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Why Is My Succulent Turning Red? 6 Main Factors!

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You might be surprised to learn that not all succulents have uniform colors. Some change color over time, and this can happen without warning.

One of our favorite things about these plants is how brightly they shine with different hues—from green through dark purple into blue, pink, or even black-looking versions.

Succulent turning red might be an interesting experience for many people. But it tends to make them think at the same time that “why is my succulent turning red.” So many factors go into why exactly this beautiful plant is changing its color – let’s unfold them together.

Why Is My Succulent Turning Red
“my succulent turned from green to red in one month” via Reddit

Reason Behind Succulent’s Changing Colors

Succulents are typically prized for their wonderful shapes and colors, but sometimes something goes wrong.

The most common problem with succulent plants is that they turn red or change color- often in an unexpected way. They change colors due to the natural pigments present in plants, i.e., anthocyanins and carotenoids.

These pigments are also found in various fruits and are responsible for providing us with precious antioxidants. They also help protect plants from their environment. In general, they serve as the plant’s built-in mechanism to survive extreme climates.

Succulent Turns Red Under Stress

Succulents are known to change colors when they’re under stress. That’s because the plant needs to acclimate itself and adjust its relationship with surrounding environmental factors for survival. So, if you keep your succulent indoors for months, its leaves will start changing colors.

The strain results from not acclimating properly to their new environment. The stress on a succulent plant is sometimes considered good, while it is bad in certain situations. Read along to know what stress type is good and what is bad for this plant.

Why Is My Succulent Turning Red 2
“The leaves of my succulent are turning red” via Reddit

Reasons For Stress On Succulents

Here are the following reasons that cause succulents to stress.

Reason:1 Cold Weather

Succulents usually start changing their leaves and tips to red in mid-autumn in harsh winters. In moderate climates, this change happens at different times of the year. But no such changes appear when the temperature is warm.

The succulent is stressed by the cold, but it doesn’t mean your plant will suffer. Healthy plants can be stressed without having any bad effects on them.

Reason:2 Sun Exposure

Succulents are delicate creatures, but they have an important defense system against the sun. Because of pigment protection measure, if your plant is too exposed to it or heating up in general, you can expect some reddish-brown tips on its leaves.

Many succulent types will thrive in sunlight, and others prefer shade. It’s important to know which ones like the sun or not because there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules when it comes down to what type of conditions each plant prefers. Sun is the main factor to cause stress in succulents, and it can be not good if:

  • the succulents you’re growing are cuttings
  • young plants
  • plants recovering from pest attack
  • the temperature beyond 35 C (95F)
  • plants in the full afternoon sun

Reason:3 Poor And Heavy Soil

Succulent plants in heavy soil containing too much sand/clay or poor quality tend to suffer stress. They may still grow, but their growth habit and colors could change dramatically.

They will have uncompromising compactness in shape with unique hues- depending on the variety planted. The ornamental plants with poor soil leaves are always colorful, no matter what time of year it is.

Reason:4 Scarce Watering

A succulent plant needs to be watered regularly. However, if you continue watering them even though they’re not in need, then watch out for discoloration and different shades of red.

Reason:5 Root Bound Succulents

Root-bound succulents are an indication that the roots will not be able to grow any further in their current pot. Rootbound means there’s no room left for them, and they’re tightly packed together like a clump. Such succulents produce a darker red or other color tip and leaves as a result of stress.

When plants are rooted deeply in one spot, they experience greater levels of tension than those who live without this constraint. It can lead them to acquire colors as an expression or response to how stressed their roots feel.

Reason:6 Lack Of Fertilizer

When the succulent plant is not well fed, you will notice its color changing. Therefore, you need to feed or fertilize your plants regularly to maintain their vibrant colors and lush growth rate. Lack of nutrients leads to succulent fading leaves, smaller flowers, and random coloration.

Good Or Bad Stress On Succulents

Stress can be a necessary component in the development of strong flowers and plants. It doesn’t always mean something bad, as it allows these living beings time for growth. Stress allows plants to unleash their full potential and thrive in unfavorable conditions.

Good Stress

Succulents are among the most durable plants in existence, and despite their roots being red-tinged at the first sign of stress, they’re able to adjust accordingly.

A change in your succulent that causes it to redden around the edges is usually normal. In some cases, this change may indicate improvement with time.

Bad Stress

In sharp contrast, if you see black or brown spots on succulents, something may be wrong with this plant. Do you have a succulent that is looking generally unhealthy with disfigured and distorted leaves? It could be “bad” stress, which means unfavorable things are going on for the plant.

Red succulents are a common side effect of mild stress, and you need not worry if your succulents are turning red. However, not all succulents exhibit this behavior, i.e., Elephant Bush. Therefore, always monitor stress on your plants to avoid potential serious concerns.

>> Related Post: 10 of the Cutest, Most Popular Indoor Succulents


Succulents are a perfect addition to any garden. If you notice your plant turning red, it could be a few things.

  • It is not getting adequate watering and sunlight
  • Roots are bound due to a smaller sized container
  • The soil is poor/lacking nutrients

The following factors cause succulents’ leaves and tips to turn red. We would love to hear your feedback and suggestions! Use the comment section below for any comments or questions.