What Will Kill Succulents: Understanding the Dos and Don’ts of Succulent Care

As succulents become one of the most popular indoor and outdoor plants, many plant enthusiasts wonder what factors can affect their survival. Although succulents are known to withstand harsh environments, there are still several factors that can kill them if not addressed. In this article, we will explore some of the most common reasons why succulents die and provide some tips on how to prevent it from happening.

The Fascinating World of Succulents

Succulents are fascinating plants that have become increasingly popular in recent years. These plants are loved for their unique shapes, colors, and textures, and they have a reputation for being easy to care for. Succulents are known for their ability to store water in their leaves, stems, and roots, making them perfect for dry and arid environments. With their low maintenance requirements and stunning beauty, it’s no wonder that succulents have become a favorite of plant lovers and beginners alike.

Common Misconceptions About Succulent Care

Despite their reputation for being easy to care for, there are some common misconceptions about succulent care that can lead to their demise. One of the most common misconceptions is that succulents don’t need water. While it’s true that succulents can survive in dry conditions, they still need to be watered regularly. Overwatering and underwatering are both common issues that can kill succulents.

Another misconception is that succulents can thrive in any type of soil. In reality, succulents need well-draining soil that allows excess water to drain away from the roots. Soil that retains too much water can lead to root rot, which is a common cause of succulent death.

Key takeaway: Succulents are fascinating plants that are easy to care for, but it is important to understand the dos and don’ts of succulent care to prevent common issues such as overwatering and root rot. Providing [regular but controlled watering, well-draining soil](https://succulentmarket.com/blogs/care/10-ways-to-kill-your-succulents), and adequate sunlight will ensure that your succulent stays healthy and happy.

The Dos and Don’ts of Succulent Care

To keep your succulents healthy and thriving, it’s important to understand the dos and don’ts of succulent care. Here are some tips to help you care for your succulents:

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  • Water your succulents regularly, but be sure to let the soil dry out completely between waterings.
  • Use well-draining soil that allows excess water to drain away from the roots.
  • Provide your succulents with plenty of sunlight. Most succulents prefer bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Fertilize your succulents sparingly. Too much fertilizer can lead to burned leaves and other issues.


  • Overwater your succulents. Succulents are prone to root rot, which can be caused by soil that is too wet.
  • Use soil that retains too much water. This can lead to root rot and other issues.
  • Place your succulents in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. This can cause the leaves to burn and can damage the plant.
  • Fertilize your succulents too often. This can lead to burned leaves and other issues.

Signs That Your Succulent is in Trouble

Despite your best efforts, there may be times when your succulent isn’t doing well. Here are some signs that your succulent is in trouble:

Yellow Leaves

If your succulent’s leaves are turning yellow, it may be a sign of overwatering. Check the soil to see if it’s wet, and adjust your watering schedule if necessary.

Brown Leaves

Brown leaves can be a sign of underwatering or overexposure to sunlight. Check the soil to see if it’s dry, and adjust your watering schedule if necessary. If the plant is getting too much sunlight, move it to a shadier location.

Soft or Mushy Leaves

Soft or mushy leaves can be a sign of root rot. Check the roots to see if they’re brown and mushy. If so, remove the plant from the soil and trim away any damaged roots before repotting in fresh soil.

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FAQs – What will kill succulents?

What are some common mistakes that can kill succulents?

Overwatering and lack of drainage are the leading causes of succulent death. Succulents have adapted to survive in arid climates, and their roots are susceptible to rot if left in sitting water. Additionally, succulents prefer a well-draining soil mix, such as cactus soil, which allows excess water to quickly drain away from the roots. Another mistake is placing succulents in low light conditions, as they require adequate sunlight to grow and thrive. Lastly, over-fertilization can lead to burnt leaves or even death in succulents.

Can extreme temperatures kill succulents?

Yes, extreme temperatures can be detrimental to succulents. Succulents are tolerant of high temperatures but can die if exposed to prolonged periods above 90°F. On the other end of the spectrum, succulents can also perish when exposed to freezing temperatures. The freezing temperatures cause the water in the leaves to expand, which can cause cracking and bursting.

Are certain pests or diseases a threat to succulents?

Succulents are generally resistant to pests and diseases, but there are a few that can be problematic. Mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects are all common pests that can cause damage to succulents. These pests can cause discoloration, wilting, and stunted growth. Root rot is a fungal disease that can afflict succulents if they are overwatered or left in standing water. Symptoms of root rot include mushy, blackened roots and a sickly appearance.

Is it safe to use pesticides to treat succulent pests?

When using pesticides on succulents, it is important to read and follow the instructions carefully. Certain pesticides may contain chemicals that are harmful to succulents or even toxic to humans and animals. It is advisable to use organic and natural pesticides, such as neem oil or insecticidal soap, which are gentler on the plant and the environment. Alternatively, a solution of water and dish soap can also be used to control spider mites and mealybugs. Remember to always test the pesticide on a small area of the plant first before using it on the entire plant.

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