Why is My Succulent Turning Red? (A Complete Guide)

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Did you know succulents are one of the easiest plants to grow indoors?

They take minimal care, and they’re very resilient.

But succulents can also turn red without any warning, which is why many people wonder what’s happening when their succulent turns red.

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the most common reasons for succulents turning red and how to maintain them with a healthy green color!

What Causes Succulents to Change Color?

A lot is going on inside succulent plants, which helps them gain such unique colors when exposed to certain conditions.

Succulents have adapted over time into what we see today because it allows them to survive through difficult living conditions like drought or desert climates where finding water is rare.

Leaf succulents tend to change colors when they are experiencing stress or environmental changes.

Leaves succulents can turn red, orange, or pink when under environmental stress because the heightened coloration signals animals to stay away.

It works in much the same way that brightly colored berries warn other succulent eaters of its bitter taste and toxicity levels.

This allows succulents to survive longer through dry seasons and survive long periods without succulent eaters.

Different species of succulents can look drastically different when under stress which is why we see such a variety in coloration between them.

When the succulent has adapted to its environment over time, it starts producing more chlorophyll to convert energy from sunlight into food to survive.

This eventually leads to succulents turning red, orange, or yellow when exposed to high levels of sunlight for an extended period.

Occasionally, succulents will change colors because of the conditions that are being provided for them.

For example, if you place your succulent in direct sunlight, it may cause leaves to become red or pinkish instead of green, depending on how long it has been exposed to the sun.

If there isn’t enough water available, then succulents can turn purple or brown as a way for them to hold onto what little amount of water they have left inside their cells until rainfall occurs again.

Do All Succulents Change Colors?

Some succulents have adapted to their environment so well that they rarely change color, even under the most extreme conditions.

Aloe succulents will only turn a slight shade of red when exposed to high levels of sunlight, but it doesn’t tend to affect them as much as other succulent plants.

Aloes can lose leaves if there isn’t enough succulent food available, but it won’t cause other plants to turn red or pink if they are in the right conditions.

Cacti succulents have a slightly different reaction when exposed to high levels of sunlight because their skin often becomes bleached instead of changing color.

This is an effective way for cactus succulents to protect themselves from succulent eaters because it gives them a withered and sickly appearance.

Succulents that contain high moisture levels in their leaves, stems, or roots tend not to change color under normal conditions, but they can turn bright colors if the succulent is severely damaged.

Succulents that have adapted to live in colder climates can turn red or pink when succulent leaves are heavily damaged because succulents need to protect the succulent stem under cold conditions.

Why Should I Care If My Succulent Is Turning Red

When succulents turn red, it is a sign that something has gone wrong.

Perhaps you cared for your succulent incorrectly, or the plant was exposed to a new environment where it did not have enough water.

Whatever the reason may be, a succulent turning red can end up being fatal to the plant if left untreated and, therefore, should always be addressed when they happen to ensure their survival.

Why Do Succulents Turn Red?

There are many reasons why succulents will turn red.

Whether from the lack of water, direct sunlight, or just growing conditions, succulents can change color when they need your help to survive.

Whether you have a leafy succulent plant with leaves turning pinkish-red or succulents that have turned brown and purple because there isn’t enough moisture in the soil – there are certain steps you can take to improve their living conditions, so they stop dying off!

Succulent red leaves mean something has gone wrong, and succulents are quick to let you know they need your help.

The most common reasons succulents turn red are:

Drought Stress

Succulents will turn red when succulent leaves and stems are exposed to drought stress which prevents succulent cells from holding onto water inside their cells.

If succulents don’t have enough moisture, they wilt, become weak, and eventually die off if not taken care of.

By turning red, succulents are trying to give you a signal that they need to be watered as soon as possible to prevent them from dying.

Direct Sunlight

Succulents are very sensitive when it comes to direct sunlight.

If succulents are exposed to too much sun, they will turn red because the leaves can’t handle the amount of UV rays produced by the sun, which causes succulent cells to break down and lose their elasticity.

Poor Soil Quality

Succulents will turn red when they are planted in soil that doesn’t have enough nutrients for succulents to survive.

If the soil is too acidic, succulents will turn red, and if it doesn’t have enough nutrients, succulent leaves become weak, limp, and die off from being exposed to dry conditions for a prolonged period.

Cold Temperatures

Succulents will turn red when succulent leaves and stems are exposed to cold temperatures.

