Withered Succulent Losing Leaves
- Symptoms. A succulent might drop leaves on its own or after a small bump. The leaves may appear healthy green color but turn yellow, brown or opaque.
- Causes. Plants with dead leaves are a sign of over-watering, soils that retain too much moisture, or saucers or trays that prevent water from evaporating from the pot.
The fact that some succulents such as the Gollum Jade and Crissula ovata species lose leaves early is an early sign that the plant is stressed because the soil around its roots is too wet.
A succulent can end up losing its leaves due to overwatering, moist soil, poorly drained pots and poor drainage.
A succulent has evolved to endure drought in its natural environment, in soils that are gritty, dry and drain well.
Because succulents are more sensitive to over watering, they cannot tolerate damp conditions.
Losing leaves on a succulent is telling you to water it less often to prevent root rot, which is the most common reason for dying succulents.
It is usually possible to save a succulent if you adjust its growth conditions in a way that replicates the watering cycle in the native environment.
How to Revive a Succulent that is Losing Leaves
- Reduce the amount of water you water your succulent. If it is getting too much water each week, the leaves will drop. Succulents need to be watered well and left to dry out between waterings. Succulents prefer to be watered every 2 weeks. Feel the soil beneath the pot and see if it feels moist. It is ideal to water the soil when it has just turned dry.
- Plant your succulent in well draining gritty soil, rather than ordinary potting soil, which retains too much moisture for the drought-resistant succulent to tolerate. Replace the soil with special succulent and cacti soil which is created to emulate the succulents preferred soil type with good drainage and a light aerated structure.
- Make sure excess water drains from the succulents roots by emptying saucers and trays regularly. Succulents can’t handle being in soggy soil because it fosters conditions for root rot, which causes succulents to drop their leaves (or the leaves turn yellow, brown or black) and they die back.
Let the soil of your succulent dry out for 2 weeks before watering again. Feel the soil through the drainage hole in the base to ensure it is completely dry before watering again.
The succulent will recover much faster once the soil is amended with more porous succulent or cacti soil, and the plants are watered at the correct interval.
Although succulents can survive for up to ten years in saturated soil, if the plant sits in soil that is constantly wet it increases the chance of root rot and the plant will most likely die back.
Succulent Leaves Wrinkling, Wilting or Shriveling
- Symptoms. Often times, leaves appear wrinkled, as well as drooping, often with a shriveled appearance.
- Causes. Drought stress caused by not watering the succulent often enough, watering the succulent so lightly that the water runs off the surface rather than infiltrating and reaching the roots, or high indoor temperatures caused by artificial heating.
Usually, the reason why a succulent dies is because it is over watered since succulents tend to be sensitive to too much moisture around its roots and are better adapted to withstand droughts.
A succulent suffering drought stress could be due to its potting soil baking hard, which prevents water from penetrating properly and reaching the roots. When this happens the leaves may shrivel, become thinner or droop depending on the type of succulent.
Acute drought stress can result in succulent leaves shrivelling, wrinkles, wilting and drooping, but the lower leaves may also appear thinner and may even curl inward, which occurs more commonly in aloe plants.
That is because succulents store water internally, through their thick, fleshy foliage, roots, and tubers.
When optimally hydrated the succulent leaves feel firm and plump. In times of drought, the succulent then utilizes the moisture that is stored in its leaves as a strategy to survive drought in climates with infrequent rainfall.
Despite needing less watering than most plants, succulents require richer soakings every time you water them.
A succulent growing in the right conditions and being watered should provide it with plenty of moisture, but watering it too lightly will result in only a thin layer of moisture remaining on the surface, resulting in shriveled succulents.
Water succulents around every 2 weeks when the potting soil has dried out around the roots to prevent root rot, yet the succulent needs enough water for the leaves to remain plump and firm, not shriveling.
Fortunately, the succulent plant can be revived with wrinkled leaves from underwatering because they are better able to take on drought stress than they are under-watered…
How to Revive Wrinkled, Shriveling Leaves on Succulents
- For about 10 minutes, place the succulent in water. Even though succulents do not require as much watering as other plants, they do better when soaked in water for a few hours, before drying out again. When water is added to a succulent then much-needed moisture reaches the roots and ensures that the potting mix is evenly moist. You particularly need to do this if your potting mix has been baked hard and will prevent water from reaching the roots. Drain the water from the drainage holes after 10 minutes, then take the succulent out of the water.
- Succulents should always receive a generous soak. Any excess water should drip off the container’s base. This ensures that the succulent’s roots have access to sufficient moisture to recover from their dried appearance and replenish their moisture reserves.
- If necessary, increase your watering schedule for succulents. Despite succulents’ ability to survive in drought, they must be consistently watered to prevent the leaves from becoming wrinkled or drooping. Most succulents require watering about once every two weeks just to keep the leaves healthy and plump. However, you should always wait for the soil to dry out before watering again to avoid root rot.
- Feel through the drainage hole in the soil in your succulent’s pot when water needs to be added. The soil should be felt every 2 days for how long until it dries out after watering. A perfect time to water is when the soil feels dry near the pot’s base. The method of watering succulents mimics the drought followed by the rain cycle that succulents are used to in their native environments.
- When watering is running off the surface, replace the potting soil. When peat-based potting soil dries out, it bakes hard, causing water to run off the surface. To prevent root rot, succulents need soil that has an open, porous structure that allows water to infiltrate when dry, and encourages good drainage. Rather than using regular potting soil, purchase succulent soil or cactus soil that has been specially formulated to replicate the well-draining qualities of succulent soil in their natural environment. The succulent’s native environment is full of well-draining soil.
- Be careful not to place your succulent near any heat sources indoors. When forced-air or radiators or fires are used in the evening, too much heat will cause the succulent to dry quickly, which in turn will cause the leaves to shrivel. As long as the succulent does not face a direct target of heat, it can survive at room temperature in the range of 55°F-80°F (13°C-27°C). Usually, after two to three watering cycles (allowing the soil to dry before watering again), the succulent should show signs of recovery with fuller leaves as well as less drooping and shriveling.
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