Why Is My Succulent Dying? (11 Reasons and How to Fix Them)


If you’ve been having trouble keeping your succulents alive, you’re not alone. Many people have this problem. But don’t worry, there are solutions.

Succulents are a popular houseplant choice because they’re low maintenance and drought tolerant – but even they can die if not given the proper care.

But why is my succulent dying, and what can I do about it?

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common reasons why succulents might die, as well as how to fix them.

11 Reasons My Succulent Is Dying and How To Fix Them

Succulent plants are known for being drought-tolerant and easy to care for, but even they can succumb to death if not given the right conditions.

Here are some of the most common reasons why succulents might die, as well as how to remedy each situation:

1. Dying Succulents Due to Too Much Water

Overwatering is the number one killer of succulents.

When you give your succulent too much water, it will start to rot.

The roots can’t absorb that much moisture and don’t have enough oxygen, which causes succulents to turn brown or black and eventually die off completely.

An overwatered succulent will also have soft, mushy leaves and will be generally wilted. It will often have a foul odor as well.

How To Fix Overwatering

The easiest way to avoid overwatering is to water your succulents only when the soil feels dry. Stick your finger in the potting mix up to an inch deep – if it’s wet, don’t water it.

You can also use a moisture meter to help you gauge when your succulent needs watering.

Succulents need to be watered thoroughly but don’t water them too often.

In the summertime, you might need to water your succulents every other day, while in the winter, it could go up to a week or two without needing water.

2. Dying Succulents Due to Too Little Water

This is another common reason why succulents die.

If you don’t water your plant enough, it will become dehydrated, and the leaves will start to shrivel up or fall off entirely as they try to conserve moisture by shedding their outer layers.

Underwatered succulent roots can also turn brown and crispy if there’s no water in them for too long.

How To Fix Underwatering

The best way to know when your succulent needs water is by sticking a finger in the soil and checking if it feels moist or dry.

If it’s wet, then you don’t need to add any more water until next time; if not, then give your plant some as soon as possible.

If you’re not sure how often to water your succulents, a good rule of thumb is once every week or two during the growing season (spring and summer) and no more than once a month in winter.

The frequency will vary depending on what kind of plant it is and where you live, but this should give an idea.

3. Succulent Dying From Too Much Sunlight

Succulents are native to arid regions that get lots of sunlight, so why would they die from too much sun?

The problem with succulent sunburn is that the leaves can only take so much before burning out or drying up completely – and if left unchecked for long enough, this will eventually kill your plant.

A sunburned succulent will have brown spots, crispy leaves and will be generally wilted.

How To Fix Succulent Sunburn

The best way to prevent your succulent from getting too much sun is to place it in a spot where it will get partial sun or shade.

You can also use a sheer curtain to diffuse the light coming into the window.

4. Succulent Dying From Not Enough Light

Succulents need plenty of bright, indirect sunlight to thrive. If they don’t get enough light, they’ll start to stretch out in search of the sun and eventually die.

Succulents need at least four hours of sunlight per day, preferably in the morning or afternoon.

How To Fix Too Little Sunlight

If your succulent isn’t getting enough light, you can move it to a spot where it will get more sun.

This could mean putting indoor succulents near a window that gets some light during the day. An east- or west-facing window is best.

For outdoor succulents, try moving them to an area of your yard that gets more sun, but be careful not to put them in direct sunlight as this can burn the leaves.

Like Aloes and Agaves, some succulents need more light than others, so make sure you do your research before buying one!

5. Dying Succulents Due to Poor Drainage

Succulents need good drainage in order to thrive.

If you put your succulent in a pot without drainage holes or with a thick layer of mulch on top, the water will pool at the bottom and cause root rot – which means death for your plant!

Check the roots if you’re not sure why your succulent is dying. If they’re black or mushy, it’s a sign of root rot.

How To Fix Poor Drainage

The best way to prevent poor drainage is to ensure your succulent pot has drainage holes.

If the pot doesn’t have drainage holes, you can create them with a drill or by poking small holes in the bottom of the pot.

Another way to improve drainage is to add some pebbles or gravel to the bottom of your pot before adding soil. This will help keep the soil from sitting in water and causing root rot.

