How to Get Rid of Brown Spots on Succulents (An Easy Guide)

By | Updated on April 22, 2023

Succulents are one of the most popular plants in homes and offices around the world.

These plants are easy to care for, but brown spots can become a problem if not taken care of.

There are a few different reasons why brown spots might develop, including pests and disease.

This guide discusses how to get rid of brown spots on succulents, what causes brown spots, and how to prevent them in the future.

What Causes Brown Spots on Succulent Plants

Succulent brown spots are dead cells. They result from several environmental factors, including high humidity, overwatering, and lack of light.

The brown often shows up when your plant is lacking in phosphorous or calcium too.

There are several causes of succulents turning brown.

The most common reasons are:

Natural Aging

There are some spots on succulents that are brown due to natural aging.

If you’ve had your plant for several years, some brown spots might show up naturally as the leaves age and die.

This browning is normal. Just remove brown or dying leaves when you notice them, and your succulents will continue to look healthy.

Environmental Damage

Brown spots on succulents can also be caused by environmental damage.

If your plant is exposed to extreme cold or hot temperatures, browning can occur.

If you live in an area with frosty winters and scorching summers, brown spots are likely due to environmental damage.

Too-cold conditions might cause brown spots that show up during the winter months, while too-hot conditions may cause brown spots that appear during summer.

Chemical Damage

If brown spots appear after you’ve applied chemicals to your plants, such as pesticides or fertilizers, browning can be due to chemical damage.

If you notice brown leaf tips and margins around the base of the leaves, it’s possible that a pesticide was sprayed on the leaves and browned them.


Succulents develop edema when swollen cells cause the cells to brown.

These brown spots may also have some water or liquid inside the succulent leaf tissue, making them look bloated and droopy.

Edema often occurs when your plant isn’t getting enough water to drink – it could be because you’re underwatering it or because you’re overwatering it.

Fungal Disease

Brown spots on brown and fuzzy or furry succulents may be fungi.

This fungal brown spot looks like cottony mold growing on your plant’s leaves, stems, or buds.

Browning of the flesh is also possible with this type of brown spotting problem – it can look like brown marbling in older growth areas, such as around the center of the rosette.

Excess Sunlight and Heat

If brown spots on succulents appear in sunburn areas, your plant is likely getting too much sunlight or heat.

These brownings can also occur if you live somewhere with very hot summers and minimal shade to protect your plants from the sun’s direct rays.

A sunburned succulent brown spot will often look brown, dry, and leathery.

Excess Salt Damage (Coastal Areas)

If you live near the ocean or other saltwater bodies like lakes or rivers, brown spots on succulents can occur if their leaves are exposed to too much salt.

If your plant is browning because it’s constantly getting brown spots from salt, it might also appear wilted and dehydrated.

Poor Soil Quality (Excess Salts)

If brown spots on succulents show up due to poor soil conditions, your plant may be getting too much fertilizer or other nutrients like salts that build up over time as water evaporates back into the air.

Succulents browning due to excess salts might also appear dehydrated.

Fluoride Toxicity

If brown spots appear between succulent leaves, it may be due to fluoride toxicity from water with a high concentration of minerals and salts.

If you have brown spots on your plant that look like brown lines or streaks when they divide leaf sections, this is evidence of browning from fluoride toxicity.

Insect Bites

If the brown spots on the plants look like they have teeth marks or tiny holes, it could be due to insect damage.

Aphids and mealybugs are common culprits when brown spots appear where insects have been sucking the juice out of the plant’s tissues.

This brown spot is brown, dry, and papery.

Drought Stress

If brown spots appear due to drought stress – especially if you notice brown spotting on the oldest leaves first.

Browning from drought occurs when your plant isn’t getting enough water because it’s too hot or cold to hydrate themselves through their roots properly.

This browning is often brown and dry.

Sudden Temperature Changes

A spot seems pale at first, and then browns can be due to a sudden temperature change.

A quick, extreme rise or fall in temperature might cause browning of this type because it affects the fluid inside your leaves.

Brown spots are caused by sudden changes in temperatures, usually brown suddenly.

Abiotic Disorders

Abiotic brown spots on succulents also brown rapidly, but unlike other browning problems caused by insects or diseases, abiotic brownings aren’t contagious.

This type of browning usually affects the youngest leaves first before gradually spreading out to older leaves and stems.

