Why Do My Succulents Keep Dying?
by Succulent MarketFeb 22, 2021
No matter if you’ve just bought your first succulent or you’re a keen collector, succulents don’t always seem to be the low maintenance, easy-going plants they’re hyped up to be. From rotting to pests, there are all sorts of problems that can arise.
This guide will demonstrate the main reasons why your succulents keep dying and how to address them so they can quickly recover and stay healthy for years to come!
Overwatering Your Succulents
One of the most important things to remember with succulents is that they are used to hot and arid climates. As such, they have naturally adapted to absorb as much water as they possibly can. When they get too much, they risk developing rot.
The initial rot begins in the roots and works its way up the plant. The succulent will then wrinkle and the leaves will discolor (most likely turning a slight yellow).
This can be easily fixed, assuming you identify the problem early enough. Do not water your succulent again until the soil has completely dried out. Going forward, you should only water the plant once or twice a week at most. For best practice, use the soak and dry method.
Note that your succulent should also have sufficient drainage so that it isn’t sitting in excess water that could cause the roots to rot. It may be a good idea to re-root the succulent with a fresh, well-draining soil mix to help prevent future water buildup.
Underwatering Your Succulents
Overwatering is more common than underwatering, but this is still a big issue. Underwatering occurs either when you don’t water the plant enough, or you’ve planted it in too tall of a pot so that the roots can’t access the water at the bottom. Signs of underwatering include shrivelled plants and dry, crunchy upper leaves.
Again, the solution is pretty simple. Water your succulent more often (about once a week) by soaking the soil. The next watering should then be when the soil has completely dried.
Diseases & Parasites
Mealybugs are another reason why succulents keep dying. They are white-grey in appearance, show up in large numbers and leave bite marks on the leaves that look like spots of dirt. Even worse, they can spread quickly, so if left for too long can put your succulent on the edge of no return.
The first step in preventing an infestation from killing your succulent is to quarantine it from all of your other plants. This is key. As long as you take this step, everything else is straightforward.
Combine three parts of isopropyl alcohol with one part water and spray over the succulent once every three days until the mealybugs clear.
Of course, mealybugs aren’t the only pests that threaten your succulent. Whatever the case may be, if there’s an infestation, start by isolating that plant to avoid spreading. Then you can go ahead and treat the problem.
Climate And Temperature
As mentioned, succulents are used to hot and dry climates, meaning that they may not be able to tolerate the cold. Keep them above freezing at all costs. If not, it’s likely your succulent will die.
You’ll notice that your succulent is too cold if it looks burned. For example, some of the upper leaves will look brown, shrivelled, drooped, or a combination of all three.
If you live in a colder environment, keep your succulent in an area of the house that gets the most heat.
The final thing to consider is lighting. Succulents love sunlight, so avoid keeping it in the shade. Succulents that don’t get enough sunlight will stretch out in the direction of the sun to get as much as it can.
However, this stretching cannot be undone. The only thing you can do is to move it to a sunnier location to prevent it from stretching even more. The sooner you notice and move your succulent, the better.
Note here that you should avoid water droplets on the plant’s leaves if it’s placed in direct sunlight. This is because the water can intensify the light and burn the leaves. For this reason, you should always water the plant on the soil directly, rather than on