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Why Are My Succulent Leaves Curling Up

Succulents are great houseplants. They are also one of the most common houseplants in the world. It is easy to see why succulents are easy to care for and come in some of the most unique shapes and colors of all houseplants. So when something goes strange with your succulent, you begin to stress. 

Why are my succulent leaves curling up?

There are a few reasons why your succulent leaves would curl up. The most common answer is that your succulent is underwatered. When your succulent is not receiving enough water, the leaves will begin to curl under as the root system pulls the water from them. Read on to discover more about why your succulent could be curling and what you can do to repair it.

Underwatered Succulents 

Succulents are known for being very easy to care for houseplants. They do not need as much care and attention as other plants, and they do not require as much water. This is because succulents, like cactuses, store water in their leaves. Succulents naturally grow in drought common areas, so storing water helps them get through hot periods of no rain.

However, if your succulent is not watered enough, the leaves will begin to curl, shrivel, brown, and decay. They will become crispy and crumble when touched in extreme cases. You will notice the leaves closest to the bottom will be the first to show signs of dehydration. This is because they are the closest points to the roots. 

To help repair a dehydrated succulent, increase the amount of water or the frequency you water the plant. The succulent will puff back up to its usual perky self within a few weeks. 

Overwatered Succulents    

If your succulent is overwatered, the leaves may curl as a way to try to accommodate the extra fluid being pulled into the leaves. The leaves will also look pruney, like fingers left in water too long. If you feel like your succulent has had too much water, allow your succulent to dry out thoroughly before the next watering session.

Pay close attention to the soil your succulent is sitting in. Succulents hate moist and overly wet soil. Be sure that your succulent is planted in well-draining soil and that the pot has enough drainage holes for excess water to escape. You can purchase the appropriate succulent specific soil at garden centers or online. 

Making sure the soil is not wet helps prevent root rot and mold. Wet soil is also an invitation for bugs to nest and lay eggs. By ensuring that your soil is not overly moist, you can save your succulent and home from a gnat or mealybugs infestation.

Does My Succulent Need Direct Sunlight?

Succulents love sunshine, and they benefit from receiving at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. But can succulents handle direct sunlight?

Mature succulents can become acclimated to direct sun, but it takes some time. Keep your succulents in a south-facing window for consistent sunshine all day. If you live in an area that does not have cold seasons, you can move your succulents outdoors year-round; if your area does have a cold season, you can move your succulents outdoors for a summer vacation if you would like to.

Slowly bring your succulents outdoors for a few hours at a time, keeping them in the shade during the hottest parts of the days until they are used to the outdoor weather. This can take a few weeks. Water succulents when their soil has dried out or once every 9-11 days. 

When it is time to bring your succulents back indoors, change the potting soil the plant is sitting in. It may also be time to move up in pot size, as the sunshine and humidity may have allowed the succulent to have a growth spurt. Changing the soil helps prevent bugs that may have found a home in your succulent pot from making a new home inside your house. 

Does My Succulent Need Fertilizer?

Most of the time, your succulent does not need fertilizer. However, if you feel your succulent needs a boost of nutrients, you can fertilize it occasionally during the growing season. Be sure to purchase a succulent-specific fertilizer from your local garden center and read the instructions carefully to ensure proper application. Too much fertilizer can cause the plant to go into shock. 

Over-fertilizing a plant is hard to correct, but you can try. Depending on how much damage has been done, you may not be able to correct the issue. To try:

  1. Remove the succulent from its soil.
  2. Throw the soil away as it is too fertilized and can cause issues to other plants if you plant them in it.
  3. Rinse the roots with water to rinse away any excess fertilizer.
  4. Repot your succulent with fresh soil and avoid fertilizing for at least a month. 

If you feel like your succulent could use a nutrient, pick me up, and try repotting the plant with fresh soil. The fresh soil will be nutrient-rich and provide good nutrients for your succulents. Be sure to use fresh soil every time you repot your succulent to a bigger size as it grows, and water thoroughly. A freshly transplanted succulent should not be offered fertilizer as it can cause the plant to go into shock and die. 

Do Succulents Grow in Sand?

Succulents prefer well-draining and coarse soil. This can be achieved with a mixture of potting soil, sand, perlite, and mulch or rocks. If you do not want to make your own soil, you can purchase cactus and succulent specific soil at your local garden center. This soil is already mixed with other materials to provide the type of soil consistency that succulents thrive in. 

In Summary 

Succulents are everywhere. From farmer’s markets to grocery stores, these adorable little plants always beg to come home with you. Luckily, they are some of the easiest plants to care for! With little time requirements or commitment, succulents thrive on almost neglect- or so you’re told. 

So what happens when they start showing signs of distress? 

You can diagnose succulent problems by starting with a few common problems. Too much water, not enough water, not enough sunlight, too much hot direct sunlight, and fertilizing issues can all cause visible problems with your succulents. 

After figuring out what is causing the problem, you can correct it by increasing watering sessions, allowing your succulent time to dry out thoroughly, moving in or out of sunlight, or repotting your succulent after too much fertilizer. 

Now, you are ready to confidently bring some succulents home to your indoor garden space!