Why Are My Succulents Wilting? Important Facts

Why Are My Succulents Wilting

Why are my succulents wilting? I received this question over and over again. In this post, I will be talking about the reasons why succulents wilt.

It is frustrating to see that your beloved succulent plant wilts. If you are a beginner, this really causes a headache.

So, why are my succulents wilting? The most common cause of wilting in succulents is underwatering and overwatering. This means that too much dryness or water can cause wilting in succulent plants.

It is true that succulents are native to semi-desert areas and are tolerant of drought. However, in extremely dry conditions, most of them may wilt or droop.

When this happens, it means that they need moisture. It is a sign that you need to give your succulent plant the water it needs.

Related Article: How Long Can Succulents Go Without Water

Succulent plants are very good at storing water in their stems and leaves. This allows them to thrive in drought or neglect. But long drought and dryness, the leaves will start to change in color.

On the other side of the coin, too much moisture or water is harmful to the succulent plants. Either way, you need to be careful.

What to Do for Wilting Succulents Due to Underwatering?

If succulents wilt and have crispy leaves, it means that it needs water. Your job as a grower is to provide your plants’ needs.

To make sure that the cause of the problem is underwatering, insert your finger into the soil. If the soil does not stick to your finger, that’s the sign that there is no enough moisture – the problem is extreme dryness.

But if you found out that the soil is moist or wet, then underwatering is not the cause of the problem. It could be overwatering.

If underwatering is the cause, you need to water the plant. But you need to make sure that the water reaches all the roots.

It is very important to remember that watering succulents is different from watering other common plants. You should not water from the top of the plant. Instead, water the soil down to the roots.

To make sure that all the roots get the moisture they need, you need to soak the soil completely.

This is because watering just the surface of the soil will not help. It only works with shallow-rooted plants. With succulents, you need to soak the soil.

What I recommend is to use the soak and dry method. This watering technique involves soaking the soil completely and let the excess water to drain. Then water again once the soil is dry.

However, you can only apply this watering method if you are using the pots with drainage holes. Remember that succulents do not like excessive moisture.

The purpose of the hole in the pot is to allow the excess water to drain. Furthermore, if you apply the soak and dry watering method, make sure that you use a fast-draining soil (check my recommended succulent soil on Amazon).

Fast draining soil will not only drain the water but also provide good aeration to the plant. Compact soil holds too much moisture which is detrimental to the overall health of the succulent plant.

The watering frequency is dependent on how long the moisture of the soil lasts. The soil in smaller pots though tends to dry faster than in the big pots. So if you are using the small pots, make sure to check the soil periodically.

The season also affects the watering frequency. In hotter months, the soil tends to dry faster than in colder seasons.

Related Article: How Often Should You Water a Succulent Plant?

What to Do for Wilting Succulents Due to Overwatering?

As mentioned, wilting succulents could also be due to overwatering. Sometimes succulent leaves turn into mushy or soggy and start to change its color into yellow or transparent.

Another sign of overwatering is soft black spots on the leaves or stems. This happens when it is severely damaged by water. Unfortunately, this is a more serious problem.

In most cases, succulents that are severely damaged by overwatering is difficult if not impossible to revive.

But the good news though is that not all succulents are prone to overwatering. There are varieties that are tolerant of too much moisture. But most of the succulent plants are vulnerable to overwatering.

The best way to avoid overwatering is to water the succulent plants correctly. If you are using the soak and dry watering method, you only need to water if the soil is dry.

As long as you follow this simple step, your plants will be safe from overwatering. But if you notice the symptoms of overwatering, immediately reduce the amount of water and the watering frequency. It is also important to check if you need to change the soil.

However, if black spots on the leaves and stems are already present, it will be a different story. In this case, you need to cut the affected areas. The healthy cuttings can also be propagated into a new pot.

In most cases, the original plant seldom survives depending on the severity of the problem. Severely overwatered succulent plants usually die.

Final Thoughts on Why Are My Succulents Wilting

There are many reasons why succulent plants wilt. But in my experience, there are two most common reasons: under and overwatering.

If your succulent is wilting, check the moisture in the soil. If the soil is dry, then underwatering is the cause of the wilting.

However, if you see some black spots on the leaves and stems, then overwatering can be the cause of the problem.

Underwatering is much easier to fix. You just need to water your succulent plants and they will be okay.

Overwatering on the other hand is a bit harder to fix. In fact, in severe cases, overwatered succulents usually die.

No one wants to see your beloved plant wilt. So be careful. Although succulents are versatile, they are prone to diseases due to a lack of care.

I hope this helps. Thank you for reading.

Related Questions

Can you save a wilted succulent?

Yes, you can save a wilted succulent. If the cause is underwatering, you can just give water. If the cause of wilting is overwatering, you just need to reduce the amount of water as well as the watering frequency.

How can you tell the difference between overwatering and underwatering?

The signs of over and underwatering are identical. The leaves of the succulent plants usually wilt and turn brown. The only difference is the texture of the leaves. In underwatered succulents, the leaves become super dry and crispy. In overwatered succulents on the other hand the leaves become soft and mushy.

How do you fix overwatering?

You can quickly fix the overwatered succulents by reducing the amount of water you are giving to your plant. You can also change the soil and the pot. Make sure that the soil from the overwatered pot is removed before you repot the plant. Remove all the damaged roots and retain the healthy ones.


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

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