Why Are My Succulent Dying?

by Succulent MarketNov 3, 2020

why are my succulents dying


Love how your succulents look but they keep dying? Do you want to have a green thumb but things just don’t seem to be going your way? Sounds like you could do with a little Succulents 101!

There are several reasons why your succulents are dying, but with a few tweaks here and there, they’re going to last and brighten up your home and garden. 

Read on to learn the most common reasons why your succulents are dying and how to stop the problem.

Under-Watered Succulents Develop Shrivelled Leaves

Under-watered succulents’ leaves lose their overall structure. They shrivel up and become dull. There may be a pile of dried leaves towards the bottom of the plant, increasing upwards as the plant starves of water. Thankfully, mildly shrivelled succulents will get back to normal quickly after watering.

That said, parched soil will drain quickly before the roots have a chance to absorb any water. Therefore, make sure you water the soil until it starts pouring out of the pot. Then water again.

Repeat this process until water only drains slowly. Check the soil on a weekly basis to check if the plant needs watering again or in the near future.

The Wrong Soil Can Drown Your Succulent

Succulents grow best in sandy, fast-draining soil. If you plant yours in a different soil type, the roots won’t be able to dry out properly before every watering. As such, the plant can grow squishy leaves, just like those found in overwatered plants.

Poor Drainage Can Swamp Your Succulent

If you don’t plant your succulent in a pot with holes in the bottom, the water cannot drain out of the soil, meaning your plant is likely to rot. The main symptom of this is transparent leaves.

Trouble is, most succulents are sold inside a pot that lacks drainage (cachepots). Watering a succulent in such a pot is like containing your plant in a bathtub. So, when you need to water the succulent again, take it out of the cachepot and water until it starts running through the hole.

Bound Roots Can Prevent Proper Drainage

When a succulent needs to move to a bigger pot, it can get root bound. This is not good as it can then circle the exterior of the root ball, clotting the drainage which causes issues noted above. 

You can tell if your succulent has bound roots by turning the pot upside and letting fall into your hand. If you notice the roots are circling around the center of the soil, it’s time to move it to a bigger pot.

Succulents Will Stretch Or Lean Towards The Light

Succulents love the sunlight. To some extent, they can’t get enough of it. But without much direct exposure to the sun, succulents will start stretching up towards the light. It makes them look leggy but doesn’t cause them any harm. They will start to grow normally again once normal light exposure resumes. Turn your succulent by a quarter every week so every side of the plant gets some direct exposure and prevent future legginess.

In the event that yours does start to elongate, then you can grow a new one instead. Remove the top rosette with a cut an inch below. Let the rosette callous over the next few days, then put it in a container with some moist soil in direct sunlight. Within a couple of weeks, you’ll have a brand new succulent.

Insects Can Suck The Life Out Of Your Succulent

Healthy succulents don’t develop pest problems, but weak ones are easy targets. Plants suffering from overwatering, underwatering, poor drainage and poor lighting are all attractive to mealybugs and they will be quick to take advantage. Mealybugs attach themselves to the leaves and hide in crevices where they’ll suck all the juicy nutrients out.

Unfortunately, mealybugs are tough to spot until they grow in numbers, at which point it can be too late to save the plant. If you spot a couple early on, remove the plant from any others near it and isolate. Rub alcohol on the leaves to kill the bugs.

Monitor the plant for the next few weeks. Keep up the alcohol treatment if necessary.