What Causes Succulent Rotting and How to Prevent it?

If you’ve taken care of a succulent for quite some time now, you know that at least every succulent enthusiast will eventually encounter rotting. It’s like a right of passage if you will. Guess you’re staring at it right now, that’s why you’re here! Don’t beat yourself up over it, it happens— trust us.

Rotting can be such a motivation- drain, especially when you’ve been doing your best to have a beaming succulent plant. Why does it happen?

Is it because of a random disease in succulents?  Pest attacks- like those dang mealy bugs?

What exactly causes succulent rotting?

why is my succulent rotting
succulent freckles @succswithoutyou

Why Your Succulent is Rotting

A succulent can end up rotting for a couple of reasons. Continue reading and we’ll outline the reasons for you!

The Cold Winter Season

The first one is the winter cold. Yes, as much as succulents are termed as hardy with a tolerance for extreme conditions, not all of them can bare the combination of frost and low temperatures. Leave them outside during the cold months and rotting is what they’ll do. Here’s our guide on How to Take Care for Succulents in the Winter.

Avoid this scenario and get yourself a grow light, like this one! Bring your succulent babies inside and keep them warm with you during the cold, winter months. Aside from this grow light, check out our article on the additional Best Grow Lights Reviewed by Succulent Lovers.

why is my succulent rotting
brittle baby @inas_eden

Overwatering Your Succulents

The second one is overwatering. The most common. If you just started planting succulents you’re probably already doing it. For the caring soul you are, watering is something high up on your list as far your plants are concerned. You do it with your all but you have to be mindful when watering your succulents.

Being the houseplants that thrive with a bit more neglect, compared to other houseplants, you need to be a bit more conservative with your watering.

That will be great for any other of your plants except succulents. Plenty of water is a sure way of killing those babies. Because as soon as rotting kicks in, the damage is done. Saving the plant is still an option but not in the way you envision.

More on that later though. In the meantime, let us help with our article When You Should Water Your Succulent.

why is my succulent rotting
stop over watering @leafyroomies

The Wrong Succulent Soil Mix

And finally, your regular potting soil. If you didn’t get this aspect right during the potting stage, then it doesn’t matter how little you water your plant. The water will still be around for periods that aren’t ideal for a succulent.

The right succulent soil mix needs to be well-draining. Your succulent stores the water it needs within its leaves, so any access water that remains in its soil is only going to become harmful for your little baby. Here’s succulent soil mix we swear by. Give it a try if you haven’t already!

Those reasons aside, how do you tell that it’s rot you’re dealing with? It’s important to be sure so as to not end up applying the wrong remedy.

Before we continue… We’re just so excited to share with you about our sponsorship with Amazon! And to celebrate, they’re offering a FREE 30-day trial of their Amazon Prime Membership… You know, the membership where you can get FREE 2-day shipping on all your succulent needs?! Click this link to learn more and sign up today!

Okay… back to succulents.

why is my succulent rotting
get yourself the right potting mix @succulent_journey

Diagnosing Rotting in Your Succulent Plant

Rotting, especially due to being overly generous with water, has unique tell-tale signs. For an overwatered succulent

Consider these as precursors to rotting.

Here’s what you’ll see when the plant is really in the red as far as rotting is concerned:

  • Dark brown to black spots appear around the stem area
  • The affected parts become swollen and acquire a black coloration.
  • If the rotting has kicked off from the roots, the plant comes off as unhealthy with droopy leaves.
why is my succulent rotting
splitting Jade leaves @the_orchid_queen

Can a Rotting Succulent Be Saved?

That depends on the extent of the rot. If it is just a few roots that had started to catch on, simply cutting them off will salvage the plant— here’s a trimming set that will come in handy! But if the rotting is present in a larger part of the root ball and the stem, it’s farewell for your succulent – well, to some extent.

Not to worry though. Thanks to the ease of propagation of succulents, you can still end up with a new plant of the same kind. To do this, only pick out the parts that aren’t affected by the rot and set them up in a well-draining soil mix.

