Why Succulents Change Color

Stress often causes succulent plants to change their color. If you want that hue to pop, stress is entirely normal and encouraged. Water, sunlight, and temperature are the three factors that drive succulents to change their color.

Why are my cacti changing color?

Harsh environmental factors, including as exposure to the sun, extreme temperatures, underwatering, low nourishment, and bad soil, lead succulents to turn red. Basically, stress causes succulents to change their color. The color shift is an adaptive reaction to the environment’s changes.

For instance, if your succulent plant was kept indoors for months and you suddenly moved it outside, it will attempt to adjust to its new environment. One indication that your succulent has started to make significant modifications is a change in color.

Additionally, you’ll see that many different succulent species change color as the seasons do, particularly in the summer and winter. Once more, this is a result of your plants adjusting to their surroundings.

However, a succulent’s color may not simply be shifting as it adjusts to its new surroundings.

Succulents can occasionally change color as a result of owner neglect. Your plants will communicate with you when they are in need of your attention, sometimes subtly and other times through outwardly obvious signs that grab your attention right away. This happens when you fail to provide your plants with adequate nutrition, water, or if you keep them in infertile soil.

What causes succulents to fade in color?

Succulents come in a broad range of sizes, forms, and odd characteristics, which is why both experienced and beginning gardeners alike keep buying more of them. Additionally, they provide a variety of hues, from white to just about anything. &nbsp

But, especially with recently purchased ones, have you ever puzzled why some gradually lose their vibrant color or turn plain green after a few weeks?


The effects of excessive or insufficient sunshine exposure go beyond sunburn or an etiolated succulent. Additionally, this may cause your priceless plants to gradually lose their color and becoming a pale green over time.

So, if you see that yours are beginning to lose color, all you have to do to prevent damage is gradually adjust the amount of light they receive while keeping an eye out for both too much and too little light signals.

Place your succulents in a bright, shaded area for at least a week before moving them to a location where they may receive 4 hours or more of morning sunlight for an additional 4 to 7 days. Now, move your succulents gradually to an area with more or less sunshine depending on how they responded. To learn more about different light levels, click the sphere.


An important factor in why a succulent starts to lose its color is watering. Ironically, a succulent that receives the ideal amount of water will frequently lose its color and finally turn plain green. Therefore, you should give your succulent a little stress by reducing your watering schedule as soon as you detect it beginning to lose its colorful tips or foliage.

For instance, if watering your succulents once a week causes them to gradually lose their brilliant appearance, think about altering it to at least once every two weeks.

However, keep in mind that prolonged droughts might potentially cause them to perish. Thus, keep an eye on your succulents to prevent having a dead plant.


A potting mix’s quality can deteriorate over time, and certainly, this can result in color loss. Remember that soil keeps succulents from getting too wet by absorbing moisture. Meaning, even if you water your succulents less often than you usually do, they will still start to lose their bright colors if the soil you are using does not drain fast enough or has become poor in quality.

You can address this by repotting your succulents, either with a cactus and succulent soil mix or your own custom combination.


Your succulents may start to become pale if you don’t use the proper pot size for them. Additionally, putting your plant in a pot or container that is either too big or too small for it will probably encourage root rot (if the pot is too big) or impede its growth (if the pot is too tiny).

The pot should ideally just be about half an inch larger (between the plant and the edge of the pot or container). Read our post titled “Choosing the Right Pot Size for Your Succulents” for more details on selecting the appropriate container for your succulents.


You’ll notice that when the weather begins to warm up from Spring through Summer, the colors of succulents become dimmer and less vibrant. To keep them content and healthy, the ideal temperature range is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you must somewhat stress them by keeping the temperature between 70 and 40 degrees for a protracted amount of time if you want to prevent them from losing the intensity of their color.

keeping the temperature between 70 and 40 degrees to put some stress on them and preserve the vibrancy of the succulents’ colors.


When it comes to taking care of succulents, stress is a good thing. In reality, succulents’ most stunning hues occasionally emerge only during times of stress, therefore it is frustrating to observe them gradually losing their hues. However, I hope you find this post useful.

Why is my succulent becoming a pale green color?

Too much sunlight has a bleaching effect on succulents, which frequently results in a loss of color. If a succulent was once brilliant pink, purple, or yellow, it can change to a lighter shade of green, or it might become white or pale green.

Fast Fix If your plant was in the afternoon sun, move it to a location that receives more reflected light or less direct morning sun. Also, if it was in a sunny corner, move it there.

How do stressed-out succulents alter their color?

Placing your succulents in the dark is one of the simplest ways to stress them out. For four or five days, cover your succulents in darkness to replicate the conditions they would encounter when being transported in a dark box (one of the reasons why store-bought succulents are so colorful at first).

For the colors to truly stand out, you can continue doing this for up to fourteen days. Low-light indoor succulents including jade plants, air plants, gasteria, and haworthia work well for this.

Stressing Succulents With Grow Lights

On the other hand, by giving your succulents more sunlight, you might be able to encourage them to exhibit vibrant hues. Consider beginning the plants outside, where they can receive up to a week’s worth of bright shade (note – only do this if you live in a warm enough climate to grow succulents outdoors, or you may kill them with too much cold),

Give the plants another week or so to adjust before moving them to an area with partial sunlight. Bring the plants inside, where you should place them in a full-sun area or beneath grow lights.

When exposed to more sunshine, certain sun-loving succulents, such as cacti and sedum, will reveal more lovely colours of red, pink, and purple because their pigments will grow more bright.

