Succulent Care: Why Are Leaves Falling Off My Succulents?

Succulent Care: Why Are Leaves Falling Off My Succulents?



Why are leaves falling off my succulents?  

Frustrating as it may seem, your succulent is probably just communicating with you how it needs and wants to be taken care of. When leaves fall off your succulent, it’s an indication that your plant may be stressed about something, which can be any of the following.

Overwatering or underwatering

Most cacti and succulents hail from dry, parched deserts where it’s almost summer forever. They can survive long periods of time without rain showers.  Sometimes months or a whole year! Just imagine how distraught a succulent is when we domesticate it and treat it like a needy houseplant being watered every week, or worse, every single day!

The leaves serve as the water reservoir for succulents. When you water them, the leaves swell and become plump. However, when it doesn’t experience the “drought” and never get the chance to dry out completely because you water it too often, the succulent sort of drowns, which is reflected by the dreadful shedding of leaves.

Verdant Flora, $70

On the other hand, while it is true that succulents don’t need that much water, it doesn’t mean that they should never be watered. Inadequate watering, which we’re learning now varies from plant to plant, can also lead to succulents that look dull, won’t grow, or won’t flower.

You may be screaming on your screen now, “So how you water succulents properly?!” Lucky you, we’ve written about this topic extensively. Our recommendation is to water more, but less often. Succulent with thicker and fleshier leaves need less water.

For more information, please read How to Water Your Succulents or watch this video.


Insufficient sunlight

Granted, succulents are undeniably gorgeous as indoor plants. They subtly transform any boring space into a tropical paradise without going over the top.

Again, sorry to burst your bubble, but not all succulents can actually thrive or survive in low-light conditions. Remember, generally all cacti and succulents come from hot, tropical regions where they bask in the sun all year round. This is why most succulents have shriveled, shrunken leaves that eventually fall off after spending a significant amount of time indoors.

While others recommend taking succulents out once in a while to get sunlight or putting them near sunlit windows, we say doing your research prior to going on a succulent shopping spree will save yourself from all the heartache.

Get to know which succulents are proven to grow in shade first.  Some popular indoor succulents include:

  • Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)
  • Zebra Cactus (Haworthia fasciata)
  • Jade Plant (Crassula ovate)
  • String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
  • Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)

Take note: indoor doesn’t necessarily mean dark. These succulents still prefer a sunny south-facing window rather than a dark corner at home. Succulents that get insufficient sunlight tend to become leggy and stretched as if looking for light. If you see this, this is your succulent reaching out to you and begging you to move somewhere sunny.

In addition, there are also some succulents that cannot tolerate direct sunlight, so beware. This may cause sunburn and damage your plant.

Chemical Side Effect

If you’ve recently used fertilizer or any chemical treatment on your succulent, there’s a chance that this may be the culprit. Many owners have observed succulents reacting badly to chemicals with fallen leaves when they were treated for fungus and other plant diseases.

To prevent this ugly scenario, it’s probably best to check if your succulent is stressed first before applying anything unnatural to it. Opt for natural, instead of chemical-laden solutions.

Succulent Arrangements

Tubed, $99

Buying succulent arrangements from knowledgeable sellers is a wise move if you do not have the heart to go through the hit or miss journey with succulents. 

Succulent arrangements are typically put together with these things in mind.

  • Only succulents that can adapt indoors are used.
  • Succulent arrangements come in a well-draining potting material.
  • They will come with specific instructions on how much water and when to water it.
  • They last a long time.
  • They are super stylish, especially succulent arrangements in unique terrariums.

Plus, you can also pluck out leaves from rare succulent varieties used in your arrangement to propagate them yourself.

Also read: 5 Reasons Why Succulents Are Super Plants



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