Succulents are known for being hardy and easy to care for, but that doesn’t mean they are completely resistant to issues. Like all other indoor plants, succulents have needs too. When these needs are ignored, then succulents will signal to you that something isn’t right.
Succulent care usually isn’t difficult, but if your green baby starts looking ill, this is a sign that some damage control is needed (and maybe an extra dose of TLC too). Diagnosing succulent problems can be tricky, but once you’re able to do this, you can work on targeting the root of the issues. This can mean improving succulent soil, increasing light exposure, and so on.
Some common succulent problems come up again and again—even seasoned, green-thumbed plant parents might encounter them. We’ve compiled a list of common succulent problems along with solutions that can remedy them. If you have concerns about your plant, then use our guide as a reference. Identify what’s wrong with your succulent, and then follow our advice to save it. Your succulent will thank you—and it will look vibrant and healthy again in no time at all!
There are different reasons why plants turn yellow. If you notice your houseplant changing shades, it might be due to watering issues or a lack of nutrients.
To save your succulent and help it regain its green hue, take a careful look at your plant and look back at how you’ve been caring for it. If you’ve watered it often and the leaves are swollen, then your plant is overwatered and you should cut back on adding moisture. If the leaves are shriveled, then you should add more hydration.
If you know you’ve been following all the rules for watering succulents, then perhaps the soil is just out of nutrients. If your plant has been in the same soil mix for a while, it’s possible that it sucked up all the nutrients already. Try repotting the plant using fresh succulent mix. If you want a quick fix, you can also add fertilizer to enhance the soil.
Do you notice leaves of your succulent falling off? When succulents are overwatered, their leaves turn mushy and swelled as extra liquid flows through the plant. This causes the leaves to fall off easily.
If your plant is overwatered, then immediately cut back on watering. Give the soil some time to dry out and reset. If the soil is drenched beyond repair, then try taking the plant out of the pot, drying the roots, and replanting in a new, dry mix.
Dead Lower Leaves
If you notice the lower leaves of your succulent turning brown and crispy, do not be alarmed! This is completely normal and natural. As the top part of the plant grows, the lower leaves will start to wilt.
If you don’t like the look of the wilted leaves, you can remedy this by just pulling them off the plant.
Brown spots can be alarming when you first notice them. There are several different causes of brown spots. One of them is overexposure to light. When you abruptly move a succulent from a dim area to a bright one, then the plant can get sunburnt. The plant needs to slowly adjust to new conditions.
To prevent overexposure, you shouldn’t move your succulent from shady areas to direct sunlight too quickly. Instead, gradually move the plant to a brighter spot each day.
Another cause of brown spots is overwatering. Too much moisture can cause your succulent to rot, and the leaves might turn brown.
To treat an overwatered plant, immediately cut back on watering. You can also dry the plant’s roots and replant it.
Succulent leaves are recognized for their plumpness and thickness, so when you notice shriveling or wrinkling, then you know something is wrong. This is usually a sign of underwatering. These indoor plants don’t need a ton of water to survive, but they can definitely get dehydrated if they don’t get any hydration at all. You need to find the right balance of moisture—too much is bad, but so is too little.
If your succulent’s leaves look like raisins, then load up on water. When watering, the soil should be completely soaked. After two weeks, if the soil is dry, then you can soak the plant again. Hold off on wetting the soil if it’s still damp.
As we mentioned above, rot is typically caused by overwatering. Sometimes this rot can spread to the stem. To save the rest of the plant, you can cut the stem right above the rot. Throw away the lower part that has been infected.
Then, take the cutting and let it dry for a few days. Replant it in dry, well-draining succulent soil.
Stretched Out Leaves
When your succulent grows taller but has sparse leaves that are stretched out with large gaps of space between them, this is called etiolation. Etiolated growth gives your plant a weak, loose appearance. This happens when your houseplant isn’t getting enough light.
To fix this, give your succulent more sunlight. Bring it to a spot where it can soak in generous amounts of sunshine. If this doesn’t improve your plant’s foliage, you can also cut off the etiolated growth and place your plant under brighter light so that it can regrow in the right conditions. If you cut your plant but leave it in the same dim lighting, it will just grow stretched out again.