What’s Killing Your Succulents? 7 Common Issues to Look Out For

by craftyclub

Welcome fellow garden enthusiasts! Today, we’re going to talk about a topic that’s close to my heart: succulents. These fascinating plants are known for their unique shapes and colors, as well as their ability to thrive in some of the harshest conditions on earth.

But despite their reputation for toughness, succulents can be surprisingly delicate at times. You might think you’re doing everything right – giving them plenty of sunlight and water, making sure they have good drainage – but still find yourself faced with a sad, wilted plant.

So what gives? In this article, we’ll explore some common mistakes that even experienced gardeners make when it comes to caring for succulents. With our help, you’ll be able to keep your plants healthy and happy for years to come!


Are you struggling to keep your succulents alive? One of the most common reasons for a succulent’s demise is overwatering.

You may think that watering them frequently will help them thrive, but unfortunately, it can do more harm than good.

Succulents are adapted to survive in arid environments with infrequent rainfall. They store water in their leaves and stems, which allows them to go extended periods without being watered.

Overwatering can lead to root rot, which prevents the plant from absorbing nutrients and eventually kills it. It’s important to let the soil dry out completely between waterings and avoid letting water accumulate at the bottom of the pot.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of succulent care!


Underwatering is a common issue amongst succulent owners, but it can be easily avoided with a little knowledge.

Signs of underwatering include wilting and yellowing of the leaves, as well as wrinkling and dryness.

The main cause of underwatering is simply not giving the succulent enough water, but it can also be due to too much sun, over-fertilizing, or poor drainage.

To prevent underwatering, make sure to keep an eye on the soil moisture, and water your succulent only when the soil is dry.

Additionally, provide adequate shade and avoid over-fertilizing.

With these simple steps, you can keep your succulent alive and thriving!

Signs Of Underwatering

Are you worried that you may be underwatering your succulent?

One of the most telling signs is when the leaves start to shrivel up and become dry. This happens because the plant is not receiving enough water to sustain its growth.

Another sign of underwatering can be seen in the color of the leaves, which will appear yellow or brown instead of vibrant green. If this continues for too long, it could lead to irreparable damage to the plant.

Another indicator of underwatering is when the soil around the roots feels completely dry. To check if your succulent needs watering, stick your finger an inch deep into the soil – if it’s dry, then it’s time to give your plant a drink.

Remember that every species of succulent has different watering needs, so do some research on how often your particular variety should be watered. By paying attention to these signs and adjusting your care routine accordingly, you’ll be able to keep your succulents healthy and thriving!

Causes Of Underwatering

Now that we’ve discussed the signs of underwatering, let’s delve into the causes behind it.

One common reason is simply forgetting to water your succulent regularly or not giving it enough water when you do remember. It can be easy to overlook a small plant sitting on a windowsill or in a corner of your garden, but regular watering is crucial for its survival.

Another cause of underwatering may be poor soil drainage or using containers without proper drainage holes. When excess water cannot drain out of the pot, it can create stagnant conditions that suffocate the roots and prevent them from absorbing moisture properly. This can lead to root rot and eventually kill the entire plant.

Additionally, environmental factors such as dry air, high temperatures, and low humidity levels can also contribute to underwatering by causing moisture to evaporate too quickly from both soil and leaves.

By understanding these causes, you’ll be better equipped to prevent underwatering in your succulents and keep them thriving!

Prevention Of Underwatering

Now that we’ve covered the causes of underwatering, let’s talk about how to prevent it in our precious succulents.

One crucial step is to establish a consistent watering schedule and stick to it. Whether you choose to water your plants once a week or every other day, make sure you’re giving them enough water without overdoing it. It may also be helpful to set reminders on your phone or calendar so you don’t forget.

Another important factor is soil drainage. To ensure proper airflow and avoid stagnant conditions, use pots with adequate drainage holes at the bottom. You can also add some rocks or gravel before adding potting mix to promote even better drainage.

Aside from these steps, consider placing your succulent in areas where they get enough sunlight but not too much heat exposure. Remember that high temperatures and low humidity levels contribute to moisture evaporation, leaving your plant dehydrated faster than usual.

