In today’s post I’ll share how to fix stretched succulents just in case your favourite succulents have started to look a little bit leggy.
This is one of those little tricks that I’d always heard was super easy to do, but that I’d never actually taken the time to learn myself. I was pretty much forced to though because eventually all the succulents in our house were looking absolutely ridiculous, and I’m so glad to know about this now. So easy! So satisfying! 🙂 We visited a local greenhouse, Colasanti’s, a little over a year ago, back in pre-pandemic times. Let me just say, that place is magical. Jack and Chris had a great time playing some mini golf while Kennedy and I got lost in the houseplant section. I bought way too many big plants, and Kennedy picked out a tiny little succulent garden, which has since become completely stretched out. So that’s what we’ll be working with today as we learn how to fix stretched succulents.
See also: How to Propagate Succulents
Why do Succulents Become Stretched Out?
Basically, succulents become leggy and stretched out when they don’t have enough light. They try to grow towards their light source as quickly as possible and become all tall and gangly in the process. You might be surprised at just how much light plants like succulents need to remain happy and maintain a compact, attractive growth pattern. Chances are even a relatively sunny window in your home just isn’t enough. We’re installing some extra windows on a side of our house that gets morning sun and a plant ledge right under them to hopefully help us get enough sunlight for my favourite houseplants. Although our mudroom is super sunny, it’s not really convenient to have it filled with plants, so hopefully our new plant ledge will do the trick for plants like these succulents. I’m excited about that project! Hopefully one day we’ll actually find the time to finish it. Currently all the new windows are sitting in the garage. Ha!
How to Fix Stretched Succulents
It comes down to four basic steps:
- Cut the stem to an appropriate length for your new pot
- Remove any excess leaves below the main rosette
- Dry everything out for 1-2 days
- Re-plant in fresh succulent/cactus potting mix
Step One: Cut
You can really cut the stem anywhere and it will start to grow roots out of the sides and bottom once you replant it, but if you have a longer stem to work with, that will help it become nicely anchored into you new pot. You can also replant with just a little one-inch stem, or even no stem at all, just nestling the base of the succulent right down in to the soil. Always use clean, sharp pruning shears to make cuts like this. These pruning shears here look like the updated version of the ones that I’ve had for ten years that I use daily and love.
Step Two: Remove Excess Leaves
You want to create a nice rosette shape, just like you probably had when you first bought your succulents, so remove any leaves that are below that. Save those leaves because you can actually plant them into soil and a whole new succulent will grow from each leaf!
Step Three: Dry
It’s a good idea to expose any cuts or breaks you make in a succulent for one to two days. This allows it to kind of scab over and protects the succulent from bacterial infections that can occur if they’re exposed to any excess moisture. If you place your freshly cut succulents directly into the potting mix without air drying first, chances are that they’ll probably still dry just fine, it will just take a few days longer for the cuts to heal over and you increase the risk of something going wrong just a little bit. It’s up to you though!
Step Four: Replant
The final step is to replant your succulents into a new pot filled with cactus/succulent potting mix. This is super easy. Just make a little hole with your finger and push the stem of the plant down into the potting mix. The bonus is that you don’t even have to water them for a week while they get used to their new environment!
Caring for Your Newly Replanted Succulents
Try to get as much light as possible on your newly repotted succulents to prevent them from stretching out again. If you’re really having trouble, you can introduce a grow light to increase the number of hours of light that your succulents are getting each day.
Water your succulents about once every two weeks, or once every four weeks during the winter months. If your plants have very shallow roots, it can be helpful to use a spray bottle to water them so that you don’t flood them right out of the pot by accidentally adding too much water. I love these simple clear glass spray bottles because they’re attractive enough to leave out and that way you don’t ever forget to actually use them.
Do you have any stretched succulents that could use a refresh?
MORE IDEAS LIKE THIS
- The Mayo Houseplant Trick
- How to Edge a Flower Bed
- My Five Favourite Houseplants to Beat the Winter Blahs
- How to Keep Cut Lilacs from Wilting
- How to Grow Boxwoods
- The Creek Line House Gardening Archives
This post contains affiliate links.
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.