In both severe and mild rotting attacks, be sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Use a fresh potting mix. Even if the previous was well-draining, don’t include it in propagation or repotting. That will be a zero-sum undertaking.
  • If you’re going to use the same pot, clean it thoroughly. Get another if you don’t trust your idea of thoroughness. If you’re in need of some new planters, these are adorable, but read on here for 12 stunning succulent planters that are a MUST.
  • Any rotting part is cut off, no matter how small or insignificant it may appear. Only explicitly healthy parts should be considered. That way, you eliminate the possibility of the same problem recurring.
  • The cutting tool should be clean (possibly sterilized) and sharp. Jagged parts and infections aren’t exactly needed here (or anywhere else).
  • Cut parts should be left to dry out before being inserted into any medium.
why is my succulent rotting
let’s save your babies @terracottacorner

Preventative Measure for Rotting Succulents

It will be utterly useless for you to eliminate rotting parts and propagate a new succulent plant, and still end up with the same problem. So, after separating the good from the bad, your care routine should incorporate the following to keep rotting at bay.

A Well-Draining Potting Mix

Your regular potting soil is great. But not with a succulent. That’s if you want a healthy beaming succulent plant. Long periods of wet soil won’t assure you of this.

So, grab a commercial cactus/succulent mix. Or tweak the drainage capabilities of that regular potting soil by adding sand and pumice/perlite.

why is my succulent rotting
succulent lover’s dream patio @minigardens_minsk_brest

Ideal Watering Frequency

If you’ve been too heavy-handed with watering, it’s time to go easy. Remember: too much water is the leading cause of rotting in a succulent plant.

So, how easy should you go so as not to kill your succulent?

Let the top part of the mix be your guide. This top part should be allowed to dry out completely, between watering sessions, ideally 1-2 inches down the mix.

Keep in mind the growing seasons too. Periods of growth need water (not too much of it) while in dormancy, the amount reduces considerably. That means keeping up with a uniform watering routine can still turn out to be detrimental. So, use the above guidelines during seasons like summer and spring, and cut back during winter.

Use a Clay Pot

Well, if you can help it. Clay is so much better aerated which is a major boost to the drying rate of the potting mix. This gives the succulent roots great breathing space and hence reduces the chances of rotting by a huge margin.

Get your clay pots, here. They’d also be great to try DIY painting activities with!

For any other pot type, ensure the drainage holes at the bottom are large enough to let off the water as easily as possible.

why is my succulent rotting
grow baby, grow @succulentheaven21

Obey the Succulent Hardiness Value

Very vital if you’re growing your succulents outdoors. All factors adhered to, rotting is still imminent if you’re keeping a succulent in the cold when it should be inside.

So, know your zone. Know the zone your plant is suited for. Can it brace the cold and the accompanying frost? If not, bring it inside as soon as winter kicks in.

Knowing your zone (and that of the plant) is as easy as logging on to the USDA plant hardiness zone Map and typing in the name of your area.

The main reason why your succulent will rot is too much water. But it shouldn’t be the end of your plant. Just cut up the affected parts and start over again. This time around, be sure to adopt good care routines above so that you’re not stuck into an endless loop.

ALSO READ:

why is my succulent rotting
no rotting here @succulentlovestory

Have you been through the rotting cycle of succulents and have some additional tips for us, drop a comment down below, or join our Facebook group, Succulent City Plant Lounge, and share your thoughts there!

We have dozens of helpful guides on ensuring you become a good succulent parent you can be! Give our articles like, Can Succulents Survive in My Work Environment and Your Ultimate Guide on How to Take Care of Air Plants, a look today and get inspired!

Did this article help answer your succulent-care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulent lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on The Correct Way to Water Succulents or even Succulent Drainage Requirements today!

Thanks for reading, happy planting!?

How the Aloe Vera Succulent can Help with Eczema

The medicinal properties of aloe vera are indisputable and numerous!

