Why is My Succulent Turning Brown and Squishy? (How to Fix It)

The popularity of succulents has increased in recent years due to their distinctive designs, vibrant colours, and minimal maintenance requirements for care, making them a popular option for gardeners and plant enthusiasts. They provide a variety of advantages, like their ability to cleanse the air and their drought resistant nature. But, it is essential to ensure the condition of succulent plants to enjoy the benefits fully. Growing stems and leaves with browning are typical problems gardeners might encounter while caring for succulents. Knowing the root cause of this colouration is crucial for ensuring succulent plants’ long-term viability and health.

Difference between healthy succulent and turning brown succulent

A healthy succulent will typically have plump, firm leaves that are a vibrant green or colour specific to the variety of the succulent. The leaves may have a waxy or powdery coating, depending on the type of succulent. The Plant will grow steadily and have a compact, well-rounded shape.

On the other hand, a turning brown succulent is an indication of a problem. Brown leaves may mean the Plant is not getting enough or too much water or direct sunlight. Overwatering or underwatering can cause the leaves to turn brown and mushy. Direct sunlight can cause sunburn or scorching, which can cause the leaves to turn brown or black.

Additionally, a turning brown succulent may appear wilted or drooping. It may also have a shrivelled, dry texture to the leaves. The Plant may stop growing or have a stunted appearance.

In summary, a healthy succulent will have plump, firm leaves with a vibrant colour and compact shape, while a turning brown succulent will have brown or wilted leaves with a shrivelled or dry texture and may have a little growth pattern.

Causes of brown succulent and how to fix it:


Overwatering happens when a plant receives much more than the Plant can absorb or use, leading to soaked soil and root decay. Succulents are especially susceptible to excessive watering since they have evolved to drought-like conditions and are easily overwhelmed by excessive water.

If succulents are overwatered, their stems and leaves may become mushy and brown, and the Plant can appear droopy. Furthermore, plants’ roots could turn brown, causing the succulent to end up dying.

How does an overwatered succulent look like?

Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes that people make when caring for succulents. Succulents are adapted to arid conditions and are therefore designed to store water in their leaves, stems, and roots. When they receive too much water, their cells become engorged with water, causing them to expand and become soft. This can cause the plant to appear wilted, discolored, and even rotten. Here are some signs that your succulent has been overwatered:

  1. Soft and mushy leaves: When a succulent is overwatered, its leaves become soft and mushy. This is because the excess water causes the cells in the leaves to expand, making them weak and prone to damage.
  2. Brown or Yellow leaves: Overwatered succulents often have yellow leaves. This is because the excess water causes the roots to rot, which prevents them from taking up the nutrients that the plant needs to survive.
  3. Drooping or wilting: When a succulent is overwatered, it may appear to be drooping or wilting. This is because the excess water causes the plant’s cells to become engorged with water, making them too heavy to support the plant.
  4. Mold or fungus: Overwatering can create a moist environment that is perfect for mold and fungus to grow. If you notice mold or fungus on your succulent, it is likely that it has been overwatered.
  5. Root rot: Overwatering can cause the roots of a succulent to rot. This can be seen by examining the plant’s roots, which may be brown or black and mushy to the touch.

Overwatering can be detrimental to the health of your succulent. To prevent overwatering, it is important to only water your succulent when the soil is dry to the touch and to avoid leaving standing water in the pot or container.

How to Repair Overwatering

If you think that the succulent may be suffering due to an overwatering the Plant, there are some actions you can take to help it recover:

  • Stop watering
    The first step to stop the issue of overwatering is to prevent watering the Plant as soon as you notice. Succulents can go for long times without water, so it’s best to err on the safer side and hold off the water until the soil dries.
  • Eliminate the Plant from the soil.
    After you’ve stopped watering, carefully take the Plant from the soil to examine the roots. It could be deadly if they’re mushy and black, and you’ll have to eliminate them. Cut off any dead roots with a clean and sterile knife. Make sure that you remove all tissues that are dead. Be cautious not to harm healthy roots in the procedure.
  • Soil to Dry
    After you have removed any dead roots, allow the soil to dry completely, it can take a couple of days and an entire week, depending on the temperature and humidity of your house. It is essential not to sprinkle water on the Plant during this time as it must dry completely before watering again.
  • Repot the Plant
    When the soil is dried, plant the succulent in clean, well-draining soil. Be sure to use the pot with drainage holes to prevent any future over-watering. Sprinkle the Plant lightly, allow it to dry completely, and then water it again.

