Reasons Why Your Succulent’s Leaves Are Curling Down

Succulent’s Leaves are Curling Down - Know the Reasons Here
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Succulents are plants that you can find in various colors, forms, and blooms. If you decide to care for plants, either indoor or outdoor, succulents are the ideal choice that you can easily care for.

A close look at succulents

One distinctive feature of succulents is that they store water in their leaves or stems. Most are capable of surviving in harsh environments where water is limited or only available sporadically. This distinctive acclimatization of succulents allows them to endure in low moisture areas in the globe.

Succulents are often believed to be native only to parched regions such as deserts. They also thrive in various settings such as forests, coasts, elevated alpine regions, and dry tropical zones.

Take note that several families are categorized as succulents. There are xerophytic succulents that flourish in dry regions and halophytic variants that grow in marshy saline soil.

The xerophytic type is the widespread form and extensively available as garden or house plants.

The appearance of succulents tends to vary from one species to another, but a common characteristic is the swollen leaves, stems, or pads. It is important to note that all types of succulents or those that appear as succulents can be pleasing to the eye, requires minimal care, and produce delightful blooms throughout their life cycle.

Common reasons why succulent leaves curling or pointing down

Although succulents are easy to grow and require minimal care, they are prone to various conditions that often leave some confused on why their care routine failed. Since they originated from semi-desert areas, most believe that these plants can survive in any growing scheme or environment they are placed in.

However, succulents have particular and specific requirements that you should be aware of. If you cannot provide what they need, you will start noticing some changes, including their leaves curling down. Aside from the curling or pointed down of leaves, your succulent might show other indications that something is missing.

For those who are eager to care for succulents, you should do whatever it takes by watching out for your plants. I suggest doing your research once you decide to buy a new succulent so that you are ready to cater to its specific needs.

Remember that once you notice succulent leaves curling down or inwards towards the base, it is an indication that something is wrong. Do not wait and make suitable corrections to help restore the condition of your succulent.

I will share below several reasons why succulent leaves are curling or pointing down and what you can do to remedy it below.

Overwatering of Succulent Leaves

Overwatering your succulents is something that you should avoid at all costs since it can lead to severe issues for your plants on a short and long-term basis. It is one of the leading causes why succulent leaves are curling down. Those who try to grow succulents for the first time often commit this mistake, leaving their succulents in bad shape.

For many, overwatering their plants might seem like a good idea to ensure that it receives an adequate amount of hydration.

Sadly, too much water can be detrimental. Overwatering your succulent will disrupt the roots from functioning correctly. After some time, it can cause the succulent leaves to curl down or inwards. If left unchecked, it can eventually lead to rot.

If you see this happening, I strongly suggest stopping watering for some time until the soil has dried out entirely before thinking about watering again. Remember, though, not to starve your plant of water just because you were previously overwatering. I recommend sticking with a consistent routine of watering before it is too late.

When you catch this issue early, there is a chance that the leaves on your succulent will start to perk back up and return to their usual self, but it is not a sure thing, though, depending on how long it went on with soggy conditions and how far they curled.

Some of the evident signs that you are overwatering your succulent include the following:

Succulent leaves are curling or pointing down.
Leaves are mushy and feel soft to the touch.
•  Leaves have a lighter color and become translucent.
  Leaves easily drop

In most instances, the leaves at the base of the plant are the ones that will begin to crimp down if you are overwatering.

If this is the case, you have to remove your plant from its pot to take a closer look.

If you notice that the soil is damp, position the succulent under a shaded area and allow it to completely dry for 2 to 3 days. After three days, it is time to re-pot it in well-draining soil and water slightly less the next time.

Underwatering of Succulents

Although overwatering is a common issue, underwatering your succulent is another cause of succulent leaves curling down.

When the plant roots are deprived of water or nutrients, it can lead to weak growth and eventually leaves that appear to curl. If you have been underwatering, you do not have to worry since it is better to underwater succulents than overwater them.

The best remedy if you underwater your succulent is to provide it with sufficient water.

Ensure that you will follow a consistent watering schedule but only when the soil is completely dry to the touch. There is a high chance for the leaves to perk back to life in no time.

The signs of underwatering your succulent typically include the following:

  Wrinkling on the leaves
  Succulent leaves are curling or pointing downwards.
  Leaves are dull with a rubber-like texture.
  Succulent is starting to develop aerial roots.

After providing enough water, you will notice a difference in your succulent in the next 2 to 4 days. If there is no change, try watering again and maintain a regular watering schedule.

