Why Are My Succulent Leaves Falling Off?

It’s easy to tell when your succulent is in distress. When it starts doing things like dropping leaves left and right, you know it’s not healthy or happy. But figuring out why your succulent baby is in trouble is really hard!

There are so many factors that affect plant health. Water, sunlight, temperature, the soil you use, and even the pot you’ve put your plant in can affect its health. With so many variables, how are you supposed to figure out why your succulent’s leaves are dropping like flies?

That’s what we’re here to help you with today! Unfortunately, we can’t come to your house and diagnose your plant in person, but we can give you the info you need to figure out what’s wrong on your own. By the end of this post, you’ll be an expert plant doctor!

Before we get to the root of the problems in this article, Amazon is offering our Succulent City community an exclusive offer of a FREE 30-day trial of their famous Amazon Prime Membership. Click here to get your free trial started and enjoy that free 2-day shipping! What’s better than having new succulents on your door step extremely fast?

Why Are My Succulent Leaves Falling Off
Why are my succulents leaves falling off? @mijardin.pe

Low Light Succulents

Succulents can start to drop their leaves if they’re kept in low light conditions for too long. You’ll know that your plant has this issue if it looks tall and stretched out. Sun-starved succulents will also start growing towards a light source. So if your plant seems to be growing sideways to get closer to a window, that’s another sign that lack of light is the problem.

Luckily, this issue is really easy to fix! All you have to do is put your plant someplace sunnier, or put it under a grow light like this one— and for additional grow lights we recommend, check out our article, here! But before you put it outside and expose it to the sun’s blistering rays, make sure that you acclimate it first!

Plants get sun spots / burn too!

Acclimate Your Plant for the Outdoors

To start, you should only give your plant about an hour of sunlight or artificial light each day. Anything more and you’ll risk sunburning it. You can slowly increase the length of sun exposure over a period of a few weeks until your succulent is getting around six hours of bright sunlight each day, or around 12 hours of artificial light.

Your succulent should stop dropping leaves after soaking up some much-needed sun. But unfortunately, you can’t reverse some of the damage that’s been done, like your succulent’s stretched out appearance. You can propagate your original plant and grow brand new plants from it that won’t look stretched out. But giving your original plant more sun won’t make it look as compact as it was on the day you bought it. Bummer, right?

Check out our full article about the importance of sunlight for succulents!

Why Are My Succulent Leaves Falling Off
Low Light Succulents @howorthia

Overwatering Your Succulents

Overwatering can have some serious consequences for your plant! It can cause root rot, make your succulent’s leaves fall off, and can even cause total plant death. Yikes!

Overwatering is one of the easiest ways to kill your succulent, so it’s something you definitely want to avoid. If you notice that your succulent leaves are mushy, soggy, and falling off on the regular, you need to cool it with the watering can!

You should only water your succulent when the soil it’s planted in is completely dry to the touch. You’ll probably end up watering your succulents once every week or two.

If you tweak your watering schedule, your succulent leaves should make a full recovery in no time!

Why Are My Succulent Leaves Falling Off
Overwatering your succulents @momsgarden_la

Will too Much Fertilizer Hurt My Succulents?

If you put too much fertilizer on your succulent, it could actually have the opposite effect and stunt its growth! It can also cause some of its leaves to drop off, discolor the remaining leaves, and burn its root system.

If your houseplant is showing some or all these signs, it’s time to take action! If you see any white crust on the surface of the soil, grab your succulent tools and make sure you remove it all carefully. This is excess salt from the fertilizer—it can damage your plant and burn it if you leave it on there.

How to Remove Excess Fertilizer

Now, if you’re going to try to flush the excess fertilizer out of the soil by watering your succulent. Let the water drain completely, and then repeat the process once or twice to make sure there aren’t any traces of fertilizer left.

Then, make sure you remove any leaves that are damaged or dying. This will prevent your plant from using up its precious resources to try to repair damaged leaves. Your succulent will grow new leaves to replace them, so don’t worry about removing them!

If you follow these steps, we think your succulent leaves will make it! But remember in the future to only fertilize your succulents with water soluble fertilizer, like this one we use from Miracle-Gro, that’s been diluted to half-strength. You should only ever use diluted fertilizer on your plant babies to avoid chemical burns. You should also fertilize them sparingly—no more than once a month during their active growing season. That way they won’t get overloaded with salt or nutrients and start losing their leaves.

Why Are My Succulent Leaves Falling Off
Can too much fertilizer hurt my succulents @olorfulife.photography

Can Succulents Survive Extreme Temperatures?

If your succulent gets too hot, its leaves will actually start dropping off. It’s a normal response to the stress caused by heat and drought. Isn’t that weird? It seems strange, but it won’t actually hurt your plant and it’s not something to worry over too much.

Still, you should try to throw some shade cloth or a plant cover over your succulent or move it to a less sunny area of your garden to try to prevent this from happening. After all, who likes to see their succulent baby stressed?

If your plants gets too cold, though, that can spell disaster. A lot of succulents can’t handle freezing temperatures, and if they’re exposed to them for too long, the cells inside their leaf tissue can freeze and burst, causing irreparable damage.

If your succulent has frozen in the cold, some of its leaves will look brown or black and kind of mushy. If the damage is really bad, the whole plant will look like it’s rotting. In that case, it’s pretty much unsalvageable. For a proper guide on how to care for succulents in the winter, dormant months, check out this article.

But if the damage has only affected a few leaves here or there, your succulent leaves will be ok. Leave the damaged leaves on your plant. When your plant grows, those leaves will fall right off on their own and be replaced by healthy ones.

For cacti-specific tips, click here to see our guide on determining if your cactus is dying.

Why Are My Succulent Leaves Falling Off?
Beautiful spiral succulents! @akadamatsuchi

Those are some of the potential causes of leaf-loss and how to treat them! Did this post help you figure out what’s going on with your succulent leaves? Let us know in the comments section below!

Learn about some further ways to ensure your succulents and cacti are as healthy as can be! Check out What to Do When My Succulent Leaves are Splitting, How to Get Rid of Mealybugs, or Repotting Succulents the Right Way.

Thanks for reading! We appreciate all of our dedicated Succulent City reader. Don’t forget, we’re on Pinterest and Instagram! Give us a follow for daily succulent content and inspiration.

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 Best Lighting Practices for Succulent Growth or even The Best Soil Recommendations for Your Succulent today!

Happy planting! 💚💚

>