Why Is My Succulent Wilting?

The main reason why your succulent is wilting is because of extreme dehydration. Often, when the leaves on the succulent have begun to droop, it means that the soil has been very dry for a while. Succulents are known to withstand periods of drought because of their ability to absorb water and store it inside their bodies and leaves. Wilting means that they have used up most of their water stores and are in need of water.

Other causes of wilting or drooping succulents are overwatering, temperature changes, light stress, pests, disease, and overfeeding.

Why is my succulent wilting?

Underwatering

The most common reason why your succulent is wilting is because of lack of water. If you notice that your plant’s leaves are becoming wrinkled and less plump, it means that it needs water.

Even  though succulents can survive long periods of drought, it still needs water.

To check if the cause of the wilting is underwatering, insert your finger into the first top inch of soil in the pot. If soil does not stick to your finger, that usually means it is very dry and you need  to water your plant.

To remedy this, water only the soil around the plant. Do not water the leaves as this does not do the succulent any good, as they absorb water through their roots. Make sure you soak all of the soil in the pot with water to the point where the excess water is flowing out of the drainage holes at the bottom.

After a few days, the succulent should perk up and no longer look droopy. Establish a schedule for watering that the plant likes, and stick to it so that it  does not become underwatered again.

Overwatering

Succulent leaves can also wilt because of overwatering. Overwatered succulent leaves become soggy and turn yellow or even transparent. Due to the excess water in their leaves, they become weighted which is why they droop.

Unfortunately, when a plant has been overwatered for a while, it is almost impossible to save it.

Succulents are native to some of the driest places on earth with little to no rainfall, so they cannot tolerate too much water.

You can avoid overwatering by knowing how to water your plants correctly. Make sure you only water your plants when the soil is dry. If you do the finger method and the soil sticks to your finger, maybe wait another day or two and check again before you water.

As long as you follow a consistent watering schedule, your plants should be safe from overwatering.

Temperature changes

Succulents thrive in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why succulents are fine with being left outdoors, as long as there is not too much rain. For places with high humidity, it is advisable to use a planter for your rain-sensitive succulents so it is easy to transfer them all at once.

Take your succulents indoors if temperatures dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, as cold weather can cause your succulent to wilt.

Insufficient light

One of the most common causes of wilting is lack of light. When a succulent needs light, it will etiolate, or stretch and thin out in trying to reach the closest source of light.

Succulents need sunlight, specifically bright indirect light, so when they need light the leaves will droop because they are opening up.

The average amount of sunlight succulents need is six hours per day during its growing season.

Make sure you give the plants a decent amount of shade for the other part of the day to prevent sun damage.

For indoor plants, place them on a windowsill, or you can buy a growth lamp to provide sufficient light even during the winter. Use a 60-watt bulb for 12 to 14 hours a day and place it around one to one and a half feet away from the plant.

Pests and disease

Pests and disease can come about because of unsuitable growing conditions and care mistakes. These can lead to droopy leaves and branches in your succulents.

If you are attentive to your succulents and check on them everyday, you should be able to catch the pests or disease in their early stages. Over time you will be able to detect the symptoms easier.

The most common pests on succulents are scale insects, spider mites, weevils, fungus gnats, and mealybugs.

Vine weevils are black bugs that look a lot like beetles. Spider mites are small red bugs that crawl all over the succulent. Mealybugs are very tiny bugs that will look like white cotton at first glance.

Overfeeding

Giving your succulent fertilizer once in a while is alright because it helps the plant grow and flower. However, make sure you do not go overboard. Once a month is more than enough.

Overfeeding will cause your succulent to grow at an accelerated pace that is not healthy for your plant. They will produce soft tissues that make them susceptible to diseases. This makes the plant feeble and weak and will make them droopy.

Why is my succulent wilting after repotting?

If your succulent is wilting after you have just repotted it, it either means you did something wrong while repotting, or the plant might just be recovering from the process. Repotting is a stressful experience for all plants and you should give it some time to adjust to its new conditions.

Most of the time, the effects have to do with how the roots are handled during repotting. Make sure you touch the rootball gently just to shake off any excess soil. When cutting the roots, remove only the ones that are black or brown.

Conclusion

A wilting succulent is often due to the plant being underwatered. Check the soil at the base of the plant every couple of days to make sure that it is not dry. If the top inch of soil is dry, you need to water it as soon as possible.

Other causes of wilting in succulents is overwatering, lack of light, temperature changes, pests and disease, and overfeeding.

Image: istockphoto.com / tagphoto