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Can Succulents Die Of Old Age – How Long Do They Live?

Succulents seem to be able to survive anything. Popping up in dry, humid climates and surviving despite the lack of rain, it can seem like these plants can live forever. However, like all living things, they too can give out, eventually dying. So, can succulents die of old age?

Succulents can die of old age. Succulents come in all shapes and sizes, contributing to the variation in the number of years they can survive. Some succulents live more than 50 years, while others have been alive for centuries. As long as they’re in favorable conditions, they can carry on living, making it far beyond many other plants. 

Below, we’ll take a look at the reasons succulents die and critical signs to look for to know they’re dead. Growers can use this as a guide to understand the lifespan of their succulents and keep their succulents living long. 

How Many Years Can a Succulent Live?

Succulents are very diverse. They come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors and are fairly easy to upkeep. These are why succulents are popular, with many growers choosing them for their homes and gardens. Different succulents have been studied to map out their lifespan, while others have not yet been observed long enough for scientists to provide an answer. Some that are known include: 

Succulent TypeAverage Lifespan
Jade Plant70-100 years
Hens and Chicks4+ years
Aloe Vera10-30 years
Barrel Cactus100+
Living Stones45 years
Christmas Cactus40+ years
Average Lifespan of Common Succulents

Favorable Conditions For Succulents

Succulents are tough plants and can typically adapt to a wide range of conditions. Still, some essentials keep them happy and growing strong.

The Right Temperature 

Succulents like temperatures that are warm. They do the best in areas with daytime highs of 65oF and 70oF but can do well in temperatures that reach well over 90oF as long as they have access to some shade. 

They don’t like temperatures that dip too much when the sun goes down. Nighttime temperatures around 60oF are best, helping to seal moisture into soils without dipping too low for roots to handle. 

Access To Light 

Because succulents have a reputation for loving the heat, it’s typically thought that they want sunlight all day. However, they do better when they have access to shade. When planting them outside, give them a spot that offers access to the sun with protection at the hottest point of the day. 

Proper Watering 

Succulents do need water but not too much. Overwatering them can lead to damaged roots and rot. The amount of water that you should give your succulents will depend on several factors, including the humidity in your area. The best way to gauge when to water your succulents is to feel the soil, ensuring it’s moist throughout without being too wet. Also, add a moisture meter into the soil, pulling it out to check soil conditions at least an inch below. 

The Right Soil

Speaking of soil, that’s another thing that growers should keep a watch out for. Succulents need space to spread their roots. The best soils are those with sand due to its loose compaction, which makes drainage easy. There are planting mixes made specifically for cacti and succulents, so be sure to use that when planting indoors or out. 

How Do I Know If My Succulent Died? 

When healthy, succulents are firm and perky. Depending on the variety you have in your garden, they can be a bright shade of green, a brownish color, or even a kind of purple. To determine if your succulents are in good shape, there are a few key things to look for that are common indicators your succulent is dying, including: 

  • Brown leaves that feel mushy 
  • Yellowing leaves 
  • Black leaves 
  • Shriveled leaves 
  • Brown spots 

Brown or black leaves typically indicate that your succulent suffers from root rot. While there could be several causes, the main one has to do with overwatering. For succulents that start to shrivel or display yellow-colored leaves, that’s either an indication of some sort of disease or that you’re not giving it enough water. 

Top 3 Reasons Succulents Die

Keeping succulents alive and well is all about knowing what conditions they favor. Before planting, it’s good to know why succulents die to avoid making common mistakes. These are the top 3 reasons succulents die. 

#1. Unfavorable Watering 

Finding a sweet spot is key to keeping your succulents alive and well when it comes to watering. The #1 reason that succulents die is that they are either overwatered or deprived of water, damaging to their roots and leaves. 

How To Avoid It: 

Check soils often and make sure they are moist. When watering, do so in the early morning, letting it soak into the ground before the sun. Use a moisture gauge to determine soil conditions up to an inch below the ground, using that as a guide for how often you should water.

#2. Cramped Space 

Keeping succulents in cute cups is attractive, though it can harm your plant if you’re not careful. Succulents need ample space to spread out their roots and grow, usually extending up to two times larger than their size above ground. 

How To Avoid It: 

Choose pots that have plenty of space for your succulent, including both width and depth. When adding soil, don’t pack it too much, leaving space for water and air to flow through to promote root growth. 

#3. Lack Of Drainage

Again, some containers are cute and make great gifts, but they come without essentials, like holes for drainage. Most plants need pots with draining, as it helps avoid root rot and other issues. 

How To Avoid It: 

Make sure that pots have holes for drainage. This will allow water to flow through and keep soils from becoming overly moist. Use a pot that has draining holes and a plate at the bottom to catch excess water. This can help you see when you’ve overwatered and allow you to feel soil at the very bottom to check for overwatering. 

Before You Go 

Succulents can live for a long time, some of them even making it for centuries. To keep your succulents alive as long as they can be, give them the conditions they love and avoid making common mistakes. Whether planting them indoors or out, give them plenty of room to grow and access shade when temperatures are highest. 

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