When succulents get wrinkly? Many succulent growers had asked me this question before. Only a week ago, I received an email from one of the readers wondering why her succulent become soft and wrinkly.
In this post, I answer this question plus I will give additional tips on how to care succulents properly.
So, when do succulents get wrinkly and what caused it?
There are many factors that could cause succulents to get wrinkly. The most common reasons are underwatering, overwatering, lack or too much sunlight exposure, and compact soil that could cause root rotting.
That said, if you notice succulents getting wrinkly, it is a good idea to check which of the factors mentioned might cause the issue.
In most cases though, two factors which I see often cause wrinkling of my succulents. Its either under or overwatering.
Underwatering, however, is less likely to occur. This is because succulents can survive for a few weeks without water. So even if I left them unattended during holiday vacations, they are just fine.
Overwatering is what I found the most factor that detriments the health of my plants. This happened when I was just started growing succulents. Luckily, I found the remedy that keeps my succulents safe from overwatering.
Well, the strategy is simple. I transferred my plants into Terra Cotta Pots (click here to check these pots on Amazon). What I like about these pots is that they provide excellent drainage that allows the excess water to exit.
Since I choose the right pots for my plants, I don’t worry about overwatering anymore.
However, the problems that you might come across with your plants might be more complicated than what you expect. Sometimes, it is too hard to figure out what really causing the problem. If you are growing succulents for a while now, you might also have realized this.
The main challenge stems from the fact there is no one rule or technique that will solve all the problems. Wrinkly succulents are not the only issue. There are many types of diseases that could affect the health of plants.
What I realized throughout the years is the importance of being brave enough to experiment every time I encounter new problems in my plants.
For instance, if I have newly planted or re-potted succulents that don’t do well, I would try different things until they get healthy growth momentum.
Normally, the first thing I do is to adjust the amount of water. Its either add or decrease the amount of water and see what works. If the problem does not solve, then I would change the soil. The wrinkling of succulents leaves may also be the result of compact soil.
The soil that works very well with my succulents is the Hoffman Organic Succulent Soil Mix (check this soil on Amazon). I tried so many succulent and cactus soils before but I found more issues than benefits. If you are looking for a great soil for your succulents, I recommend Hoffman Organic soil for better results.
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How to Avoid Overwatering before Succulents get Wrinkly?
Well, as mentioned, there’s no single way to determine when the succulents get overwatered. This is because the amount of water that the succulents need is influenced by so many factors. Sun exposure, the climate, the type of soil, etc.
The best way that I found to avoid overwatering is by using a cocktail stick or wooden skewer. What you need to do is to stick the cocktail stick in the soil. Make sure that the tip of the stick reaches the bottom of the pot. Then pull it and check whether the soil clings to the stick or not.
If it does, that means that the soil is pretty moist. In this case, you must not water the plant. If it does not, then it suggests that the soil is dry and the succulent needs water.
This simple technique helps you determine the water needs of the succulents.
If the soil takes a long time to dry, maybe the plants need more sun exposure. This commonly happens in indoor succulents where the amount of light is limited resulting in a very slow drying process of the moisture in the soil.
If you have indoor succulents, it is helpful to place them near the window where there is a presence of sunlight every morning. It helps the succulents to somehow get the energy they need.
The other option is to bring the plants outside once a week or every morning if you can. This is an arduous effort on your part but it will be worthy.
During winter seasons though, this technique is not possible. Both inside and outside are cold in winter. If you are living in the area with the winter season, this is a great challenge for the succulents.
The best option you can have is to use artificial lighting for indoor plants. The one that helps my succulents best is the Ankace 40W Dual Head Timing Grow Light (check this grow light on Amazon). The artificial lighting such as this allows the succulents to survive in winter or cold seasons.
How to Know When Succulents Need Extra Care?
Aside from wrinkling, succulents could develop many issues along the way if you don’t give what they need. If you notice some of these problems, it means that the succulents need extra care and love.
1. Under or Overwatering
I mentioned this earlier in this post but I would like to reiterate this because too much or too little water could both harm the succulents.
For instance, if the succulents are overwatered, these plants could lose sturdiness and develop soft and mushy stems and leaves.
On the other hand, if succulents receive too little water, the leaves will change in color and ultimately become wrinkly.
If you see any of these signs, you know your succulents need extra care and love.
2. Etiolated Growth
Etiolation happens usually happens in indoor succulents. It is a tendency for succulents to be stretchy. The main reason for this is the lack of sun exposure.
Succulents are like any other plants that seek sunlight. If they remain in an area with limited or no access to light, they stretch their branches towards the area of the house where light is accessible.
If you notice this with your indoor succulents, it means that they need more light than you know. You can either place the plants near the window or provide them with grow light to aid their healthy growth.
3. Physical Damage
Although succulents are tolerant of some environmental conditions, they are vulnerable to physical damages. This happens when pests attack them. Or, sometimes, animals and humans get them knocked over.
If you have little children in your house, it is the best practice to place the succulents in safe areas. If you are relocating your plants, make sure that you place them on a sturdy receptacle.
Physical damages seem too simple to concern about. But the truth is, it is not. Like humans, physical damages hurt the plants more than you know. So take care of them by protecting them from any form of harm.
Like other plants, succulents need sunlight to survive. However, too much exposure to the sun can also detriment the plant. The majority of the succulent varieties are not hardy so they are vulnerable to sunburn.
If you are living in a tropical area, you should pay attention to this. The best practice that I can recommend is to provide succulents sun exposure for about 4-6 hours a day. Preferably in the morning.
After that, keep the succulents in safe areas. For my plants, I have a movable shed that can easily be moved away from the plants on a sunny morning and be moved back after a couple of hours when the sun gets hotter.
If your succulents are planted in portable pots, you can easily move the plants whenever it is needed.
The sunburned succulents develop a black or brown leaf. The sunburned leaves are usually super dry or shriveled. If you notice this in your plants, you should give them shed to save them from further damage.
Final Thoughts on When Succulents Get Wrinkly
There are many factors that could cause wrinkling in succulents. If your succulents get wrinkly, that means that something bad is happening.
As a grower, it is your job to figure out the cause. Don’t be afraid to experiment. The tips shared in this post can be helpful.
To learn more about successful succulent growing, feel free to visit this article: How To Grow Succulents? The Complete Guide