What Is A Stretched-out Succulent? How To Fix Stretched Succulents

Succulents do not need much care to thrive, but they may stretch out or become leggy when they do get a sufficient amount of sunlight, and that distorts their appearance. This condition is known as etiolation, and it affects other houseplants as well. Saving a Stretched-out Succulent is really important.

If the disfiguration is not too much, you can save your succulents. Please stick with us as we show you how to prevent and protect your succulents from stretching out. This article gives you ways for Saving a Stretched-out Succulent.

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Stretched Succulent

How to Know if Your Succulents are Stretching Out

Here are the ways to know if your succulents are stretching out and need to be saved:

Sudden Rapid Growth

Most succulents grow gradually under normal conditions. However, when they do not get enough light, they increase in any light source direction. This rapid growth results in elongated stems with fewer, widely spaced leaves. This elongated stem increases the succulent’s chances of getting light, which is a requirement for photosynthesis to take place.

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Etiolated Succulent: IG@houseplantjournal

Downward-Facing Leaves

Succulents like Sempervivums and Echeverias have upward-facing leaves that grow in the form of tufts. When these leaves start pointing downwards, that indicates a deprivation of light. Your succulents having downward-pointing leaves is the first sign of etiolation.

Pale Green Appearance

The green color you usually see in most succulents is because of a substance called chlorophyll. Without adequate sunlight, chlorophyll cannot be formed. And without chlorophyll, your succulents will have a pale green appearance.

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How to Prevent Succulents from Becoming Stretched-out

If your succulents become stretched-out due to inadequate sunlight, ensure they are getting adequate sunlight wherever they are located. It would be great if your succulents can get at least five hours of daylight daily.
Indoor succulents have a higher tendency to become leggy than outdoor succulents. So, you need to move your indoor succulents to the brightest location in your home. If possible, take your indoor succulents outside to get an adequate supply of sunlight. If the light in your home is not sufficient to stable plant growth, get a grow light to meet your succulents’ lighting needs.

Also, ensure nothing is covering your succulents. Taller succulents may be blocking smaller ones from receiving adequate sunlight, and that will lead to etiolation. You can report the tall succulents to give the smaller ones access to sunlight.

You can also rotate the pot regularly to ensure all succulents get an adequate amount of sunlight. If the sun hits your pot at an angle, the succulents in that direction will get enough sunlight and may get burned, depending on the intensity. In contrast, succulents in other rules will become leggy. To prevent this from happening, rotate your succulent pot from time to time.

Last but not least, do not overfeed your succulents. If you apply more fertilizer than your succulents require, they will stretch out and grow weak. You do not want a situation where your succulents are increasing at a rate they cannot support. Always follow the dosage the fertilizer manufacturers recommend for a particular succulent. Instead of fertilizing your succulents during the winter, when growth usually slows down (dormancy), it is best to fertilize during the spring

How to Save a Stretched-out Succulent

To save your leggy succulents, you have to provide more light or trim the succulent. Let us shed more light on them:

Provide More Light

Plants stretching out is a result of insufficient light. When your succulents are not getting adequate sunlight, they stretch towards any light source to get more light.

Moving your succulents to a sunnier and brighter environment will help stop etiolation. If you grow your succulents outdoors, ensure that you do not leave them under direct sunlight for too long; otherwise, they will suffer sunburn. The best way to go is to increase the amount of light your succulents receive gradually. You can bring your succulents out in the morning when the sunlight is not all that intense. After a few weeks, you can then introduce your succulents to the afternoon sun.

For indoor succulents that are stretching out, you can place them close to a window or any spot that gets an adequate supply of light in your home or office. If there is nowhere else to move the succulents indoors, or if they are already in the brightest location in your home, you should give the succulents some outdoor exposure. Then again, if, for some reason, you cannot move your succulents outdoors, get a grow light to provide adequate lighting for your plants.

Once your succulents start getting adequate light, they will gradually recover. Note that succulents cannot recover from etiolation overnight. You have to be patient with the succulents and do not expect them to bloom like before.

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Trimming Leggy Succulents

Trim Your Leggy Succulents

If your succulents naturally grow leggy, you can trim them to maintain their appearance. If you decide not to cut your succulent that stretches out naturally, its health will not be affected.
Trimming leggy succulents is an excellent way of propagating them and increasing your collection. When you cut a succulent, its base where you got the cuttings from will keep growing and create younger succulents along the stem.

To trim a leggy succulent, cut the stem, leaving one or two inches. Keep the stem cuttings in a cool, dry place away from the sun for one or two days. You may have to keep the stem cuttings longer if you are in a humid environment.

Give the stem cuttings some days to heal before sticking them in a pot with good drainage soil. The best soil composition to use is a 1:1 mix of cactus and perlite.
When the soil is dry, water the succulent weekly or even monthly, depending on the water requirements.
The stem cuttings take about two or more weeks to root. As the succulent grows, increase the sunlight exposure and reduce the watering frequency.

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Succulent needs sunlight: IG@succulent.99


If your succulents are not getting a minimum of five hours of light daily, they will start stretching out to increase their light intake sooner than later. You can either increase the succulent light intake or trim your leggy succulent to save it.

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