Are your indoor succulents taking on a new appearance, and are you stumped as to why your succulents growing tall, leggy, and spread out? The most common reason this happens is your plants are suffering from etiolation if it is growing tall instead of wide.
In reality, it means your low-light succulents aren’t getting adequate sunlight. Succulents require sunlight to thrive. However, light is limited for indoor plants unless you use a powerful grow lamp.
If you don’t use supplement lighting or have them in a bright place, succulents use their ability to search out a light source. Hence the reason your succulent plant grows long and bends towards the nearest window or suitable source of lights.
It’s impossible to undo harm once it’s been done, although they can recover. Besides, you can propagate a stretched succulent, and the succulent cuttings will go to grow more plants.
Besides low-maintenance succulents searching for more light, there are a couple of succulents that grow longer than others. (Read Succulent Turning Yellow – What To Do)
Burro’s Tail, String of Pearls, and Agave are three prominent succulents that you can find in the online community that are longer growers and can prune succulents to size if required.
In our guide, you can learn more about your succulent growing long stem flower. By the end, you’ll see how to deal with a succulent long stem by offering more sunlight and how to prune succulent cuttings for more plants you can grow in the right area.
What’s Growing Out Of My Succulent?
They frequently produce little, delicate roots known as aerial roots when growing succulents. Your plant is often fine, yet it can tell you whether your succulent requires some attention.
Succulents grow long stems for a variety of reasons. Let’s look at the fundamental reasons.
Your succulent Can’t Get Enough Light
Succulents, like all plants, need light, and they want to soak up as much sun as possible.
When succulents aren’t getting enough sunlight, they’ll grow lengthy curved stems. In search of a light source, etiolation twists and stretches, giving them a “leggy” appearance with a long stem and smaller, spaced-out leaves.
Because every actual plant is different, determining how much light your succulent plant requires can be difficult. (Read Sunburned Succulent – What To Do)
If you see your garden succulent is growing bare stems and no leaves, try transferring it to an area where it will get more light. If you don’t have access to a sunny area in your home, a tiny tabletop grow light can be a good option.
Your Succulent is Naturally Long-Stemmed
Sometimes the issue isn’t really a problem when growing succulents. Burro’s Tail, String of Pearls, and Agave are examples of indoor or outdoor garden succulents, and when planted, they naturally grow faster and with long stems compared to others.
These look great in succulent gardens or hanging baskets. If you don’t like how yours looks in its current pot, you may need to repot it. Try mixing it in with other succulents or perennial flowers in a pot.
How to Fix a Tall and Leggy Succulent
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to undo this once you see your succulent grow long. However, you can stop succulents from growing longer if you catch them early enough.
Give your succulent more light as soon as you see it grow long stems.
For your succulent, choose the brightest and sunniest window in your home. The stretched component of the plant will not un-stretch the top layer, but new growth will grow closer together again.
If you want to get rid of the stretched-out area of your succulent, cut it down and propagate the succulent cuttings. (Read Tall Succulents Types)
Trimming your succulent is a severe approach but gives you several new succulents for your garden in a short space of time.
What You Need?
- Stretched out succulent
- Succulent soil
- Pumice and perlite (both optional)
- Clean Pruning shears
- Cut off the top of your succulent. (The Crown)
- Make the cut at the bottom where the stem stretches out.
- Next, take your stem cuttings. First, cut the stems to have at least two leaf pairings on them.
- Carefully strip off all the leaves from the lower part of the stem.
- Continue taking as many stem cuttings as you can be based on how tall your succulent has grown.
- Once you have your cuttings, place the original piece of the plant in a sunny window, and it will grow and sprout new leaves without growing tall again.
- Let your cuttings callus over by leaving them to dry out for one or two days.
- Once dried, put the crown stem and the stem cuttings into well-draining succulent soil. Here you can add the pumice or perlite to the potting soil mix for better drainage.
- You can place loose leaves on the top layer of soil to root and grow a new plant.
- Wait for the succulents cuttings to grow roots, followed by new leaves.
- Make sure you place your cuttings somewhere out of low light areas to somewhere with sufficient indirect light.
- Once they show fresh growth, move them closer to the window to soak up more direct light.
After a while, the stem segments will grow to grow new roots and crowns on your baby plants.
The loose-leaf pairs will take much longer to root, but they, too, can create new crowns and grow given patience.
The planted succulent crown has rooted well and is exhibiting fresh growth three weeks later.
All the planted stem cuttings have been rooted and are producing two new crowns. However, the leaves have yet to take root.
