According to my observations, there are three causes for the long, stretched-out, or lanky stem growth of succulent plants.
They’re reaching for the light source.
I had to completely prune back my succulents for a number of reasons, including #1 and the pack rats eating them as appetizers. This pot is situated in a corner directly next to my front entrance. I rotate it every two to three months, but it won’t fit in the area if the planting becomes too leggy and the stems grow too long. The light isn’t excessively low; rather, it’s only that it isn’t uniformly illuminating the plants.
The light they’re growing in is too low.
A tiny portion of my Santa Barbara front garden. Every year or two, I had to trim back the graptoveria, narrow leaf chalk sticks, and lavender scallops because they were encroaching on the sidewalk. Yes, a rosemary plant in blossom is the huge shrub in the background.
After two or three years of growth, the paddle plant patch under my Giant Bird of Paradise in Santa Barbara needed to be trimmed down. Along with many other fleshy succulents, kalanchoes frequently have lengthy stems.
The leaves on a succulent stalk won’t regrow once they become naked. It must be pruned back so that it can either be rejuvenated from the base or propagated by stem cuttings (the piece of stem & roots still in the soil).
Here’s what you do with those towering, stretched-out succulent stems, whether your succulents are growing in the ground or in a pot.
When Should You Cut Back Your Succulents?
Summer and spring are ideal. Early fall is also OK if you live in a temperate region like I do. Before the cooler weather arrives, you should give your succulents a couple of months to establish themselves and take root.
Your Succulent Isn’t Getting Enough Light
All plants require light, but succulents particularly crave it. Your pal may be leggy if you don’t provide a sunny area where they can soak up the light.
Insufficient sunshine causes succulents to develop lengthy stems. They begin to turn and spread out in search of light during a process known as etiolation, which gives them a “leggy appearance with a long stem and smaller, spaced-out leaves.
It can be challenging to determine how much light your plant needs right immediately because every plant is unique. Try transferring the succulent to an area where it will receive more light if you find it starting to grow a long stem without adding more leaves. You might want to think about buying a tiny tabletop grow light if your house doesn’t have a place where the sun shines.
Why is my cactus so lanky?
Almost all succulents will expand “if not given enough light, they become lanky. But more light-sensitive than other succulents are those that change color in response to stress. Their response can be swift, releasing etiolated “growth in just a couple of days. Additionally, stretching out succulents with rosette shapes like Echeveria, Graptoveria, and Graptosedum would make them appear worse from an aesthetic standpoint.
How do you mend a leggy, succulent stretch?
It consists of these four simple steps:
- Trim the stem to a length that will fit in your new pot.
- Get rid of any extra leaves beneath the main rosette.
- Dry everything for a couple of days.
- Replant your succulents and cactus in new potting soil.
Step One: Cut
If you have a longer stem to deal with, that will assist it get nicely anchored into your new pot. You may truly cut the stem anywhere and it will start to sprout roots out of the sides and bottom after you replant it. You can just nestle the succulent’s base deep into the earth for replanting, or you can use a stem as short as an inch. To create cuts like these, always use clean, sharp pruning shears. These pruning shears look to be an upgrade of the ones I’ve had for ten years and use every day and adore.
Step Two: Remove Excess Leaves
Remove any leaves that are below that in order to form a wonderful rosette formation, similar to what you presumably had when you initially purchased your succulents. Save those leaves because they may be planted in soil and will each produce a new succulent plant.
Step Three: Dry
Any cuts or cracks you create in a succulent should be left exposed for one to two days. This enables it to sort of scab over and guards against bacterial infections that may happen if the succulent is exposed to any excess moisture. The chances are good that your freshly cut succulents will still dry out without first allowing them to air dry; however, it will take a little longer for the cuts to close up and you run a slight danger of something going wrong. But it’s up to you!
Step Four: Replant
Replanting your succulents into a fresh pot using cactus/succulent potting soil is the last step. This is quite simple. Simply poke a small hole with your finger and put the plant’s stem into the soil. The plus is that you don’t even have to water them for a week while they grow adjusted to their new surroundings!
