Dead leaves on the higher portions of new growth are a symptom of a problem, usually over- or under-watering, but dead leaves near the bottom of your succulent are completely healthy. Succulents can experience issues with soil as well, as I discuss in this post.
Overwatering probably caused your plant’s leaves to turn yellow and translucent and feel soggy or mushy to the touch.
The emergence of leaves that only slightly bump is a warning sign of overwatering. It may be tough to save your succulent if you start to notice that it has a black stem or mushy patches on the stem or leaves since this indicates that the overwatering is getting serious.
Here is a Donkey’s Tail succulent. The center plant has entirely perished as a result of being excessively overwatered. The middle has mushy leaves and black stems that are visible.
Overwatering might harm some succulents more than others. One of the most sensitive plants is the echeveria. These lovely rosettes will quickly perish if given too much water, even after just two or three days.
In this video, you can see how I determine what’s wrong with my succulents.
What does a succulent’s black stem indicate?
The leaves of a rotting succulent will be dark from the bottom up. The stems would seem mushy and possibly black or brown. These are indications that overwatering has caused the plant to rot from the roots up. If the plant is left to rot on its own, it will eventually dissolve and turn into a mushy mess, leaving you with nothing but a rotting mess.
Overwatered Sedum burrito (burro’s tail or donkey’s tail) plant with rotting leaves
This succulent planter can’t be rescued, regrettably. Overwatering caused it to decay and turn to mush. (My mum absolutely adored this Mother’s Day gift that I gave her.)
How are black stems fixed?
- Stem rot is typically a sign of a fungal rot disease in its late stages. Your plant’s prospects of survival are really poor.
- Getting rid of all contaminated portions from your plant is your best option. Remove any damaged flowers, leaves, stems, or roots (if affected).
- After applying a fungicide, repot your indoor plant.
 Alternaria Stem Canker
The Alternaria fungus is the source of the deadly fungal illness known as Alternaria stem canker. The majority of these unattractive, weirdly shaped cankers develop on stems close to the ground. But they can also damage flowers, foliage, and even fruits.
Dark brown or black stem cankers are signs of alternaria stem canker. These erratic lesions may have circles surrounding them. They will get bigger and darker as they disperse.
Zones of black or brown color between the leaf veins may also be visible. These symptoms are brought on by the fungus’s secreted toxins. Typically, diseased leaves would wilt, go limp, and eventually fall off.
Control and Management
- The overhead watering and high humidity promote the spread of the stem canker. To lower humidity, improve ventilation.
- Pruning and removing all damaged plant elements
- Use any fungicide created for black fungus mold to treat your plant. I advise using a broad-spectrum medication that contains fludioxonil and cyprodinil.
- Avoid touching damp plants and overhead irrigation
 Bacterial Canker
On the stems of your plant, bacterial canker develops dark, sunken, watery, or sticky sores. Usually, they start to appear in the early spring. The surrounding area becomes damp and turns black or reddish-brown as a result of the noxious sap that these lesions usually discharge.
Stress can also be seen in the foliage above the afflicted stems. The leaves will start yellowing, curling, and developing dead spots. The leaves will drop off if the bacterial infection is severe enough.
Stem dieback frequently results from growth stops. Eventually, your plant will pass away.
Pseudomonas syringae is the pathogen in charge of stem canker. Cuts, injuries, and other wounds allow the opportunistic bacterium to enter. Canker caused by bacteria is very aggressive when it’s humid and cold.
- Eliminate stems and leaves that are withered, dead, or harmed.
- Establish a routine of pruning during the blooming season. Avoid pruning in the spring and fall.
- Apply grafting wax right away to pruning cuts (Check the latest price on Amazon here).
- Check the pH of the soil. If the growing media is too acidic, adjust with lime.
- I know from experience that copper sprays are effective against bacterial cankers. Even better if it contains phosphorous acid.
Large tan or grayish areas of botrytis, a gray mold, can be seen on stems. Botrytis spores are fuzzy or dusty gray in color and they develop on damp stems and plants. They sprout and flourish in an environment that is humid and chilly.
Breaks in the leaves and stems allow spores to enter the tissue. These grayish dots on the stems will eventually converge to produce black blotches. Older and lower stems are most frequently affected.
Additionally damaging to flowers and foliage, botrytis can be. It will stop photosynthesis by causing grayish mold to grow on the leaves.
It spreads quickly and brings down impacted places. Affected leaves and stems will wilt, droop, and wither.
- Immediately remove diseased plants from other plants.
- Moldy components should be cut off and properly discarded. To stop the spread of fungus spores, remember to clean your tools, hands, and equipment.
When their roots decay, can succulents recover?
