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.
If a succulent breaks, will it grow back?
Succulents spring to mind when discussing indoor plants in the first instance. If you purchased one, I wouldn’t be shocked if you had the same thought. Although it has been said that some plants can be resilient, that doesn’t mean that they are impervious to harm.
Depending on the damage, a broken-off succulent may be saved. You can just wait three days for the leaves to dry if they start to fall. Keep the stem away until it becomes calloused if it has been severed. If you put it on cactus soil after noticing these changes, it will develop roots within a few weeks.
Succulents that have broken can still be saved, however it depends on the circumstances. We’ll go over every one of them in great detail so you can understand how to preserve succulents and even assist in their multiplication. Stay tuned because we’ll also provide advice on protecting succulents from harm.
How much time does it take a succulent to regrow?
Succulents can be propagated in water, but doing so goes against the ideal growing circumstances for these plants. Start your leaves and cuttings in shallow planting trays or tiny containers packed with potting soil for the best outcomes. Succulents can be grown in individual containers without having to transplant them right away.
Follow these easy steps once planting day arrives and your leaf or stem cuttings have callused:
1. Get your planting trays or containers ready. Use a coarse, quick-draining potting mix made for succulents and cacti and gently moisten it. 2 Make planting holes with a little stick.
2. Add a little RootBoost Rooting Hormone to a serving dish. When pouring, only utilize what you’ll need and discard the remainder.
3. Cut one piece at a time. Wet the cutting stem or leaf base before dipping it into the dish of rooting hormone. Completely round the stem or leaf base. Get rid of any extra rooting powder by shaking.
4. Carefully tuck leaves or stems into the rooting powder so it doesn’t fall out. The potting mix should then be carefully pressed around the cuttings.
- Insert the base at an angle just below the soil line to accommodate leaves. Put curled leaves in an upwards-curving position. (On that side, the new tiny plant grows.)
- Insert the bottom half of the stem into the potting mix so that it covers at least two bare nodes when taking stem cuttings.
5. Wait until roots start to form before watering. Once the dirt has dried, give it a good watering before repeating the process. The majority of succulent leaf and stem cuttings should root in two to three weeks, while rooting times might vary greatly. The fastest-rooting cuttings are those from stem tips.
6. After the roots have taken hold, transplant your new succulents from trays to tiny containers. Use the same kind of potting soil as you did previously. Be careful not to disrupt young, delicate roots.
How can I encourage the growth of my succulents?
When the light is not directly overhead, bring back outdoor plants to the garden. Create a shallow depression large enough for spreading roots by working the soil until it is crumbly.
Place your plant carefully inside of it, then add a layer of soil about an inch thick to gently cover the roots. To secure, lightly tamp. After a day, give the plant’s surrounding soil a gentle misting of water.
With the cutting method, all you have to do is cut off a portion of a leaf or a stem, let it dry, and in no time at all, you’ll have roots and shoots. To keep it completely dry is the trick.
These are two approaches:
A plant that has become tall and spindly or whose lanky, bare limbs hang downward like a pendant can benefit from this treatment.
Simply trim off the plant’s head, leaving approximately an inch of stem still attached. Dry it, let it to develop roots, then plant.
A healthy beheaded plant’s remaining stem should produce new leaves in a tight cluster, strengthening and improving the plant’s appearance.
As said, plant heads and leaves used as cuttings need to dry out and develop roots before planting.
It’s easy, really! This is how:
A succulent plant can it be revived?
- Symptoms. Succulents’ leaves can become soft and mushy and become brown or black, but the intensity of the cold damage will determine the exact symptoms.
- Causes. Although some succulent plants may endure a light frost, this is uncommon because most succulents are native to hot climes and normally suffer in temperatures lower than 50F (10C).
The majority of succulent types are not cold tolerant and will perish if left in temps below 50F (10C) for an extended period of time.
The majority of succulent species thrive in a standard room temperature environment, with a range of 55F-80F (13C-27C) being ideal for aloe vera.
Succulents’ leaves and stems may become mushy in texture and appear dark or black if they are subjected to chilly weather or even frost.
