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Why Is My Succulent Shriveling – 4 Reasons

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Succulents start shriveling when they are stressed. This might be due to a number of reasons. If you keep on asking yourself the question, “Why is my succulent shriveling?” Keep on reading this article for reasons why your succulent might start shriveling.

Why Is My Succulent Shriveling
My succulents are shriveling – via Reddit

Why Is My Succulent Shriveling?

The reason that a lot of succulents start shriveling is when they’re over or under-watered. The plant needs some time where the soil is dry for it to grow healthily. If the soil is constantly damp, the stress makes the succulent leaves shrivel or start turning yellow or even turn mushy.

Underwatering causes slightly different symptoms in the plant.

How To Differentiate Between Under and Overwatering

The main difference between over and under-watered succulents is that when a succulent is overwatered, the leaves start turning yellow, translucent, or black. They begin to have a mushy texture. Whereas, if a succulent is underwatered, the leaves begin to shrivel, and they also start turning brown.

You can also test the soil for moisture. You can use your finger to judge whether the ground is wet or not. Otherwise, a soil meter is also an excellent option to gauge whether your plant is over or under-watered.

If the soil is damp, then overwatering is the likely cause for your leaves shriveling, and if it is particularly dry, underwatering is the menace. You can also tell this from the weight of the pot. If the pot feels relatively light, underwatering is the issue and vice versa.

Why Is My Succulent Shriveling 2
What is happening to my succulent – via Reddit

How Can You Revive Shriveled Succulent Leaves Because Of Under Watering

Succulents usually grow in deserts, and they are naturally made for harsh conditions. However, they can still suffer from underwatering if you neglect them for too long. If the gap between your last watering cycle is more than two weeks, you should water your plant immediately.

Succulents have the ability to store moisture in their leaves. This is their adaptation to living in the deserts. The good news is that if the leaves are slightly shriveled, it is most likely that the plant can recover from this situation. After that, you just have to correct your watering routine.

The watering routine you should follow for your succulent depends on a lot of factors. Therefore, it is pretty challenging to give generalized advice for all situations. In typical cases, watering it once every two weeks is more than enough for the plant to be healthy. However, this can vary a lot.

If the cause of shriveling is underwatering, the succulent should return to its original health in around two watering cycles.

Some factors which can impact the shriveling are discussed below.

Sources Of Air Currents and Heat

Succulents best grow at room temperature. If they are placed next to a source of heat inside a room, the water will start evaporating faster from the soil as compared to somewhere far from the air current.

Air conditioning can help in lowering the humidity levels of the plant, which can be good to reduce shriveling in the plant because of moisture existing in the air.

Humidity Of The Climate

A dry climate will increase the demand for water for your plant. Look for early signs of underwatering to reduce shriveling in the plant. Succulents are suitable for low humidity and thrive in these conditions.

If the humidity level around the plant is high, it can cause problems with over watering for the plant because the rate of water loss from the soil is low in such a case.

Intensity Of Sunlight

Another factor that determines how much water your succulent requires is the amount of sunlight it is getting. If your succulent is getting lots of sunlight, you might want to increase the watering frequency for your plant.

The sunlight makes most of the water evaporate from the soil, which results in lesser water for the plant to use up. Temperature is another such factor that impacts the watering routine for plants.

How To Determine The Best Frequency Of Watering

You need to experiment with your plant a little to find out the best watering routine for your specific environment. Keep in mind that it is much easier to revive an underwatered succulent as compared to an over-watered one.

This means that keeping your succulent on the dry side is better for your plant. However, if your leaves start shriveling at a time that you are watering your plant less, then the concern could be overwatering the plant.

Hydrophobic Soil Might Repel Water Away From The Roots Of The Plant

Some people actively follow the advice of experts when watering their succulents; however, they still ask themselves the question of why is my succulent shriveling.

This could be because the soil that you have planted the succulent in is hydrophobic. Being hydrophobic means that the soil of your plant repels water and drives it out.

When the soil dries out, sometimes the soil mix can turn out in a way that does not let the water come inside it and reach the roots of your plant. Instead of absorbing water, the soil starts repelling it.

You should re-pot your succulent in such a situation. No need to continue in the same circumstances. Switch out the soil in which your valuable plant is growing to notice the results.

You should use a soil mix that is good for cacti and has good drainage. The best soil for succulents is one that is aerated and dries out better because, as mentioned earlier, underwatering is better than overwatering your plant.


Succulents can shrivel mainly due to two reasons. Either the plant is too dry or too wet. Make sure you identify the causes of shriveling and treat them accordingly.

If you had the question of why is my succulent shriveling, I hope that is answered now with this article.

Best of luck!