Learn Everything About Monocarpic Succulents – What Is A Death Bloom On A Succulent?

Learn Everything About Monocarpic Succulents What Is A Death Bloom On A Succulent

Seeing your flowering succulents bloom is exciting. Succulents produce bright, beautiful blooms in many colors, like red, white, yellow, pink, and purple. When you start to see flower stalks shooting up from your succulents, it’s hard not to smile and wait impatiently for them to bloom!

Sometimes, succulents turn black and die after that big beautiful display of flowers. If this has ever happened to you, don’t worry—it’s completely normal. Those succulents are monocarpic, which means they die right after they flower.

There are things you can do to delay your plant’s blooms, but eventually, all monocarpic plants flower and die. Today we will teach you about this natural phenomenon and give you some tips that will keep your plant baby healthy for as long as possible.

Definition of Monocarpic

As mentioned above, monocarpic plants die shortly after flowering or producing fruit. In Greek, “mono” means single, and “Karpos” means fruit, so it makes sense that plants that only flower or fruit once are called monocarpic. Plants that flower repeatedly throughout their life cycle are called polycarpic plants, meaning “many fruits” in Greek.

Monocarpic succulents die because flowering takes up all of the energy that they have. These plants divert all their resources to producing flowers because they contain seeds to create brand-new plants. Like most living things, a succulent’s goal is to reproduce, so the plant devotes so much energy to producing flowers and seeds.

After death-bloom succulents sprout flowers, they can’t sustain themselves anymore because they have no nutrients or energy left over. Sadly, the monocarpic starts to turn black and die.

Many death-bloom succulents, like Hens and Chicks, live several years before they flower, while some succulents, like the Century Plant take decades to flower. So don’t worry—you’ll get plenty of time with your succulent plant before it dies.

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Types of Monocarpic Succulents

Agave, Sempervivum, and Kalanchoe plants are the three main types of monocarpic succulents. All Sempervivums are monocarpic, but not all varieties of Kalanchoe and Agave plants are. You’ll have to look up which species of succulent you have to determine whether or not it’s monocarpic.

(Comment below if you’d like Succulent City to make a database of monocarpic succulents for you).

Some Aeoniums and varieties of Yucca, like the Joshua Tree, are considered to be monocarpic as well even though they don’t die right after flowering.

I know what you’re thinking… aren’t all monocarpic plants supposed to die right after flowering? How can you call a plant monocarpic if it doesn’t die?!

Well, these plants do die, in a sense. Individual branches on these plants flower one at a time and then die, but it doesn’t kill the whole plant. These plants still have many other branches that continue to grow and thrive.

So, some death bloom succulents don’t die after all. But is there anything you can do to keep the ones that do, like Hens and Chicks, from dying?

Can I Stop My Monocarpic Succulents from Dying?

The answer is… maybe.

Some gardeners have been able to stop their monocarpic succulents from dying but the success rate is not as probable as succulent lovers might love to have.

If you take good care of your succulents, many won’t flower as quickly. Succulents may flower early when stressed due to a lack of water or sunlight. They do this hoping their seeds will end up in better-growing conditions. So ensure you give your plant plenty of bright sunlight and enough water.

You can try to cheat nature and keep your succulents alive even longer by cutting the flower stalk down as soon as you see it. This works best with Kalanchoe plants, which have flower stalks that are easy to cut off, but you can also cut the blooms out of Sempervivums. (Here’s a list of gardening tools to help you accomplish this).

When Sempervivums bloom, the leaves in the center of the rosette close up, and the rosette tilts upwards. Eventually, the center of the rosette will grow into a tall plant stem that can be a few inches to a foot tall. As soon as you see your Hens and Chicks plant begin to tilt upwards, you need to cut out its central leaves if you hope to save it.

Monocarpic succulent plant succulent city

Grab a garden knife and use it to separate the tight, tilted leaves in the center of the rosette from the rest of the leaves. Make sure you remove everything and get an excellent clean cut. Watch your Hens and Chicks for new growth in the coming weeks. If you see new offsets forming in the center of the rosette, then the procedure was a success!

We’ve never tried this method, but we can’t imagine it has a high success rate. Your succulent may try to flower again, so one procedure may not be enough to keep it alive. Cutting out so many leaves will also change the way your plant looks. New offsets will form in the center, making your plant look a little wonky. We still think this method is worth trying, though. We’d rather have an imperfectly shaped plant than no plant at all!

If you’d rather sit back and let nature take its course, that’s great too! Enjoy the beautiful blooms that your succulent will produce over the coming weeks, and try to harvest the seeds to grow more plants later. If you care for the offsets your plant produced during its lifetime, that bare spot in your garden will be filled in no time!


Final Words

We hope this post has shed some light on this somewhat confusing topic! If you’ve just discovered that your succulent is monocarpic or figured out why one of your plants randomly died on you a few years ago, let us know in the comments below. Happy planting!

I loved learning about this succulent and am inspired to add more to your collection?! (We don’t blame you) Check out Succulent City’s new line of ebooks covering topics from, “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor and Outdoor,” “Different Types of Planters,” and many more helpful in-depth ebooks. Head to this link to view our full line of ebooks and get started with our complimentary guide. 

Succulent City chief editor


Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

6 thoughts on “Learn Everything About Monocarpic Succulents – What Is A Death Bloom On A Succulent?

  1. Hello, I’d like to know if my peperomia succulents are monocarpic but can’t find answer. Are all peperomias monocarpic (I read they are)? I’d also like to find out about my aeonium and Kalanchoe. I’m new to this.

  2. The site is wonderful there is so much to help me with my plants all types. I spent five hours just reading this morning.Later today I am going t,o make soil and start working with some new, some old plants.Thanks so much.

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