How to Revive Cold Damaged Succulents
Place your succulent in a location in your home or garden where the temperature is consistently between 55F and 80F (13C and 27C). Make sure that none of the leaves are directly in contact with windows, as these areas of the house can get much colder than the rest of the house. Reduce watering for the time being.
The cold damage should not likely worsen once the succulent is in a more stable environment.
Wait a few days, if not weeks, and the succulent’s mushy, cold-damaged section should dry out and callus over if the leaves feel gooey.
Cut the leaf back to below the injured section once the mushy portion has dried out. Cold-damaged succulent areas normally do not recover, but the succulent plant as a whole can recover.
In order to avoid additional potential issues, you should only restart watering the succulent once the callus of the leaf cut has completely healed over. Cold damage increases the danger of root rot.
The succulent can ultimately sprout new leaves and begin to regain its usual appearance after being damaged by the cold, but it takes a lot of persistence.
- The most frequent cause of succulent death is root rot brought on by over watering and poorly draining soils. Plants that can withstand drought, succulents need the soil to dry out between waterings. A succulent that has mushy, brown, yellow, or black leaves is withering because the soil is excessively wet.
- Overwatering or sunburn cause succulents to turn brown. Brown, mushy succulent leaves are a sign of excessive moisture around the roots. Due to a rapid rise in sunshine intensity, scorched-looking brown succulent leaves may be the result of sunburn.
- Because of excessive moisture around the roots brought on by frequent watering, wet soils, or pots without drainage holes, succulent leaves turn yellow. The soil needs to dry out between waterings for succulents. Yellow and mushy succulent leaves may be a sign of root rot brought on by over watering.
- If succulents are exposed to too much shade, they become tall and lanky. Succulent leaves grow tall in the direction of the strongest light since the majority of succulents need bright, indirect light or full sun. Tall succulent leaves can droop under their own weight and often have weaker, withering leaves at the base.
- Due to inadequate or excessive watering, succulent plants experience drought stress, which causes their leaves to shrivel. As a means of survival, succulents store moisture in their leaves. Underwatering your succulent causes it to draw on the moisture reserves in the leaves, giving it a shriveled appearance.
- Recreate the circumstances of the succulents’ natural environment by planting them in well-draining, rocky soil with the appropriate amount of sunshine, and watering them when the soil becomes dry. To preserve the succulent, take cuttings from healthy areas of the plant.
Do succulents recover on their own?
Again, just like people, plants are vulnerable to damage. Bites from insects and animals as well as stress like being dropped can cause physical harm to plants. This is an issue I regrettably know all too well because last fall I had the sad experience of having several squirrels feast on and topple several of my plants.
You can try your best to avoid physical damage to your plants, but there is no way to ensure that it won’t happen. Although it may seem like really basic advice, take care not to drop your plants when you move them. When choosing a site for your plants, maintain them on a robust base so that neither people nor animals may easily knock them over. Finally, to prevent squirrels and other animals from eating your succulents if you keep your plants outside, think about placing netting or wiring. You can use deterrents like coyote urine and wobbly stuff to stop backyard wildlife from asking about your plants.
Your succulents won’t ever entirely recover from physical trauma. Where the trauma happened, they will typically start to callus, but they could also start to decay. Plants that have developed calluses will eventually recover and become healthy again, but they won’t be as attractive as they could be. Cutting out the rotting areas and either replanting them or attempting to start over from a cutting are the two options you have if you notice symptoms of rot.
If a plant in the store exhibits these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that it is sick; rather, it just means that it was harmed throughout the process of getting from the producer to the retailer.
Can dead leaves be removed from succulents?
Succulent plants have long-lasting, thick, meaty leaves and stalks, but they eventually wilt and die. On plants, it’s normal for some leaves to die, however this rarely signifies disease. Quickly removing the dead leaves enhances the appearance of the plants and stops the spread of any disease-causing organisms. Regular pruning shears risk crushing the succulent stems, therefore it’s preferable to make precise cuts with a disinfected, sharp knife or a razor blade.
One part household bleach and nine parts water should be added to a bowl. When cutting away dead foliage, it is important to disinfect the knife and stop the spread of illness. Dip the knife into the solution between each cut.
