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

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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 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!

Reason 1: The Nature Of Succulents

It’s hard to fight nature. Succulents come in different sizes and shapes. Succulents mostly grow horizontally and at a slower rate. Most will grow naturally, but some exceptions will grow at a faster pace in length or height:

  1. Aloe Vera does produce offsets, and the main plant can also grow tall, reaching several feet in height under optimal conditions. This plant can mature and reach a considerable height within 2-3 years.
  2. Crassula Ovata (Jade Plant) can grow into a large, tree-like structure, achieving considerable height over the years (normally 3 years). This plant can grow on average several inches to a foot every year.
  3. Portulacaria Afra (Elephant Bush) can achieve a substantial height, resembling a small tree or large shrub, especially in its natural environment. This succulent plant can grow several inches to a few feet a year (depending on the growing conditions).
  4. Senecio Rowleyanus (String of Pearls) is more known for trailing. However, if supported or left on the ground, it can stack and create height.
  5. Sedum Morganianum (Burro’s Tail), similar to the String of Pearls, typically trails but can grow in height if supported or left to pile up.
Why Succulents Grow Tall and What to Do About it
A demonstration of succulents growing upward, reaching their mature height. Credit: @aubreys_plants on Instagram

2-3 years is the ultimate number for succulents to reach the mature height, which is considered fast. These kinds of succulents need some cutting to ensure that they fit in the space you have provided.

Reason 2: The Lack of Sunlight

Yes, your succulents don’t get enough sunlight. 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.

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 discoloration of leaves: They usually start turning pale or looking blander.

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

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, which is 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: Trimming/ Beheading & Plant the Cuttings

The first step is pruning for the plant to remain in perfect shape and size. This will ensure itβ€˜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. 

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

Let’s talk about planting your cuttings! Before planting cuttings, let them dry for a few days to lose moisture and develop roots. Cuttings will root within days to 3 weeks, so ensure they get adequate light. Remove the topsoil layer in the previous container and use a dedicated soil mix for succulents to avoid water retention and rotting. Although optional, coir is eco-friendly and helps in nutrient retention and aeration, and a bit of compost can enrich the soil for healthier, stronger plants. Fertilizer is optional. After the cut is calloused and your soil is prepared, it’s time to plant it.

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

Final Words

You may also want 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!


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

  1. My Hen & Chicks grow tall to flower. I don’t know what to do once it gets to this state. Does it produce seeds? What to do with the seeds?

    1. Hi,

      I am sorry to reply this late. This year I opened the awaiting-for-approval comment box and I realised how many interesting comments I missed. Don’t worry! I hope you still find this helpful:
      – When your Hens & Chicks grows tall stalks, sit back and enjoy the beautiful bloom. Congratulations πŸ™‚ many of us don’t get that far.
      – Yes. They do produce seeds after the flowers are gone. You will have to collect them in the pods. However, it’s better the job of a nursery as of the scale of picking up seeds. The rate of successful germination is much higher. If you get some seeds, check this article of mine for what to do with the seeds: https://succulentcity.com/succulent-seeds/.

      I hope it helps!


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