Succulent Leaves Falling Off

by Succulent MarketFeb 18, 2021

succulent leaves are falling off


It’s easy to know when your succulent is not living its best life. You can tell when it’s in distress when its leaves are falling off and all over the floor. But it may not be as easy to understand why this is happening.

If you’re in this situation and don’t know what to do, there’s no need to worry. In most cases, a few tweaks will ensure that your plant will go back to normal in no time; you just need to identify what’s causing your succulent’s leaves to fall off. 

Leaves falling off succulents is natural. It can either be part of its growth as a response to its environment, or it can be a sign that the succulent is under watered.

Here’s a quick checklist to diagnose why your succulent leaves are falling off:

  • Research to see if this is normal behavior for your succulents
  • What color are the leaves?
  • Where are the succulents leaves falling from?
  • Is the soil damp?
  • Is the soil specifically designed for a succulent?
  • Does the soil hold water?
  • Does the plant pot have enough holes for drainage?

So, with these questions in mind, let’s now look at the most common reasons why your succulents leaves may be falling off.

Reduction In Energy Needs

Most houseplants drop their bottom leaves as they grow. This is because they have lost their purpose. The new leaves higher up the stem have taken their job and are better suited at harvesting light. As such, there’s no point in wasting energy on leaves that aren’t needed.

As a result, the lower leaves turn brown and crispy.

In this case, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Ignore them as they drop naturally. If you do find them unsightly, however, then just remove them, albeit carefully as to not knock off any of the upper leaves.

Too Much Water

When a succulent has too much water, it can cause the leaves to turn soft and squishy. This can also occur when a plant is underwatered.

The difference between underwatering and overwatering is that when the plant has too much water, the leaves develop a yellow tint. This also indicates that the roots are rotting.

Not only does rot cause the leaves to fall off, but it can even kill the plant if not treated soon enough. Overwatering is the leading cause of death in succulents, so only water it when the soil is completely dry. This may mean you only water it once a week, or even once every two weeks.

In terms of a solution, first remove all the soft, yellow leaves from the succulent. Check for rot on the stem and remove if so. Keep the remaining healthy portion in a dry location and avoid watering for a week. Only then replant and follow a better watering schedule going forward.

Too Little Water

Underwatering also causes succulent leaves to fall off. Symptoms of underwatering include wrinkled and shrivelled leaves but without any of the discoloring. The leaves will fall from the plant at the softest touch. Succulents that are too far gone won’t survive even after being watered.

Assuming that the succulent hasn’t been starved of water, this problem is easy to overcome. Increase your watering schedule ever so slightly - but too much so the problem converts to an overwatering issue.

Lack Of Light

Succulents will lose their leaves if they don’t get enough light. They need plenty of light to grow, especially considering that their natural habitats tend to get lots of sun all year round. 

When they don’t get enough, their leaves will turn yellow and their stems will stretch out towards the light source. Newer leaves will be smaller too. 

If this problem isn’t fixed, the plant will shed its leaves.

Luckily, it’s pretty simple to fix. Place the plant in a brighter location, such as next to a window or under a grow light for an artificial solution.

Don’t just plant them outside and expect them to survive either. Succulents must be acclimated before they can thrive in their new environment.

In this case, start with around three hours of exposure to the sun a day to prevent the plant from burning. Up this to around six hours after a couple of weeks. The more gradual you expose the succulent to the sun, the better.