Why Are My Succulent Leaves Cracking?

Why Are My Succulent Leaves Cracking
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Why Are My Succulent Leaves Cracking

Why are my succulent leaves cracking? If you are growing succulents for a while now, you might also encounter this problem. If so, then this is for you. In this post, I will share with you some information about why succulents sometimes have cracking leaves.

Growing succulents is not always easy. This is because there are possible challenges you could experience along the way.

It is true that succulents are less demanding plants. In some instances, however, they need some type of care and attention especially if they start to show problems.

There are many potential problems you can encounter with succulent plants. One of which is cracking or splitting leaf.

So, why are succulent leaves cracking? One of the most common reasons why succulent leaves are cracking is overwatering. As you know, succulent stems and leaves store water. This is the primary reason why they don’t need much water.

In fact, overwatering is detrimental to succulent plants. Unlike other plants in your garden, too much water is harmful to succulents. Cracking leaves are just some indications that you gave way too much water to your plants.

The excessive amount of water adds to the water already stored in the leaves. When the leaves can’t hold the water, it forces its cells to extend making it split or crack.

What to Do When Succulent Leaves Are Cracking?

You might already have a good guess. Of course, the best and quickest way to save the succulent plant from having cracking leaves is by reducing the water it receives.

But it is not as simple as you might previously think. Lessening the water may not automatically bring back the succulent plant into its healthy condition. There are other factors you need to consider too.

For instance, you need to make sure that the succulent is planted in fast-draining soil. If you regularly read this blog, you are already familiar with my dogma when it comes to choosing the best soil for my succulent plants.

I only recommend a soil mix that does a pretty good job at draining the excess water during the watering (check my recommended soil on Amazon).

For saving a succulent plant that has cracking leaves, you can do the following:

1. Stop Watering

Completely curtail the watering for succulent plants suffering from cracking leaves will tremendously help the plant. But only do this if you are using the fast-draining soil I mentioned above. For about a week or so, the water should subside.

It is very important to make sure that the excess water is indeed drained. You can test it by inserting your finger into the soil. if the soil sticks into your finger, it is a sign that the soil is still wet. You need to do the next strategy below.

2. Change the Existing Soil

If you are not using the fast-draining soil, the best thing you can do is to change the soil in the pot. Before you do it, make sure that you safely removed the plant from the pot. I suggest that you also remove all the old soil from the roots. Then repot the plant in the fast-draining succulent soil mix. At this point, refrain from watering. Wait for a week before you water the newly transferred succulents.

Now that the succulents are planted in the fast-draining soil, overwatering should not be an issue. To keep your succulent plants safe all the time, use the soak and dry watering method.

This watering method is done by soaking the soil thoroughly then only water again as soon as the soil gets dry for a couple of days. This way you can avoid overwatering.

How to Avoid Succulent Leaves from Cracking?

To avoid this problem from arising, you can take the following tips. These techniques work well with my succulents and I strongly believe that it will with your succulent plants too.

Choose the Right Soil Mix

Succulents are prone to overwatering if they are planted in soil with poor drainage. Compact soil or regular garden soil is definitely not good soil for succulents.

Soil like this absorbs and retains too much water which will in turn cause root rot in succulent plants. In the beginning, you need to make sure that you choose the right soil.

There are many commercial fast-draining soils you can buy from garden supply stores or from online. If you want, you can also make your own fast-draining succulent soil mix. Just make sure that you combine all the necessary ingredients such as coarse sand and perlite or pumice.

Be Familiar with Growth Cycles of the Succulent Plants

Understating the growth cycle of your succulents is also important to keep them safe from overwatering. This is because succulents have varied water needs depending on their growth cycle.

When succulents are dormant, they are not actively growing and therefore they don’t need as much water as when they are growing.

It is very important that you know when your succulent is dormant and when it is actively growing. That way you will give the appropriate amount of water they need.

The Watering Frequency

The watering frequency also plays a very important role in keeping the succulent plant healthy. Unlike other plants, succulents do not like frequent watering because it could cause root rot.

Many succulent growers do follow a schedule in watering their succulent plants. However, in my case though, I do not have a watering schedule for my succulent plants.

I just use the soak and dry method I mentioned above. The watering frequency will therefore depend on when the soil gets dry. This way my succulent plants are safe from becoming overwatered.

Final Thoughts on Why Are my Succulent Leaves Cracking

When the succulent leaves are cracking, it is a sign of overwatering. If you notice this happens in your succulent plants, you need to check the type of soil you’re using. Replace a compact soil with a fast-draining soil mix that does not absorb and retain too much water.

Also, I suggest that you use a soak and dry watering method for your succulents. This way you can make sure that your plants will never be overwatered. I hope this helps you keep your succulent plants healthy and thriving. Thank you for reading.


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

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