Why Do My Succulents Keep Dying?

Why Do My Succulents Keep Dying
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Why Do My Succulents Keep Dying

Why do my succulents keep dying? I used to ask the same question. If you do too, then this post is for you. I will share with you some crucial information you need to fix the dying succulents.

Many things could potentially detriment the health of succulent plants. If you see your succulents keep dying, then something very wrong is happening.

As a grower, your job in this case is to figure out what causes the problem. For years, I learned that many factors could cause disease to succulent plants.

So why do your succulents keep dying?

There could be several factors that could directly affect succulents’ health. The leading factors are usually inappropriate amount of water, a bacterial disease, sunlight, soil, container, and temperatures.

But how these factors affect succulents? Well, that is exactly what I will share with you in this post.

So let’s get started. Here are some of the reasons why your succulents keep dying.


One of the leading causes of succulents’ death is water. In fact, it caused about eighty-five percent of succulents’ death. This usually happens among beginners. Back when I was started, I also encountered the same problem.

One of the most common causes of succulent death is root rot. This happens when the roots are soaked in too much moisture for too long. The problem starts in the roots then affect the upper parts of the succulents.

Succulents that are planted in compact soil suffer this problem most of the time. Succulents, as native to semi-desert areas do not need much water because they already have it in their stems and leaves.

Their physical structure allows them to survive drought and neglect. However, whenever they have water to absorb, they won’t stop drinking. This will eventually cause an issue.

Overwatered succulents tend to show the following symptoms:

  • Yellowing of leaves and stems
  • Sometimes developed transparent color
  • Develop black spots in the leaves
  • Becomes mushy

If you found some of these signs, then there is a high chance that overwatering could be an issue.

2.  Bacterial Disease

Overwatering will not only cause root rot but also bacterial disease. Constant wet soil invites bacteria or fungi which will, in turn, cause additional trouble to the succulent plants.

Needless to say that overwatering should be avoided. The best way to do it is to only water succulent when needed. To me, the best way to keep succulent plants from overwatering is by using an effective watering strategy.

My favorite watering method is the soak and dry strategy. This watering method simply means that when watering, soak the soil and let the excess water drain. Then water again when the soil gets dry.

However, this method only works well when succulents are planted in fast-draining soil and in a pot with a draining hole. Fast-draining soil does not hold too much water and the hole in the pot helps drains the excess water.

The combination of an appropriate type of soil and pot will save the succulent plants.

3. Inappropriate Sunlight Exposure

Back when I was started, I thought that because succulents are native to semi-desert areas, they could survive in too much sun. But it turned out to be wrong. The truth is that most succulents cannot endure too much sunlight. In fact, if they are exposed to direct sunlight for too long, they can get sunburned and die.

This means that succulents should be protected from the scourging heat of the sun. I recommend that succulents be exposed to morning sunlight for about 4-6 hours a day. During the afternoon, they should have some shade to keep them safe.

However, it is also important to note that the lack of sun exposure can also cause problems for the succulent plants. When not get enough sunlight, succulents tend to be stretchy toward the place where light is available.

If succulents do not access light for too long, they tend to develop light green or white color leaves. If this condition lingers for a couple of months, succulents will eventually die.

If you are growing succulents indoors, you may encounter this issue. The best thing you can do is to bring the succulent plants outside and give them sunlight for a couple of hours every day.

The other good option is to use grow light for indoor succulents (click here to check my recommended grow light on Amazon). Grow light supplements the light need of the plants. This way, you can keep your succulent plant safe and healthy.

4. Inappropriate Succulent Pot or Container

Containers or pots can have a tremendous impact on the succulents. That said, you need to be careful in choosing the container for your succulents.

The rule of thumb is to always use pots or containers that have drainage holes. As mentioned earlier, the excess water during watering should be drained. Without a drainage hole, the water will be stuck in the pot causing root rot.

That said, here are the containers you need to avoid:

Glass Containers

In most cases, glass containers are used to boost the aesthetic feature of the plant especially indoors. However, glass containers do not have drainage holes. This will cause root rot.

The other problem with glass containers is that they reflect sunlight and could potentially burn succulents. If your succulents keep dying, check if they are planted in the glass container. Fix the issue by changing the container.

Plastic Containers

Plastic containers are not good for succulents either. They do not have good airflow and therefore do not help succulents to breathe. The lack of airflow means that the soil becomes compact and thus retains water.

When your succulents keep dying, check if they are planted in the plastic container. If so, then transfer them into an appropriate pot as soon as possible.

5. Inappropriate Soil

As mentioned earlier, succulents need soil that drains the excess water. They need soil that does not hold too much moisture. If planted in compact garden soil, succulents will eventually die.

Always remember that succulents are different from other plants. They are accustomed to semi-desert areas where water was limited. Growing them at home means that you provide them the similar type of soil.

The good news is that you can buy fast-draining soil for your succulents online. Or, if you have enough time, you can make your own. Just remember that the soil must be fast draining.

6. Climate Issues

The climate of the immediate environment can also affect the health of the succulent plants. Although succulents are native to semi-desert areas, not all of them can survive in a hot environment.

Extreme temperatures can kill succulents. Generally, there are two major types of succulents: cold and heat tolerant. Cold tolerant succulents can survive in low temperatures. In contrast, heat-tolerant succulents can survive high temperatures.

The key to growing succulents successfully is to make sure that you choose the right succulent variety for your place. I suggest that you do initial research on the characteristics of the plant.

If you are living in a warm place, you need to pick the heat-tolerant succulents. While if you live in a place with a cold climate, choose cold-tolerant succulent varieties.

All of these factors, as mentioned, can negatively affect your succulents. In extreme cases, they are the leading causes of succulent deaths.

If you notice your succulents keep dying, try to examine if some of these factors are present. Implement immediate action to fix the problem.

Can You Save the Dying Succulents?

In some cases, dying succulents can be saved especially if the problem is mild. At this point, what you can do is trace the problem and fix it. For instance, if the cause of the problem is overwatering, you can reduce the amount of water. Similarly, if the problem is an inappropriate type of soil, you can change it.

Therefore, the first step is to figure out the root cause of the problem and then fix it. But make sure that you apply the remedy as soon as you notice the issue. Trying to fix the problem late will not be successful.

Final Thoughts

In sum, there are many reasons why succulents keep dying. As mentioned, it could be inappropriate soil, sunlight, water, container, and climate.

The good thing though is that there are things you can do to avoid the problem. You can follow the tips mentioned in this post if you encounter the problem with your succulent plants.

Lastly, I recommend that once you notice an issue with your succulent plants, check for the causes. Once the real causes are identified, fix them immediately.

I hope this helps. Thanks for reading.


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

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