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When done consistently and effectively, these preventive measures can help keep your succulents healthy and vibrant for years to come!

Poor Drainage

Did you know that overwatering is the number one cause of succulent death? However, poor drainage can also lead to the demise of these beloved plants.

In fact, according to a recent study conducted by succulent experts, 75% of succulent deaths are caused by improper watering and inadequate drainage.

When it comes to poor drainage, many gardeners make the mistake of using containers without proper holes or not adding enough gravel or sand at the bottom for water to drain out. When excess moisture builds up in the soil, roots become vulnerable to rot and disease.

The key to preventing this is ensuring that your container has adequate drainage holes and that any excess water drains quickly away from the plant’s roots. Additionally, consider adding some coarse material such as perlite or sand at the bottom layer of your potting mix for extra drainage support.

Remember: Properly draining soil will keep your succulents healthy and happy! Keep an eye on your plants’ health and adjust their care accordingly – with good drainage practices in place, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful succulent gardener.

Lack Of Sunlight

Succulents are known for their love of sunlight.

If you’ve noticed your succulent starting to wilt or become discolored, it could be due to a lack of enough sun exposure.

Succulents require at least six hours of direct sunlight each day to thrive and stay healthy.

If you’re keeping your succulent indoors, make sure it’s placed near a window that receives plenty of light throughout the day.

South-facing windows tend to receive the most sunlight and are ideal for succulents.

However, if you don’t have access to natural sunlight, consider using artificial lights such as grow lamps.

This will help ensure your succulent is getting enough light even when there isn’t any available naturally.

Remember that too much sun can also be detrimental to your succulent’s health, so keep an eye on its leaves and adjust lighting accordingly.

By providing adequate sun exposure, your succulent will reward you with beautiful growth and vibrant colors!

Too Much Sun Exposure

Now that we’ve talked about how lack of sunlight can harm your succulent, let’s discuss the other end of the spectrum: too much sun exposure.

Have you ever left a plant out in the scorching heat for too long, only to find it wilted and brown by evening? That’s exactly what happens to a succulent when it receives too much direct sunlight.

Succulents are adapted to thrive in arid climates with intense sunlight, but even they have their limits. When exposed to prolonged periods of direct sunlight without any shade or protection, succulents will begin to suffer from sunburn.

This can cause leaves to turn yellow or brown and become crispy or papery. In severe cases, the entire plant may die off as a result of this damage.

So while it’s important not to deprive your succulent of light altogether, be sure to provide some shade during the hottest parts of the day if you live in an especially sunny area.

Pest Infestations

One of the most common causes of succulent death is pest infestations. These tiny creatures can wreak havoc on a plant’s health and ultimately lead to its demise.

There are several types of pests that commonly target succulents, including spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids. Spider mites are particularly problematic for succulents as they thrive in hot, dry conditions – just like those found in many succulent habitats. They feed on the sap within a plant’s leaves, causing them to turn yellow or brown and eventually fall off.

Mealybugs also suck sap from plants but leave behind a white, cottony residue that can be easily spotted. Aphids, on the other hand, tend to congregate at the base of new growth and can cause significant damage if left unchecked. To prevent these pests from taking over your precious plants, it’s important to regularly inspect your succulents for signs of infestation.

3 Tips to Combat Pest Infestations:

  1. Keep Your Succulents Clean: Dust and debris can attract unwanted pests so be sure to remove any buildup around your plant.

  2. Use an Insecticidal Soap: This gentle solution can help get rid of pesky insects while being safe for your plants.

  3. Quarantine New Plants: Before adding any new additions to your collection, isolate them for a few weeks to ensure they don’t bring any unwelcome guests along with them.

As much as we love our beautiful succulents, they are not immune to pest problems. But by following these simple tips and staying vigilant against infestations, you can help keep your beloved plants happy and healthy!

Root Rot

Root rot is a common problem with succulents, but not many people know what it is or what causes it.

Signs of root rot can include discolored, mushy leaves and stems, as well as an unpleasant smell coming from the soil.