How can I keep my lanky succulents alive?
When cultivated in the right lighting conditions, succulents adore the sun and thrive. However, you’ve probably cultivated or observed a lanky, stretched-out succulent. In the area you have, these lanky or etiolated succulents aren’t getting the proper amount of light.
Not just succulent indoor plants experience this behavior. You may have seen how your plant stretches to reach as close to the sun as it can by bending toward it. As they extend toward the sun, succulents get taller and spread their leaves farther apart.
The compact shape of etiolated succulents won’t return, but you can give them a trim and grow additional succulents from the cuttings.
How to disassemble the plant and begin reproducing it in order to try again is demonstrated in this video by Laura from Garden Answer.
- Clear the foliage. Cut the roots and wholesome leaves from the succulent’s bottom half with pruners or by snapping them off. Get a break that is as spotless as you can to promote new growth. Get rid of your leaf if it tears. Up to a little bit after halfway up, remove leaves. To understand how to cut the stem and transplant it with the remaining rosette at the top, see to step three.
- Dry the leaves. After removal, let the leaves dry for a few days or until the raw ends have calloused.
- Replant the stem. New roots will be able to sprout if the stem is planted farther below where the leaves were removed. Simply clip the stem 1-2 inches from the plant’s base if it is too long for the pot. It’s alright if you have no stem at all. Simply bury the rosette in the ground to prevent it from falling out.
- Prepare to expand. A tray, saucer, or other container containing Espoma’s Organic Cactus mix should have dried leaves on top of it. Avoid burying leaves in the ground. Put the container in a location that will shield it from direct sunlight.
- Spray the ground until it is damp but not soaked. When the soil seems dry to the touch, rehydrate it.
- Wait. There will be new baby roots that appear in about a month.
- Replant. You can replant your propagated succulents once they have established roots. Put them on display in a recycled planter.
- The roots should be examined every six months to determine whether you need to transfer your plants to a larger pot. Espoma’s Cactus can be used to routinely feed your succulents. For optimal results, use liquid plant food.
Can I cut my succulent’s stem?
Succulents require more than just sunlight and water to thrive. To encourage healthy growth, some individuals advise cutting a succulent’s leaves, stems, and roots. However, can you get away without trimming your succulents or is trimming truly necessary? Can you cut the leaves, stems, or roots of a succulent first?
A succulent’s roots, stems, and leaves can all be pruned. The major purpose of this is upkeep. Maintaining your plants can help them grow better, resist rot, and live longer. Succulents also require trimming to keep their shape and grow sturdy stems.
When to trim the roots, leaves, or stems, as well as what to do with the clippings, are all covered in this article. You will also learn the proper techniques for planting your clippings to begin cultivating new succulents.
What is that thing that is emerging from my succulent?
If you’ve been a succulent enthusiast for a while, you may have observed that some of them start to sprout delicate white or pink roots from their stems. They are referred to as aerial roots.
But what are aerial roots exactly? Is it a symptom of a succulent that isn’t doing well?
Learn more about aerial roots, what they represent for your succulent plants, and how to deal with them by reading on.
What do succulents that are healthy look like?
Succulents are fashionable and trendy plants to have about your house or place of business, but they can be difficult to maintain. We are here to assist you in maintaining the health and vitality of your planted bundles of delight. This blog post will teach you how to correctly water your succulents, where to keep them, and how to recognize the telltale indications of a succulent in trouble.
Starting Off On The Right Foot
You must begin with a succulent that is in good shape if you want to give your plants the best chance of surviving. Fortunately, this shouldn’t be a concern if you get your succulents from Succulent Bar! We purchase our succulents from nearby plant nurseries, and we carefully choose each succulent we offer to our clients. Our succulents are handled with the utmost care and are guaranteed to be in excellent condition when received, whether they are shipped or purchased in person.
