Watch Chain Plant Turning Brown? Simple Diagnosis And Solutions

Is your Watch Chain plant turning brown? The most common reasons for a Watch Chain succulent turning brown are:

  1. Environmental stressors – too hot, too cold, too sunny
  2. Overwatering
  3. Pest infestation
  4. Disease
  5. Nutrient deficiency

watch chain plant crassula muscosa

Like all plants, a Watch Chain plant can sometimes experience problems. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common Watch Chain plant problems and how to solve them.

Crassula Muscosa, also known as the Watch Chain Plant, is a succulent native to South Africa. The plant gets its common name from its unique leaves which are arranged in a chain-like pattern. 

It is also known commonly as Lizard’s Tail plant, Zipper Plant, Princes Pine and Rattail Crassula.

The Watch Chain Plant is a relatively easy plant to care for and can be grown both indoors and outdoors.

But if it’s all going wrong and your watch chain plant is turning brown, what can you do to turn its health around?

Watch Chain Plant Turning Brown At Base: What Is The Cause?

If your Watch Chain plant is turning brown, it could be due to a number of factors.

If it is just the leaves at the base of the plant that are turning brown, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. They could just be old leaves that are dying off naturally. However, if leaves are turning yellow or brown all over the plant, there is a problem.

The most common reasons for a watch chain succulent turning brown are:

  • Environmental stressors
  • Overwatering
  • Pest infestation
  • Disease
  • Nutrient deficiency

Here’s a closer look at these possible causes and what you can do to fix the problem.

1. Environmental stressors

One of the most common reasons for a Watch Chain plant to turn brown is environmental stressors such as excessive heat, cold, or wind.

If your plant is exposed to any of these elements for extended periods of time, it can cause the leaves to turn brown and eventually die.

To fix this problem, simply move your plant to a more sheltered location where it will be protected from the elements.

2. Overwatering

Although it might seem counterintuitive, overwatering can actually cause a Watch Chain plant to turn brown.

This is because too much water can drown the roots of the plant, causing the leaves to turn brown and eventually die.

To fix this problem, allow the soil to dry out between watering and make sure you don’t overdo it when watering your plant.

For more in-depth information, see our article on How To Tell If Your Succulent Is Over or Under Watered.

3. Pest infestation

Another common reason for a Watch Chain plant to turn brown is a pest infestation. Common culprits include aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites.

These pests suck the sap from the plant, which can cause the leaves to turn brown and eventually die. To get rid of these pests, you’ll need to use an appropriate insecticide or pesticide.

4. Disease

Diseases can also cause a chain plant to turn brown. Common diseases that affect this plant include powdery mildew and root rot. If your plant is infected with a disease, you’ll need to treat it with the appropriate fungicide or herbicide.

5. Nutrient deficiency

A nutrient deficiency is another possible reason for a Watch Chain plant to turn brown. This is usually caused by not providing the plant with enough water or fertilizer. To fix this problem, simply water and fertilize your plant – make sure you follow the directions on the label of your chosen fertilizer.

How Often Do You Water Watch Chain?

As with most succulents, Crassula Muscosa is a very drought-tolerant plant. It can survive long periods without water and will actually do better if it is allowed to dry out between watering.

When watering, give the plant a good soaking and then allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again.

In general, you should only need to water your Crassula Muscosa every 2-3 weeks during the growing season (spring through fall) and once a month or less during the winter months. If you live in a particularly hot or dry climate, you may need to water more often.

If your Crassula Muscosa is starting to wilt or its leaves are beginning to shrivel, that is a sign that it is thirsty and needs to be watered. Be sure not to wait too long to water, as the plant can quickly become dehydrated and may not recover.


How Much Sunlight Does A Watch Chain Plant Need?

A Watch Chain plant needs around 4 to 6 hours of direct sun each day and should be kept in a spot that gets at least 10 hours of indirect sunlight daily. A sun-facing window is ideal.

If the plant is not getting enough light, it may start to stretch out or become weak looking. If you notice this, try moving the plant to a brighter spot.

What Temperature Is Best For A Watch Chain Plant?

Originally from South Africa, a Watch Chain plant can tolerate a wide range of temperatures but prefers warm conditions. The ideal temperature range for a Crassula Muscosa plant is between 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 29°C).

However, this plant can tolerate temperatures as low as 50°F (10°C) and as high as 100°F (38°C) for short periods of time. It is important to note that this plant is sensitive to frost and cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. If you live in an area that experiences frost and your Watch Plant usually lives outside, try to bring it inside during the winter months.

Root Rot

Root rot is caused by too much water and can quickly kill the plant. If you think your plant has root rot, stop watering it immediately and allow the soil to dry out.

Once the soil is dry, you can then start watering again but only give the plant enough water to keep the soil moist, not wet. If the root rot is severe, you may need to repot the plant into a fresh, dry potting mix.

Read our in-depth guide to root rot in succulents and how to prevent it and fix it.

Leaf Drop

Another common problem with Watch Chain plants is leaf drop. Leaf drops can be caused by a variety of factors including too much water, too little light, or pests.

