What to Do with Leggy Succulents

Succulents love the sun and thrive when grown in proper light conditions. But you’ve probably seen or grown a succulent that gets leggy and stretched out. These leggy – or etiolated – succulents aren’t getting the light they should in the space you have it.

 

This phenomenon happens with all indoor plants, not just succulents. You may notice how your plant bends toward the sunlight, stretching to get as close as it can. Succulents continue to grow taller as they stretch toward the sun, leaving more space between each leaf.

While etiolated succulents won’t go back to their prior compact shape, you can give them a haircut and propagate the cuttings to get even more succulents.

In this video, Laura from Garden Answer shows you how to deconstruct the plant and start propagating to try again.

  1. Remove leaves. Use pruners or snap off roots and healthy leaves from the bottom half of the succulent. Get as clean of a break as possible to encourage new growth. If your leaf tears, get rid of it. Remove leaves until you’re a little more than half way to the top. See step three to learn how you can snip and replant the stem and the remaining rosette at the top.
  2. Let leaves dry. Allow leaves to dry for a few days after removal, until the raw ends have calloused.
  3. Repot the stem. Planting the stem deeper, where the leaves were removed, will allow to grow new roots. If your stem is too long for your pot, simply trim it 1-2 inches from the base of the plant. If you have no stem at all, it’s ok. Just nest the rosette in the soil so it doesn’t fall out.
  4. Get ready to grow. Place dried leaves on top of a tray, saucer or container filled with Espoma’s Organic Cactus mix. Do not bury leaves in the soil. Place the container in a spot where it will be protected from full sun exposure.
  5. Spray soil until it’s moist, without being drenched. Water again when soil is dry to the touch.
  6. Wait. In about a month or so new baby roots will appear
  7. Replant. Once your propagated succulents have taken root, they can be replanted. Show them off in a repurposed planter.
  8. Lastly, be sure to check the roots every six months to see if you need to move your plants to a bigger pot. Feed your succulents regularly with Espoma’s Cactus! liquid plant food for best results.

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