Succulents turning black is a worrying manner, because you would now start to grow a concern. The most important thing is to observe and establish what’s going on — one of six potential errors may be bugging your brown or black succulent plant.Succulents Turning Black

This blog post aims to assist you in properly nurturing your succulents, enabling you to avoid these blackening complications in the future.

Why Are The Succulents Leaves Turning Black?

The succulent leaves are turning black because of excessive watering, or having been sunburnt. In addition, it can also be due to a pest infestation, or being contaminated by a disease, having poor drainage, and lastly, the container may be unfit.

Black leaves on succulents are a common issue that succulent lovers face. When you see those dark spots on your succulent leaves or even stems, it’s a clear sign that something is off. And usually, we’re dealing with sunburns, overwatering, or some kind of infestation.

– Too Much Water

When the once vibrant leaves of your succulents start turning black, it’s often a clear indicator of a root rotting process. This unfortunate situation typically takes place when overwatered succulents have been left to sit and soak in water for too long.

This is why you should take a closer look at the leaves, and if they feel soft or mushy to the touch, there’s a good chance that you’re dealing with unfolding results of excessively watering habits. Succulents can retain and store excess water in their leaves, roots, and stems, enabling them to thrive in the arid conditions of their native deserts.

However, when you water succulents a bit too much, the leaf tissues surpass their water storage capacity, causing them to swell and eventually rupture, going black and mushy in the process. In this moisture overload, black dots may emerge too, and you will notice how this is a type of fungus, taking hold in the damaged plant tissues.Black Leaves of Succulents

– Sunburns

When dry black spots begin to appear on the leaves of your succulents, it’s a telltale sign of a potential sunburn issue. While these resilient plants enjoy their share of sunlight, excessive exposure can lead to serious damage and adverse effects, and it can cause them to start looking unhealthy and weak.

This situation often happens when a shade-loving succulent is subjected to intense light without proper acclimatization. We usually purchase a lovely succulent from a nursery, where it has been nurtured in partial shade.

Excitedly, we place it on a sunny terrace, thinking it will do them good. Unfortunately, this sudden transition can result in the scorching of leaves, causing them to display those dry, blackened spots that can spread quickly.

– Pest Infestations

A bug infestation can indeed contribute to the blackening of succulent leaves, as certain insects and bugs can wreak havoc on even resilient jade plants. For instance, the most common ones are the mealybugs, aphids, and scale insects are particularly notorious for infesting succulents.

They suck sap from the leaves, causing damage and leaving behind a sticky residue. Their feeding can lead to black dotty or mold growth in severe cases. While not directly causing blackening, fungal gnats may lay their eggs in moist potting soil.

The larvae feed on the succulent’s roots, leading to root damage and potential rotting. This can indirectly cause blackened leaves due to the plant’s compromised health. When dealing with infestations, it is crucial to identify the specific pest involved and take appropriate measures to control them, or else the entire health of the plant can be at risk.

– Diseases

If you spot those ominous black spots on the leaves’ undersides, you may be dealing with a black ring virus. This sneaky intruder, also known as Orthotospovirus, is not exclusive to succulents. It is also notorious for causing tomato wilt with our favorite tomato plants.

Various fungal pathogens, such as Alternaria, Cercospora, and Colletotrichum species, can cause black leaf spot diseases in succulents. These diseases result in dark, irregularly shaped spots on leaves. Caused by bacteria like Erwinia and Pectobacterium species, bacterial soft rot softens and blackens succulent tissues when they are contaminated.

Anthracnose is yet another fungal disease caused by species like Colletotrichum and Glomerella. It causes black or dark brown lesions on leaves, often with a distinct border. Identifying the exact illness is somewhat complicated and requires a laboratory approach.

– Poor Drainage

Succulents have a strong preference for well-draining soils. Many of them will jump back to life simply by when a touch of grit is incorporated into their growing medium. This grainy material comes in a variety, too — you can use sand, gravel, or pumice.

It’s all about creating optimal conditions for your succulent; when they lack it, it will harm them, and they can no longer grow as they should. The inclusion of gritty materials in the soil allows water to flow through more freely, preventing any undesirable standing water situations.

So, if you want to ensure your succulents stay happy and healthy, consider some grit to the soil. Your plants will be happy sitting in a well-drained, airy environment that perfectly reflects their needs.

– Bad Containers

Succulents have shallow root systems that require ample space to grow and expand. When planted in small containers, the limited root space can hinder their ability to access water and nutrients. As a result, the plants may experience stress and exhibit signs of leaf blackening.

