Stop Succulents From Dying by Avoiding These 5 Mistakes


If you have a green thumb or are interested in taking care of plants, succulents are a good start. These are small, fleshy plants that store a lot of water naturally. Though they require relatively little maintenance, it is possible to have problems when taking care of succulents.

Your succulents keep dying due to a number of mistakes. Five common ones include overwatering, improper potting, using the wrong type of soil, depriving them of heat or sunlight, and not protecting them from pests.

If you are having problems with succulents in your home, you may want to read on. It is possible to find out what the problem is and how to fix it.


The vast majority of deaths of succulent plants are because of an inappropriate amount of water. Many people believe that there is no such thing as too much water. However, this is not the case for succulents. They are a type of cactus and can thrive in conditions with less water.

If you have been overwatering your succulents, certain signs are likely to appear. These include the following:

  • Rotting roots
  • Wilted or brown leaves
  • Unusually plump leaves

When it comes to succulents, overwatering will result in similar signs to underwatering. However, our succulent is never receiving too little water. Most succulent plants do not need to be watered more than once a week. During the winter, you can water them even less – about once every two weeks.

It is a good idea to check the soil when you are watering your succulents. It should feel damp and cool to the touch, but it should never feel saturated with water. It absolutely should not have a consistency where it is muddy. It might be better to mist the soil instead of pouring water directly.

Improper Potting

Many people do not know just how important it is to put your plant in the correct container. A succulent plant can die if you do not pot it properly.

Pot Is Too Small

One mistake that people can make with succulents involves putting them in a pot that is too small.

The roots of these plants need ample room to grow, meaning the depth of the container should be twice as deep as the roots of the plant. The width of the container should be a minimum of three times as wide as the roots. Keep these dimensions in mind when you are choosing a container since your plant is going to need a lot of room to spread out and grow.

A similar problem can occur if you have a planter with several succulents, and you are putting them too close together. Allot several inches between each plant, so that the plants and roots will have room to grow.

Even if your succulent appears to be thriving, it might be a good idea to put it into a larger pot. This is particularly likely to be true if it has been in the same small container for several months. If you put it into a larger pot, it will have more room to grow, and you will not run into a situation where its own roots smother it.

Inadequate Drainage

Your plant container must have multiple drainage holes, so that water can escape. As you know, overwatering can be a big problem with succulents, so it is important that the soil not be too wet. If you are worried about dirt falling out of the bottom of your pot, you can put some filter, such as a net or pantyhose, over the holes.

Using the Wrong Soil

The fact that succulents do not need a lot of water does not mean that you can neglect them. They need soil that is very rich in nutrients. If you are planting succulents, it is good to include a planting mix or other approved organic matter in the soil. You can find soil mixes specifically for succulents.

Succulents must be planted in the type of soil that allows water to drain quickly and easily. If the soil retains too much water for too long, root rot can be the result. Sandy soils are better for succulents than the loamy soils in which most normal plants thrive.

Alternatively, you can even make your succulent soil. You need to mix the following ingredients in a large bucket:

  • 3 parts of soil
  • 2 parts of poultry grit or coarse sand
  • 1 part of perlite
Gritty Soil for Succulents

Giving Them Too Little Heat and Sunlight

Keeping succulents warm is one of the challenges of growing them indoors. They typically thrive the best in a warm, dry climate, so many people find it easier to keep them in good condition outside. Even outside, they do best in areas that do not get a lot of rainfall.

If you have them inside, try to keep them in a space where they can always be warm. For example, you should avoid keeping them near drafty windows. You should also try to keep the temperature consistent since they will likely not do well if the temperature around them is constantly changing.

During cold winters, be wary of keeping them on windowsills; monitor the temperature to prevent your plant from dying. Most homes are kept at temperatures that can sustain the growth of succulents, so this is usually not a problem. However, it is worth paying attention to while you have them, particularly during the cold season.

People who plan to keep succulents outside should research before getting them. Outdoor succulent gardens can be successful in some cases if the climate is not too extreme.

Also, you need to make sure that you are planting suitable succulents. Like those of the Sempervivum genus, some can thrive in the winter. Others, like Echeveria, will die with even the slightest bit of cold.

It is also important to make sure that your succulent plant gets enough sunlight. Succulents are typically native to deserts, meaning that they rely on a lot of sunlight to grow. In some cases, if you do not have a lot of natural sunlight, you might need to get a grow light, which is built to give plants the amount of sunlight they need.

Not Protecting Them from Pests

Many pests can cause problems and even death for your succulent plant. These include scale, spider mites, fungus gnats, and mealybugs.

One way in which you can minimize pest infection is maintaining good plant hygiene. If there are any rotting or dying leaves and flowers, remove them from the plant. Do not allow your soil to retain too much water, and when you water your plants, make sure the water is clean.

If you already have an infection, such as spider mites or mealybugs, it can be removed by washing your plants with powerful water. After you do this, you will want to repot the plant to prevent water damage.

If you have a scale, you can try wiping down your plant with a dilute alcohol solution. Fungus gnats will lay eggs in the soil, which can damage the roots; you can use flypaper to kill the adults.

Spider mite on succulent plant


Many different problems can cause succulent plants to die. However, the good news is that they are all relatively easy to address and correct. Succulents are relatively easy plants to take care of, but you need to make sure that you are giving them the proper environments for them to grow and thrive.

Tina Painter

Tina Painter is a Succulent Plant Advisor. She is interested in helping others learn the proper care, maintenance, and growth of healthy succulent plants. Tina is well known as a succulent lover and is in the process of developing her "Growing Succulents Masterclass for Succulent Lovers." She also loves creating artistic and whimsical gardens with succulents.

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