How to keep succulents small is a question many plant lovers want to know. In this regard, you should be aware that this objective can be reached by cutting back the side leaves, ensuring that it receives an adequate amount of light, and decreasing the amount of root space.

How To Keep Succulents Small

Read this in-depth article to understand better how to keep succulents manageable. We provide comprehensive instruction broken down into steps designed to be simple and easy to understand.

How To Maintain Succulent Plants in Small Sizes?

To maintain succulent plants in small sizes, you should place them in a sunny spot, snip away side leaves, and prune it well. Reduce the crown, reduce the root space, and the amount of water and fertilizer to it, and make sure to tackle the pups to keep it small. 

– Place the Succulent in a Sunny Spot

As you grow succulents, you should see that when they aren’t receiving enough sunlight, your succulent garden becomes more stretched out or as leggy succulents. These plants will start to turn and bend towards the light source and as time goes on, they will continue to develop into taller plants, with more distance between the individual leaves.

When this happens, it is because they are aiming to stay much more in a sunny location rather than a shaded area.  

Place the Succulent in a Sunny Spot

What you should do is plant succulents in an area where they get plenty of sunlight to maintain their health and yet stop growing succulents as large plants. They need at least six hours of sunlight each day so that they will be able to generate the energy to sustain health with the assistance of the sun’s rays, and they can maintain their small size.

The task that takes place is that when they are placed in direct sunshine, huge succulents frequently experience growth retardation because they may have difficulties absorbing the necessary amount of light to ensure their continued existence. On the other hand, when growing succulents indoors, place the plants on a window sill that is either facing east or west so that they receive indirect sunlight. 

You might also put it in a spot that gets a lot of natural light in the middle of the day, between the hours of noon and three in the afternoon, which is when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. As you would do so, the plant would start to grow better and know its parameters of development and stay in its best shape. 

– Snip Away Side Leaves

Remove any leaves that are positioned to point at an angle or the ones that have grown to a wider extent and look weaker or lumpier. The succulent plant will need more space due to the leaves that grow off at an angle because these leaves will eventually turn into new shoots.

As a result, they will grow in an angled pattern, and you will see them in a weird growth shape, that is not compact looking.

Snip Away Side Leaves

If you want succulents to stay small as they are now, you should remove any leaves that are growing at an angle so that they don’t get too big. You could either cut them with sterile garden scissors or remove them by pulling them out carefully.

On this note, you should also aim to remove any stressed or diseased leaves by gently pulling them off, preventing the plant’s energy from being wasted.

– Pruning

To prevent the spread of overgrowth in succulents similar to zebra plants and to retain their size, you should prune your succulents regularly. How to prune succulents must focus on bringing down the size of a large plant that has probably been left unattended for a period pruning them to make them more manageable.

You can control the plant’s overall growth and size with leaves by performing selective pruning throughout the year, and it will stay within the range that you have aimed to keep. 

To prune the plant correctly, you could begin by sniping away the leaves on each side until only about an inch is left. However, make sure that the stem, then, would be secured with wire, and any excess stem should be trimmed away, leaving only the top intact. 

Moreover, the frequency of watering too is reduced as a result of pruning, because now the plant is will grow itself differently, so you must not stress it. During periods of drought or extreme heat, when plants are at increased risk of dying from overwatering, this can greatly assist.

– Reduce Crown

You may also start to wonder, how to keep succulents from growing tall; this is why you should note that during the pruning process, you must keep the crown or head of the succulent short. It is sufficient to prune a tall plant by cutting off its top and removing any leaves blocking its way.

As you would do so, it will encourage new growth from the base, resulting in the plant becoming bushy rather than tall. 

Reduce Crown

Moreover, you can also remove any leaves from the plant located at a higher point by pinching them off. So whether it is the jade plant, echeveria, haworthia, string-of-pearls, burro’s-tail or living stone, any of these variations will end up having a smaller shape as a result of this.

– Reduce Root Space

Although most succulents have relatively slow growth rates, their extensive root systems allow them to support substantial weight. As you would do so, you would also aim to control the size of your succulents by limiting the space in small pots

Reduce Root Space

When you wish to have some mini succulents style=”font-weight: 400;”>, it would also be accomplished by restricting the amount of root space they have. This will result in the plant’s growth being stifled, and it will take longer to outgrow its container. You can restrict the amount of space available for the plant to expand by using a container that is not very large, and the roots will stay that size; as a result, the plant will not develop as widely. 

Packing the potting mix around the plant as tightly as possible is also important; the reason is that doing so will ensure no space for roots to grow and remain contained in a small area.

This can be accomplished by placing a layer of gravel at the pot’s bottom. Also, adding a layer of terracotta or stone to the bottom of the container before placing your succulent inside too can restrict the growth of the roots by reducing its size.

– Reduce the Amount of Watering and Fertilizing

Reduce the watering and fertilizing you give the potting soil so that you don’t overstimulate their new growth or make succulents grow uncontrollably.

During the growing season, you should try to apply a very high dose of fertilizer with a slow release rate once or twice, which is ideally in spring and summer, when it is thriving. What you must remember is that in your succulent care, ensure no more fertilizer until the following spring, when new growth emerges.

Because plants don’t grow more in height if no root energy reserve is stored up, this will help keep plants smaller than they would otherwise be. If you would water succulents must less or frequently and aim to keep the drainage holes properly draining, you will find that it is easier to keep them manageable, and they will be more resistant to the effects of drought.

– Tackle Pups

Succulents can be kept manageable by snipping or breaking off the small pups that sprout around their bases. This is an easy method of controlling seedlings which may eventually reach the same height as their parents and, after a while, may cause the container to become overcrowded. 

Tackle Pups

An interesting tip on how to propagate overgrown succulents here would be by cutting the pups, and if you wish, you can grow them on their own with a bit of propagation, and your main plant would still be left small. In short, you could use the pups of outdoor or indoor succulents to propagate more of them.


You are now aware of the critical factors contributing to making a succulent smaller or at a manageable size.

Below is the summary points of what we covered throughout this article:

  • By reducing the plant growth rate, you can naturally keep succulent plants to a more manageable size. This can be accomplished by maintaining a bright environment, reducing the root space, and performing regular foliage pruning.
  • Succulents need to be positioned in an area that receives a lot of sunlight. Succulents require a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day to keep their health while preventing them from becoming overly large.
  • Remove any leaves that are positioned to point at an angle. The succulent plant will need more space due to the leaves that grow off at an angle because these leaves will eventually turn into new shoots. As a result, the succulent plant will grow in an angled pattern.
  • It is essential to prune your succulents regularly to keep their size while preventing the spread of excessive growth.
  • Pruning a large plant that has likely been neglected for a period of time to make it more manageable is going to be necessary to achieve the goal of reducing the plant size.

You now know how to keep succulents small. So get set up with some simple pruning equipment to ensure that the plant is the size you desire. 


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