The succulent plant you bought some weeks ago looks so perfect and adorable. But when you checked today, it didn’t look right. It didn’t look the same as the one you planted a few weeks ago. The succulent is somehow elongating.
When the succulent plant you are displaying indoors or planted in a shady location is getting leggy or is stretching out, it is trying to tell you something.
It is elongating because it is not receiving enough sunlight. This problem is common when the succulent is grown indoors or placed in the shade.
As it searches for sunlight, it can grow taller and longer, and it will turn and bend towards the source of light.
Its leaves may spread out and may have more spaces in between. Sometimes, the leaves may become lighter and smaller than usual.
Not only that, lack of enough sunlight can cause the colorful succulents to revert to green or lose their bright colors.
Those succulents with the brightest orange, yellow, red, purple, or pink hues do not perform well indoors. In fact, they are the fastest to elongate. In addition, colorful species often require longer direct sunlight than what indoors can offer.
Does this mean that your plant will die?
Stretching out will not kill the plant. Unless, of course, there are additional problems like overwatering or heavy pest infestations, which can lead to their destruction if not given prompt and proper attention.
How To Prevent Etiolation
When succulents get leggy, they go through a growth process called etiolation which occurs when plants are grown in places with insufficient light. When they etiolate, they lose their compactness, and their rosette shapes get distorted.
We are often fascinated by those rosette-shaped Echeverias and Aeoniums. They look like flowers that are always in bloom. And, of course, we want to keep them that way.
The best way to prevent the plant from stretching out is to provide what it needs.
Here’s what you need to do to avoid facing this issue:
- Provide enough sunlight. You can do so by placing the plant in a location with ample light, like a window sill or patio.
- Look for succulents with low light requirements. There are so many species of succulents. You’ll indeed find one that would thrive well in a location you have in mind.
If you plan on growing them indoors, avoid the colorful species, as they are most likely to elongate faster. Instead, look for Sansevieria and some Haworthia species. These kinds will be your best choices for growing succulents indoors.
- Rotate once a week. Sometimes, some of these succulent plants may still display changes, like uneven growth, despite being indoors in bright locations. For example, one side may grow slightly faster than the other.
Rotate the pot at least once a week to even out their share of sunlight.
- Provide Grow Lights. Another way you can keep indoor succulents compact and avoid them from stretching out is to provide them with artificial lights. Many grow lights are available that will help you keep your plants remain compact and help you achieve their beautiful colors.
- Grow them outdoors. If you have an open patio or an outdoor garden, grow your succulents outside. Most succulents are slow growers and can be happily confined in containers. Therefore, you do not need a huge garden to collect and grow them. Instead, you can make an arrangement where you can combine several kinds in just one container or pot.
When you bring your plants outdoors for the first time, try not to expose them to the direct heat of the sun right away. Instead, place them in a bright area but not directly hit by the intense noon or early afternoon light.
How To Fix An Elongated Succulents?
Trim the elongated part. An elongated succulent plant will not return to its usual compact form. But, if you trim it, it can give you compact offsets once they get the light they need.
Here’s some good news about your stretched-out succulent plant!
Succulents stretching out is not always a bad thing. Because out of that elongated succulent plant, you can grow more of the same species.
You can start propagating them, and you can do so in four different ways.
4 Ways Of Propagating Elongated Succulents
- Propagate the cuttings. Trim the top rosette and plant the cuttings. You can air dry them for a day or two before planting in fast-draining soil, or you can plant directly in the soil as long as the medium you are using is almost dry. Remember not to expose your cuttings to direct sunlight right away because they are not yet ready, and they can get sunburn.
Watch the video on how to plant succulents from cuttings.
Use a container with a whole and fast-draining soil mixture to avoid overwatering. Getting too much water is the fastest way to kill the succulents. You can create your soil combination or buy ready-made ones.
Propagate the leaves. Another fantastic thing about succulents is their ability to propagate from leaves. Succulents with chunky leaves, especially those that easily separate from the stem, often successfully grow new babies. Make sure the tip of the leaf attached to the stem is intact to ensure its growth.
If you want to experience this exciting way of propagating succulents from leaves, you must watch this video.
Propagate the stems. Because the plants are elongated, you will have extra limbs left after trimming the rosette. Do not throw them away. You can plant them too, like cuttings! Make sure to leave a few leaves still attached to the stem as it is essential for survival.
It might take several weeks, but you will experience joy after seeing several babies coming out from where you plucked the leaves.
Propagate the rooted plant. After trimming the rosette, removing some leaves and excess stems, the lower part with roots and stems remain. Do not discard them. You can propagate your plant faster using these. Again, ensure that a few leaves remain attached as they will be helpful in their food production.
So, you see, experience is the best teacher. We learn from our mistakes, and as long as succulent plants are still alive, there are ways to save them.
Do not lose hope right away.
And, whatever you do with your succulents, whether you are propagating, creating arrangements, or landscaping, do not forget to take time to enjoy this fantastic hobby!
Watch the YouTube video on how to fix elongated succulents.
More Articles You Might Be Interested To Read
About Chopstick And Succulents