I recently moved several small potted succulents from partial shade to full sun, which proved catastrophic for many of them.

Specific genera among the casualties:

  • Echeveria / Graptopetalum
  • Faucaria
  • Sedum
  • Sempervivum

Can these plants regrow from the roots if the aboveground structures have died? What can be done to maximize their survival chances?

  • 2
    Can we see some photos? Super-thrive might be a solution if they are still alive, but I at least will need to see the damage. It is also a bit strange that just sun exposure did this. Where are you located? Did you fertilize them recently? Apr 18, 2016 at 5:24

1 Answer 1


I'm sorry I don't know the cause of your damage, but I have a lot of experience with sedums, and can reassure you that a healthy plant can grow even if the top is damaged, dead, or broken off; and even if the roots have come out of the soil and completely dried up.

I live in Massachusetts, growing zone 6, (-10°F, -23°C) and have a number of varieties of sedum, both upright and creeping. Some thrive in an area that gets up to 6 hours of sun a day, even at the height of the summer, but most do best in part shade or full shade, with a maximum of 4 hours of indirect sun. I frequently move them, but keep them in the same conditions, so I don't have the problem you're having.

There's an animal in my yard who rearranges mine. I regularly find them dug up, broken into pieces and scattered all over the place. Generally the top growth is dead or absent and the roots are dry and shriveled. If I ignore them and go back a few weeks later, there is already new growth. The pictures below are of a piece from a large plant that I found with no foliage growth at all on the lawn about two weeks ago. I threw it under the bird feeders. Today I found it in a different spot, lying sideways on top of the ground, with dead-looking roots and nice new growth!

Once you've figured out the problem, you may need to transplant it. If so, I've had success with just digging a hole and dropping it in, but when starting with a compromised plant, this is what I recommend to maximize chances for future growth:

  • Check for bugs or other damage to the root. If you find anything, gently scrape it away.

  • Dig a hole (or use a container with room for a hole) about twice the size of the root ball.

  • Partially fill with some loose soil. Some people use compost, but I generally just loosen up some garden soil until it's light and aerated. If you're using a container, I recommend a potting soil made for that purpose.

  • Set the plant into the fresh dirt, keeping the top of the root ball at ground level.

  • Water it well for the first few days, then switch to a regimen of waiting for the topsoil to dry out before watering again. In general, once, established, most sedums would rather be too dry than too wet.

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