Why Are My Succulent Leaves Soft?

Why Are My Succulent Leaves Soft featured image

Succulents are interesting plants and need tender care to keep them healthy. For the most part, they are pretty hardy, though this sometimes leads people to believe they can survive anything. But some delicate thought is required to help them thrive.

When healthy, they have firm, supple leaves. This is because their leaves are different from other plants. They hold in the moisture to stay alive, rather than consistently seeking new moisture each day from the soil. Similar to all other plants, they will always have some leaves that dry up and die off as the plant continues to grow.

Certainly, this is nothing to worry about. To tell whether they are feeling under the weather, one gentle squeeze of the leaves (like a firm pinch rather than popping bubble wrap) and you may feel them being mushy or soft. Soft and limp do not make for a happy succulent. Make sure to always have the perfect tools for your succulents.

Moreover, another factor that could make your succulent leaves turn soft is the weather. Being plants that grow in the desert, consequently, succulents do not always adapt well to the cold. Cold can cause succulents to become either mushy or soft. Firstly, if the weather is wet and humid, your succulent may show signs of stress as well. Secondly, and perhaps the most prevalent factor would be the care of the plant. That is to say how much, or how little, water your plant is getting.

Don’t get confused, however, check out “What’s the Difference: Soft vs Hard Succulents” for clarification on different kinds of succulents.

Why are my succulent leaves turning soft
drying out succulent @lorichips

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti ๐Ÿ™‚ Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

Solving The Mystery Of Soft Succulent Leaves

The one reason for soft succulent leaves is water. One would assume that if the leaves become soft, then the plant is retaining water. Soft leaves are an indication that the plant is not getting enough water. This is because the cells of the plant which typically hold in moisture have nothing to keep them firm. Thus, they lose pressure and the healthy tissue is being affected.

What do succulents look like when they need water? They will look withered with several droopy/ soft leaves. From sight, the upper leaves of your succulents will start to look a little wrinkled, just like when you have had your fingers in water for too long. When the leaves look like this, you need to water them over at least two cycles and your plant will be back to its perky, normal self. If you have succulents that have long stalks, rather than short leaves, you may find that the stalks fold in half from being too soft. Soft leaves can typically be fixed quickly with timing and a little water.

What if you don’t do anything? The leaves will start to fall and your succulents will be at extreme risk.

Why are my succulent leaves turning soft
Small turtle planter@plantpresents

Changing Looks With Mushy Leaves

Normally, any leaf that is fat and juicy seems attractive and is an indication of great health. With succulents the absolute opposite is true. Finding mushy leaves means that you are overwatering your succulents. There are two ways that you can tell that your leaves are mushy. Touch them, and they will feel different from normal. Look at them, and they may also have leaves that appear discolored and yellow, or transparent. In some cases, you could even find some black spots, either on the stem or on the leaves. Mushy leaves do not stick firmly to the plant. Instead, even a slight touch could have the leaves falling off. Need tips on watering your succulent? Then check out “How Often To Water Cactus” for tips.

Mushy leaves could mean the death of your succulent, no matter what you want to do to try and save it. If you have reached the point where the stem is turning black, there is not much that you can do. If the plant is just mushy around the leaves, you can try a couple of things. The easiest would be to let the soil dry out completely, and then give it around two more weeks before you try and water your plant again. Another option would be repotting your plant. Take the succulent out of its potting soil and repot it into completely dry soil so that the roots can dry out. Then water the plant for two weeks. During this process, keep an eye out for any signs that your plant is being underwatered to ensure that it is not struggling too much and dying.

Check out “5 Tips on Saving Dying Succulents” for more helpful tips on techniques for saving a dying succulent.

Why are my succulent leaves turning soft
Succulents are slightly moist @planties_in_a_twist

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti ๐Ÿ™‚ Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

Prevent Your Succulent Leaves From Turning Soft

  • Get a grow light to keep your plants warm. This is like cuddling up to a warm blanket in the winter to keep yourself happy.
  • To get warmth to your plants from the bottom up, you can add a heat mat as well and rest your pot on top of it.
  • Ensure that the potting soil is completely dried out before you add any water. This means that the soil should be dry even at the bottom of the pot.
  • Make sure that your planter has a drainage hole, or your soil will get soggy and your plant will suffer for it.
  • Plant your succulents in soil that has large particles and bits of rock so that it is well-draining. This will prevent water retention as well as rot.
  • Check out the type of pot you are using. A terra-cotta pot could be your best option as they absorb water, meaning there is less excess in the soil.
  • Watch out for water that collects on the leaves, as this can cause them to get mushy as well. After you water your succulent, take extra time to dry up any splash that may have gathered in between the leaves.
  • Finally, observe the roots of your succulent when your plant is soft or mushy. If the roots are dead, then you may need to consider propagation and starting a whole new succulent. If the roots are healthy, and the soil is dry, there is hope to revive your succulent.
Why are my succulent leaves turning soft
Star pattern @the_orchid_queen

Succulent Leaves Propagation – A New Start

This means that one leaf is used to grow the rest of the plant. When the new plant takes, the initial leaf will shrivel up and die. This does not count as a mushy or soft leaf as this is part of the growing process. To ensure that the main plant is healthy, the leaf should be firm. Always keep an eye on your soil, you need to make sure that it is dry enough for a guzzle of water to keep your plants healthy.

Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity! Check out our Ebook called “The Right Way to Propagating Succulents Successfully” and find out our techniques to you for propagating in your succulent garden.

Why are my succulent leaves turning soft
Pink succulent in garden @succulentlovestory

How are your succulents today? Share a picture of them with us, tag us on Instagram! You might get featured on our page! Be sure to always take good care of your succulents. If you see your succulent leaves splitting, we have “What to do When Succulent Leaves are Splitting?” to help you from keeping your succulents from dying.

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 “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor & Outdoor” or even “Replanting Practices to Keep Your Succulents Safe”  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!

4 thoughts on “Why Are My Succulent Leaves Soft?

  1. “If the leaves are soft your plant isn’t getting enough water, but on the other hand, if the leaves are soft your plant is getting too much water”. What a useless article! Not even any tips on how to check the soil at the very bottom of the pot even though it’s apparently essential to do that constantly even when your plant is healthy.

    1. Welcome to the world of houseplants…!
      The leaves go soft when both over and under-watered, but it’s looking for the different signs. This is the way I’ve been approaching it:
      – Underwatered; the leaves will go soft/flimsy and ‘wrinkly’.
      – Overwatered; the leaves get lighter in colour and more transparent. They are taking in too much water so the leaves become soft/mushy.

      Checking the soil
      – As said in the article, your pots will ideally have a drainage hole at the bottom, you can lift the pot and check the soil through the drainage hole to see if it’s dried out. After some practice, you’ll be able to feel the difference between a freshly watered pot (heavier) and when the soil has dried out (lighter).

      Succulents don’t need watering often, so it’s easy to over-water them. Your safest bet would be to leave the plant alone for a few more days and track the changes.

      Any article you read about watering succulents will tell you the exact same thing, this article is actually incredible useful. I hope this is of help, I’m not an expert, but this is what I’ve learned.

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