It’s often brownish-white in color with irregular brown spots that appear brownish-yellow around the browning areas.

Root Rot

Brown spotting on succulents can also occur if your plant is suffering from root rot, which browns rapidly at first before spreading to older leaves and stems in a zigzag shape or pattern.

Yellow halos may surround brown dots for brown spots that are brownish-white or brown.

How To Fix Brown Spots on Succulents

Succulent brown spots can be unattractive. Brown leaf tips or margins on succulent leaves are quite common but should not cause alarm.

If brown spots are shallow and you can see the green part of the succulent, then removing brown spots is easy.

Simply cut off the brown parts with a sharp knife or scissors. You want to remove brown patches before they start growing into other areas and infecting more than just that area.

If it doesn’t bother you, brown spots are not a problem.

If the brown spots are deeper or grow into other areas, brown leaf tips or margins will need to be treated.

One of the best remedies for brown leaves is an organic fungicide called neem oil.

Neem oil can help prevent bacterial leaf spot and treat it at the same time. Be careful when using neem oil because it can burn the succulent if not diluted.

Neem oil is typically used at a ratio of one teaspoon per quart or 30 ml per liter when mixed with water.

However, when environmental factors cause brown spots, you should take care of the root cause instead. That is why it is crucial to know the reasons brown leaf spots occur on succulents.

In general, taking care of succulents properly and providing them with the right conditions in your home will help treat and prevent brown leaf spots.

How To Prevent Brown Spots on Succulents

Brown spots can appear on succulents, even if they are healthy.

Brown spots are brown patches that occur due to several reasons. The best way to prevent brown spots is to take care of them properly.

Some things you can do to prevent brown spots are:

Water Your Succulent Only When It’s Necessary

Succulents don’t need to be watered frequently. Make sure you only water your succulents when the soil is dry.

If brown spots appear on your succulent after it has been watered, that means there was too much moisture in its environment, and this caused brown patches to form.

Keep Your Succulent In A Bright Place

Make sure to place your succulent in bright and sunny places, but not directly under the sun. This way, brown spots won’t appear on its leaves.

If brown spots do form when you keep it in a bright environment, that means there is too much light for your plant; make sure to reduce lighting by moving it further away from the window.

Make Sure The Temperature Is Optimal

Succulents can grow brown spots when there is too much heat or cold for them, so make sure to keep your succulent in an optimal temperature range of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 50 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius – 12 degrees Celsius).

If brown spots appear on your plant, then that means it’s too cold or hot for its environment.

Provide Adequate Drainage

Succulents brown spots occur when there is too much moisture in the soil.

Make sure to use a drainage layer that allows water and oxygen into your plant’s environment.

If brown spots appear on your succulent plant after using a drainage layer, it means the drainage wasn’t good enough for your plant.

Use Proper Soil

Succulent brown spots can form when you use soil that is not appropriate for your plant.

Make sure to use well-draining soil because succulents are drought-resistant plants.

If brown spots appear on the leaves of your succulents after using a specific type of potting mix, then it means that a particular type isn’t suitable for your plant.

Avoid Over-Feeding Your Succulents

If brown spots appear on your succulent leaves after you feed them, then that means there is too much fertilizer in its environment.

Make sure only to add fertilizer once every couple of months during the growing season and add a small amount each time.

This way, brown spots won’t form. If brown spots form on your succulent, that means there is too much fertilizer for its environment.

Remove Damaged Parts Immediately

When brown spots appear on the leaves of succulents, you should remove the damaged parts right away because brown patches can lead to rot or fungus if not removed in time.

After removing brown spots by cutting them off, make sure to keep the brown spots out of your plant’s environment.

If brown spots are not removed, they can lead to severe problems like rotting or infection.

This is why it’s essential to prevent brown patches from appearing in the first place. If you take good care of your plants and use these tips, brown spots will never form on them.

Final Thoughts

Brown spots on succulents can be pretty ugly and worrying.

Not only do they make the plant aesthetically unpleasing to look at, but brown spots can also indicate root rot or even a fungal infection if not tended to correctly.

This is why brown spots must be addressed as soon as possible and not be left unattended.

In general, succulents are easy-to-care-for plants that only require a little bit of love and attention.

Succulent brown spots should not be too much to worry about, even if they do often appear in succulents.

Luckily, brown spots are usually not a danger to the plant itself and can be treated easily.

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