6. Succulent is Dying Due to Not Using the Right Soil

One of the most common reasons succulents die is that they’re not planted in suitable soil.

Succulents need a fast-draining soil that is light and airy. A soil mix like cactus potting mix or succulent soil is perfect for succulents.

These types of soils will drain well but still retain some moisture.

How To Fix Soil Issues

Check the soil if you’re not sure why your succulent is dying.

If it’s dark and wet or smells like rotten eggs, then there’s a good chance that the problem is with the soil.

You can quickly fix this by repotting the plant with fast-draining soil like cactus potting mix or succulent soil.

If you want to make your own soil, try mixing two-part potting soil, one part coarse sand, and one part perlite.

7. Rootbound Succulents are Dying

If your succulent is in a small pot and the roots have started to grow out of the drainage holes, it’s a sign that your plant is rootbound.

When a succulent becomes rootbound, its growth will slow down and eventually stop.

This happens because the roots are taking up too much space in the pot, which prevents them from getting enough oxygen and water to survive.

How To Fix Rootbound Succulents

If your succulent is rootbound, you can fix it by transferring it into a bigger pot with more space for the roots to grow.

You can also prune some of the excess roots off with a sharp knife or scissors. Just be careful not to cut any of the healthy roots.

8. Cold Weather is Killing Your Succulent

Succulents don’t like cold weather and can die if exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

They’ll also suffer damage if they’re exposed to frost.

If your succulent is exposed to cold weather, it will start to wilt and turn mushy before eventually dying off altogether.

How To Fix Cold Damage

The best way to protect your succulents from the cold is by bringing them indoors during the winter months or moving them into a greenhouse.

If you don’t have a greenhouse, you can create a makeshift one by covering your succulent with a plastic bag or glass jar.

Just make sure to leave some openings for air circulation.

You can also try bringing them inside during cold weather spells, but be aware that they may not recover if they’re exposed to the cold for too long.

9. Too Much Heat is Killing Your Succulent

Succulents don’t like hot weather and can die if exposed to temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your succulent is exposed to hot weather, it will start to wilt and turn brown before eventually dying off altogether.

How To Fix Heat Stress

The best way to protect your succulents from the heat is by moving them into a shadier spot.

If that’s not possible, you can try covering the soil with mulch or gravel to keep it cool.

Another option is to mist your succulent in the morning and evening to help it stay hydrated during hot weather spells.

10. Succulent Plant Dying Due to Too Much Fertilizer

Succulents are sensitive to fertilizers and can be easily killed by overfertilizing.

If you’re fertilizing your succulent too often or too much, you can overfertilize it and kill it.

Overfertilizing can cause the succulent leaves to turn yellow or brown and the roots to rot.

How To Fix Overfertilizing

Succulents only need to be fertilized during the growing season, usually from spring through fall.

You shouldn’t fertilize them during the winter months.

They need to be fertilized with a diluted fertilizer at half strength every two weeks during the growing season.

Only apply fertilizer to the soil, not the succulent leaves, as this can burn the leaves and cause them to die.

11. Succulents Dying From Pests and Disease

Another reason why your succulent might be dying is because of pests or diseases.

The most common pests are mealybugs and aphids, which feed on the plant’s sap.

They can be killed by rubbing alcohol or a mixture of water and dish soap sprayed directly onto them.

Diseases such as fungal infections can also cause your succulents to die off gradually if they’re not treated quickly enough.

How To Fix Pests and Diseases

The best way to prevent pests and disease is by keeping your succulents free of dead leaves or other debris that can attract them in the first place.

If you notice any signs of pest infestation, such as white cottony spots on the plant’s stem or leaves turning yellow with black spots, act quickly to get rid of them.

You can do this by spraying your succulent plant with a mixture of water and dish soap or using a pesticide designed explicitly for succulents.

Final Thoughts

Growing succulents can be a challenging but rewarding experience.

But it is important to remember that succulents are not indestructible.

They can still die for several reasons, but it’s easy to fix them most of the time.

If you have a dying succulent, take a look at the reason why and try to correct it.

With time and patience, you can have your beautiful succulent looking healthy in no time.

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