Lack of light

Another common reason for succulent leaves curling down is lack of light. If your succulents do not receive enough light, it can weaken their growth and will not allow them to absorb nutrients efficiently. Lack of exposure to light can potentially lead to the stunted growth of your plants.

The majority of succulents require at least 4 hours of bright light daily, while some need more and some need less depending on the type you are growing. While some succulents prefer direct exposure to the sun and others indirect light, you should determine the specific needs of your succulent when it comes to lighting.

In most cases, insufficient exposure to light occurs if you decide to grow your succulents indoors under poor lighting conditions. If you are growing indoors, I suggest using a south-facing window to achieve the best results in terms of growth. If all else fails to work, you should get a good-quality indoor grow light to remedy the issue.

I recommend relocating your succulent to an area where the direct sun or indoor light is abundant or consider buying a grow light if you cannot provide natural light properly. Once you deal with this issue, you will start to see the leaves of your succulent return to normal in no time.

Poor Acclimation

Proper acclimation of your succulents is vital to ensure proper growth. If you want to provide your plants with enough exposure to sunlight, you should not place them outdoors under the full sun right away, or they will end up with curling leaves.

Remember that your succulent should be properly acclimated to its new environment. Exposing your succulent from minimal to intense light abruptly will only stress the plant, resulting in curling leaves.

You are likely to encounter this when growing a new succulent that was not given enough time to develop or adjust to a different environment or temperature fully. Another scenario where your succulent might be stressed out is buying one from an area with a different climate than your home.

The best approach is to steadily introduce light to your succulent by progressively increasing the day-to-day amount of exposure by an hour or two every week until it can fully adjust to its new environment.

Transplanting or Re-potting Stress

Another cause of succulent leaves curling down is the transplanting or re-potting process. Take note that this can occur if you damage the roots when changing pots, using the incorrect soil, or a different mix that your plant is not used to. Using a too big pot can also trigger issues, including the curling of the leaves.

When transplanting or re-potting your succulent, I recommend going only one pot size bigger. Take note that once there is too much space available, it can disrupt the plant’s nutrient intake. Additionally, make sure that you will use the correct type of soil mix at all times.

Incorrect Pot size

At this point, you are already aware that using a pot that is too big while transplanting or re-potting can be detrimental to your succulent. However, it would help if you did not forget to check the current container size as well.

Another cause of succulent leaves curling down is allowing your succulent to stay in a container or pot that is too small, especially when your succulent is growing rapidly. A small container will cause overcrowding, inadequate nutrient intake, and an unhappy plant with insufficient space to grow properly.

The best solution is to re-pot your plant to a pot that is one size bigger and use the same soil before or a recommended soil mix suitable for your succulent. In no time, you will see the leaves return to normal. Remember, though, that it depends on how long it has been in its current state.

Presence of pests

Pests can cause various problems not only for succulents but also for all types of plants once they are out of control. Take note that even if only a few a present, it can be a threat to your succulent since most can quickly grow in numbers in just a few days.

Common pests such as aphids can feed on the nutrients from the succulent leaves, causing them to dry up and curl at the very least, but more damage is likely if left untreated.

The best solution is to utilize some good-quality neem oil spray as an organic option. Apply at least once a week until there are no more pests evident on the plant. There might be a need to spray more than once a week depending on the situation, but I suggest doing this until the pests are gone for good.

Wrong soil type

The soil you are using might also be a reason for succulent leaves curling or pointing down. It is important to note that the soil plays a crucial role in ensuring the optimum growth of succulents.

In their natural territory, succulents thrive in arid, sandy, and poor soil settings without many nutrients. If your succulent is not provided with well-draining soil, it can result in overwatering-related issues.

You are likely following a regular watering routine, but the leaves still look unhealthy. In such instances, the main problem is not overwatering but poor draining soil. When there is excess water present in the soil, the roots will rot later on. The initial sign of this problem is leaves that are curling down.

Another reason is that you are using regular potting soil for your plants which is not a good option. Succulents might not require all the nutrients present in the typical potting mixture. I strongly recommend using soil that is specially formulated for cactus and succulents to ensure proper growth.

Final Thoughts

Succulents require proper care to ensure proper growth and development. There are different causes of succulent leaves curling or pointing down such as overwatering, underwatering, lack of light, poor acclimation, transplanting or re-potting stress, incorrect pot size, and soil type.

You should be familiar with the indications of these problems so you can provide the appropriate remedy to restore their normal growth. Depending on the type of succulents you are growing, it might be best to research their specific requirements to avoid any problems along the way.

By providing the right growing conditions and proper care, your succulents will grow optimally in no time.

Corinne A
Tribal Writer

Edited by
Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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