Overwatering is just as harmful as drowning; therefore, it is essential to strike the right balance.


If succulents aren’t adequately watered, their leaves turn brown before shrivelling up. This is because they are not receiving enough water to support their growth and maintain their healthy appearance. As a result, the Plant may enter a dormancy state, conserving its energy and waiting for better-growing conditions.

It’s important to remember those succulents still need water, despite their ability to store it. They need a quantity of water. The need will differ based on elements like the succulent type, the pot size, and the humidity and temperature levels within the surrounding. The general rule is that it’s recommended to wait until your soil has become dry before you water it again. You can test the soil moisture by inserting a finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If it feels dry, it’s time to water.

If you find that the leaves on your succulent Plant have turned brown due to the inability to water it, There are steps you can take to restore it to its original form. First, move the plant to a shadier location to prevent further stress. Then, water the plant thoroughly and wait for it to drain completely. Be careful not to overwater, as this can also cause damage to the Plant. Be patient and allow the Plant to heal.

 It can take a few weeks for growth to begin to show; however, with the proper maintenance, your succulent will be restored to its original health.

In summary, under-watering is a common cause of succulent leaves turning brown. To prevent this, be sure to water your succulent when the soil is completely dry and provide the appropriate amount of sunlight and humidity. If you notice signs of under-watering, take action to revive the Plant by providing it with water and moving it to a shadier location. With proper care, your succulent can continue to thrive and bring joy to your space.


Sunburn can cause succulent leaves to turn brown. As with other plants, they require sunlight to thrive. However, excessive exposure to the sun can cause harm to their health. If the succulent is exposed to excessively bright sunlight, the Plant may be burned by sun, which can manifest as white or brown marks on the leaves.

Sunburn occurs when a plant’s tissues become damaged due to excessive exposure to UV radiation. The sun’s UV radiation can cause Plant tissues to degrade, resulting in white or brown spots on leaves.

 In severe cases, the leaves can become completely brown and dried out.

Succulents are particularly vulnerable to sunburn because they are adapted to grow in areas with high light intensity, but they still need protection from excessive UV radiation. To avoid sunburn, you must ensure that your succulent is not in intense sunlight for long, particularly during most hot times of the day.

If you notice brown spots on your succulent leaves, moving it to a shadier location as soon as possible is essential. The brown areas will not heal, so remove the damaged leaves. Be sure to water your succulent regularly to help it recover from sunburn and provide adequate nutrients to support healthy growth.

In summary, sunburn can cause succulent leaves to turn brown, and it’s crucial to provide them with adequate protection from excessive UV radiation. You can help your succulents thrive and maintain their vibrant colours by following proper care techniques and preventing sunburn.


Pests can be a major cause of succulent plants turning brown. There are numerous kinds of insects that be a threat to succulent plants, such as mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. The pests feed on sap of the Plant. This may cause the Plant to change colour and become brown. They may cause plants to die and wither.

Spider mites, also known as arachnids, are hard to detect by the naked eye. They may cause harm to succulent plants by sucking sap from leaves, causing them to change colour and become dry. The first indications of a spider mite problem are typically tiny yellowish spots on leaves. As the infestation progresses, the leaves may become brown and drop off.

Mealybugs are small, white insects that resemble tiny cotton balls. They are seen on succulent plants’ stems, leaves and flowers. Mealybugs can cause damage to succulent plants by feeding on the sap, causing the leaves to turn brown and wilt. In severe infestations, mealybugs can cause the entire plant to die.

Scale insects are tiny, armoured insects which attach themselves to branches and leaves of the succulent Plant. They may cause harm by eating sap, which may cause the leaves to be brown and dry. Scale insects also produce an astringent substance known as honeydew which attracts ants and other insects.

To keep pests out of succulent plants, it’s essential to ensure they are clean and healthy. This can be accomplished by regularly cleaning damaged or dead leaves and ensuring the soil remains humid but not excessively wet. It is also essential to check the plants frequently for signs of pests and treat pest infestations immediately with insecticidal soap or other pest products for control.


One common disease that can cause succulents to turn brown is root rot. Root rot is caused by overwatering or poor drainage, which leads to the roots becoming waterlogged and unable to absorb oxygen. The roots begin to turn brown, and the Plant becomes unable to absorb the nutrients and water, which leads to the browning and wilting of the stems and leaves.