If succulents drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, they may begin to turn red as succulent cells are pushed to their limits.

High Salt Levels

Succulents will turn red when succulent leaves are exposed to high levels of salt that prevent them from absorbing the amount of water they need.

It is essential not to use fertilizers or salts on succulents as it can cause succulent plants to become extremely thirsty and eventually die off if you don’t take care of the problem.

Root Bound

Succulents will begin to turn red if succulent roots are exposed to being bound down.

Having too many succulents in a pot causes them not to get enough water and nutrients from the soil, which is why succulents need room to grow.

If you have succulents that keep dying off or turning colors, it may be time for you to repot succulents in a bigger pot with better succulent soil.

Heat Stress

Succulents will turn red when succulent leaves and stems are exposed to high temperatures, which can cause succulent cells to break down while losing their elasticity.

If succulents stay hot for too long, they will die off because it prevents them from holding onto water inside succulent cells.

Over-Fertilization

Succulents will turn red when succulent leaves are exposed to over-fertilizing.

Too much fertilizer can cause succulent cells to break down, making succulents thirsty and unable to hold onto water inside their cells.

Succulents need a very small amount of fertilizer to survive, and succulent plants should only be fertilized during their growing seasons.

What Should I Do if My Succulent Leaves Turn Red?

If succulents turn red, there are certain steps you can take to improve living conditions so succulent leaves stop dying off.

Let the Soil Dry Out Between Waterings

Succulents will die if left in wet soil for too long, which is why it is essential to let the soil dry out between watering succulent plants.

Succulents need to be watered deeply but infrequently, which means you should water succulents only when the soil is dry.

Remove Succulent Flowers and Buds

Succulents will turn red if succulent flowers or buds are left on succulent plants for too long because they drain the energy that they need to survive.

If succulents are producing flowers or buds, you must remove them from succulent plants to focus on taking care of themselves and staying hydrated during hot seasons.

Move Your Succulent Plants Inside at Night for a Few Weeks During Cold Seasons

Succulents will turn red when succulent leaves are exposed to cold temperatures, which can cause succulents to die off.

If succulents drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, they may begin to turn red as succulent cells are pushed to their limits.

However, if you move succulents inside during colder seasons, succulent plants will be able to use less energy and retain more water which means succulents won’t need to turn red.

Repot succulents in a Bigger Pot with Better Soil

Succulent plants will die if succulent roots are exposed to being bound down.

Having too many succulents in a pot causes them not to get enough water and nutrients from the soil, which is why succulents need room to grow.

If you have succulents that keep dying off, succulent plants may be time to repot succulents in a bigger pot with better soil.

Keep Succulents Warm During Cold Seasons and Cool During Hot Seasons

Succulents will begin to turn red if succulent leaves and stems are exposed to high temperatures, which can cause succulent cells to break down while losing their elasticity.

If succulents stay hot for too long, succulent plants will die off because it prevents succulents from holding onto water inside succulent cells.

Stop Over-Fertilizing succulents

Succulent plants will turn red when succulent leaves are exposed to over-fertilizing.

Too much fertilizer can cause succulent cells to break down, making succulents thirsty and unable to hold onto water inside their cells.

Succulents need a very small amount of fertilizer to survive. Succulent plants should only be fertilized during their growing seasons.

Keep Succulents in Bright Indirect Sunlight

Succulents will turn red if succulent leaves and stems are exposed to intense bright sunlight because succulent cells can’t handle the hot temperatures.

If succulents get too much sun, it causes succulent plants to lose their elasticity, making them more susceptible to dying.

Succulents need bright indirect sunlight for a few hours. Every succulent plant should also be protected from intense sunlight during hot days.

Final Thoughts

Succulents are a great plant to grow, and succulents turning red is not an uncommon problem.

Succulents that turn red might be a symptom of significant underlying problems.

But it may also just mean your succulent has been in too much sun and needs to get moved into a shadier location or even indoors for a few days until its leaves have recovered.

Succulents will not always turn red when they need attention. However, if you start to notice some of the following symptoms in your succulent, then there could be an issue:

  • Shriveling leaves or stems
  • Drooping leaves or branches
  • Loss of color in succulent
  • Succulent is wilting
  • Succulents are not thriving in their environment

If any of these symptoms happen, make sure you give your succulent the proper attention it needs.

This will avoid any further damage to its health and ensure that it can return to full, vibrant succulents.