Remove individual dead leaves by cutting through them where they meet a stem. Cut off the leaf at its base but avoid going into the plant’s crown if you have a succulent that grows rosettes from the plant crown.
Trim off entire stems or branches from succulent kinds that exhibit trunk-like growth when all of the leaves on the stem are dead or showing signs of decline. Look beneath the dead part of the stem for a swollen leaf node. 1/4 inch above the node, cut through the stem.
Cut off the dead parts of succulents that resemble ropes, like Rhipsalis paradoxa, in the space between two leaf segments. These result in lengthy foliage strands joined together by a skinny stem. Only the damaged end pieces should be removed by cutting through the stem. If all the foliage is dead, cut the rope off at the root.
Leaves falling off
Why are your succulents losing leaves? Issues with watering are the most frequent cause. If the leaves receive too much moisture, they may expand, turn mushy, and eventually fall off. Overwatering causes leaves to drop off, which are soggy and mushy, and the stem may look puffy.
Solution: Delay watering until the top inch of soil feels completely dry. Make sure the potting soil drains adequately and that the plant doesn’t sit in water for an excessive amount of time. Repot the plant and replace the soil with one that drains effectively if the wrong potting mix was used.
Before transplanting and providing fresh water after repotting, give the plant some time to recoup and mend. When watering, allow extra water to drip out of the pot’s openings. If the pot doesn’t already have drainage holes, think about drilling some or changing your watering methods to avoid overwatering.
Extreme heat can also cause leaves to fall off. Succulents adapt by shedding their leaves during periods of extreme heat or drought to help conserve energy and retain their water supply. Even though this is a typical natural reaction, there are things you can take to lessen stress in your plant.
In the event of a heatwave or drought, move the plant to a more shady position away from the direct, full sun. Additionally, the plant might require more frequent watering under these circumstances. When the top inch of the soil seems dry to the touch or as needed, increase irrigation.
Watering problems might cause the leaves to become yellow. Both overwatering and underwatering might result in yellowing of the leaves. Pay attention to additional developments involving your plant.
The plant is being overwatered if it receives plenty of water and its leaves are yellowing, mushy, and bloated. The likelihood of the plant being underwatered increases if the leaves are yellowing, shriveling, and wilting and you are aware that you have not watered the plant in a while.
Adjust watering methods as needed. Reduce your watering frequency and wait until the soil is completely dry between applications if you think the plant is being overwatered. Water the plant more thoroughly if it’s being neglected. The majority of succulents appreciate regular watering until extra liquid leaks from the pot’s perforations. Do not rewater until the earth has dried out.
Lack of nutrients
Insufficient nutrients can cause leaves to turn yellow. The majority of commercial succulent potting soil contains compost or fertilizer in addition to the soil. For a long time, the plants can survive on those nutrients.
These nutrients eventually need to be brought back in because of the frequent watering that flushes them out of the soil. Repotting the plant in new potting soil or feeding the plant are two ways to supply nutrients.
Solution: Fertilize the plant or repot it in a good, well-draining potting mix. Use a fertilizer combination made especially for cacti and succulents or a well-balanced fertilizer made for houseplants.
Because they are not heavy feeders, cacti and succulents don’t need a lot of fertilizer. Reduce the recommended fertilizer dosage to 50% from what is stated on the container. During the growing season, feeding once every two weeks should be plenty.
Underwatering is the primary cause of withered leaves. The plant probably needs water if the leaves start to look withered and shriveled, which usually happens to the upper leaves of the plant first. If you have been lightly watering your plant and you see that the leaves are beginning to shrink, you likely have an underwatering issue that is readily fixed.
Solution: Give the plant more frequent and thorough waterings. Succulents require extra water during the growing season and during heat waves. When watering, allow water to drain from the holes and wait until the soil is dry before watering again.
The leaves may also shrink as a result of overwatering. However, excessive watering can cause leaves to seem limp, weak, and fall off rather than wilt and shrivel. The stem may also seem swollen.