Pay close attention to your succulents if you plan to light stress them. You’ll be able to recognize sunburn symptoms early. Succulents can typically bounce back from the majority of light-related issues in just a week or two if you gradually introduce them to the proper circumstances.

How to Cold Stress Succulents

Start with a robust collection of plants. You should pick succulent kinds like aloes, kalanchoes, euphorbias, sedums, sempervivums, aeoniums, and echeveria because not all succulents will change color when stressed. Normally, agave doesn’t change color under stress.

Cold stress has the same positive effects on succulents’ color as light stress does. While keeping temperatures above freezing, you could leave the plant outside in the cold. Similar to mild stress, this shock may cause pigments to flush.

But this procedure is a little more delicate. To ensure that your succulent plants aren’t stressed to the point of death by spending an excessive amount of time below their cold hardiness thresholds, you’ll want to keep a close check on them.

How to Stress Your Succulents With Moisture

You may stress your succulent plants with water just like you can with light and cold stress. Succulents are known for their capacity to tolerate extended droughts, therefore doing this can be challenging.

However, you can frequently stress your plant out enough to flush pigments by cutting out water (the precise amount you should cut out will vary depending on what kind of succulent you’re growing and how much water you are giving it now; consult your planting instructions for more information on this).

Are succulents sun-loving creatures?

Succulents enjoy direct sunlight, but if yours is always in the same position, only one side is probably receiving enough of it. Langton and Ray advise often rotating the plant. Rotating succulents will help them stand up straight because they like to slant toward the sun. (Leaning might also indicate that they need to move to a more sunny area.)

How can I maintain the color of my succulents?

Some succulents may undergo changes or lose the vivid hues they had when they were first purchased. Some plants may gradually turn green in a few months, especially if they are planted in the shade or in locations with poor natural lighting. For succulents to “stress” and show off their vibrant hues, they require intense sunlight all day long or at least six hours every day. To ensure that your succulent plants receive adequate sunlight, thrive indoors, and keep their brilliant red/pink hue, you must have windows that face south. Make sure there are no obstructions to natural sunlight for your succulents, such as trees or structures. &nbsp

How can I add color to my succulents?

Color can be influenced by temperature, water, and other elements, but sunlight exposure is one of the most important ones. A succulent grown outside of its preferred light conditions for an extended length of time can appear sickly and finally die, yet moderate light stress can bring out lovely hues in plants. Early detection is key to resolving most light issues, yet early indications of both too much and too little light can be difficult to spot.

We conducted an experiment and placed a variety of succulents in two extreme light conditions: full daylight and complete darkness, to help you identify them. We do

Trying this with your own succulents is not advised. The findings reveal some plants that have been gravely mistreated, but they can also show you which succulents are in the wrong lighting conditions.

What does light stress look like?

In order to replicate shipment in a dark box, we initially placed two sets of various succulents under a dark cover for four days. One pair was still under the cover with water and ventilation but no light after four days of darkness. The other set was relocated to a spot with all-day sun after being taken out of its package. Although light conditions were more akin to 70 percent sun than genuine “full sun” due to the dense smoke from California’s major wildfires, you can still see dramatic reactions in the spectrum of results below.

You can see how drastically the plants kept in the dark altered over the course of two weeks on the left side of the diagram. Each plant’s core began to fade and turn green, and the leaves on each plant’s rosettes expanded wide and flat in search of sunshine.

The plants that were moved from a dark box into direct sunlight are seen to the right. The hues became more vibrant and changed from green to crimson tones. Rosettes that had before opened widely started to constrict once more to defend themselves. As time passed, some areas displayed the usual scaly, crispy sunburns of

Even if some of these succulents appear to be injured, everything is not lost! Moving your succulents can solve light-related issues quickly.

How can I make my succulents more colorful?

Time is the secret to a good adjustment in lighting conditions. The succulents in the experiment above were severely harmed by switching abruptly between two extremes of light. Regardless of whether they exhibit indicators of insufficient or excessive light,

Give succulents 1-2 weeks to gradually adjust to the correct quantity of light, and they can restore their vibrant hues. A succulent needs more time to convert the more abrupt the change in light levels is. Check out how we revivified some drab succulents.

The aforementioned illustration displays the whole color transition for two types that underwent the four-day shipping experiment. It’s also an excellent example of how to take care of newly delivered succulents that you own. The plants in our experiment recovered in a total of eight days, but recovery times will vary by region and season. It will be simple to adjust as necessary as long as you’re making small changes and keeping an eye out for indicators of both too much and too little light. The general steps are as follows:

  • Plants should be started outside where they will have bright shade all day for 4–7 days.
  • Adaptation should take an extra 4–7 days after moving to a region with partial sun (approximately 4 hours of sun in the morning and bright shadow the rest of the day).
  • Examine the change in color and gradually move the plants to a spot that receives more or less sun as necessary.

Bonus advice: Are you not seeing as much color in your succulent as you anticipated from additional sunlight? Try using less water or placing the plant outside during the winter (keep soft succulents above freezing). Water and temperature stress can also cause a flush of pigments, just like light stress. Always keep an eye on your succulent to ensure that a prolonged period of drought or being below its minimum cold hardiness doesn’t push it to the point of death due to stress.

How much light do succulents need?

Despite the fact that our tests in complete darkness and full daylight were fairly harsh, the results do indicate that some kinds can withstand low light or bright sun remarkably well. For more than 650 varieties of succulents, there are detailed recommended lighting requirements specified at

Full-Sun Succulents

The succulents that tolerate full light the best are sedum. Sun-loving succulents typically have pink, crimson, or purple coloring, and as can be seen in the variety shown below, their pigments get more vivid when they are exposed to more sunlight.