If your plant is dropping leaves, first check its watering schedule. Make sure you are not giving the plant too much water.

If the leaves are dropping due to too little light, try moving the plant to a brighter location.

If pests are the problem, you will need to treat the plant with an appropriate insecticide or pesticide.

Fungal Disease

Watch Chain plants are also susceptible to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and botrytis. These diseases can cause the leaves to yellow and fall off.

To prevent these diseases, ensure your plant has good air circulation and is not overwatered. If you notice any signs of disease, treat the plant with a fungicide according to the directions on the label.


Mealybugs are small, white insects that feed on plant sap. They can cause yellowing of the leaves and stunted growth. Mealybugs can be difficult to control, but there are a few things you can do.

First, try to keep your plant as clean as possible by regularly wiping down the leaves with a damp cloth. This will remove any mealybugs that are present.

You can also try using an insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully when using any type of pesticide or insecticide.


When Should You Repot A Watch Chain Plant?

When your Watch Chain plant outgrows its pot, it’s time to repot. Here’s what you need to know about repotting a Watch Chain plant.

Your Watch Chain plant is a succulent, which means it has thick, fleshy leaves that store water. Over time, succulents can outgrow their pots and become root bound.

This happens when the roots fill up the entire pot and have nowhere else to go. When this happens, your plant can’t take in enough water and nutrients, and it will start to suffer.

So, how do you know when your plant needs to be repotted? First, check the size of the pot. If the roots are coming out of the drainage holes, or if the plant is toppling over, it’s time for a bigger pot.

Second, take a look at the soil. If it’s dry and crumbly, it’s time to repot. The roots need loose, well-draining soil in order to stay healthy.

Finally, check the leaves of your plant. If they’re yellowing or wilting, that’s a sign that the plant isn’t getting enough water. This could be due to poor drainage, compacted soil, or a pot that’s too small.

If you think your chain plant needs to be repotted, don’t worry, it’s easy to do. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose a pot that’s 2-3 inches wider than the current pot. Be sure to choose a pot with drainage holes so the roots don’t get waterlogged.
  2. Add some fresh, well-draining potting mix to the new pot. You can find succulent-specific mixes at your local garden center or online.
  3. Gently remove the plant from its current pot, being careful not to damage the roots.
  4. Place the plant in the new pot and fill in around it with more potting mix. Tamp down gently to secure the plant in place.
  5. Water lightly, just enough to moisten the soil. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.

Now your Watch Chain plant is all set in its new home! Just be sure to give it plenty of light and water when the soil is dry. With a little TLC, your plant will thrive for years to come.

How Do You Prune A Watch Chain Plant?

If your Watch Chain plant is starting to look a bit untidy, it’s ok to give it a good prune.

Gather together the following tools: sharp scissors or pruning shears, and a bowl of clean water.

It is also important to ensure you are wearing gloves, as the sap from the plant can be quite an irritant to the skin.

Start by cutting away any dead or dying leaves from the plant. These can be easily identified as they will be brown or black in color.

Once you have removed all of the dead leaves, have a look at the remaining ones and trim off any that are damaged or discolored.

Next, you will need to focus on the stems of the plant. Cut away any that are weak or spindly, as well as any that are crossing over each other. This will help to encourage new growth from the base of the plant.

Finally, give the plant a good shape by trimming back any long stems. You can do this quite severely if you like, as Watch Chain plants are very resilient and will quickly bounce back.

Once you have finished pruning your watch chain plant, put all of the trimmings in a bin and wash your hands thoroughly.

If you don’t like the idea of pruning your plant, a Watch Chain plant can make a good hanging or trailing plant.

Best Soil For Watch Chain Plant

Crassula Muscosa prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. In terms of pH, crassula muscosa does best in slightly acidic to neutral soils.

One way to ensure that your Watch Chain has the ideal growing conditions is to mix your own potting soil.

To do this, combine two parts perlite or sand with one part potting soil and one part compost. This will create a well-draining yet nutrient-rich soil so your plant will thrive.

If you don’t want to mix your own potting soil, you can also purchase a commercial succulent or cactus mix. These soils are specifically formulated to provide the perfect drainage and nutrients that succulents need.

When purchasing a commercial mix, make sure to look for one that is labeled “fast-draining” to ensure that it will meet the needs of your Crassula Muscosa.

Once you have the right soil, use a pot with drainage holes. This succulent does not like to sit in wet soil, so good drainage is essential.

If you’re unsure whether your pot has adequate drainage, simply add a layer of gravel or rocks to the bottom before adding the soil. This will help to ensure that any excess water can drain away from the roots of your plant.


Some of the most common symptoms of Watch Chain Plant issues are wilting leaves and foliage turning yellow or brown. Wilting is usually caused by too little water or too much direct sunlight, while yellowing or browning of foliage often indicates disease or a nutrient deficiency. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to check for pests such as aphids and mites, as well as disease-causing organisms like fungus and bacteria.

Once you have identified the source of the problem, you can take steps to correct it. Your plant should be happy and thriving again in no time.

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