the soil to gauge the moisture level—works well for determining whether to water many tropical houseplants. Its presence indicates that the soil’s bottom is noticeably moist. Therefore, you won’t water again until the top layer is mostly dried.
  • Again, don’t let extra water build up and remain in the bottom dish of the pot.
  • Depending on the season, you’ll also need to change how much water your plant receives. Plants typically require less water during the colder, drier months.
  • Keep an eye on your plant. Knowing when the plant needs less or more will help you stay in the moment.

Since root rot affects the part of the plant that cannot be seen, it is frequently not discovered until major harm has already been done. Your houseplant may be saved if you swiftly follow the survival instructions. However, if your plant simply won’t survive, we strongly advise taking some cuttings to reproduce it. In this manner, some of the plant survives and everything is not lost!