What was once a leggy, stretched-out succulent is now developing into new plants, which can bloom when the time is right.
How To Prevent Succulent From Stretching
If your succulent is going through etiolation and not healthy growth, it will take some effort to adjust its demands to stop the stretching and prevent the problem in the future.
However, you can do a handful of things to keep those long stems from growing tall.
Enough light must be provided to prevent the stretching from continuing. Increase the quantity of light the plant receives every two to three days by 30-60 minutes until stretching appears to stop. The appearance of brown patches on the leaves shows that the plant is receiving too much light too rapidly.
Turn the Pot
You may have seen your succulent turning or stretching in one direction or another. The light is most likely coming from one direction, and the plant is turning toward it to gather the most sunlight. By turning your pot every few days, you should be able to fix the problem.
How to Fix a Leggy Succulent
There’s no going back to the original plant once a succulent has extended out. You can, however, “repair” the plant by reviving it and starting a new one from the cuttings and leaves. Propagation is the term for this process.
It can be intimidating to propagate a plant you’ve worked so hard to care for and grow. The good news is that succulents are among the most straightforward plants to propagate.
Assess the Plant
Before propagating a succulent, it’s a good idea to figure out what sort you’re dealing with. For example, some species can be propagated by cuttings and leaves, while cuttings can only propagate others.
Before starting the propagation process, make sure the plant is healthy and well-watered. The best leaves are plump and healthy; any over-watered or dry leaves will struggle to produce new growth.
Remove Some Leaves
You must first ensure that you have a clear view of your succulent’s stem before cutting it down. If the plant grows quickly or has widely spaced leaves, you may already have a suitable working area on the stem. (Read White Mold On Succulents – What To Do)
Start by plucking off any dead leaves if your stem isn’t particularly visible. Then twist a few leaves back and forth from the bottom of the plant until you achieve a clean break. (You can save the leaves if they peel off cleanly and without rips so you can propagate new plants later.)
Cut Your Stem at Soil Level
Take a clean pair of sharp shears or scissors. Cut the stem at the soil level once you have a clear view of the stem.
Cutting off the top of the succulent, believe it or not, encourages fresh growth on the lower half.
Leave the cut stem’s lowest half in the earth. Let the wound dry out for about a week before hydrating it to prevent rotting.
When the soil is dry, water every few days after that and baby plants will start to grow around the stem in a few weeks, replacing the cut top piece.
Pot the Top Stem
What do you do now that you’ve hacked off the top portion of your plant? First, don’t throw it out because it, too, can be potted and grown into a plant.
Allow the wound to dry out, just like you would the bottom half of the stem, so it does not rot from moisture. Next, remove the leaves on the stem’s side, leaving the top rosette intact, then plant the stem in soil up to the bottom leaf after a few days. When the soil is dry, water a couple of times a week.
The stem will eventually grow roots with new growth, and you’ll have a completely new plant.
Tips for Successful Propagation
It’s vital to remember that you won’t always have a 100 percent success rate while propagating succulents.
Here are a few tips to help you succeed with succulent propagation.
It takes a long time to propagate a plant, and each one is unique. Just because you don’t notice any symptoms of growth in the first few weeks doesn’t imply it isn’t taking place. Waiting things out is always the best option in this situation.
Don’t over-water plants.
For succulents and water, less is more. There’s always the risk of rot with propagation, and it’s even higher when there’s too much watering.
Cover the roots.
If you find new roots developing above the earth, sprinkle some soil on top to cover them completely. They will not dry out because of this.
Water the soil, not the foliage.
Wet leaves can cause rot. Water the soil in front of the leaves once the roots have sprouted to encourage root growth and avoid rot.
Avoid direct light.
Although your propagation leaves will require light, placing them in direct sunlight can cause them to burn. They should be alright if you keep them in a bright room out of the sun. If you’re propagating plants outside, a sunny position with some shade is ideal.
Consider the time of year.
Succulents can be propagated throughout the year; however, the colder months cause them to become dormant. Don’t be discouraged if your succulents’ leaves or cuttings don’t change straight away. Moving them to a warmer location may help in the start-up process.
Dormancy vs. Growth
Succulents, like most plants, go through periods of dormancy and growth in response to temperature changes. Most succulents like temperate temperatures and go dormant in excessive heat or cold.
Succulents take in more water and sunlight during growth phases and less during dormancy.
Even if your succulent is in a brightly lighted window, you may see some stretching, especially in its growing phase. Succulents grow more compact if you move them outside for a few hours each day or supplement with a grow light.