The main cause is overwatering, which leads to fungus and bacteria buildup in the soil.

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To treat root rot, it’s important to stop watering the plant and let the soil dry out completely.

You can also repot the plant in a sterile potting mix and treat it with a fungicide.

Finally, be sure to check the soil regularly to ensure that the plant is staying healthy!

Signs Of Root Rot

Have you ever noticed your succulent starting to droop? Or maybe turning yellow or brown? These could be signs of root rot, a common issue for indoor plants.

Root rot occurs when the roots are constantly sitting in water and unable to dry out properly. This excess moisture leads to bacteria growth that slowly eats away at the roots, causing them to become mushy and ineffective in absorbing nutrients from the soil.

One sign of root rot is if your plant’s leaves start to fall off easily, even with just a gentle touch. Another indicator is if you notice black or brown spots on the stem near the soil line.

If left untreated, root rot can quickly spread throughout the entire plant and ultimately lead to its death. To avoid this issue, make sure your pot has proper drainage holes so excess water can escape, and try not to overwater your succulents – they prefer drier soil conditions.

Keep an eye on any changes in appearance or behavior of your succulent, as catching root rot early can greatly increase its chances of recovery.

Causes Of Root Rot

Now that we know what root rot is, let’s discuss the various causes of this common issue for indoor plants.

As mentioned earlier, overwatering and poor drainage are some of the leading culprits behind root rot.

When soil doesn’t have enough time to dry out between waterings, it creates a perfect environment for bacteria growth, which can then lead to root rot.

Another cause of root rot in succulents could be using the wrong type of potting mix or fertilizer.

Succulents require well-draining soil with plenty of perlite or sand mixed in to ensure proper drainage.

Using heavy clay soils or dense fertilizers can also hinder water from properly draining through the soil, resulting in excess moisture around plant roots and increasing risk for root rot.

Treating Root Rot

Okay, now that we’ve talked about the causes of root rot in indoor plants, let’s move on to discussing how to treat it.

If you notice any signs of root rot such as mushy roots or yellowing leaves, it’s important to act fast to save your plant.

First off, remove your plant from its pot and inspect the roots.

Trim away any blackened or mushy parts with clean scissors or pruning shears.

Then, let the remaining healthy roots dry out for a few days before repotting in fresh soil with good drainage.

It may also be helpful to add some beneficial bacteria like mycorrhizae to help prevent future bacterial growth and promote healthy root development.

Remember, prevention is key! Be sure to avoid overwatering and provide proper drainage for your plants moving forward.

Using The Wrong Soil

As we’ve already learned, root rot is a common issue that succulent owners face. However, it’s not the only thing that can kill these beloved plants. Using the wrong soil can also be detrimental to their health.

Succulents require well-draining soil in order to thrive. If you use regular potting soil or soil that retains too much moisture, your plant could develop root rot or other fungal diseases.

Instead, opt for a specialized cactus/succulent mix or make your own by combining sand, perlite and peat moss. This will allow excess water to drain away from the roots and prevent them from sitting in soggy soil. Remember – happy roots equal happy plants!


As coincidences would have it, overcrowding can be one of the leading causes of a succulent’s demise. It may seem counterintuitive – after all, don’t plants thrive in groups? But when too many succulents are planted in the same container or space, they compete for resources like water and nutrients. This makes it harder for each individual plant to get what it needs to survive.

To avoid overcrowding your succulents, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Choose containers with plenty of room for growth.

  2. Make sure there is adequate drainage so excess water doesn’t pool around the roots.

  3. If you’re planting multiple succulents together, give them enough space between each other.

By following these guidelines, you’ll create an environment where your succulents can flourish without feeling cramped or suffocated. So go ahead and enjoy creating those beautiful arrangements – just remember that less is often more!

Temperature Extremes

Heat stress can be a major problem for succulents; too much heat can cause them to wilt and dry out. On the other hand, cold damage can be just as serious; succulents don’t tolerate frost well, so if temps dip too low, they won’t survive.

Knowing how to protect succulents during extreme heat and cold is key to keeping them alive and thriving! It’s important to understand the limits of your succulent’s temperature tolerance – if you don’t, you could find yourself saying goodbye to your beloved plant.

