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OMG my Succulent is Looking Leggy and Tall

OMG my Succulent is Looking Leggy and Tall

Succulent, leggy and tall sounds like the perfect recipe for an international supermodel, but when it’s applied to a plant-type of succulent it ain’t so grand. It happens. Sometimes your succulent gets out of hand, shooting upwards, growing wonky and looking a bit yellow, but don’t panic. All is well and you’ll actually get another free plant out of it. Maybe more if it’s very tall.


Why Is My Succulent Tall and Wonky?

Succulents don’t need much water but they do need lots of light. Succulents kept in a dark, shady place will put on a growth spurt to get itself into a sunnier position.

A leggy succulent will grow tall with large gaps between the leaves and it’ll be toppling to one side no doubt, trying to press its face against the window-pane.

Succulents stretch for light because they know they won’t survive without some of those bright, warming rays. It’s literally making a break for it because your chosen site is too dark – your succulent needs a new des-res.


What Can I Do About It?

Once your succulent has bolted, stretched, gone leggy whatever you want to call it, you can’t make it shrink back but all is not lost, all it takes is one small surgery.

Here’s how:

  • Get a sharp clean knife
  • Cut through the whole stalk about one inch above soil level leaving 2-3 leaves on the stump to soak up some sun and recover
  • That’s it

But hold on, you have a succulent cutting there just ripe for planting. Let it scab over on the windowsill – succulents are great at self-healing. When it’s dry on the base, push it into a separate pot of compost.

Put both stumps and cutting in a sunnier spot than before and you’ve two plants.

Troubleshooting Succulents

Here are a few other problems you might be facing:

  • Falling leaves

This is usually due to over-generous watering. Cut back, only watering when the soil is completely bone dry and don’t leave it standing in a pool of water. Check inside the flowerpot because standing water just makes them mushy.

  • An unhealthy colour 

It’s gone a weird pale colour. This happens to us all when we’ve been inside for too long. A lack of sunlight creates a pale, floppy succulent. Put it somewhere sunny and cut back on the watering.

  • It’s burnt!

If your succulent has got some brown marks it’s probably sun scorched. Succulents need light, but we all suffer in a direct blaze of the sun. Think about how hot your windows sill gets and shift the plant if it’s burning. If the leaves are really unsightly cut them off with a sharp clean knife.

  • It isn’t looking right, but I’ve tried everything

If you are sure you’re not over-watering and your succulent is getting plenty of warmth and sunlight then the soil might not suit it. Grabbing some dirt from outside or using clumpy compost isn’t appreciated by a succulent. They need a free-draining soil - one that’s gritty and dries out quickly. It’s best to buy succulent compost or add plant grit to a decent one you already have.


Succulents are one of the easiest plants around if you stick to the three rules.
1. Don't over-water
2. Keep it in a sunny spot
3. Make sure the compost drains well.

Follow these and your succulents will enjoy a long and happy life. 


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