Skip to Content

Why Are My Succulent Leaves Pointing Down? | 7 Common Reasons

Succulents, loved for their tough nature, are among the world’s most cherished plants. They are regarded as ideal indoor houseplants that require minimal care.

However, for succulent enthusiasts, seeing the leaves of these resilient plants pointing down can be worrisome. The immediate fear is that they might be close to dying or suffering from some mysterious disease.

Nevertheless, seeing succulent leaves taking an unusual posture can be disturbing.

But fret not!

Today, in this article, we will discuss what causes the leaves of your succulents to point down.

So, without further ado, let’s begin!

Why Are My Succulent Leaves Pointing Down
Image via Reddit

Reasons Why Your Succulent Leaves Are Pointing Down:

If you notice your succulent leaves curling, it’s a message from your plant saying it’s not happy with its surroundings.

There are several reasons that can make your succulent leaves to curl and point downward.

Let’s check out some common causes in detail.

1. Improper Watering Can Cause Succulent Leaves to Point Down

All plants, including indoor and outdoor succulents, require water. Therefore, understanding the natural water habits of succulents is crucial for their well-being.

In their native home, within the arid expanse of a desert environment, succulents soak up a lot of water and store it efficiently. However, when they are not in their usual surroundings, they need a proper watering routine to thrive.

Without one, succulents can easily get overwatered or underwatered.

Let’s explore the impact of these two conditions!


Giving your succulents excess water is the main reason their leaves point down.

If you notice the leaves:

  • Turning brown

  • Wilting

  • Bending downward

  • Drying up

It means you’ve been overwatering.

When there’s excess water, it can make the plant cells burst, causing serious damage.

The biggest concern with overwatering is that aside from harming, it impacts the succulent plant’s root system.

There’s so much water that fills up the spaces in the soil, leaving no room for air (oxygen). As a result, the roots of the succulents are deprived of that much-needed oxygen. This can lead to root rot. Once the roots are damaged, it’s tough to bring the plant back to life.

But if you catch overwatering early, you can fix it.

To prevent overwatering, wait until all signs of moisture are gone before giving them another drink.


Similar to overwatering, not giving enough water can also harm succulents.

Succulents are used to living in dry areas, and their thick leaves stems, and roots have special cells to store water.

When there’s a long time without rain, the plant uses these stored water reserves until it can take water from the soil.

As the water in the fleshy leaves gets used up, they start to droop and curl downward.

If the lack of water continues, the plant will use up all its stored water and eventually wilt and die.

In the summer, when water evaporates quickly, it’s more common to see succulent leaves curling down due to not getting enough water.

To prevent this, you’ll need to water your succulents more often during the summer.

2. Improper Light Can Cause Succulent Leaves Pointing Down

If you see your succulent leaves curling, it might be because they’re not getting proper sunlight.

Like any plant, succulents need a good amount of light every day to grow well and stay healthy. If they don’t get the right amount of sunlight, their leaves might start to point down.

Improper Light Can Cause Succulent Leaves Pointing Down
Image via Reddit

Too Much Light

Too much bright light can make succulent leaves bend down.

Different kinds of succulents need different things to grow well. Before you put a succulent in a certain spot, find out what that type likes.

Newly planted succulents often have this problem. If they get too much direct sunlight, it scorches them.

When you see succulent leaves bending down, turning brown, or getting brown spots, it probably means they’re getting more light than they want.

When you plant succulents in your garden, make sure some areas don’t get too much light. It helps prevent them from getting burned even if they’re exposed for a long time.

Additionally, you can also move the plant to a shadier spot and use a shade cloth or something similar to protect them.

Too Little Light

When a succulent doesn’t get enough light, it stretches towards the light source. The top leaves might lean, and the lower leaves pointing down show they need more bright light.

Not having enough light is risky because it hampers the plant’s ability to make food through photosynthesis. If the lack of light persists, the leaves may turn light green or yellow, curl, and droop.

In severe cases, the succulent may even lose its leaves.

To keep your succulents healthy, make sure they can receive at least 6 hours of bright, indirect sunlight daily.

3. Acclimatization Can Also Be a Reason Why Your Succulent Leaves Are Pointing Down

Sometimes, the curling of leaves happens due to acclimatization.

“It is a process when the plant is trying to adjust to its new home – which can take up to a year.”

When you move your plant to a new spot, give it time to acclimatize to its new environment.

