Do you have a problem with succulent leaves falling off your plants?
This is a natural part of the growth process or a response to environmental stress, which may include circumstances such as:
- A Need for Reduction in Energy Needs
- Too Much or Too Little Water
- Excessive Light
- Chemical Shock
- Excessive Heat
- Excessive Cold
- Lack of Light
… and More.
In this article, we explore the many reasons why your succulents may be dropping leaves and share advice to help you deal with this problem.
Read on to learn more.
The majority of succulents thrive in very warm, dry areas.
Dropping leaves is sometimes a natural response to extended periods of excessive heat or drought.
Even though this is a normal coping mechanism, it’s not one you want in an attractive ornamental plant.
Other signs of heat stress include sunburn spots and wilting.
To prevent your succulents from becoming stressed by extreme heat, you should locate them in the light shade when kept outdoors during hot weather.
Indoors, keep your succulents away from windows a bit so they get plenty of bright indirect light but are not scorched by direct, magnified sunlight.
Conversely, succulents may also drop leaves and show other signs of stress when touched by frost.
Most succulents do not survive freezing weather and may develop burned black and falling leaves.
A plant stressed by frost but not killed will usually generate some new leaves to replace the damaged leaves.
It’s better to allow the damaged leaves to fall off naturally than to pull or prune them away.
Plant cold-sensitive succulents in protected areas outdoors and mulch or cover in winter as appropriate for protection.
Keep indoor succulents away from areas (e.g., near exterior doors) where they might receive cold blasts of air during the winter months.
Lighting Excesses & Changes
When kept in a low light setting, your succulents lose color and may even turn yellow.
Eventually, the leaves will fall off.
Other signs of excessively low lighting include stretching.
If your plant is leaning toward the light and creating long, spindly stems, it’s a sign you need to move the plant into a better lit area.
Sudden changes in light can cause succulent plants to drop leaves.
If you have had your plant oriented in one way toward the sun for a long time and then you suddenly turn it, this is often enough stress to cause leaf drop.
Likewise, if you move the plant from a relatively low lit area to a very highly lit area or vice versa, leaf drop may occur.
Be sure to make any changes gradually so your plant will have time to adapt.
Succulent Pests Can Also Be a Problem
Check out these links for more details:
- Treating Aphids on Succulents
- Succulent Mealybug
- Mealybugs in Soil
- Pests on Succulents – Mealybugs, Aphids, Scale Insects
- Echeveria Succulent Pests
Chemical Burn Can Cause Leaf Drop
Chemicals can shock your plant’s system, and they don’t even have to be excessively harsh chemicals.
Even treatments for maladies such as the fungus designed to use with succulents can cause your plant to drop its leaves.
Whenever you’re treating your plant for any sort of ailment, it’s wise to look for natural alternatives first.
If you must turn to chemical treatment, be sure to follow packaging instructions very carefully.
Keep your plant in an ideal, consistent setting during treatment to avoid excessive stress.
Are You Watering Correctly?
Even though the vast majority of succulents are drought tolerant, a lack of water will naturally cause them to wilt and drop leaves.
By the same token, excessive water can cause succulent leaves to swell up too much and fall off.
You must find the perfect medium to water your plants just the right amount.
You should wait until the soil is nearly dry and then water very thoroughly.
More on –> How often should you water a succulent?
Is Your Succulent in the Right Kind of Container?
Containers for succulents and cactus should always be made of porous, breathable material such as terra-cotta or hypertufa, and they should always have plenty of drainage holes.
Is Your Succulent in the Right Kind of Soil?
Succulent plants need light, airy, well-draining soil.
When you water, you should be able to pour the water through the soil and have it run freely through the ample drainage holes in the bottom of your container.
Details on –> How to make succulent soil!
Is Your Plant Growing?
Sometimes as succulent plants grow taller, they naturally shed some of their lower leaves.
This is not a cause for alarm.
Succulent Care Is Easy
Consistency and moderation are the keys to successful succulent care. Be sure to provide your plant plenty of light (without scorching it).
Keep it in a consistently warm temperature during the day, and don’t allow it to become excessively chilled at night.
Provide a pot and substrate allowing for good air circulation around the roots.
Water seldom and thoroughly.
If you follow these guidelines, your succulent should only experience leaf drop as a part of normal growth.