Why Is My Succulent Growing Tall & What To Do About It?

Why Is My Succulent Growing Tall featured image

You love succulents. Of course, that’s why you bought them. Also, you are happy since you can plant them anywhere, from paving stones, to flowerbeds, containers, and nooks. But after a while, you begin noticing some changes. The succulents are not as green and healthy as before. Instead, they look stretched, thin, pale, leggy, and weak.

The result is that they stop being attractive. Then you become stressed, and you even develop panic attacks since you are attached to them. But don’t worry, as this problem is common. The best part is that you can rectify this mistake and get your succulents as healthy and fleshy as before. This article covers why succulents grow tall and how you can solve this issue, Read on to get the insights.

Why Is Your Succulent Growing Tall?

The following are some reasons your succulents are way out of line!

Why Succulents Grow Tall and What to Do About it
Attractive Succulents @aubreys_plants

Reason 1: The Nature Of Succulents

It’s hard to fight nature. Succulents come in different sizes and shapes. Mostly Indoors, succulents grow horizontally and at a slower rate. Most will grow naturally, but there are exceptions. Instead, they would grow at a faster pace. These kinds of succulents need some cutting to ensure that they fit in the space you have provided.

You can always buy another type of succulent if you are not satisfied with the ones you have.

Reason 2: The Lack of Sunlight

Yes, your succulents don’t get enough sunlight or grow under. Hence, they cannot perform photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants make their food. They use light energy from sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water. They later convert this into plant energy which they use in their growth, flowering, reproduction, and development of new roots and leaves.

When they lack sunlight, they can’t photosynthesize, thus resulting in smaller and lighter succulents than the average size.

Why Succulents Grow Tall and What to Do About it
Care About Your Succulents @succulentsssss

Make sure to follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Happy planting, and live the moment, my friend!

Signs that your succulents don’t have enough sunlight:

  • When you notice your succulent growing in a particular direction, it’s seeking the light. This process is known as etiolation. Just like animals, plants also move, not literally, like walking, crawling, or even flying. But they move. Though not evident, this gesture signifies a plant is seeking comfort. In this case, succulents are craving sunlight. 
  • Also, you will notice that the succulent starts leaving spaces between the leaves. Unfortunately, plants that don’t receive sunlight are prone to wither and die quickly.
  • The discoloring of leaves- instead of their usual green color, they start turning pale.

How to Know if Your Succulents Are Stretching Out

Here are the ways to know if your succulents are stretching out and need to be saved:

Sign #1: Sudden Rapid Growth

Most succulents grow gradually under normal conditions. However, when they do not get enough light, they increase in any light source direction. This rapid growth results in elongated stems with fewer, widely spaced leaves. This elongated stem increases the succulent’s chances of getting light, which is a requirement for photosynthesis to take place.

Saving a Stretched-out Succulent-How to Know if Your Succulents are Stretching Out-Downward-Facing Leaves-SC
Etiolated Succulent: IG@houseplantjournal

Sign #2: Downward-Facing Leaves

Succulents like Sempervivums and Echeverias have upward-facing leaves that grow as tufts. When these leaves start pointing downwards, that indicates a deprivation of light. Your succulents having downward-pointing leaves is the first sign of etiolation.

Sign #3: Pale Green Appearance

The green color you usually see in most succulents is because of a substance called chlorophyll. Without adequate sunlight, chlorophyll cannot be formed. And without chlorophyll, your succulents will have a pale green appearance.

Saving a Stretched-out Succulent-How to Prevent Succulents from Becoming Stretched-out-SC

How To Control Your Succulents From Growing Tall

Tip #1: Grow Your Succulents Where They Can Access Sunlight

Succulents look better when they get adequate sunlight. When you’ve noticed the plants start growing in a specific direction, move them to that side to receive the light they need. You can relocate the plant near the window, that’s prone to the most sunlight.

Alternatively, you can take them outside for a few hours each day. This ensures that the plants get enough sunlight or use can use a grow light and let it act as a supplement. We prefer the light below for our succulents.

Tip #2: It’s Time To Propagate

Propagating your succulent for the first time can be scary. At first, you will think you are hurting the plant, but in the real sense, you are helping it. Don’t feel guilty. You are only offering the plant new beginnings. Soon, it will have thick stems, dense leaves, and intense color.

Make sure to follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Happy planting, and live the moment, my friend!

Tip #3: Trimming

For the plant to remain in perfect shape and size, the first step is pruning. This will ensure it‘s desirable and attractive. It would help to have a sharp pair of scissors before cutting the flowers, stems, and foliage when they elongate. The best part is that you can grow the cuttings, meaning more healthy succulents for you. 

We prefer shears like those below for various pruning needs, including getting propagation materials.

Why Succulents Grow Tall and What to Do About it
Trimming Your Succulents @eemmalynn

Tip #4: Plant the Cuttings

First, you need to dry the cuttings for a few days before planting them. This gives the succulents enough time to lose moisture and develop pink roots. Then, remove the layer of the topsoil in the container you planted the succulent before. Also, you will want to buy a formulated soil mix meant for succulents and cacti. Get a loose mix to ensure that water drains out, so you never have to worry about your plant rotting.

Although not necessary, you can use coir, as it’s environmentally friendly, with a neutral PH. It increases the rate at which succulents hold nutrients and improves aeration. You can use small amounts of compost since they enhance soil nutrients resulting in strong, healthy roots and more vigorous plants.

Tip #5: Arrange the cuttings before planting

Place the more extensive cuttings at the edge of the pot. Leave for at least three days before you start watering. Later water once a week, and you can adjust according to your conditions. You can apply fertilizer if you want.

Cuttings start to produce roots in a couple of days or a period of 2 to 3 weeks. You don’t want all your efforts to be futile after the planting process. The least you can do is ensure the plant gets adequate light. When the new shoots start sprouting, place them where they get more indirect sunlight than before. Or, you can use the grow light to assist you in the process.

Why Succulents Grow Tall and What to Do About it
Tools for Care @succulentcarekit

Final Words

You might also like to look at “How To Prune Succulents” for a complete guide on trimming your succulents at home. Fixing those long and elongated succulents is possible. As much as the process can be robust, the results are incredible. Thank you for reading! Let us know in the comments below your techniques to control the growth of your succulent. We’d love to add new techniques to our arsenal!


If you liked this read, you’ll 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. 

Happy Planting!

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Richard Miller

Salute everyone. It's Richard, the author of this Succulent & Xeriscaping blog. I am a traveler and a nature lover looking for a connection with the wild green. In my journey, I found a love for succulents and xeriscaping. What attracts me is the long-lasting & unique beauty of every plant I have the chance to see with my own eyes. Welcome to my little blog and let's enjoy a good time together!

Contact me: richard.succulentcity@gmail.com

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