Small containers often need proper drainage holes or need more space for excess water to escape. This can lead to water accumulation at the bottom, causing the roots to become waterlogged. The excess moisture can create favorable conditions for root rot too!

How To Recover The Succulents That Turned Black?

To recover the succulent that turned back, you should start dealing with the root rot, and that means to repot the plant, and you should also try to tackle the diseases and pests that are stressing the plant, and lastly, fix the lighting conditions.Recover Black Succulent Plants

– Repotting

Reviving a succulent once root rot has set in may be challenging, but it’s worth a try, so you should try to repot it. Carefully, remove the plant from its pot and examine the roots.

If the roots appear healthy and firm, trim off all infected leaves and stems, ensuring to use clean, sterilized tools to prevent the spread of disease. However, if the roots are soft and mushy, it indicates that the succulent is beyond salvation!

Replant the remaining healthy portions of the succulent in a pot with dry, well-draining soil. Allow the plant to settle in the new soil without watering for a few days. You will see how this will help prevent further damage and promote root recovery.

After a couple of days, gradually resume watering the succulent, but with reduced frequency and volume compared to before. Take cuttings from the remaining healthy portions of the succulent, or try to check which part is still healthy-looking.

Now you must allow the cut ends to dry and callus over before transplanting them into new containers with well-draining soil. This is what is going to help the cuttings to develop roots and establish themselves as new plants.

Discard both the dead mother plant and the soil it was grown in. This helps prevent any potential contamination from the fungi or pathogens that caused the rot as it grows in the right and fresh potting mix.

– Tackle the Diseases and Pests

When faced with infected leaves on your succulents, swift action is necessary. Begin by cutting and discarding any infected leaves. Removing these affected parts helps prevent the spread of disease.

Take a proactive approach to dealing with fungi and pests. You can use alcohol-soaked cotton balls to gently wipe the leaves or opt for a potassium soap or insecticide designed to eliminate these pesky creatures. However, you must ensure thorough coverage of the affected areas.

In this case, you should be consistent and repeat the treatment every day until the bugs are completely gone. It’s important to be diligent in this process to ensure the infestation is fully eliminated. The same principle applies to treating viral and fungal infections—regular treatment is essential to combat these issues effectively, and use fungicides as well, in this case.

By diligently following these steps, you increase the chances of successfully addressing bug infestations and viral fungal infections on your succulents. Remember to closely monitor the progress and make adjustments to your treatment plan if needed.

– Improve Light Conditions

Fortunately, restoring a sunburned succulent is a much easier and more fruitful process. Start by removing the sunburned leaves, as they are unlikely to recover, which look very weak and not green enough. These damaged leaves won’t regenerate, so it’s best to remove them to promote new growth.

Provide some shade for the succulent to help it recover — place the plant in a shaded area where it will be protected from direct sunlight. This allows the succulent to adjust and heal gradually.Jade Plants Care

Begin by placing the plant in the sun for a shorter duration, around three to four hours in the morning on the first day. After a while, you can try to increase the time of sun exposure by one hour. Bring the plant indoors or move it to a shaded spot at night. This extra protection will help prevent further sun damage and allow the plant to recover effectively.

By the fourth or fifth day, your succulent should have adapted to the sun’s intensity. You can confidently expose it to full sunlight without worrying about sunburn on the leaves. By following these steps, you can aid in restoring your sunburned succulent. Remember to be patient and gradually reintroduce the plant to sunlight to ensure a successful recovery.


By understanding the common causes of brown spots and implementing appropriate treatment methods, you can nurture your succulents back to health and prevent future issues, so let’s remind ourselves of key takeaways:

  • Excessive watering is a common culprit for succulent leaves turning black. Sunburn can also cause black spots — while these plants enjoy sunlight, sudden intense exposure without acclimatization can have poor effects.
  • Bug infestations, such as mealybugs, aphids, and scale insects, can contribute to blackened leaves. Identifying the specific pests and taking appropriate measures to control them is crucial in preserving the succulent’s well-being.
  • Ensuring well-draining soil is crucial for succulent health. Gradually introducing the plant to sunlight and providing shade during recovery can help restore the succulent’s health.
  • Using appropriately sized containers is essential. Adequate drainage holes and sufficient space for root expansion are necessary for the succulent’s overall well-being.
  • In the process of restoring blackened succulents, it is important to remove infected leaves, treat pests and diseases diligently, and gradually reintroduce the plant to sunlight.

You can enjoy vibrant and thriving succulent plants in your home or garden with proper care and attention.

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