Why Are My Succulents Wilting? {Are You Overwatering?}

On observing wilting succulents in your garden, you may wonder why are my succulents wilting?

Wilting succulents can be a sign of excessive dryness as succulents react in different ways than other types of plants when they are too dry. 

As you notice a succulent with wilted leaves, the soil becomes too dry that you have to restore it with a few steps. Also, these are hardy plants and can get back to good health very fast.

Reasons For Wilting Succulent Plants

  • The thick leaves or pads of succulents store moisture in them. When the plant dries out, the leaves start wilting.
  • Wilted succulents are a sign of extreme dehydration that means the soil has been parched for some time. These plants can endure longer spells of drought but need moisture to survive. 
  • As succulents fish out their stored moisture, their internal water pressure lowers and the leaves start shrivelling and become wrinkled.
  • When succulent leaves start wilting, it is time to take action accordingly. Other signs of the plant undergoing water stress are falling leaves and changes in the leaf color. 
  • A plant with fair moisture levels will have plump leaves held firmly on stems.  Plant health can be easily examined by lightly pressing on the leaves that should be firm.
  • Insert a finger into the soil to check the moisture. If the soil is hard, then dryness is the main issue. Dry soil can also be due to some disease, deficiency of nutrients or inappropriate light. 
  • A plant with lesser water conditions should be given water as mentioned ahead.
  • As the plant becomes lively again, follow a regular watering schedule. If you are uncertain when to water, a moisture meter can be used. Remember that plants in small pots and plants in the full sun in arid regions dry faster. 
  • Plants growing in sandy soil dehydrate faster as compared to those growing in a higher proportion of loam. The soil should drain excess water quickly, retaining sufficient water for the plant.
  • It is annoying to see that your succulent plant is wilting. For a learner, this can really be troublesome.
  • Underwatering and overwatering are the two most common reasons for wilting in succulents. This means that excessive dryness or over watering, both can lead to wilting in succulent plants. The wilting leaves on succulent plants can also be because of certain disease due to bacteria, temperature stress improper light or deficiency of nutrients.

Wilting Succulents Due To Underwatering

If the succulents are wilting and have brittle leaves, it means that they need water. Underwatered succulents will not die immediately like an overwatered succulents.

You can use these signs to know when to water your plants. If dryness is due to underwatering, then you need to water the plant, provided that the water runs to each root. Water regularly for about one to two weeks and see your plant rejuvinating.

Wilting Succulents Due To Overwatering

If the soil is moist or wet, then underwatering is not the problem and wilting succulents can be due to overwatering.

Sometimes succulent leaves become slushy and change their color into yellow or transparent.

Soft black spots on the leaves or stems are also a sign of over watering. These spots appear when the succulent is ruined by water and this is a more severe problem.

Mostly, succulents that are seriously damaged by overwatering are difficult to save.

Always remember that all the succulents are not susceptible to overwatering and some varieties can tolerate excess moisture. But most succulent plants are prone to overwatering.

What to Do for Wilting Succulents Due to Overwatering?

Overwatering can be avoided by watering the succulent plants correctly. While you are using the soak and dry watering method, water the plant only when the soil is dry.

By following this simple step, you can keep your plants safe from overwatering. 

  • On noticing the symptoms of overwatering, immediately lower the amount of water and the watering frequency. Also, check if there is a need to change the soil and the pot.
  • Ensure to remove the soil from the overwatered pot before you repot the plant. Get rid of all the damaged roots and keep the healthy ones.
  • Use the soak and dry method for watering a succulent. This watering technique requires soaking the soil thoroughly and allowing the excess water to drain. Let the soil dry before watering again.
  • However, use this watering technique with the pots having drainage holes as succulents dislike excessive moisture.
  • The holes in the pot allow the excess water to drain. While using the soak and dry watering method, use fast-draining soil.
  • Fast draining soil will drain the water properly and will also provide good air circulation to the plant. Firm soil retains excess moisture that is harmful to the overall health of the succulent plant.
  • If black spots on the leaves and stems are already existing, then cut the affected areas. The healthy cuttings can be propagated to grow new plants.
  • In the majority of cases, the original plant rarely survives depending on the gravity of the problem. Seriously over-watered succulent plants generally die.

How Frequently To Water Your Succulents?

