Why is My Succulent Dying? Common Causes and Solutions

Succulents are known for their resilience and low maintenance, making them a popular choice for both beginner and experienced plant enthusiasts. However, even the hardiest of succulents can sometimes struggle and show signs of distress. If you have found yourself asking, why is my succulent dying? You are not alone.

There are several factors that can contribute to the decline of your succulent's health, from overwatering to inadequate sunlight. This blog will explore common reasons why succulents may be struggling and provide tips on how to revive and care for your beloved plants.

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Proper Care and Maintenance of Succulents

Succulents thrive on neglect, but that doesn't mean they can be entirely ignored. It is important to provide proper care and maintenance in order to promote their longevity and health. Let's dive into some common reasons why your succulent might be looking less than its best and how you can nurse it back to health.

Succulent Care and maintenance By Planterhoma 250 ml water bottle

Watering

The ability of succulents to store water in their leaves, stems, and roots helps them survive in arid environments. Even so, they still depend on water. The key is to water them in the right way.

  • Frequency: Water your succulents thoroughly but infrequently. Ensure that the soil dries out completely before giving it more water.
  • Method: Water the base of the plant rather than the leaves to prevent rot.
  • Season: Make adjustments to your watering timetable based on the season. Succulents need extra water in the spring and summer months but less in the fall and winter.

Light Requirements

Succulents love sunlight, but the amount they need can vary. Most succulents prefer bright, indirect light, six to eight hours of sunlight per day.

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If your succulent starts to stretch out or "etiolate," it’s a sign that it’s not getting enough light. Conversely, too much direct sunlight can cause sunburn, leading to scorched leaves.

  • Location: Place your succulents in a spot where they receive plenty of indirect light, such as a south-facing window.
  • Rotation: Rotate your succulents periodically to ensure even light exposure and prevent them from leaning toward the light source.

Temperature

Succulents hail from some of the world’s most arid regions, which means they are accustomed to a certain range of temperatures. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Optimal Temperature Range

  • Daytime: Succulents generally prefer daytime temperatures between 70°F to 85°F (21°C to 29°C). This range mimics their natural habitat, providing the warmth they need to flourish.
  • Nighttime: At night, a cooler range of 50°F to 55°F (10°C to 13°C) is ideal. The drop in temperature at night is essential as it closely resembles the natural desert environment.

2. Seasonal Adjustments

  • Summer: During the summer months, succulents can tolerate higher temperatures, but it’s crucial to ensure they are not exposed to extreme heat for prolonged periods. If the temperature exceeds 90°F (32°C), consider providing some shade or moving them indoors.
  • Winter: In winter, succulents can handle cooler temperatures, but avoid exposing them to frost. Most succulents are not frost-tolerant and can suffer damage if temperatures drop below 40°F (4°C).

Humidity

Succulents are desert dwellers, and as such, they thrive in low-humidity environments. Here’s how to manage humidity for your succulents:

1. Ideal Humidity Levels

 Succulents prefer a humidity level of around 40% or lower. High humidity can lead to issues such as root rot and fungal diseases, which are detrimental to these plants.

2. Managing Indoor Humidity

  • Ventilation: Ensure that your succulents are placed in a well-ventilated area. Good airflow helps to keep humidity levels in check and prevents moisture from settling on the leaves.
  • Dehumidifiers: If you live in a particularly humid climate, using a dehumidifier can help maintain the ideal humidity levels for your succulents.
  • Watering Practices: Water your succulents sparingly. Overwatering is a common mistake and can increase the humidity around the plant. Ensure the soil is completely dry before watering the plant again.

Soil

The soil is another critical aspect. Succulents require well-draining soil to prevent water from sitting around their roots. Commercial cactus or succulent mixes are ideal, or you can make your own by mixing regular potting soil with sand or perlite.

Identifying Common Issues Leading to Succulent Death

Understanding the common issues that lead to the demise of succulents can help you take preventive measures.

Overwatering

Overwatering is the number one killer of succulents. Signs include yellowing leaves, mushy stems, and a general appearance of sogginess.

How to save overwatered succulent plant

If you suspect overwatering, cut back immediately and let the soil dry out completely. Choose pots with drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom, which can lead to root rot. Click here to get the best pots with drainage holes.

Underwatering

While less common, Underwatering can also be a problem. Signs include shriveled leaves and a generally unhealthy appearance. If the leaves are wrinkled, it’s a sign that your succulent needs more water.

If you're looking to keep your succulents happy and healthy, avoiding the common pitfalls of overwatering and Underwatering is crucial. One effective solution is to use a self-watering planter.

These innovative planters ensure that your plants receive the right amount of moisture, making them an excellent choice for succulents. You can find a variety of self-watering planters at Planterhoma, designed to take the guesswork out of plant care and help your greenery thrive.

Poor Lighting

As mentioned earlier, insufficient light can cause etiolation, where the plant stretches out in search of more light. If your succulent looks leggy or pale, it’s time to move it to a brighter spot.