A succulent with a rotting root can be saved, but only if you can fix the problem right away. You can either let it dry naturally, cut the infected areas, or spread the healthy areas, depending on the severity of the rot. Otherwise, try not to overwater succulents because they can get by on very little water!
How does a succulent look as it ages?
The leaves on your succulent may appear yellow, translucent, or wet. Your succulent is starting to die as a result of overwatering. A more serious condition is indicated by leaves that are brown or black and appear to be rotting. Therefore, you must begin saving your withering succulents!
How does succulent rot appear?
How to Spot Rot in a Succulent Plant Around the stem area, dark brown to black patches emerge. The afflicted areas swell and take on a black coloring. The plant seems ill with droopy leaves if the rotting has spread from the roots up.
How does root rot appear?
Root rot is often hard to detect until a lot of damage has been done. Slow growth, squishy stems, and wilting, yellow, deformed leaves are indications of root rot (especially when the plant has been well watered, as wilting leaves can also be a sign of a dry plant). Typically, the soil will smell foul and the roots will be reddish brown in color.
The best course of action is to remove and replace the plant if root rot symptoms have been found. The plant frequently can’t change its direction.
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Black stem rot: what is it?
Thielaviopsis root rot is another name for black root rot. Plants grow slowly and with stunted growth. Small dark brown to black bands may at first be visible on infected roots where the infection has occurred. Roots may experience severe decay as the disease worsens. Below-ground stems may expand and have coarse, longitudinal fissures that are black in color. Infected tissues produce distinctive dark brown to black, thick-walled, barrel-shaped chlamydospores, which may be visible under a microscope.
Why does stem rot occur?
Phytophthora sojae is a soil-borne fungus that causes Phytophthora root and stem rot. This pathogen causes stem rot in plants at different growth stages, pre- and post-emergence damping off of seedlings, and seed rots. High soil moisture levels and soil temperatures above 60oF encourage the development of diseases. Rapid yellowing and wilting, which is generally accompanied by a soft rot and collapse of the rot, are symptoms in immature plants.
When the stem is examined more closely, it is darkly discolored and extends up the plant from the soil/root line. Early reproductive phases and beyond will result in widespread withering of the plant as well as general yellowing of the lower leaves that go upward on the plant. Usually, the plant dies as the condition becomes worse. A closer look at the root system will reveal brown discoloration on the tap root as well as the lateral and branch roots. A tan to brown discoloration will be visible along the stem’s outermost portion when the base, crown, and stem split (Figure 82). Usually, the outside of the stem exhibits the same brown discoloration that is seen when the plant is split. The disease cycle for Phytophthora root and stem rot is depicted in Figure 83.
choosing plant types with a gene for disease resistance and high disease tolerance. There are a range of resistance genes available keeping good records to determine if that gene is working effectively in your field. Change the resistance gene being utilized if phytophthora seems to be prevalent in the field.
Brown spot is a foliar fungus disease brought on by Septoria glycines, also known as Septoria leaf spot. This fungus thrives in conditions of high moisture and moderate temperature, overwintering infected soybean straw from year to year (60o-85oF).
In the lower canopy of the crop, symptoms initially emerge. On the upper and lower leaf surfaces, angular, reddish to brown spots (Figure 84) range in size from minute specks to 1/4 inch in diameter. As the illness worsens, leaves turn yellow (Figure 85) and drop off the plant too soon. The plant starts to lose its leaves from the bottom up. On pods, stems, and petioles, irregular brown lesions with ill-defined margins can form in connection with severe infections.
How can I guard against black stems on my succulent plants?
Making sure your soil is entirely dry before rewatering is the greatest approach to prevent overwatering. As I’ve mentioned in several of my prior posts, most succulents can survive three days—and perhaps even a week—without water, so if in doubt, wait.
Start by reducing your watering schedule as soon as you see signs of overwatering on one of your plants. Additionally, you might want to use a pot with a drainage hole and convert to a better soil mix.
You’ll need to perform some minor surgery on your succulent if it has a black stem or patches. It’s lot simpler than it seems to do this! Simply remove the top of the plant, remove any dark spots, and then propagate it in fresh soil after giving the cutting three to five days to dry out.
You can see how I removed every portion of the stem that was moist or discolored on the cuts below.
It’s worth waiting to see even though it’s unlikely that the original plant will survive! Leave the bottom area alone and wait till the soil is completely dry before watering it (all the way to the bottom of the pot). If you’re lucky, the plant may recover from the excessive watering after a few days of drying out and may even start to delay new growth.
You don’t want to risk harming the other succulents if the decaying succulent was part of a succulent arrangement. I advise pulling the rotting succulent out of the ground in this situation.
Why is the stem on my succulent 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.