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Why Do My Succulents Keep Dying? (Finally Explained)

Being a plant parent can be stressful, especially when you can’t work out why your succulents are becoming sickly.

Despite the fact that succulents are well-suited to indoor living and can adapt to harsh conditions, no succulent or plant for that matter can survive in subpar conditions forever.

Why Do My Succulents Keep Dying?

What are the most likely causes that your succulent keeps dying? This can come down to a few factors that include but are not limited to:

  • Incorrect watering.
  • Inadequate lighting.
  • Disease.
  • Pests.

Once your plants start to look sickly, it is your responsibility to establish the problem and fix it to ensure that your succulent survives. 

The most common and quickest way to kill indoor succulents is to water them incorrectly. This comes down to the fact that:

  • Succulents use their thick leaves to store water and rely on these water reserves to survive in dry conditions. 

However, you’ll need to get the balance right as:

  • Too much and too little water can be deadly to indoor succulents. 
  • While they require regular watering to thrive, you need to be careful to not overdo it.

Bearing this in mind, you should always keep a note of when you last watered your succulent to stay on top of their needs. Ensure that you:

  • Make a note of when you water your succulent is fundamental to keeping on top of maintaining your plant and keeping it as happy and healthy as possible. 
  • While keeping track of watering can feel like a hassle in the beginning, once you incorporate it into your routine it will become second nature. Your plant will thrive with a regular routine and it will help you keep your succulents alive for longer.

How do you revive a dying succulent?

The majority of sickly succulents come back to life with a few changes to their environment. 

If you think your succulent is dying, you need to establish the problem first. Ask yourself, how does the soil look?

If you suspect you’ve overwatered your succulent, the soil will be clogged with water and will have clumped together.

Observe the succulent’s color. If your succulent has been overwatered, then it will have soft, mushy, translucent leaves. 

Below are a few things you can do to revive a dying succulent

Adjust daily sunlight – Most succulents need bright indirect light. That being said, you’ll want to move your succulent away from direct sunlight as your succulent is already under stress from being watered too much. Bearing this in mind, direct sunlight will only compound this problem.

Allow the roots to air dry – Dig the succulent out of the soil and remove any excess soil. You’ll need to remove any brown/black roots as these are rotten already. Place your plant on its side to dry until the roots have air-dried. This can take anywhere from two to three days. When the roots have dried completely, plant them back in the pot.

Improve the drainage – Succulents do not thrive in waterlogged soil. Improving your plant pot’s drainage is crucial to avoid facing the same problem again. To do this, you’ll want to take another pot that’s larger than your succulent pot and place 2 inches of gravel in it. Place your succulent planter in the pot so the roots don’t have to sit in excess water every time that you water it. 

Change the soil – Generally speaking, algae grows on overwatered soil. If this is the case with your succulent, then you’ll need to get rid of all the top layer of soil and replace it with fresh succulent soil. Note: You will need to change the majority of the soil if the roots have developed root rot.

What to do if bottom leaves of succulent are dying?

Dying leaves are a natural part of every plant’s life and succulents are no exception. This doesn’t always mean that:

  • Your succulent is dying.
  • That you’re not taking proper care of your plant. 

If the bottom leaves of your succulent are starting to dry up it is highly likely that your succulent is still healthy, but may need to be watered more frequently. 

However, it is important to note that as your plant grows it creates new leaves, while the older ones die. That being said, if you’re beginning to notice a few dry leaves at the bottom of the plant that are only at the bottom you shouldn’t be alarmed. This is normal!

If the majority of your succulent’s leaves are drying up, then it is safe to assume that your succulent needs to be watered a little more often. If the dry leaves start to ruin the look of the plant, gently pull them away from the base of the plant.

However, you should only pull off the leaves that come off easily or are totally dead as you don’t want to risk uprooting your plant in the removal process.

While dead leaves at the bottom of your succulent are perfectly healthy, dead leaves on the upper parts of new growth usually indicate that there’s a problem that you need to fix. This usually comes down to over or under-watering your succulent. 

In summary 

Your succulent could look sickly for a number of reasons. It’s important that you establish and address the problem as soon as possible to ensure that your succulent survives. 

However, dying leaves are natural and normal, and aren’t always signs that there is a larger problem at fault. Keep a note of when you water your succulent to ensure that it thrives.