From the ancient times to this modern era, it’s a proven fact that the aloe can combat quite a number of health conditions, eczema being one of them.

The olden days’ inhabitants of Egypt and China turned to aloe vera whenever they were faced with fever, burns or wounds. How’d they even know?

These have carried on into the modern world, and some more discovered. They include lowering blood sugar levels, curing athlete’s foot, reducing dandruff, etc.– this list goes on.

And, of course, treating (or rather toning down) eczema.

Honestly, it’s so easy to get carried away with spelling out the many uses of this super awesome succulent, but that’s beside the point.

For now, let’s have a look at eczema and what aloe vera can do for you.

how aloe vera helps eczema
aloe vera remedies @mujeresmedicina.mx

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a skin condition that causes parts of it to be itchy and irritated. Usually, it is manifested during childhood and quells as you grow up.

That is to say, rarely will an adult exhibit signs of eczema even though he/she might have suffered the same when young. But the skin of such a person remains dry for a larger part and is easily irritated unfortunately.

The condition comes about as a result of the skin being unable to fend off bacterial infections; usually due to a tweak in the genetic composition of an individual. It could be triggered or made intense by factors such as harsh soaps and detergents, cold weather and low humidity.

how aloe vera helps with eczema
planted aloe vera @ainhoa.artesanias

Signs and Symptoms of Eczema

Signs and symptoms of eczema vary from an individual to another. Generally, they include some of the following…

  • A very sensitive skin.
  • Red to brownish-grey skin patches on various parts of the body like feet, ankles, upper chest and wrists.
  • Dry skin.
  • Itching. It can become worse over time especially during the night.
  • Small swellings on the skin. These leak and form crusts when scratched.
  • A thickened scaly skin that is cracked.

Unfortunately, eczema treatment hasn’t been worked out yet. The available options are just remedies to reduce the severity of this condition, not completely rid of it.

And the good old aloe vera features are prominent in decreasing the severity and uncomfortable effects of eczema.

how aloe vera helps with eczema
spiky aloe @grin.succulents

How Aloe Vera can Help with Eczema

Aloe vera possesses very specific properties that have made it a darling in soothing and rejuvenating the skin. And these come into play big time in dealing with the damage left behind by eczema.

First off is the antimicrobial property that averts any bacterial and fungal infections. See, with the skin being all broken, it is very much vulnerable to attacks from bacteria and fungi. But aloe vera serves to eliminate these organisms before they can initiate any further problems to an already troubled individual.

Secondly, there is a wound-healing property that is particularly vital in an eczema situation. There is broken skin on lots of places as mentioned above. And those are lots of wounds, patches that need to be repaired. Aloe vera contains polysaccharides that boost skin growth– hence, healing!

Finally, the antioxidant content in aloe vera is a great addition to your body’s immunity. This prevents any further infections due to the skin that could occur when your skin is already vulnerable.

ALSO READ:

how aloe vera helps with eczema
bloomin’ aloe vera @post_karoo

How to Use Aloe Vera on Eczema

Toning down eczema using aloe vera is actually a very simple process!

Start by washing the affected area using a regular bar of soap and water. Apply aloe vera gel generously. Shortly after, allow some time for the gel to dry up before getting dressed.

Yeah, it’s that simple!

And extracting the gel direct from the succulent plant will do just fine. This method is even better because you’re sure of the purest form there is, without any additives or artificial ingredients attached.

But you can as well purchase the gel from drug stores if the above option isn’t exactly your go to solution. Be sure to go for products with the highest quantity of aloe vera gel and (very important) avoid scented ones or those with alcohol. Some fragrances and alcohol cause more irritation, we definitely don’t want to have that!

Some precaution though: despite the fact that aloe vera is generally safe to use, allergic reactions can and do occur. So, don’t go all in with it at first. Test it out on a small patch of skin and observe it for a full day. If there is no burning or itching, proceed as indicated above.

