Why Succulent Leaves Falling Off?


Succulents are plants characterized by their fleshy, engorged leaves, which are connected delicately to the stem. When the plant is under stress, it begins to shed its leaves to reduce its energy needs. You surely wants to know why succulent leaves falling off? Let’s Discuss.

If you own an ailing succulent that is frantically shedding its leaves, here we tell you what you need to know and do to save it. 

Why Succulent Leaves Falling off? – Reasons

Here are some reasons you must know about succulent leaves falling.

Low light 

One of the reasons your succulent might be shedding its leaves is because it’s receiving too little light. One tell-tale sign of a light-starved succulent is its stem, which may start to look tall and over-stretched. The plant may also begin to lean towards its light source. You must know How Much Light Does Your Plant Need?

What to do to save your plant: 

Move your plant to a spot where it receives more sunlight, or use a grow light in its current location. To move your plant to a sunnier spot, you will have to acclimate it first. For starters, expose it to around three hours of sunlight per day and gradually increase this over a few weeks to around five to six hours of bright sunlight per day.  


Most succulents come from dry, arid areas like deserts, where they naturally won’t receive much rainfall. Overwatering these plants can weaken the plant, cause root rot, and lead it to shed its leaves. You could even potentially overwater your plant to death. Scary thought, right? 

If your plant is shedding leaves that are mushy or soggy, it’s an indicator of overwatering. 

How to water your plant instead: 

You should only water your succulents when the topsoil in the pot feels dry to touch, and the leaves look a little wrinkled. That usually means watering it about once or twice a week. Make sure your plant pot has drainage holes in it, and you see the water draining out of these. 

If your plant is suffering from overwatering, remove any rotten parts, and keep the rest in a dry area for around a week. Use a gritty soil mix for better drainage with succulents. 

Over Fertilizing 

If you recently fertilized your plant, and it has begun to shed its leaves, it might be because of over fertilizing. Using too much fertilizer can harm your plant; It can cause leaves to fall, leaf discoloration, and damage the root system. 

How to fertilize your plant instead: 

If you see a white crust on the soil, these are the salts from the fertilizer and are a clear indicator of over fertilizing. You should remove excess fertilizer from the soil and run some water through the roots to leach away the rest. Remove any damaged foliage and wait a month before fertilizing your plant again. 

Ideally, you should only fertilize your plant about once a month, using water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength. 

Extreme Temperatures 

High temperatures might cause your plant to shed its leaves, in a stress response caused by heat and drought. This is not something to be very concerned about since your plant will likely recover from the trauma. 

But frigid temperatures can truly damage a succulent. Long-term exposure to freezing temperatures might cause irreparable damage to the plant. If your plant has suffered from the cold, its leaves will begin to look brown or black and mushy. The entire plant may start to look as if it is rotting. 

What to do if your plant is stressed: 

If your succulent is bothered by intense heat, cover it with shade cloth or plant cover. Alternatively, move it into the shade. 

If your plant has encountered subzero temperatures long-term and looks brown or black and mushy, it might be unsalvageable at this point. But if the damage is localized, fix the temperature problem and let the plant recover on its own. 


As it grows, the plant might naturally shed its lowest leaves as it sprouts new ones near the top. This is because the higher leaves are blocking the light for the lower ones and because the plant needs to conserve and reduce its energy needs. 

What to do if your plant is naturally shedding its leaves: 

If this is the case, you should probably just let your plant be. The withering leaves can be removed if they look bad but can be left on the plant too, so it may salvage nutrients from them. 

All of that being said, succulents are usually favored by plant lovers because they are a hardy species. If potted properly, succulents typically require very little maintenance, and grow well in a variety of indoor conditions. They don’t require very frequent watering or perfect temperatures.


Is it normal for succulent leaves to fall off?

No, it’s not normal for succulent leaves to fall off. If a leaf of your plant starts turning brown and falling off, it’s a sign of illness. If this is the case, take off the affected leaf and discard it. Then, disinfect your hands and water before touching the healthy leaves. There are many reasons why your leaf may be falling off – overwatering is one of them – so if you are concerned about the health of your plant, please refer to a professional for further advice.

How much sunlight do succulents need?

To keep your succulent healthy and growing, it needs to be in full sunlight (at least 6 hours a day). This can vary depending on the type of succulent, so pay attention to the specific needs of yours. If you have more than one succulent, try to arrange them in different types of light so that they all receive different amounts of light.

Can succulents grow in full shade?

Most Succulents can grow in partial shade but, complete shade need a little special care. Shade will reduce the plant growth, but the plants will become more beautiful because they store water and nutrients in their leaves and roots. The best way to grow succulents in shade is to give them ample water, good drainage, and plenty of sunshine. Maintain a pH between 5.5–7 for best results.

shedding succulents

Rules of thumb in caring for succulents

Above, we’ve discussed about why succulent leaves falling off ? Now, surely you want to know how to prevent succulent leaves from falling off. Here are a few rules of thumb in caring for succulents: 

  1. Make sure they get enough light (typically six hours per day). 
  2. Turn the plant pot frequently so the plant shapes correctly. As it grows, it may begin to lean towards its light source. 
  3. Succulents don’t typically require a lot of water, but their needs can vary according to the season. Make sure you’re giving them enough water and not too much. 
  4. Plant your succulents in a pot with drainage holes. Waterlogging is a very common reason for succulent death. 
  5. When planting the succulent, avoid using normal potting soil; this won’t drain well. Use cactus soil or a potting mix meant for good drainage.

Written by Chris Buckland

Hello, I’m Chris. I’m a houseplant expert. I have been Cultivating and Growing Houseplants for 20 years. Plants are like my children. I love to write about Indoor plants and share my experience. That's why I started writing everything I know about houseplants.

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