Succulent Stem Too Long: What to Do with It?

Succulent Stem Too Long
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Succulent Stem Too Long

Succulent stem too long, what you can do about it? If you ask the same question, then this article is for you. I share with you how to prevent your succulent plant from stretching.

If you have succulents that grow taller than expected, do not worry because you are not the only one who experiences such an issue.

In fact, many of my readers have asked me the same question. The most common theme is “succulents become taller and spread out” something that no one is expecting.

What I learned throughout the years is that when succulents show unusual shape and length, something wrong is going on.

So, why does a succulent stem too long? The main cause of this issue is the lack of sunlight. Succulents strive to find the light source. As a result, they stretch towards the location of available sunlight. This is a common problem among indoor succulents.

This tendency of plants to stretch is commonly known as etiolation. It is not only seen among succulents but in other varieties of plants. As mentioned, it is caused by the lack of sunlight source.

Succulents react to the lack of sunlight differently. As a result, some become more stretched out than others.

Succulents Having Lack of Sunlight

The lack of sunlight will have some impact on succulents’ growth. Under this condition, succulents may stretch and sometimes bend toward the location where there is an available source of light.

Aside from this, succulent leaves may also show changes in color. In most cases, the leaves of succulents under lack of sunlight condition become green. You might find it unusual. This happens not only in indoor succulents but also in outdoor succulents under too much shade.

When you see these symptoms, it only means that your plants need to be given enough sunlight exposure. Although succulents won’t die immediately under low light conditions, you don’t want to see them suffer.

The best thing you can do is to bring them outside and place them in the area where indirect light is accessible. You can also give them morning sunlight exposure for about 4-6 hours every day.

Saving Stretched Out Succulents

If you are a newbie, you might be wondering whether or not you can bring the stretched-out succulent into its normal shape. Unfortunately, succulents that have too long stems will not return to their normal shape without your intervention.

What you can do however is to cut the stretched part of the plant with sharp cutting tools. Keep some leaves to help the plant capture the sunlight.

Cut the stem to your desired length. Don’t worry, the cuttings can be repotted. You can have a new set of plants later.

The original plant will grow offshoots after a week or so. This means that the plant is growing perfectly. You can then apply the usual care to the plant.

The next important thing you need to remember is to give succulent plants enough sunlight exposure. This will prevent the issue from showing again. With an appropriate amount of sunlight, you should not see similar problems with your succulent plants.

My recommendation is to make sure to place the succulents in an area with access to indirect sunlight. If you are growing succulents outdoor, this should not be a problem.

However, if you are growing them indoors especially during winter, you can use grow light to supplement the sunlight need of the plant. You can check my recommended grow light for succulents on Amazon (Affiliate Link).

Another thing to remember is that succulents are not created equal in terms of sunlight needs. Some varieties need more sunlight exposure than others. What this means is that you need to know the individual plant’s sunlight needs.

How to Avoid Succulents Grow Too Long Stem?

Cutting the stems of your succulents may not be the easiest thing to do. I get it and totally understand it. We do not want our plants to undergo major surgery.

However, you can always avoid such issues from happening. All you need to do is to apply some care techniques that make your succulents healthy and in good shape.

In case you are wondering how, below are some of the tips you can do.

1. Always provide good sunlight source

We already know that the lack of sunlight source is the main reason why succulents’ stem grows too long. To avoid the problem recur, give your plant enough sunlight exposure.

If you are growing them outdoor, place them in a spot where light is accessible. If you are growing them indoors, you can place succulents near the window that has access to sunlight every day. If this is not possible, you can use a grow light to provide light to your succulents especially in winter.

2. Rotate the pot occasionally

Sometimes succulents stretch if only one side of the pot gets sunlight exposure. If this is the case, you can rotate the pot occasionally to provide light to the plant equally. This is a good way to allow the plant to enjoy the sunlight.

3. Move the plant to other places

If the plants are not receiving enough sunlight, you can move the plant to other places that has access to indirect sunlight. This way you do not need to buy grow light.

However, this is only possible during summer. In cold seasons when sunlight is limited, we do not have enough choices but to use artificial light sources.

Final Thoughts

Sunlight is one of the most important requirements for succulent plants to grow healthily. The lack of sunlight can negatively affect the growth and health of succulent plants.

If the succulent stem becomes too long or stretched, there is a high chance that it struggles to reach sunlight. If you see this, you can use the tips shared in this post and your plant will be okay.

With proper strategy, stretched succulents will be back to their normal condition once again. I hope this helps you bring back the beauty of your succulent plants.

If you want to learn more about succulent care, here’s the free guide.

Thank you for stopping by.


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

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