You can always consult a professional as well if you’d like.

how aloe vera helps with eczema
soaking up the sun @nicoleriverox3

Combining Aloe Vera with Other Natural Treatments for Enhanced Results

A combo of aloe vera and a different natural treatment can go a long way. The treatments that can be used alongside the aloe are coconut oil, turmeric and olive oil. The precaution above still holds. Test out these remedies on a small part to see how the skin will react before going in widely.

Here is how to go about it.

Aloe Vera & Coconut oil

Prepare a third of a cup of aloe vera and mix it with about half of a cup of coconut oil in a glass container. Apply a few drops of the mixture twice a day. Be sure to observe the effects during this time.

how aloe vera can help with eczema
big, pink aloe plant @cw_design_landscaping

Aloe Vera & Olive oil

Add three drops of olive oil to a tablespoonful of aloe vera and stir thoroughly to obtain a thick paste. Apply the paste once a day. Once again, observe the effects of the mixture to ensure no allergic reactions will occur when applying this mixture of aloe vera and olive oil in a broader portion of your skin.

Aloe Vera & Turmeric

Mix 1 spoon of aloe vera gel with an equal amount of turmeric powder. Be sure to stir thoroughly until there are no lumps left.

Apply to the affected area and wash the paste off after 20 minutes using clean water only. Do this twice a week for up to 8 weeks. And again! Observe the effects your skin has with this mixture.

how aloe vera helps with eczema
spiky aloe vera @kazunori_0417

When to Seek Professional Medical Assistance

If the remedies above turn out to be of little use as far as your condition is concerned, arrange an appointment with a doctor, pronto!

Whether you were planning to use aloe vera or otherwise, see a doctor if you note the following signs of infection

  • Yellow scabs
  • More intense redness
  • Pus
how aloe vera helps with eczema
giant spiral aloe plant @escosuccs

Know of any additional tips and tricks to use with aloe vera? Share it in our exclusive Facebook group! We’d love to know how else we can use this super versatile plant!

If you’d like this read you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read.

Thanks for reading, happy planting! ?

How to Tell If Your Cactus is Dying

It’s been some time since you got that cactus. You’re doing all you can to make sure it thrives. Watering. Fertilizing. Sunlight exposure.

You name ’em!

But you haven’t seen a slightest change in quite some time. Is the little thingy really growing? How do you know you’re doing the right thing as far cacti care is concerned?

Worse still, is your cactus dying?

Maybe yes. Maybe no.

One thing with cactuses is that they take time (years) to show any considerable change in size – most of them. Even then, as the plants are growing, you have to be on the lookout for any signs of deviation from normal growth patterns.

This is how you tell your cactus is dying.

Signs That Your Cactus is Dying

Discoloring cactus

A cactus plant will take on a tinge that is not naturally its own. Depending on where the problem is coming from, the change in color may start at the top end of stem segments or from the base the soil. Dying is guaranteed if rapid action is not taken.

Droopy leaves on cacti

Dying in the few leaf-bearing cacti (like epiphylum) is signaled by downward pointing leaves that lack vigor.

This gives the cactus plant a general unhealthy look (because it is, right?). It will also appear under watered even when you’ve excelled in quenching it.

Soft segments around your cactus

The change of colour above may be accompanied by squishy stem segments that appear swollen.

This also means they can break off easily with minimal force applied.

Try pulling a spine off. That’s a dying cactus if you manage to pull off the specialized leaves.

Instability in your cactus potting soil

You’ll know this if the plant has a lean. Not bent – just the whole plant leaning to a particular side. A dying cactus is shaky in its potting mix and may appear as though it’s about to fall off – well, it will definitely fall off if you moved it, for a severe case. A sign of lack of roots. Or the existing ones may be too weak to properly support the plant.

This is assuming you potted the plant just right.

Foul smells coming from your cactus plant

Now, that’s a really bad sign. A foul smell means a large part of the cactus is completely rotten and there is nothing you can do to save it.

In other words, it is no longer in the dying process, it’s actually deceased now. All you can really do now is dispose of your fighting cactus plant and obtain a new one whether it be from a purchase or from a friend.

