Help! My succulent is dying!

It can be heartbreaking to see the succulents you have nurtured for months start dying. Well, you do not have to watch helplessly as your succulents die when you can save them.

In this article, you will understand why your succulents are dying and how you can save them.

Help! My succulent is dying!
Dying Succulent

Reasons Why Your Succulents are Dying and What You Can Do to Save Them

It is essential to know the particular reason your succulents are dying to prevent such situations. Here are some of the reasons why succulents fail and how you can save them:

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Water Damage and Mineral Accumulation

Watering your succulents with tap water will eventually lead to their death. Tap water contains additives such as chlorine, lead, and mercury, which, when accumulated in the soil, will damage the roots, cause stunted growth and death.

It is not also a good idea to water your succulents with softened water. It is because softened water contains a high concentration of sodium, which causes an interference with the water balance of your succulents and “fools” them into believing that they have taken up excess water when in actuality, they need more water. The succulents will eventually die of thirst.

The thing with softened water is that it kills your succulents and damages the soil. So, if you plant another succulent in the same soil, it will eventually die, even if you do not use softened water to water it.
In light of the above, the Cactus and Succulent Society of San Jose suggests that you use rainwater instead of tap water or softened water. If for some reason, you cannot get rainwater, you can settle for distilled water.
If you notice your succulents are slowly dying due to mineral accumulation and water treatment chemicals, you can do two things:

First, flush the contaminated soil with rainwater or distilled water to eliminate the excess mineral accumulation. Second, repot the succulent and remove the dirty soil from the roots.

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Succulent dying Lighting conditions: IG@plantwitchlady

Lighting Conditions

Succulents typically thrive in different home lighting conditions. But they find it challenging to adapt to the abrupt variations in light. For example, if you place your succulents outside for a while and you suddenly take them indoors, adapting to the significant changes in light will be difficult, and some succulents may start dying.
To prevent this from happening, gradually introduce your succulents to your indoor lighting conditions. Placing your succulents in a bright spot outside, ensure that the intensity of the light indoors is quite the same as where they are coming from. Placing them close to a window might suffice. After some weeks, you can move the succulents to a shadier spot indoors if you wish.

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Succulent dying off mealy bug: IG@meg_is_growing

Insects and Disease

Suppose your succulents are in a properly lit environment and are watered with distilled water but still have a sickly appearance. In that case, they are most likely struggling with an insect infestation or disease. According to the Cactus and Succulent Society of San Jose, succulents are susceptible to the attack of red spider mites, mealybugs, and scale.

If you notice spider mites are attacking your succulents, quarantine the infested plants and apply a specifically formulated pesticide to control spider mites. If the spider mites have reproduced, a one-time pesticide application will not be enough. Reapply the pesticide every week and keep your succulents out of direct sunlight.

To treat mealy bugs, you will need a systemic pesticide. While contact insecticides effectively eliminate mealy bugs, they need to be applied in large quantities, making your plants burn when exposed to direct sunlight.
When it comes to scale treatment, remove the scale from the succulents using your hands or tweezers. For more efficiency, you can use a spray nozzle on a garden hose. When using the hose, ensure that the water pressure is not high enough to damage your succulents.

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Overwatering Death of Succulent: IG@homeandgreens


If your succulent’s leaves have a yellow or transparent appearance, with a soggy feel, the issue might be overwatering.
Also, if your succulents’ leaves start to fall off or if there are black spots on them, take that as a sign that you are overwatering your plants. At this stage, it may not be easy to save your succulents.
Meanwhile, bear in mind that some succulents are more sensitive to overwatering than others. For instance, Echeverias takes just about two to three days to rot if it is overwatered, while most succulents take over a few weeks.

The thing is, most succulents can survive for several weeks without water, so you do not need to overwater them. To avoid overwatering, ensure the soil is dried out before you water your succulents again.

Once you notice any signs of overwatering, adjust your watering plan. If the problem is a black spot, you will need to cut off the top of the succulent and trim. In addition, allow the cut to dry out for two to three days, and then propagate them in new soil.

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Under-watering Succulent: IG@covidcrayplantlady


Just as over-watering can pose a big problem for succulents, under-watering can lead to an equally big problem. For instance, unlike most succulents that can go for several weeks without water, you have to water Senecio haworthii and Portulacaria afra very frequently; otherwise, they will suffer from under-watering.

If you notice your succulent’s leaves are dehydrated and crispy, you have to water the plant a little more.
That said, saving an under-watered succulent is relatively easier than saving one that is overwatered. If succulents just started showing signs of wrinkles and dryness, one or two watering cycles will help them thrive again.

Tracking your watering schedule can be quite challenging, especially if you are rarely at home. So, you may tend to overwater or under-water your succulents.
While you can use a pen and paper or a spreadsheet to create a watering schedule, using a succulent tracker application can be the easiest and most effective way to keep track of watering activity.

There you have it! Now you know why your succulents are dying and what you can do to save them and prevent a reoccurrence.

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