My wife got three different succulents from a friend for her birthday. One of them started turning brown on the stems and tips of leaves about a week ago.

She's been watering them consistently (checked the soil this morning and it's damp), and it is possible that she overwatered them. From what I've read, though, it doesn't look like overwatering. Can anyone shed some light on this? What is happening to our succulent and how can we cure it?

browning succulent

  • 3
    I looks like overwatering to me, succulents like it when the soil dries up between two waterings. Here some quick tips on watering succulents.
    – benn
    Aug 14, 2018 at 15:05
  • I agree with b nota - how often is it watered? What kind of potting soil is it in?
    – Jurp
    Aug 14, 2018 at 22:54
  • "succulents like it when the soil dries up between two waterings" If the plant goes through an annual cycle of a growing season and a dormant season, it will survive the entire dormant season (several months!) with no water at all - and that treatment will make it grow stronger, and encourage it to flower when it does get water again. If you over-water succulents, they will try to make use of all the water they can get - and in extreme cases the plant may literally burst, trying to store too much water - but that's the equivalent of "pigging out on too much junk food", not healthy living.
    – alephzero
    Aug 15, 2018 at 10:21

1 Answer 1


Does this plant get a lot of direct sun? I don't really see anything wrong with it, but it does seem somewhat etiolated (stretched) due either to not enough sun or too rich of soil/over fertilization. Plants generally shed the oldest leaves, but they harvest the useful parts first. Also many succulents lay on the ground rather that growing straight up. They grow vertically for a while then flop over. I think some good sun will help this plant out. Acclimate it to more sun over a few days or a week.

  • The plant is definitely not in the sun at all right now--do all succulents need sunlight? How can I tell? Aug 14, 2018 at 17:58
  • You've already exceeded the bounds of my succulent knowledge. I'm mostly a cactus guy, but I've had a few non-cactus succulents in the past and I have general knowledge of their growth habits. That said, I don't know exactly what species this is and what it expects for light, etc. Etiolation is commonly caused by too little light or too much nutrition, or both. My recommendation it to get to a place where it can get more direct sun, if possible.
    – Tim Nevins
    Aug 14, 2018 at 21:18
  • @TheSpartan not "all" succulents need sunlight, but many prefer it. Think about it - the reason succulents are succulents is because they can store lots of water internally, to survive long dry periods. Shady sunless environments in the wild don't tend to be "dry" - usually, the opposite applies.
    – alephzero
    Aug 15, 2018 at 10:16
  • Makes sense to me--will put it in sunlight and report back. Aug 15, 2018 at 13:12

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