Why Are My Succulent Leaves Falling Off? (Full Guides & Explanation)

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

There are so many factors that affect plant health. Water, sunlight, temperature, soil, and even the pot you’ve put your plant in can affect its health. With so many variables, how are you supposed to care & figure out why the leaves of your succulents 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 necessary information to determine what’s wrong. You’ll be an expert plant doctor by the end of this post!

Before we get to the root of the problems in this article, Amazon offers our Succulent City community an exclusive offer of a FREE 30-day trial of their famous Amazon Prime Membership. Click here to start your free trial and enjoy that free 2-day shipping! What’s better than having new succulents on your doorstep 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 straightforward to fix! All you have to do is put your plant someplace sunnier or under a grow light like this one— and for additional grow lights, we recommend checking out our article here! But before you put it outside and expose it to the sun’s blistering rays, ensure you acclimate it first!

Plants get sunspots / burn too!

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

Acclimate Your Plant For The Outdoors

You should only give your plant about an hour of sunlight or artificial light daily. 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 about 12 hours of artificial light.

Your succulents should stop dropping leaves after soaking up some much-needed sun. But unfortunately, you can’t reverse some of the damage, like your succulent’s stretched-out appearance. You can propagate your original plant and grow new plants 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 severe consequences for your plant! It can cause root rot, make succulent leaves fall off, and even cause total plant death. Yikes!

Overwatering is one of the easiest ways to kill your succulents, so you want to avoid it. If your succulent leaves are mushy, soggy, and falling off regularly, you must cool them with the watering can!

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

If you tweak your watering schedule, your succulent leaves should fully recover quickly!


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

Will Excessive 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 shows some or all these signs, it’s time to take action! If you see any white crust on the soil’s surface, grab your succulent tools and make sure you remove it all carefully. Excess salt from the fertilizer 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 succulents. Let the water drain completely, and then repeat the process once or twice to ensure no traces of fertilizer are 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 repair damaged leaves. Your succulents will grow new leaves to replace them, so don’t worry about removing them!

We think your succulent leaves will make it if you follow these steps! But remember in the future to only fertilize your succulents with a water-soluble fertilizer, like this one we use from Miracle-Gro, that’s been diluted to half-strength. You should only 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. 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

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

Can Succulents Survive Extreme Temperatures?

If your succulent gets too hot, its leaves will 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 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 prevent this from happening. After all, who likes to see their succulent baby stressed?

If your plants get too cold, though, that can spell disaster. Many succulents can’t handle freezing temperatures, and if 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 leaves will look brown or black and mushy. If the damage is terrible, the whole plant will look rotting. In that case, it’s pretty much unsalvageable. For a good guide on caring for succulents in the winter, and 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

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

Some Other Questions

1. Why are the bottom leaves of my succulent dying?

Leaves dying at the bottom is a natural process when your succulent starts aging. It’s normal to drop some leaves at the bottom when you plant the succulent for a few years. However, if you think that’s not the case, there are two things you need to check: ‘Sunlight’ and ‘Watering.’ First, you need to check for enough light for the succulent. If that’s not the problem, you might overwater it. Otherwise, it’s normal.

2. Do succulent leaves grow back?

Yes, but not from the place it falls. New leaves will produce at the top of the plant.

Final Words

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

Learn about other ways to ensure your succulents and cacti are as healthy! 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 readers. 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, so 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!

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!

2 thoughts on “Why Are My Succulent Leaves Falling Off? (Full Guides & Explanation)

  1. Most of this info I’ve read before.
    I cut back on watering & nearly all of my plants are in windowsills or very close.
    I also have a cheap grow light (red/blue light) that I use for several hours each day & I cycle my plants every other week or so.
    Still, my plants get taller & taller while dropping leaves faster than normal.
    Many of my plants are mostly stems with healthy looking crowns. A few of them are growing roots where the leaves used to be.
    Please tell me what I’m still doing wrong.
    Thanks in advance.

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