Why is Your Cactus Dying?

Overwatering

The age-old sure way to kill a cactus is by treating it to frequent watering sprees. It may look like a sensible thing to do. Only that with a cactus, the more frequent it is getting water, the higher the chances of it dying.

This is so because the water is such a perfect condition for rot.

Inappropriate potting medium

If you didn’t get the memo – your regular potting soil is a no-go zone for a cactus. It just holds on to water for way longer than your plant would prefer.

So, even if you get the watering correct, the soil mix will pull you back a couple of steps. The long periods of dampness are a nice condition for rot. And before you know it, your plant is exhibiting signs of dying.

We highly recommend this soil mix by Bonsai Jack. It is one of the best soil mixes on the market. It doesn’t need to be mixed with any other soil, it helps fight root rot, perfectly pH Balanced & is pathogen-free (ie: won’t kill your plants). This soil is the go-to for our office plants. Go ahead and get the 7 Gallon Bag if you are plant nerd like us :). Pick up some of our favorite soil by clicking here: Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil.

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Last update on 2020-03-19 / Amazon

A wound becoming infected

It may have happened that a part of the stem broke off leaving an open patch.

Such a part is just what bacteria and some pests need to wreck havoc on your cactus. It is soft therefore making it an easy target for insects with munching tendencies. Bacterial infection may come about mainly in the cold weather or when the plant is not exposed to enough sunlight for the injured part to callous over time.

Such wounds cause the plant to start dying from top.

Wrong pot size

Getting the wrong size of a pot for your cactus is a sure way of kicking off its dying process. It could be too small or too large.

Small or large in this case will depend on the size of your cactus.

A pot that is smaller than your plant will choke up its roots as there is little breathing space. A larger than life pot on the other hand is bound to keep so much water sparking off rotting in both the roots and stem. Talk about a double tragedy… you’ll have to find the right balance that’s good for your specific cactus.

ALSO READ:

How to Save a Dying Cactus

Whether or not your plant can be saved, depends on the extent of rot. For instance, as you’ve seen above, a foul smell emanating from your cactus is a sign that you’ve lost that plant.

But in cases where dying is just getting started, it’s possible to salvage the plant or part of it for propagation purposes.

If the rot is starting off at the top of the stem, cut away small pieces of it (the stem) as you move down to the base of the plant. You want to make sure the any rotten material is done away with for good. Only stop when you reach healthy tissue.

If the plant is taking a beating from the roots up, you’ll have to take the propagation route. Just as above, cut up the plant until you have only healthy tissue before you stop. Let the cut part dry and set it up in a well-draining mix.

Also, make sure to check other aspects like the potting medium, the size of the pot and your watering. Make the following changes if you haven’t already:

  • Repot the plant remnant in a pot that fits it exactly, leaving just enough space for the soil mix. Also, remember to use a commercial cactus and succulent mix or create one by mixing regular potting soil with coarse sand and pumice.
  • Water only when the top part of the mix is dry.

Additionally, if pests and diseases were a part of the problem, apply the appropriate chemicals so as the remaining part of the plant is free from these past ghosts.

Now you’re in the know about dying cactus plants. The signs, reasons, handling and preventing. Time to check around your cacti collection and do the necessary.


Have you learned how to tell if your cactus is dying or not? Let us know what we missed out and we’ll be sure to include it in the article, we want to help as many cactus lovers as we can.

REMINDER: We have an ~exclusive~ Facebook succulent group where you can join in on fellow succulent- lovers’ conversations and post your own experiences & photos! Check it out now!

Calling all succulents lovers— rookie or veteran! Succulent City has developed a line of 12 ebooks (see here), ranging on topics from indoor & outdoor succulents, essential tools, good soil to use, and more! We even threw in a complimentary ebook to help get your succulent journey started you just have to insert your email on our front page for this. With our ebooks you’ll be a succulent guru in no time, have fun!

Thanks for reading and happy cacti planting! (:

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