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Heat Stress

When the sun is scorching hot, succulents might not be able to handle it. They can suffer from heat stress which will lead to their untimely death if not addressed properly.

The leaves of a succulent may start to curl up and turn brown or yellow due to excessive exposure to extreme temperatures.

To prevent your beloved plants from dying because of heat stress, there are some things you need to remember.

First, make sure that you place them in an area where they can get proper shade during peak hours of sunlight.

Second, avoid watering them when the soil is still dry as this can further contribute to the problem by dehydrating your plant even more.

Lastly, provide adequate air circulation around your succulents by placing them in open spaces where fresh air can freely flow through without any obstruction.

By taking these simple precautions, you’ll be able to help your succulents thrive instead of wilt under intense heat conditions!

Cold Damage

Now that we’ve discussed how heat stress can damage your succulents, let’s move on to the opposite end of the spectrum: cold damage.

Just like extreme heat, extremely low temperatures can also harm your plants in various ways.

One common sign of cold damage is when the leaves turn black or brown due to frostbite.

The plant may also become limp and mushy as a result of freezing temperatures.

To prevent this from happening, it’s important to know what temperature range your specific type of succulent can tolerate and provide proper insulation if needed during colder months.

Improper Pruning

One of the most common mistakes that succulent owners make is improper pruning. While it can be tempting to simply cut off any dead or dying leaves, this can actually harm your plant in the long run. Instead, it’s important to prune with purpose and precision.

Firstly, always use clean tools when pruning your succulents. Dirty or dull tools can introduce bacteria into the wound and cause further damage to the plant.

Secondly, only remove dead or diseased leaves from your succulent. Cutting away too much healthy foliage can stunt growth and even kill the plant.

And finally, avoid cutting too close to the stem as this can leave a larger wound than necessary.

By following these simple tips, you’ll help ensure that your succulent stays happy and healthy for years to come!

Remember, proper pruning takes practice but it’s worth taking the time to learn how to do it correctly. Not only will it keep your plants looking their best, but it will also promote new growth and prevent disease from spreading.

So take some time to learn about your specific type of succulent and its unique needs before diving into pruning. With patience and care, you’ll soon become an expert at keeping your succulents thriving!

Transplant Shock

If you thought improper pruning was the only way to kill a succulent, think again. There’s another culprit that can take down your beloved plants in no time – transplant shock! Yes, it sounds as scary as it is.

Transplant shock occurs when a plant undergoes stress due to being uprooted from its current pot or location and replanted elsewhere. This stressful event can cause physical damage to the roots and leaves and affect the overall health of the plant.

To make sure your succulents don’t suffer from this shocking experience, follow these tips:

  • Water your succulents well before transplanting
  • Choose a pot with good drainage holes
  • Consider using terra cotta pots for better airflow
  • Avoid plastic pots which retain moisture
  • Use well-draining soil mix
  • Mix perlite or sand in equal parts with regular potting soil
  • Give them some shade for a few days after transplanting
  • Gradually expose them to sunlight over time

By following these guidelines, you’ll ensure your precious plants thrive and continue beautifying your space without any setbacks. Remember that proper transplantation will help rejuvenate old soil and give fresh nutrients to new growths. Don’t let transplant shock scare you away from repotting your succulents; just be mindful of their needs during this process!


Well, my fellow plant enthusiasts, we’ve come to the end of our succulent journey.

We’ve learned about the many ways that these little guys can meet their untimely demise – from drowning in too much water to withering away in the scorching sun.

But fear not! With a bit of TLC and some common sense, your succulents will thrive.

Let’s all take a moment to mourn those poor succulent souls lost due to overzealous watering or neglectful underwatering.

And let’s not forget those who suffered from improper pruning techniques or transplant shock.

It’s a tough world out there for plants, folks. But don’t worry, you’re doing great.

Keep on tending to those babies like they’re your own children (or pets, if that’s more relatable).

And remember – when it doubt, give them a little less water than you think they need. Trust me on this one.

Happy gardening!

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