Why Your Succulents Are Leggy or Stretched
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Why Your Succulents Are Leggy or Stretched

Succulents are low-maintenance plants that add tons of character and beauty to any space — but what happens when they don’t grow as planned?

If your succulents are growing oddly and spilling out of their container, or they appear sad and droopy, there are a few different ways you can help. With these tips and tricks, you can easily fix your leggy or stretched succulents in no time at all.

Why Succulents Get Leggy or Stretched

echeveria blue atoll. A succulent plant with widely spread leggy leaves and stem indicate it is stretching for light. Closeup side view on
Image credits: Lorna Roberts via Shutterstock

So, what causes leggy or stretched succulents? In order to fix this problem, you’ll need to understand why your succulents are suffering to begin with. Leggy or stretched plants are often a result of not receiving enough nutrients, sunlight, or space to grow.

The main reason that succulents  become leggy is due to lack of sunlight. Succulents do not tolerate low light conditions and if they do not get enough sun, they will start to grow and stretch towards the light instead. Essentially, the plant is quite literally stretching itself to find and receive more light. When this happens, the plant appears tall, somewhat bent, and misshapen.

But not to worry, there are plenty of ways to help your plant and fix the issue before it’s too late. Follow these steps below to prevent leggy or stretching succulents.

Provide Enough Sunlight

succulent in sunlight
Image credits: Nadi Lindsay via pexels

If your succulents are growing leggy or stretching out of their container, it is most likely a problem with sunlight. Succulents need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. If they are not receiving this amount of sun, the plants will suffer and grow poorly. This includes stems growing up taller or stretching towards the light.

To fix this problem, place succulents in a bright or sunny location facing a window. If this doesn’t provide your plants with enough sunlight still, you may have to supplement with a grow light. Also, you can rotate succulent plants every week to make sure the plant is getting enough sunlight from all sides. This also stops the plant from stretching out of its container and keeps it growing properly.

Succulents like temperatures from 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. During the spring and summer months, you can easily move succulent plants outside to provide even more sunlight. This allows your succulents to gain extra hours of sunlight that it might not get inside. Just don’t forget to move them back indoors when the temperature drops again.

Cut Off Top Growth

Image credits: Ksenia Chernaya via pexels

If you have given your succulents adequate sunlight and they are still growing leggy or stretched, your next option is to repot your plant. Over time, soil can break down and lose nutrients so you may need to transition your succulent into a new pot with fresh soil. By doing this, you are also giving your plant new nutrients and more space for roots to grow and develop.

You can fix your leggy or stretched plant by cutting off the top growth and replanting it. To do this, use sharp gardening shears or scissors to cut the top growth off the plant. Remove any lower leaves if necessary. Next, you will need to let the cutting air dry for a few days or until it heals and develops a callus. From there, you can transfer your cutting into soil in a container and wait a few weeks for new growth to develop. What was once a leggy succulent, will now be a brand-new plant!

When repotting the plant in a new container, use high-quality potting soil that is designed for cacti or succulents.  Also, always plant succulents in a container with drainage holes so that water doesn’t build up in the bottom. Do not fertilize succulents too often as they survive on fewer nutrients. Succulents should only be fertilized a few times a year.

Common Succulents That Get Leggy When Growing

succulents in planter
Image credits: Tima Miroshnichenko via pexels

The types of succulents that are more prone to becoming leggy or stretched include:

  • Echeveria ‘Briar Rose’
  • Jade Plant
  • String of Bananas
  • Echeveria ‘Blue Bird’
  • String of Pearls
  • Kalanchoe ‘Pink Butterflies’
  • Echeveria ‘Ruby’ Plush

Don’t Stress Out Over Stretched Succulents!

The most important thing to remember is don’t stress! If succulents appear leggy or stretched, it does not mean the plant is dying or that you should throw it away. It simply means the plant is not receiving the right growing conditions. With these easy solutions, your plants will be thriving again and growing strong.

Are your succulents growing leggy or stretched? If so, leave a comment down below with your experience!

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