Another disease that can cause succulents to turn brown is a fungal infection. Fungi thrive in moist conditions and can infect succulent plants, causing them to turn brown and wilt. Fungal infections can result from many reasons, including excessive watering, poor drainage as well as high levels of humidity.

Apart from ailments, some reasons could make succulents go brown, like insects or sunburn. Sunburn can occur because succulents have been exposed to too much sunlight, which causes the leaves to dark brown, and then dry. Insects that are infested, like spider mites and mealybugs, can cause succulent plants to be brown when they suck sap away from the leaves and stems.

To prevent succulent plants from turning brown, providing them with the proper care and conditions is important. Succulents must be planted in well-draining soil and only watered when the soil is dry. They should also be placed where they receive bright but indirect sunlight and avoid areas with high humidity levels. Regular inspection for insect infestations and prompt treatment can also prevent succulent plants from turning brown.

Diseases and other factors, like insects and sunburn, may cause succulents’ leaves to go brown. Proper care and attention, including planting in well-draining soil, providing appropriate levels of water and sunlight, and regular inspections for pests, can help prevent succulent plants from falling prey to these issues.

How do you revive a brown succulent?

The good news is that succulents can grow back from brown, provided that the underlying cause of the browning is addressed and the succulent is given the proper care it needs to thrive. Here are some tips to help your succulent grow back from brown:

  1. Remove the brown parts: Start by cutting off the brown parts of the succulent using a clean and sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears. Make sure to cut at the base of the stem or leaf, leaving a small amount of healthy tissue behind.
  2. Allow the cutting to callus over: After cutting, place the succulent in a dry and well-ventilated area to allow the cutting to callus over for a few days. This will prevent the cut from becoming infected and allow the Plant to focus on regrowing healthy tissue.
  3. Provide proper care: Once the cutting has callused over, it’s time to plant it in a well-draining soil mix and provide proper care. Succulents prefer bright but indirect sunlight, so place the pot in a bright spot with filtered light. Water the succulent only when the soil has completely dried out, and make sure not to overwater, as this can cause root rot.
  4. Be patient: It may take some time for the succulent to regrow new healthy leaves or stems, but it should eventually bounce back with patience and proper care.

Succulents can grow back from brown if the underlying cause is addressed and proper care is provided. Remember to cut off the brown parts, allow the cutting to callus over, provide proper care, and be patient. With a little TLC, your succulent should return to its healthy and vibrant self in no time!

In conclusion, there are several reasons why your succulent may be turning brown. Overwatering, underwatering, too much sunlight, inadequate soil drainage, and pest infestations are all common causes of succulent browning. It is vital to pinpoint the cause of the browning and adopt the correct actions to avoid further damage to the Plant. If you provide your succulent with the correct amount of light, water and soil conditions and promptly address any pests, you will help your plant recover and flourish. If you care for it, your succulent will keep providing beauty and enjoyment to your garden and home for many years.


  • Why is my succulent turning brown?
    It could be due to overwatering, underwatering, or exposure to extreme temperatures.
  • How do I know if my succulent is overwatered?
    Overwatering can cause the leaves to turn brown and feel mushy. The soil may also be damp and the plant may appear wilted.
  • What are the signs of underwatering in a succulent?
    When a succulent is underwatered, the leaves may turn brown, crispy, or shriveled. The soil will be dry and the plant may appear wilted.
  • Can extreme temperatures cause my succulent to turn brown?
    Yes, high temperatures can cause the leaves to brown and the plant may appear wilted. Low temperatures can also cause the leaves to turn brown and may eventually cause the plant to die.
  • What should I do if my succulent is turning brown due to overwatering?
    Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. Make sure the pot has proper drainage and consider repotting the plant if the soil is retaining too much moisture.
  • How often should I water my succulent?
    Succulents generally do well with infrequent watering. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.
  • Should I mist my succulent to keep it from turning brown?
    No, misting is not recommended for succulents. It is important to allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Can fertilizer cause my succulent to turn brown?
    Yes, over-fertilizing or using the wrong type of fertilizer can cause the leaves to turn brown.
  • Should I move my succulent to a different location if it is turning brown?
    If your succulent is exposed to direct sunlight, try moving it to a location with partial shade. If the plant is exposed to low temperatures, try moving it to a warmer location.
  • What should I do if my succulent is severely brown and wilted?
    If the plant is severely damaged, it may be too late to save it. Remove any dead leaves and consider propagating healthy parts of the plant to start a new one.

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