Succulents with brilliant colors, firm leaves, and sluggish growth are healthy. Succulents are not designed to expand rapidly. So, despite the fact that this would appear to be a bad indication, it actually is. Additionally, you could occasionally discover dried leaves at the base of your succulent, but this is also a positive sign. Succulents actually grow by losing their old leaves. Dried leaves indicate healthy growth in your succulent.
In general, succulents need a lot of indirect light, and the majority of species will burn in hot light. Sunlight that filters through objects like window coverings, tree leaves, or bounces off of walls is referred to as indirect sunlight (think a covered patio). Usually, 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day are ideal. The optimum location for a succulent indoors is on a sunny window sill that faces south or west.
Compared to most plants, succulents need far less water and less frequent irrigation. The majority of succulents usually die from overwatering. Check the soil of your succulent as a general rule. Every time you water, your soil should be completely dry. Following that, you’re welcome to water with 1-2 teaspoons of water and make adjustments. A little water goes a long way because the majority of succulents have very shallow root systems. Succulents dislike having their roots wet for an extended period of time, or having “wet feet.”
How to Water
If water remains on the leaves of succulents for too long, they are prone to easy decay. It is advisable to lift your succulent’s leaves and water the plant’s base as opposed to sprinkling or drenching the top of the plant because these plants absorb water through their roots. Tools like a spoon, straw, watering can, or mister can be used for this. Native to regions that receive a lot of water before going through a drought, succulents (think desserts). What does that imply then? It implies that they favor the soak-and-dry approach. After giving them a nice sip of water, wait until they are COMPLETELY dry before watering them once more. Water your succulents on average once every two to three weeks, and avoid letting their soil remain wet for more than a few days at a time.
In pots with adequate drainage, plants grow the best. Therefore, the best choice is to use pots with holes in the bottom. You can buy containers with holes already drilled into them or you can drill or poke holes yourself into your container. However, just because the majority of containers—especially the really adorable ones—don’t have drainage holes doesn’t mean you can’t use them. It DOES mean, however, that you should water your succulents properly, taking care to avoid soaking the soil for extended periods of time. See the How to Water section above.
Cactus soil that has been aerated is ideal for succulent growth. After watering, cactus soil tends to dry out quickly, protecting your succulent against root rot and too much water. Most plant nurseries and department shops with garden centers, such Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Walmart, carry this kind of soil. Your soil must be formed of substances like sand, moss, perlite, bark, and pumice and have a grittier texture.
Soggy or yellowed leaves
Typically, mushy, yellow leaves indicate that you have overwatered your succulent. Transferring your succulent to completely dry cactus soil is the best approach to preserve one that has been overwatered. After that, consider reducing the amount of water you give your succulent by only watering it with 1-2 tablespoons when the soil is fully dry. Depending on the habitat, this normally occurs every two to four weeks.
Your succulent may be rotting if you overwatered it or provided it with insufficient drainage. Without drainage, excess water will build up inside your container and cannot leave, rotting your succulent. Make sure your container has the right drainage holes by checking. If not, make holes in your container with a drill or a pin or transfer to a different container. See the information under “Containers” above if your container does not have a drainage hole.
A plant that has underwatered will have wilted, rubbery leaves. Water your succulent with 1-2 tablespoons of water to start fixing this issue. After then, don’t water again until the earth is completely dry. If this occurs more quickly than 3–4 weeks, it might be time to increase your water intake. Over the coming weeks and months, test the watering frequency once more to determine the ideal amount for your succulent.
Your succulent requires more light if you notice that it is getting taller and has wider spaces between its leaves. Although it can look fantastic that your succulent is expanding, succulents actually grow very slowly. Your succulent is enlarging as a result of its search for more light. If you experience this issue, relocate your succulent as soon as possible to a sunny window sill. Sadly, stretching cannot be undone. After that, your succulent will continue to grow and prosper, but its stem will still be stretched.
The presence of dark patches on your succulent’s leaves indicates overexposure to sunshine and burnt foliage. These “burns” won’t go away, but as your succulent grows, it will ultimately slough off these leaves. Simply move your succulent to a less bright area to solve this problem.