Succulent growing tall instead of wide

What has happened to your succulent?

So you recently noticed that your plant looks a bit different. You wanted it to be nice wide, eye catching thing and suddenly you see your succulent growing tall instead of wide.

Etiolation of succulent
Etiolation, source: Reddit

Some succulents may require more special care

Gardening can be intimidating, but succulents are one of the easiest and most beginner-friendly plants you can grow. They’re a great option for those who may not have a lot of time or space to devote to their green thumb; since they’re low-maintenance, they’re ideal for busy people.

Succulents are, for the most part, really easy to take care of. They’re resilient and don’t need a lot of water. They thrive on neglect—at least, that’s how it usually goes. But if you’re new to succulent ownership, you may have noticed some of your plants aren’t looking their best. That’s because some succulents may require more special care than others.
If the leaves of your succulents are long and thin, they’ll likely need more light than other plants do. Succulents with long leaves tend to grow towards the source of light, so if yours are growing in a very lanky way, it might be a sign that they’re not getting enough sunlight. In contrast, if they look plump and full and almost ready to burst (they may have little dots or bumps on them), they might be getting too much light—these signs mean that the plant is storing up excess water from too much sun exposure.
Succulents will also tell you if they don’t have enough light by dropping their leaves or changing color in an attempt to absorb more sunlight. If your succulent is looking droopy or has lost its bright green hue, it might be time to move it

There is a certain cause of such look and it is called Etiolation. If you check this term in Wikipedia, you will get

Etiolation /tiəˈlʃən/ is a process in flowering plants grown in partial or complete absence of light.[1] It is characterized by long, weak stems; smaller leaves due to longer internodes; and a pale yellow color (chlorosis). The development of seedlings in the dark is known as “skotomorphogenesis” and leads to etiolated seedlings.

So the main reason is the fact that your succulent did not get enough light. However before you start putting your flower outside wait and do this gradually.  You do not want to put too much stress on this flower and this might happen when you move it immediately under the big source of light.

The best approach would be to give it about half an hour of light per day and check periodically if plant started changing its look. Put a close attention to leaves if there are pointing down. If your succulent’s leaves curl or point downward, you’ve probably overwatered it.

The roots of the succulent will be unable to breathe due to the excess water in the soil, and the leaves will begin to curl downward, as well as other overwatering symptoms.


If leaves have brown spots,  it might be the fact that the plant has been sunburned. Try to move the plant to an area that receives less direct sun.

No option for more light?

Lastly If your succulents are indoors and don’t receive much sunshine, try utilizing a grow lamp to provide them with the light they require.


Succulent with brown spots


What should I do?

Ok so let’s try to summarize how to help your succulent to stop growing tall and look beautiful again.

Step 1

Make sure you’re giving your plant enough light by placing it near a window, preferably in sun-facing direction.

Step 2

Give the plant a good watering about once a week or every ten days. You’ll know it’s time when the soil feels dry at least one inch below its surface. When you do water, make sure the soil is completely saturated so that air bubbles are coming up from the bottom of the pot—this means all of the moisture has reached the roots.

Step 3

Fertilize with a diluted liquid fertilizer every two weeks during its growing season (Spring and Summer).


We hope we have given you some pointers on how to deal with a plant that is growing willowy rather than bushy.


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