These are images of plants that had been overwatered and had lost the majority or all of their leaves. The leaves had mold and were mushy and rotten. Also squishy are the stems.
Solution: Water less frequently and be sure to let the soil dry out between applications if you suspect overwatering. Before rewatering, the top inch of the soil must feel dry. Repot the plant in a well-draining potting soil if it is in the incorrect potting mix.
Before transplanting and watering the plant once again after repotting, let it dry out for a few days to give the plant time to recuperate and mend from overwatering. To check for moisture in the soil and the air, you can use tools like hygrometers and moisture meters. Please visit my resource page to see my suggested product list.
Brown Leaves or Dark Spots on Leaves
Sunburn or sun damage is the most frequent cause of brown or black blotches on the foliage of your succulents. The plant may experience this if it is exposed to unfiltered full sun or if it has just been transferred to a sunny site without having had time to acclimate. During extremely high heat waves or droughts, even plants accustomed to full sun may have brown leaves.
Solution: Move the plant to a more shaded area or offer more shade while it’s hot outside. To gradually acclimate a plant and prevent sun damage, gradually increase the amount and intensity of sunlight it receives over time before bringing it outside or to a sunnier place. To prevent burning, avoid placing young plants or plants that have recently been propagated in direct sunlight. Please visit my resource page if you would want product recommendations for shade cloths and outside sun protection for succulents.
Dead Lower Leaves
As the plant grows and develops new leaves from its core, the lower leaves inevitably wither and die. Dead leaves either fall off on their own or are readily plucked off.
To prevent insects and bugs from hiding in the soil, remove any dead leaves off the plant or pick up any dead leaves that have fallen into the ground.
Stems Stretching Out
If the plant doesn’t get enough light, the stems will sag or the entire plant will begin to etiolate. A plant’s natural response to darkness is called étiolation.
The plant’s stem and overall shape are extending towards the direction of the light source. The stem may appear to be extending, and the spacing between the leaves may appear to be widening. When in this condition, the plant’s growth is prone to being stunted.
Solution: Move your plant to a more sunny area. The greatest sunshine will enter a room through a south or east facing window. If you’re transferring your plant to an area with more sunlight, do so gradually to prevent sun damage.
Avoid any abrupt alterations that could startle your plant. For instance, avoid transferring the plant from a low-light environment indoors to direct sunlight outdoors right quickly. Increase the plant’s exposure to sunshine gradually in both quantity and quality.
A grow light is an excellent choice to provide more light for those inside regions that are difficult to access if you are unable to supply more sunlight for your indoor succulents. If you move your plant to a new area, use a grow light, or make any other changes, pay attention to how it responds. Adapt and modify as necessary.
The above-mentioned irrigation problems might cause leaves to grow malformed. Either too little or too much water is being given to the plant. If there is too little, the leaves begin to shrivel. If the leaves receive too much moisture, they become limp and droopy and may even wrinkle.
Lack of nutrients in your plants is another typical explanation. The potting mix your plant is in may no longer have enough nutrients for your plants if it has been in the same pot for more than two years or more. The leaves may start to seem deformed and occasionally turn yellow or discolored if this is the case.
The majority of commercial succulent potting soil contains compost or fertilizer in addition to the soil. For a long time, the plants can survive on those nutrients. These nutrients eventually need to be brought back in because of the frequent watering that flushes them out of the soil.
Lack of nutrients is causing these plants to struggle. Their leaves are wilting and changing color.
Solution: If you think your plant’s misshaped leaves may be the result of hydration problems, try adjusting your watering methods and monitoring how your plant reacts. A thorough watering will frequently resolve the issue without taking too long if the plant is drowning and its leaves are withered. The degree of the damage determines how your plant will respond when water is withheld if it has been overwatered. If not, you might need to replace the soil your plant is sitting in or there might already be root rot. The plant might recover rapidly.
If the plant needs more nutrients and has deformed leaves, either fertilize it or repot it in a suitable, well-draining potting mix. Repotting the plant in new potting soil or feeding the plant are two ways to supply nutrients. Use a fertilizer combination made especially for cacti and succulents or a well-balanced fertilizer made for houseplants.