Why Do Succulents Grow Tall?
by Succulent MarketDec 7, 2020
You love your succulent right? Of course you do, that’s why you got it in the first place. You like how you can plant it pretty much anywhere and don’t have to pay much attention to it.
But for some of you, after a while, things start to change. What was once a cute little plant is not looking as green anymore, but instead, looks rather stretched and thin.
As a result, it isn’t as attractive anymore and you start to get worried. But this is a very common problem and it can be fixed.
By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll know why succulents grow tall and what to do if and when it happens.
Why Succulents Grow Tall
The main reason why your succulent is getting tall is that it is not getting enough sunlight. As such, the plant cannot perform photosynthesis, the process by which a succulent makes its food.
You’ll know if your succulent isn’t getting enough light when it starts to gear towards a particular direction. This is called etiolation. Similarly to how animals and humans move to seek comfort, etiolation is a plant’s equivalent. It’s craving sunlight so it’ll do what it can to get it.
You’ll also notice that your succulent will start leaving spaces between its leaves. This is to increase the surface area of each leaf, maximizing the plant’s chances of getting direct sunlight on them.
Unfortunately, succulents that don’t get enough sunlight are likely to grow weak and die sooner rather than later. Further, the luscious green leaves you’re used to seeing will turn pale.
Now, you should note that it’s in some succulents’ nature to grow tall over time, so they will need to be cut back. Others tend to stay in a more compact rosette form and rarely need cutting back.
How To Prevent A Succulent Growing Tall
Give It Access To Sunlight
Succulents move towards the direction of the sunlight if they aren’t getting enough. When this starts happening, move the succulent to that side of the room/garden/etc so it gets as much light as it needs. Windows are the best place as they get the most sunlight.
You could also leave them outside for a few hours a day. Alternatively, you could place the succulent under a grow light for artificial sunlight.
Now, you should know that this won’t revert the succulent back to its original shape. It will only prevent it from getting any taller.
The only way to get a shorter succulent is to get a new one. There are two options: buy one, or…
What’s better than one succulent? More succulents, of course! With propagation, you can grow another succulent to replace the tall original, or to look after alongside it and expand your collection.
Propagating your succulent for the first time can be scary. It may seem like you’re hurting the plant, but you’re actually doing the complete opposite. It gives the plant a shot at thicker stems, denser leaves and brighter colors.
Prune your succulent with a sharp pair of scissors. Make a horizontal cut to keep the cut; the smaller the wound, the better.
Cut a few millimeters below a node. This is where growth substances and assimilates accumulate, which are essential for healing the wound quickly.
Wait a few days for the cuttings to dry out before planting. This gives it time to develop roots and lose the inner moisture. Remove the first layer of topsoil used for the original succulent. Make sure to have some extra potting soil at the ready too, preferably a loose mix so water drains out easily, preventing the roots from rotting.
From here, arrange the cuttings as you wish before planting. Ideally, you should place the larger ones at the edge of the pot. Leave them for at least three days before watering once a week, adjusting for the conditions. Consider using fertilizer too to ensure it gets all the important nutrients it needs.
You should notice the cuttings growing roots within a couple of days, but it could take up to three weeks.
Keep the new cuttings out of any direct hot sun to avoid burn. Bright natural light, however, is perfect.