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Are your succulents getting the right amount of sun and water?

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Are your succulents getting the right amount of sun and water, Succulent Care Guide, How to care for succulent plants


Succulents are one of the most popular types of plants, as they require very little care in the way of watering. Some don’t even need a lot of light, which makes them the ideal choice for spaces devoid of natural light. 

However, like any other plant, succulents are not immune to problems. They are also prone to root rot when getting too much water or sunburn due to too much heat. What makes them different is that succulent plants try to communicate by showing signs that they are in need of attention. And one needs to know what each sign indicates to give them the proper care that they are asking for. So here, we will discuss the most common signs that you are more likely to encounter.


In watering, telling whether your succulents are receiving too much or too little is a bit tricky. Though there are signals, both problems show similar behavior, which makes it very confusing. The most simple way to tell whether your plant is being over or underwatered is by closely looking at the leaves of your succulents. Why? Their leaves are quite sensitive. So, before the problem gets serious, their leaves will slowly change and show symptoms, little by little. 


Crassula Ovata Gollum Jade Succulent
Gollum Jade Enough water vs Underwater

  • Succulents with plump leaves like Echeveria and Graptoveria will begin to show the stress of being underwater by having shriveled and wrinkled leaves. And as water storage continues to run low, their bottom leaves will dry up and start to fall as it tries to conserve water and energy for survival.

Sedum Burrito Donkey's Tail Succulent

Donkey Tail Enough water vs Underwater

  • Flat leaves like Aeonium, on the other hand, will start to lose their firmness by looking all droopy and wilted, and begin to have wrinkly, shriveling leaves. After that, the bottom leaves will slowly have yellow spots as water deprivation continues. 

    Aeonium Black Rose Zwartkopf Succulent
    Black Rose Aeonium Enough water vs Underwater
    <Source: account: MissKatyCruel>


      • Plump leaves will most likely have yellowish, translucent with soft, soggy leaves that may appear shriveled as well. Some plump leaves succulents like ice plants and lithops get busted and split instead due to too much moisture.
      Graptoveria Moonglow Rosette Succulent
      Graptoveria Moonglow Enough water vs Overwatered (root rot)

      • As for succulents with flat leaves, overwatering them will trigger the leaves to turn brown or black. This usually starts from the center or at the base of the plant, working its way up as it slowly rots caused by too much water.


      Root rot treatment for succulents



      While we all know that succulents are sun-loving desert plants, their needs for light are a little more nuanced as most don't really thrive well under full blasting sun exposure and extremely hot temperatures. The same goes for when they are in lack of it too. So how will you know if they are receiving just enough sunlight?

      Too much sunlight

      Aeonium Kiwi Succulent Plant
      Normal sunlight vs Sunburned Aeonium Kiwi
      • Stress due to extensive sunlight will trigger the rosettes of your succulents to close up tightly. This is their defense mechanism to protect its leaves from receiving intense light and heat.

      Light for Succulents, Rosettes Close Up Succulents
      Normal sunlight vs Too much sun (rosettes close up)

      • Leaves will begin to turn yellow or show brown patches that often start on the outside edges, and will have a rough texture with the smooth feel of the leaf.

      Senecio Rowleyanus String of Pearls Succulent Plant

      Normal sunlight vs Too much sun (leaves turn yellow)
      • Leaves will soon show the first sign of impending sunburn damage by getting scared or developing a dark, discolored one leaf, which will be irreversible.

      Lack of sunlight

      Succulents Lack of sunlight
      Lack of sunlight (etiolation and lose color) vs Enough sunlight
      <Source: account: austinpurrs>
      • Not getting enough sunlight will cause the rosettes to open up and stretch out to reach towards the light source, and will continue to grow taller, away from the center creating large gaps on the stem between leaves. 

        Succulents Lack of sunlight
          Lack of sunlight (succulents lose their compact shape) vs Enough sunlight

          • Most of the time, the leaves will be smaller and lighter in color than normal. This means that lack of sunlight all causes your succulent to lose the intensity of its original color.

          Sunlight for Succulent Plants, How to care for Succulents
          Lack of sunlight (lose color) vs Enough sunlight

          • Lower or bottom leaves will start to arch and point downwards, instead of upward as light deprivation continues.
          • Succulent with round leaves like String of Pearls will show sign of elongated leaves and  spaced a bit further apart than normal.

            Senecio String of Pearls Plant for sale, Succulent String for sale, How to take care for String of pearls succulent
              Normal String of Pearl vs Etiolated String of Pearl

              Now that you know how to decipher each sign that your succulent is showing, there’s no excuse not to get into succulent gardening and enjoy the succulents you have always dreamed of!


              See more about How to Take Care of Succulents in a No-Drainage Pot


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