What Causes Succulents to Turn Brown? Identifying and Remedying Issues

As you cultivate succulents, you’re likely to enjoy their vibrant green colors and unique shapes. It can be a bit worrying, though, when your usually sturdy plants start showing signs of trouble, like browning leaves.

Succulent leaves turned brown

Sun damage is usually the main reason your succulents start turning brown, but there could be other reasons, too, like incorrect watering, environmental stress, or pests.

Knowing why your succulents are changing color is key to helping them bounce back. That’s exactly what we’re going to explore in this article – simple, helpful tips to get your succulents happy and healthy again!

Common Causes of Succulents Turning Brown

When you notice your succulents going brown, it usually means there’s an issue with their environment or how they’re cared for. We’ll go through the main causes and share some tips on how to deal with them.

Sunlight and Temperature Stress

Succulents love bright light, but too much intense sun can cause sunburn, resulting in brown spots or patches on the leaves. If your plants were in a shadier spot before, gradually get them used to more light. Also, cold temperatures can harm succulents, turning the leaves brown.

Try to keep them in a spot with plenty of light but shield them from big temperature changes.

Overwatering and Root Rot

Overwatering is another reason for browning in succulents. They’re built for dry places and store water in their leaves, so too much water can lead to root rot. This happens when roots start to decay because they’re too wet.

It’s important to have soil that drains well to stop water from hanging around the roots. Make sure the soil feels dry before you water them again.

Underwatering and Dehydration

It may sound contradicting, but not watering your succulents enough can also turn them brown.

If they don’t get enough water, they might start to dry out, leading to browning and wilting. The key is a steady, light watering routine, letting the soil completely dry between waterings.

Disease and Pests Influences

Checking your succulents for diseases and pests is also mportant when you see brown leaves. Figuring out the exact problem is key to fixing it and helping your plants recover.

Fungal Diseases and Their Symptoms

Fungal diseases usually show up as brown spots or patches on succulent leaves. For example, Crown rot in Echinocereus cactus causes dark, sunken spots where the tissue is rotting.

This specific fungal disease loves too much moisture. Here are some common signs of fungal diseases in succulents:

  • Brown or black spots: These are where the disease is starting.
  • Soft, mushy areas: These suggest more serious rot, often in the plant’s base or roots.

Good airflow and avoiding soggy soil are the best ways to prevent these problems.

Battling Aphids and Mealybugs

Aphids and mealybugs can harm succulents by eating their sap, making the plant weak and brown. Here’s a quick rundown of these pests:

  • Aphids: Small, pear-shaped bugs that can be green, yellow, or black, often found on new growth or under leaves.
  • Mealybugs: They look like tiny cottony spots in the leaf joints, under the leaves, or on the roots.

You can fight these pests with a strong water spray to knock them off or by using insecticidal soap or neem oil. Just watch how your plant reacts to make sure the treatment isn’t stressing it further.

Care and Maintenance Missteps

If your succulents are turning brown, it might also mean something’s off in how you’re taking care of them. The soil they’re in and how you feed them is crucial, and getting these wrong can lead to browning.

Soil and Potting Issues

Succulents do best in well-draining soil that’s like their natural, dry homes. Use a special succulent soil mix; regular garden soil can hold too much water and cause root rot.

Also, pick pots with good drainage holes to avoid water buildup around the roots. When repotting, use fresh succulent mix and clean old pots to keep away pathogens that could cause browning.

You can learn more about choosing the right soil mix for thriving indoor succulents here.

Nutrient Problems, Fertilizers, and Edema

Succulents need a balanced diet. Too much or too little fertilizer can cause nutrient issues or toxicity, showing up as brown tips or a pale, sickly look.

It’s usually sufficient to apply a light dose of fertilizer specifically designed for succulents once or twice during their active growing period.

Use fertilizers made for succulents to give them just enough nutrients without going overboard. Also, overwatering can cause edema, where cells swell and burst, turning leaves brown. Keeping a good balance of water and fertilizer helps keep your plants healthy and prevents browning.

Preventative Measures and Remedies

Again, knowing why succulents turn brown helps you take the right steps to prevent it and fix any issues. Let’s focus on the right amount of sunlight and proper watering to keep your succulents in great shape.

Appropriate Sunlight Exposure and Protection

Too much or too little sun can cause sunburn or poor growth, leading to browning. It’s important to give your plants the right light and protection.

  • Too much sunlight can cause sunburn, where leaves show brown or white scorches.
  • Lack of sunlight can lead to a stretched-out appearance and a pale or yellowish color before turning brown.

To prevent these issues:

  • Gradually get your succulents used to more sunlight.
  • Use a shade cloth to protect them from strong midday sun.
  • Place them on a windowsill with a few hours of indirect sunlight every day.

Proper Watering Techniques

Succulents store water in their leaves, so finding the right balance is essential. As we’ve covered, overwatering can lead to root rot, causing browning and decay while underwatering leads to dryness and browning.

Here’s what we recommend:

  1. Check the soil moisture . The top inch of soil should be dry before watering.
  2. Use the “soak and dry” method. Water thoroughly, let it drain, then let the soil dry out completely.
  3. Avoid misting. It can make the area around the plant too humid, which isn’t good for succulents.

Remember, the right balance of water and light is key to keeping your succulents from turning brown.

For a deeper understanding of how to check soil moisture and water your plants correctly, feel free to explore more in our informative post.