  • How frequently you water your plant depends on how fast the soil dries. The soil in smaller pots dries faster as compared to the bigger pots. So check the soil regularly when you are using the smaller pots. 
  • Always remember that watering succulents is unlike watering the other plants. Never water a succulent from the top of the plant. Rather, water the soil down to the roots.
  • Soak the soil thoroughly to ensure that all the roots get the moisture they need.
  • Watering only the surface of the soil will work for shallow-rooted plants. For succulents, you need to rinse the soil.
  • The watering frequency is also dependent on the season as in summers, the soil dries faster than in winters.

Temperature Stress

A succulent can easily survive in the temperature range between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This means succulents can be grown outdoors, although you can grow them in containers too. Move your containers indoors if the night temperatures drop below 60 degrees F. In too cold conditions, if succulent gets very cold, the leaves of the plant start wilting. Excess cold and wet climates are dangerous for succulent plants.

Light Stress

Succulents are sun-loving succulent plants. Without sufficient sunlight, these plants lose their strength and face various ailments like attacks by pests and diseases, color loss, and wilting of stems and leaves. The south-facing area of your garden is the best place to grow your succulents. Place plants are grown in pots in a south-facing window.

Ensure that your succulents get direct sunlight from morning till noon, with partial shade during the mid-day. 

If you find that your succulent is wilting due to insufficient sunlight, introduce your plant to more sunlight gradually. Sudden exposure to light acts as a shock and can be fatal for your succulents.

Bacterial Wilt

Young succulent plants are prone to a bacterial pathogen that results in wilting. Also known as bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum), this disease causes rotting, wilting, and crumbling of a plant’s succulent tissue. 

It is spread by some insects like the cucumber beetle, that live on the plants. There is no way to restore a plant affected by bacterial wilt. But preventative measures can be taken by using insecticides to stop beetles from spreading the disease amid plants.

Final Thoughts on Why Are My Succulents Wilting

Two main reasons for wilting: underwatering and overwatering. Underwatering is the reason behind wilting if the soil is dry. However, if black spots are there on the leaves and stems, then overwatering can be the reason.

Underwatering is much easier to control as you only need to water your succulent plants and they will be happy again. Overwatering is not easy to control as in serious cases, overwatered succulent plants generally die.

Although succulents are very resilient plants, being careless can make them susceptible to diseases.

I hope this article will help you in protecting your succulent from wilting and if they are wilting, you can identify the cause behind it and can fix it with proper care.


Q: Should I remove yellow leaves from succulents?

Ans: Succulents can grow yellow leaves when your plant is needing some attention. If you find that some leaves are turning yellow, it is time to quickly fix the problem by removing these yellow leaves to avoid further damage to the plant.

Q: Should I remove mushy succulent leaves?

Ans: If your succulents’ leaves are becoming mushy and yellow, make sure you remove them delicately. Then, gently take it out from its pot and remove  the soil clinging to its roots. Then repot it in fresh, dry cactus soil and avoid watering for a few weeks. New roots will grow during this time.

Q: How do you know when your succulent is dying?

Ans: In general, common signs that show a succulent is dying include brown, mushy leaves that indicate that the roots are rotting. Pale, yellow leaves mean that rot or infection has increased. Wrinkly, dehydrated leaves suggest that the roots are drying up.

Q: How do I know if my succulent has root rot?

Ans: A succulent with drooping, shriveled, and yellow leaves show that the succulent roots are rotting.  The rot can be cultural or fungal. Mostly, it is a problem due to poorly draining soil and excess moisture.

Q: Why did my succulent die overnight?

Ans: Your succulent can die overnight due to overwatering. Mushy or rotting stems are probably because the plant is overwatered. Puckered leaves show that the plant needs more water. 

Q: What is a succulent death bloom?

Ans: Monocarpic plants die after they bloom and this is called the bloom of death or succulent death bloom.

It arises from the apex or center of succulents like sempervivum, Kalanchoe, and agave. 

Q: Do succulents have a lifespan?

Ans: Succulents do have a lifespan of about 3-4 years and the main plant produces lots of offsets during its life. So, you may not even figure out the main plant’s death as many offsets are produced before that.


Nikita is a Succulent lover. She really enjoys planting and nourishing them. She loves to share information about various Succulents on this blog to aware people more about these awesome plants.

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