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Why Is My Succulent Wrinkly – 4 Top Causes

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Succulents are an extensive group of plants that thrive in harsh climates with little humidity. You can recognize them through their variety of features and beautiful blooms.

With thick and fleshly leaves, succulents can store water as an adaptive feature for harsh climates where water is in short supply. However, this does not make them impervious to specific issues, and they may need some help. Therefore, it is not uncommon to hear the question, “Why is My Succulent Wrinkly?” 

Why is your succulent wrinkly? A common reason might be due to watering. Either over-watering or under-watering can lead to wrinkly leaves on your succulents.

If you’re uncertain about the issues troubling your succulents, the information provided in this guide will help you figure them out and resolve them.  

Why Is My Succulent Wrinkly 1
Succulent leaves soft and wrinkled. – via Reddit

Why Is My Succulent Wrinkly?

You can quickly determine when your succulents are facing unsuitable conditions. A sign of this is the wrinkly leaves shown by the plant. At this point, you may have suspicions that your plant is distressed. However, pinpointing what ails them may prove difficult. Explore the common reasons below. 

1. Underwatering 

One of the factors that lead to wrinkly succulent leaves may be underwatering. Although succulents can thrive with irregular watering, you should water them every two weeks to once a month. You can tell by completely dried soil and wrinkly leaves (particularly at the base of the plant) that your succulent is underwatered. 

Since succulents store water in their leaves, wrinkly leaves show that your plant reserves are low. In addition, succulents bear leaves that are firm and plumpy. Succulent leaves that feel and look deflated may be a result of underwatering. 

How to Fix 

Resolving the problem of underwatering is easy to accomplish. It is important to note that you can’t fix underwatering by overwatering your succulents.

Water your succulent plant with the usual amount. Until the soil the succulent is planted in is dried, avoid watering it. Follow the steps below to avoid a repeat of wrinkling due to underwatering. 

  • Adjust your schedule for watering your plant to anywhere from every two weeks to once a month.
  • You should water your plants when the weather is cool, preferably morning or evening. 
  • Ensure that you use the correct soil mix in potting your succulents.

After a short while, you’ll notice that your succulent leaves become plump and perky. 

2. Overwatering 

Another factor that can cause wrinkly leaves in your succulents is overwatering. Since succulents are native to locations with harsh climates, they survive by storing the much-needed water in their leaves and stems.

Storage of too much water can, however, be damaging to succulents. The leaves of succulent plants that are overwatered will appear wrinkly and pale. Storing water past its storage capacity causes the tissues of succulent leaves to burst. 

There are several reasons why your succulent may be storing excess moisture. These include watering too frequently, wet soil before watering it again, plant pots without drainage holes, and humidity. These all lead to water stress which can cause wrinkly leaves.  

How to Fix 

It is a bit more complex to resolve overwatering compared to underwatering. Quick action is needed to prevent the plant from rotting. First, you would need to scale back or stop watering your succulents. Scaling back on watering enables excess moisture in the soil to dry out completely. 

Secondly, you may need to re-pot your succulent in a pot with drainage holes at the bottom to allow excess water to escape. Succulents do not thrive well in waterlogged soil, which may lead to water stress and wrinkling.

Thirdly, you might need to change the soil type you planted your succulents in if it is slow to drain. Replace with a soil mix that allows water to drain out to prevent overwatering and wrinkled leaves. 

Fourthly, locate your succulents in an environment with low levels of humidity. Succulents suffer from water stress when placed in any environment with high humidity and may become wrinkly. 

Why Is My Succulent Wrinkly 2
pachyveria powder puff(?) lower leaves have been wrinkled for a while. – via Reddit

3. Wrong Soil Type 

As mentioned above, succulents do not thrive in the presence of too much water. Therefore, the soil used in planting your succulents should possess excellent drainage properties. Therefore, just any planting soil won’t work. 

Water stress that leads to wrinkling can be caused by soil that holds on to water and is always moist. A hydrophobic soil that repels water absorption can also cause your succulent plant to be wrinkly.  

How to Fix

Choosing the correct soil type for your succulents is easy if you’ve determined that wrinkled leaves cause is the soil type. You can usually get succulent soil from a plant nursery or gardening supply store. 

The soil type that succulents thrive in is mainly gritty, like desert sand. It usually contains organic and inorganic matter like coconut coir and crushed rocks. Soils with a mix of sand, perlite, or pumice will also work well for succulents. 

4. The Wrong Type of Pot

Although succulents can grow in any pot, they tend to do better in particular pots. One crucial feature a pot used in planting a succulent should possess is drainage holes. Drain holes are essential as a pot that collects water leads to water-logged soil at its base.  

As too much water cumulates in water stress, wrinkly leaves, and rotten roots, a pot with drain holes rids one of these problems. In addition, you can be deceived by dry surface soil in the pot, while there might be a pool of water at the base. 

How to Fix

Any pot will function just fine if it has drainage holes at its bottom. This allows excess water to escape from the base quickly. If your pot lacks drain holes at its base, you’ll need to get another pot with drain holes or create them yourself in your present pot. 

Secondly, you may consider changing your pot from decorative plastic pots to Terra-cotta pots. This is because Terra-cotta helps absorb water and improve the aeration of the soil. Be careful when re-poting succulents as they have fragile roots. 


You might have discovered that your succulent leaves are becoming wrinkly. These wrinkly leaves could have made you reflect, “Why is my succulent wrinkly?” Often, what your succulent needs is an adjustment in its care routine. In our quick guide above, you will find the common reasons why your succulent leaves are wrinkly.  

We expect that this in-depth post will assist you in figuring out the problem with your succulent leaves. Note the symptoms mentioned in this guide and compare them to your succulent plant.

These will help you determine the right action to take. This guide also includes the best possible solution to each cause, enabling you to nurse your succulent plant back to good health. Kindly share your comments and queries with us in the comment section below.