Pests

Pests like mealybugs and spider mites can also cause damage on succulents. Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of infestations and treat them promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

How to Propagate a Dying Succulent

If you find yourself with a dying succulent, don't despair. Propagation can be a lifesaver, giving your plant a new lease on life. In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of propagating a dying succulent step by step.

Step 1: Assess the Situation

Before diving into propagation, it's crucial to understand why your succulent is struggling. Common issues include overwatering, underwatering, poor soil, or insufficient light. Identifying the root cause will help you avoid making the same mistakes with your propagated plants. Look for signs such as yellowing leaves, mushy stems, or a general lack of vigor.

Step 2: Gather Your Supplies

To propagate your succulent, you'll need a few basic supplies:

  • A clean, sharp knife or pair of scissors
  • A well-draining succulent or cactus soil mix
  • Small pots or containers with drainage holes
  • Rooting hormone (optional)
  • A spray bottle filled with water

Step 3: Select Healthy Parts for Propagation

Examine your succulent and choose healthy leaves or stems for propagation. Avoid using parts that are damaged, discolored, or mushy. For leaf propagation, gently twist a healthy leaf from the stem, ensuring you get the entire leaf, including the base.

For stem cuttings, use your knife or scissors to cut a healthy stem just below a leaf node. Place the cuttings in a dry, shaded area for a few days until the cut ends have formed a protective callous.

Step 4: Plant the Cuttings

Fill your pots or containers with the well-draining soil mix. For leaf cuttings, lay the leaves flat on the soil surface. For stem cuttings, insert the cut end into the soil, ensuring it stands upright. If you're using rooting hormone, dip the cut end into the hormone before planting to encourage faster root development.

How to Plant a Succulent?

Step 5: Water Sparingly

Succulents are adapted to arid conditions, so it's essential to water your cuttings sparingly. Use a spray bottle to mist the soil lightly, keeping it just barely moist. To avoid rot, make sure not to overwater your plants. It's better to be safe than sorry. Increase the watering schedule gradually after roots have developed.

Step 6: Provide Adequate Light

Place your pots in a bright, indirect light location. Direct sunlight can be too intense for young cuttings and may cause them to burn. A sunny windowsill with filtered light is ideal. As the cuttings establish roots and begin to grow, you can gradually introduce them to more direct sunlight.

Step 7: Monitor Growth and Transplant

Monitor your cuttings for any signs of growth over the next few weeks. New roots should start to form within a few weeks, followed by new leaves. Once the cuttings have developed a robust root system and are showing signs of healthy growth, you can transplant them into larger pots or your garden.

In short, propagating a dying succulent can be a rewarding and therapeutic process. By following these steps, you'll not only save your struggling plant but also expand your succulent collection.

Tips for Success

1. Monitor the Environment

Use a thermometer and a hygrometer to keep an eye on the temperature and humidity levels around your succulents. This will help you make necessary adjustments to keep them comfortable.

2. Seasonal Care

Adjust your care routine with the changing seasons. During the growing season (spring and summer), succulents may require more frequent watering and higher temperatures. In the dormant season (fall and winter), reduce watering and ensure they are kept in a cooler environment.

3. Location

Place your succulents in a spot where they can receive plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. A south-facing window is often ideal. Avoid placing them near drafts, air conditioning vents, or heating units, as these can create fluctuating temperatures and humidity levels.

Conclusion

Caring for succulents can be a rewarding experience, but it does come with its challenges. By understanding the common issues and adjusting your care routine accordingly, you can ensure your succulents thrive.

Remember, the key to healthy succulents lies in finding the right balance of water, light, and soil. If you've tried everything else and it hasn't worked, it's time to consider seeking guidance from a professional.

FAQs

1. How Do You Revive a Dying Succulent?

To revive a dying succulent, first, identify the issue. If overwatered, remove it from the soil, let the roots dry out, and replant in well-draining soil. If underwatered, gradually increase watering. Ensure it gets enough light and avoid extreme temperature changes.

2. Why Do My Indoor Succulents Keep Dying?

Indoor succulents often die due to improper watering, insufficient light, or poor soil drainage. Ensure you water them sparingly, provide bright indirect sunlight, and use well-draining soil. Regularly check for pests and maintain a stable indoor temperature to keep your succulents thriving.

3. How to Revive a Succulent?

To revive a succulent, first, assess the root health. Remove any dead or rotting roots and leaves. Replant in fresh, well-draining soil and place it in a bright, indirect light area. Water sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out completely between waterings and avoid extreme temperature fluctuations.

4. What Does an Overwatered Succulent Look Like?

An overwatered succulent typically has mushy leaves that may turn translucent or yellow. The plant may also exhibit a soft, squishy stem and root rot. To save it, reduce watering, remove damaged parts, and replant in well-draining soil.

5. What Does a Sick Succulent Look Like?

A sick succulent may show signs such as discolored or wilting leaves, soft or mushy spots, and stunted growth. It could also have visible pests or fungal infections. Address the issue by adjusting watering habits, ensuring proper light, and treating any pests or diseases promptly.

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