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Listening to Leaves: A Succulent’s Ultimate Tell

Listening to Leaves: A Succulent’s Ultimate Tell
Listening to Leaves: A Succulent’s Ultimate Tell

You can learn almost everything you need to know about your succulent’s needs by listening to her leaves! Paying extra attention to what the leaves are telling you will keep your bbs growing happy and healthy. Here are some things to keep an eye out for: 

Messages the Leaves are Sending

1. Wrinkled Leaves: Underwatered

If you notice your succulent leaves are getting wrinkly, your bb is thirsty! Give the leaves a gentle pich. If they feel rubbery, bend easily, or are a little dry and brittle, your succulent is likely thirsty. A healthy succulent leaf will be plump and have no give when you use this pinch technique.

Save your Underwatered Succ

Generously water the base of your plant and once the soil absorbs the water, pour more. Repeat this process until water comes out of the drainage hole. Wait a few days and your succulent should look and feel firm again. You may need to decrease the time between waterings if your succulent continues to show underwatered signs. Once your succ’s thirst is quenched, resume the Drench + Dry Watering Method

2. Translucent Leaves: Overwatered

In the early stages of a succulent being overwatered, you’ll notice bloated leaves that easily fall off with the slightest touch. In a more severe case of overwatering, the leaves will turn a translucent yellow and be soft and mushy to the touch. Typically, the bottom leaves are the first to show signs of overwatering. 

Saving your Overwatered Succ
Depending on the severity of the situation, you may be able to simply repot your plant in dry cactus soil, in other cases you can top your succulent, and in the worst cases you will have to say your final goodbyes and learn from your mistakes #RIP. Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes for new succulent parents, so don’t feel too bad! 

3. Sunburn: Too Much Sun

Yes, succulents can get sunburn on their leaves! If you find yourself with a sunburnt succ, act immediately! Most succulent species will develop black/brown patches on their leaves, others will have a dramatic browning or darkening of the entire plant. Sunburn most commonly occurs to succulents that are exposed to multiple hours of bright, direct sunlight, so be sure to keep an extra close eye on those. 

Although it looks gnarly, your plant is not dead! Once you notice sunburn, move your plant to a spot that receives less direct sunlight. Unfortunately, burnt leaves will never regain their original color, but with time and new growth your bb will shed burnt leaves and replace them with new healthy ones. 

4. Spacing Between Leaves: Not Enough Sun

Did your succulent seem to grow 2 inches overnight?! This could be a sign your succulent isn’t getting enough sun. The proper term for this is “etiolation,” meaning your succulent is literally reaaaaching for a light source. 

Check for leaves turning pale, this is typically the first sign of etiolation. You may also notice your plant slightly leaning towards the light source. The most obvious sign your bb needs more sun is extra spacing in between leaves and along the stem. 

Unlike sunburn, etiolation is not a cause for concern. These bbs are totally healthy and cute, you do not HAVE to do anything about it. However if a stretched bb isn’t fitting your aesthetic, you can cut that succ-er up and propagate! (Sounds scary we know, but you’ll end up with a bunch of succulents instead of just one!)

Healthy Succulent Leaves

Now that we’ve reviewed what succulents look like when they need something, let’s chat about healthy looking succulent leaves! Typically, a healthy succulent leaf will be plump, firm, and saturated in color. Remember, every variety of succulent is different and “healthy” will look very different depending on your specific bb. Check your care instructions to find your exact bbs wants. 

Now that we understand our bbs leaf language, it is time to listen! Head over to your windowsill and see what your plants are telling you.