Let’s say your succulent has been sitting on the porch with adequate coolness and sunlight. If you suddenly switch things up and put them in direct sunlight, your succulent might get sunburned, even though it’s used to hot and dry conditions in the wild.

The leaves might start drooping because the heat sucks the water right out of the plant and soil.

Moving your plant around can be risky, so be cautious.

If you want to move your plant to a place with less or more light, do it gradually over a few days, for a few hours each day.

Acclimatization Can Also Be a Reason Why Your Succulent Leaves Are Pointing Down
Image via Reddit

4. If Your Plant Is Root Bound, You Might See the Leaves Pointing Down

When succulents aren’t re-potted more often, their roots can get all tangled up and might even stick out of the pot’s holes and soil.

This tangle can stop the plant from getting the nutrients it needs.

That is the reason when a succulent is rootbound, it might:

  • Start to droop

  • Have smaller leaves

  • Not make flowers, or

  • Just looks smaller than it should.

  • The leaves might also point down or curl.

If you’re not sure whether your succulent is root-bound, gently pull it up and check the roots.

If the roots seem to be tightly packed together and encircle a small ball of soil, re-pot it immediately.

Root-bound succulents might need more water than usual because their roots can’t take in nutrients from the soil anymore.

If Your Plant Is Root Bound You Might See the Leaves Pointing Down
Image via Reddit

5. Pests Can Cause the Succulent Leaves to Point Down

If your succulent leaves are all curled up, it might be because of pesky bugs.

Check for signs of mites, fungus gnats, or other insects snacking on your plant.

These bugs can spread diseases like rot, rust, and viruses, which can kill your plant if you don’t do something about it.

Once you’ve identified and removed those bugs, you can help your plant bounce back and prevent more leaf curling.

  • To tackle aphids, remove and destroy any part of the plant they’re feeding on.

  • If you’re dealing with spider mites, it’s time for some pesticide action. Soaps, horticultural oils, and insecticidal soaps should do the trick if you use them regularly.

  • For mealybugs, go for an oil spray with pyrethrum to suppress them.

  • Rubbing alcohol is also an excellent way to kill these pests since it dehydrates and kills these insects.

Fast and effective action against pests on your succulents is crucial for their healthy well-being.

Pests Can Cause the Succulent Leaves to Point Down
Image via Reddit

6. Your Succulent Plant Lacks Good Drainage

Regular potting soil isn’t ideal for succulents because it hinders proper water drainage.

Succulents require well-drained soil that facilitates the easy flow of air and water. If succulents find themselves in soil with poor drainage, their leaves might start curling down.

Excessive moisture in poorly draining soil can lead to sogginess, increasing the risk of root rot and other diseases. This, in turn, can cause the plant’s leaves to curl down and even lead to the death of the plant.

To prevent these problems, it is advisable to either add drainage holes to the plant pot or switch to a container with better drainage.

Also, succulents do well in soil specifically formulated for them, ensuring adequate drainage.

A practical solution is using a succulent potting mix enriched with more perlite and sand or blending regular potting soil with amended topsoil.

7. Wrong Pot Size Can Cause the Leaves of Your Succulents to Point Downward

The size of the pot you choose for your succulent affects how well it grows.

As your plant grows, it might get too big for its current pot and need a new one. Because if the pot is too small, the succulent’s roots won’t get enough water and nutrients.

If you don’t move it to a bigger pot in time, the roots can get all tangled up and cause problems.

On the other hand, if the pot is too big, the succulent might not stay securely in place.

In both of these cases, you’ll notice signs like succulent leaves curling, drooping, or thin stems.

To keep your succulent healthy and stress-free, pick a pot that’s 1.5 to 2 times wider than the biggest part of its root system.

This will help it grow well without any pot-related issues.

Wrong Pot Size Can Cause the Leaves of Your Succulents to Point Downward
Image via Reddit

That’s all for today.

Now, it’s time to move toward the conclusion.


Taking good care of your desert plants is just like keeping a delicate balance between what they need and what’s around them.

If you see their leaves pointing down, that’s a sign they’re stressed and you need to do something.

It’s not just about watering them right – you don’t want to drown them or leave them thirsty – the sunlight they get also matters, so finding the perfect spot is vital.

Dealing with challenges like acclimatization, picking the right-sized pot, and keeping bugs away are all part of the game.

So, when you’re taking care of your succulents, just remember that every leaf has something to say, and paying attention will give you a beautiful display of nature in the form of these cool plants.

Moiz Atiq.