Why Are My Succulent Leaves Shriveling?

The most common reason for succulent leaves shriveling is underwatering. It is not an attractive look. But it is important to understand that a few shriveled lower leaves on succulents are not a cause for concern.

When you see that your succulent has wrinkly-looking leaves, it is probably a sign that it wants a drink. A good soak (watering your succulent) will probably remedy the problem. Then wait until the lower leaves wither before soaking it again.

Shriveling Succulent LeavesPin

This article answers ten of the most frequently asked questions about care and watering and dealing with shriveled leaves in succulents. Read on to learn more. 

Dealing And Caring With Shriveled Succulent Leaves

1. How Should You Water Succulents To Prevent Shriveling Leaves? 

Soak and dry watering is always best for succulents and most plants.

If you want to avoid having your succulents’ leaves shrivel between waterings, keep a close eye on the soil.

When it is completely dry, but before your plants’ leaves begin to protest, provide a deep watering. 

2. Is It Better To Water Succulents From The Top Or The Bottom?

Ideally, you should pour water through your plants’ potting mix until it flows freely through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

You want to completely soak the soil mix and then dry it quickly and efficiently.

3. How Long Will It Take Shriveled Leaves To Rehydrate?

It can take a couple of days following a deep watering for the plants’ leaves to plump up again.

4. What If My Plants’ Leaves Feel Flat And Floppy?

This is also a sign of thirst.

Try providing a deep watering. You should see signs of recovery in a day or two.

Sometimes, if a succulent has been in the same soil for a very long time, it will not recover with just watering.

You may need to repot it into an entirely new cactus mix.

When you remove the plant from its old soil, rinse the roots and place the bare root plant in a container of lukewarm water for half an hour to give it a good drink before placing it in new soil. 

5. What If My Plants’ Leaves Are Soft And Mushy?

Squishy succulent leaves are a sign of overwatering. An overwatered succulent may drop a lot of leaves. The leaves may even appear translucent.

A plant that has gotten to this condition should be removed from its soggy soil and allowed to dry out for a few days.

Then, remove the damaged leaves and trim off any rotted roots before repotting into the fresh, dry cactus mix. 

6. How Can You Tell If A Potted Plant’s Soil Is Completely Dry? 

Succulents should be planted in a sharply draining succulent soil mix that does not retain a lot of moisture, so simply waiting a week to 10 days after watering should result in dry soil.

If you are unsure if the soil is completely dry, try lifting the container.

The soil is probably dry if it feels lighter than you would expect. You could also use a hygrometer to test the soil’s moisture level. 

7. Should You Get Succulents’ Leaves Wet?

When you water, use a watering can and keep the spout very close to the soil’s surface.

Avoid getting the plants’ leaves wet because excess moisture can cause problems with leaf rot. 

8. Is It A Good Idea To Mist Succulents?

When starting new plants from seed or cuttings, misting is a good way to provide the moisture needed to set new roots.

However, mature plants should not be misted because leaf moisture can lead to fungal problems. 

9. Is It A Good Idea To Water Succulents With Ice Cubes? 

It is not a good idea to water any plant with ice cubes. The cold temperature is damaging to plant roots of all sorts. 

Instead, you should use room temperature or slightly warmer water. 

10. How Do You Deep Water Succulents In The Landscape? 

If you have succulents in your rock garden or other areas in your landscape, you can deep water by running a garden hose or soaker hose slowly for half an hour or more to deeply drench the soil.

If you live in a desert setting, you may need to do this once or twice a week during the growing season.

However, if you live in an area with a reasonable amount of rain, you may never have to water your succulents once they are well established or worry about succulent leaves shriveling. 

JOIN Our FREE Plant Care Newsletter 

By entering your email address you agree to receive a daily email newsletter from Plant Care Today. We'll respect your privacy and unsubscribe at any time.