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Why Are My Succulent Leaves Shriveling And Curling Down?

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Despite succulent plants being easy to grow, manage and withstand harsh environmental conditions, they can be affected by many conditions such as overwatering. Hence, succulent plants require specific needs to prevent their leaves from curling and shivering. In case your succulent plants begin to show signs of distortion, attend to them immediately.

Succulent plants curl down due to the following reasons; overwatering, under watering the plants, too much exposure to light, and finally, less sunlight. These factors affect the health of the succulent plants and need fixation before the whole succulent plant dies.

Factors that cause succulent plants to curl down


Succulent plants have thick stems and enlarged roots to store water to use later. The water they hold keeps them flesh all the time. Despite the succulent plants having features that help them store water, they may sometimes dry and require watering.

The following problems may arise from watering succulent plants.

1. Overwatering

Overwatering succulent plants may kill them. If the plants are exposed to too much water and humidity conditions, the whole succulent plant will start rotting. For instance, the stem, roots and leaves will deteriorate due to too much water.

Overwatering your succulent plants’ results in the following symptoms;

  1. Succulent plant leaves fall off easily from the stem.
  2. Leaves curl and point down.
  3. Leaves absorb too much water and become soft.
  4. The color of the leaves changes from dark to light and translucent.

Overwatering succulent plants become challenging to solve. Therefore, ensure you drain excess water from the glass container to protect the succulent plants from rotting. The following steps will help you fix the problem.

  • Decrease the amount of water used when watering the plants.
  • Avoid watering your plants frequently, but rather water the plants depending on their needs.
  • Use the soak and dry method to water your soil. The technique works by soaking the ground and draining the excess water from the soil. Once your soil dries, use the soak and dry method to water your soil and not the succulent plant.
  • Drain excess water from the jar to keep your succulent plants from dying.
  • Change the container holding soil. If possible, change the soil container and repot the succulent plant back in position. This is the quickest way of fixing over watering succulent plants.
  • Leave the succulent plant in the shade to allow the succulent plant to dry. Ensure you leave the plant for some time, approximately three days.

2. Under watering

Succulent leaves curling down can also be a result of under watering your plants. This problem happens when water or moisture in the soil evaporates quickly, leaving the succulent plants dry. Once the plants have dried, they curl downwards.

The following signs show that succulent plants have been under-watered;

  1.  Leaves curl and shrive, pointing downwards.
  2.  Succulent leaves develop wrinkles.
  3.  Aerial roots start growing to look for water or moisture.
  4.  Leaves change from flesh to dull.

Troubleshooting the problem concerning under watering is much easier than overwatering. To fix the problem, water your succulent plant with enough water. After watering, drain the excess water from the containers through draining holes. Draining excess water prevents your succulent plant from dying.


Succulent plants need bright light exposure to grow stronger and healthy. Each succulent plant requires a different amount of light temperatures for them to survive. Some plants require bright light, while others require relatively lower light.

Plants can suffer from etiolation, especially when the plants are exposed to brighter light than recommended one. Bright or less light may cause your succulent leaves to curl down.

The following steps will help you troubleshoot light problems.

1. Too much sunlight

Some succulent plants do not require bright light to grow. Once the plants are exposed to too much light, they begin to Shriver, sunburn and curl. Such kinds of plants need indirect or low sunlight to grow.

 The problem is experienced mainly during the summer and spring seasons, especially when succulent plants are exposed to bright sunlight for a long time. Once exposed to too much light, sand soil dries off, resulting in too much evaporation of water from the leaves resulting in the leaves curling and falling off.

To troubleshoot the problem, ensure you avoid exposing your plants to direct sunlight for a longer time than recommended. Moreover, ensure you provide shade for your plants when sunlight is too bright. Finally, ensure you expose the succulent plant to the sunlight depending on the type. For instance, expose plants that require indirect sunlight to low light.

2. Less sunlight

The curling of the succulent leaves downwards may be influenced by too little sunlight exposure. Some succulent plants require direct sunlight, while others need bright indirect light to grow and strengthen. Too little sunlight mainly affects the plants that grow inside houses.

 The problem is commonly experienced during winter seasons when humidity or moisture rate is high compared to sunlight. To solve the low light issue, follow the following steps;

       a)  place the succulent plants near windows that have sunlight exposure. Change the position of the succulent plants depending on the direction of sunlight. Also, ensure you rotate the plants to prevent them from leaning on one side.

       b) Use grow lights on succulent plants during the winter season since grow lights provide both heat and light.

      c)  Use fluorescent lamps as an artificial light supply to your succulent plants for them to survive cold and winter conditions.


Sandy soil helps succulent plants to grow and strengthen. The most preferred type of soil is sandy soil due to its dryness and good water draining feature. If you are using soil that has poor drainage features, your plants will be overwatered hence killed.

Excess water present in the containers rots the root first. Once the root rots, leaves begin to curl down slowly. To fix the problem, practice the following steps;

  1. Water succulent plant-soil only when dry. Avoid watering soil frequently to prevent excess watering of the plants, therefore rotting the plants’ stem, roots, and leaves.
  2. Use recommended soil for your succulent plants, which drains water correctly. If you use different soils such as cray, excess water will be maintained in the system leading to the rotting of the whole plant.

Other problems related to succulent plants

Plant leaves dropping off:

Sometimes, your succulent plant leaves may fall off due to excess water that makes leaves swell, soft and falls off. To fix the problem, make sure you drain excess water from the pot through potholes.

Leaves may also fall due to high heat levels. To fix the problem, ensure you provide shade for your succulent plants during drought. Also, water your plants when only needed to hold leaves in position.


When leaves of your succulent plants begin to Shriver and curl, examine the plants for any possible cause of the plant curling. The reasons that can lead to the leaves bend include; too much sunlight, too little sunlight, under watering, overwatering, and soil type that has been used. Luckily, the steps above will help you fix the problem to keep your succulence plants in good condition.

The steps above will help you prevent leaf curling and shriveling problems from occurring and damaging your whole succulent plant.

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