Bear’s Paw Succulent Leaves Falling Off: What Causes It?

File:Cotyledon tomentosa tomentosa 45526919.jpg“File:Cotyledon tomentosa tomentosa 45526919.jpg” by Nicola van Berkel is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Bear’s Paw succulent also known as Cotyledon tomentosa is one of the cute succulents you can have. Most succulent growers have this in their collection.

However, this succulent variety comes with several challenges making it trickier than other variety to grow. It is a little fragile that if you don’t pay close attention to its needs, it could result in several issues.

The most common problems with bear’s paw being its leaves falling off. If you are a beginner, you have no idea what is going on.

So, why are bear’s paw succulent leaves falling off? Well, there are many possible reasons for it. But the most common ones are overwatering, fungal infections, and insects.

Overwatering is probably the most common cause of why a bear paw succulent leaves are falling off. This one is vulnerable to rotting so when overwatered, the leaves will start to fall. Overwatering will also cause fungal infections which will in turn add to the health problem of the plant.

Insects are also notorious enemies of the bear’s paw. Some of the insects that you should prevent from affecting your plant are mealy bugs and spider mites. If you see cotton-like spots in the leaves, that’s mealy bugs.

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But this should not discourage you from growing bear’s paw. As mentioned, this succulent is a gem. It definitely adds beauty to your existing collection.

Also, don’t worry about the problem mentioned. There are available ways on how you can successfully grow this succulent without having trouble.

In this post, I will share with you some of the tips you can follow in saving or growing the bear’s paw.

How to Grow Bear’s Paw Succulent Correctly?

Bear’s paw is one of the easy-to-grow succulents. If you are just started growing succulents, this one is good to have. You just need to pay attention to its needs to avoid the problems.

Like other succulent varieties, the bear’s paw succulent has special needs. Not providing those needs may result in health problems such as falling leaves.

Below are the things you need to consider when growing bear’s paw succulent:


Bear’s paw or Cotyledon tomentosa can thrive in full sun or in partial shade. But I don’t suggest exposing it in the sun the whole day. If you are growing it outdoor, 6-hour sun exposure is healthy. Avoid placing it in the scourging sun for long hours. Even if it has full sun tolerance, it could potentially get a sunburn.

If you are growing it indoor, make sure that you place it near the window that could provide sunlight. Always remember that succulents are native to semi-desert areas. This means that they need sunlight.

Related Article: Can Succulents Survive Without Natural Light?


Bear’s paw needs water. But be careful because too much water can kill it. The falling of its leaves is indicative of overwatering.

When watering, make sure to hit the soil and not the leaves or stem. Succulents don’t like it when their leaves and stems are soaked in water. It could cause rotting.

When watering, make sure that you soak the soil and let the excess water drain. It is very important to have a pot with drainage holes. Also, make sure that the soil is fast-draining. This will ensure the safety of your bear’s paw from rotting.

The watering frequency depends on the season. In winter when most succulents are not actively growing, water the succulent less frequently. It is important to only water bear’s paw when its soil is dry.


As mentioned above, fast-draining soil (click here to view my favorite succulent soil on Amazon) is essential not only for the bear’s paw but to all succulents. Do not use garden soil because it is too compact for succulents.

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A fast-draining soil not only helps the excess water during watering, it also provides good aeration to the plants.

Related Article: Best Soil for Succulents in Pots

How to Take Care of Bear’s Paw Succulent?

As mentioned, the bear’s paw succulent is susceptible to many diseases. It requires extra effort on your part and extra care for this plant to grow and thrive successfully.

That said, there are some things that you need to consider. Below are the things you need to provide for your bear’s paw succulent.


This sounds not only extra effort but also extra cost on your part. But if you really want to keep this succulent alive and thriving, I think proving it with special habitat is the best way to go.

The purpose of this is to protect the plant from getting to much UV light that could cause sunburn. If the greenhouse is made of glass, you can add a shade cloth overhead to neutralize the penetrating sunlight.

If you are placing bear’s paw in the bright veranda, make sure that you protect it from getting too much heat by using a plastic sheet. This will again, provide a shield from the sun’s heat.

Extra Source of Nutrient

It is true that succulents do not need super nutritious soil in order for them to survive and thrive. But certainly, they love to have a little extra source of nutrients during their active-growing seasons.

That said, you can apply light succulent fertilizer once a month in their active growing seasons. Most succulents and this includes bear’s paw, actively grow in spring and fall. So you can add a little bit of fertilizer to their soil.

In the summer and winter when succulents are dormant, there is no need to apply fertilizer. Just the right amount of water will do to keep them healthy.

Pest Control

As mentioned, some of the greatest obstacles in successfully growing bear’s paw succulent are insects and fungal infections. 

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The most common one that I observe in my succulent plants is mealy bugs. These little tiny intruders can make your succulent ugly and dead if not treated immediately.

Mealybugs could eat the roots and stems of your bear’s paw succulent. So quick action is needed. The quickest strategy you can do in this case is to re-pot your plant to a new container. But before you do the repotting, make sure to treat the problem first.

The affected plants should be placed in isolation. This is to prevent the insects or infection from spreading in the nearby plants.

Final Thoughts on Why Bear’s Paw Succulent Leaves Are Falling Off

Like other succulent varieties, the bear’s paw is susceptible to potential diseases. The most common problems that often lead to the falling of its leaves are overwatering, fungal infections, and insects.

The good news, however, is that these problems are avoidable and can be treated if noticed at their early stage.

For instance, overwatering can be avoided if you adjust the amount of water and the watering frequency of the plant. But remember that it should be in the earlier stage. In severe cases, overwatering is difficult if not impossible to fix.

Fungal infections and insects can be treated using pesticides or natural methods. The key here is paying close attention to your plants’ needs.

I hope this helps. Thank you for reading.

Related Questions

Are bear’s paw succulents poisonous?

Generally, bear’s paw succulents are considered non-toxic. However, this may depend on who or what eats it. There are some reports stated that the bear’s paw succulents can be mildly toxic.

How do you propagate bear’s paw succulents?

The best way you can propagate bear’s paw succulent is by using cuttings. Cut a stem from a healthy mother plant and place it on a paper towel and let it callous for two to three days. Once it is calloused, it is ready to transfer on top of the fast-draining soil. And that’s it, you just wait for the magic to happen.


I am a university teacher by profession, researcher, blogger, and gardener.

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