Why are my succulents growing tall? This is the first question that comes to mind when a gardener notices the succulent plant has started growing abnormally. The reason behind this problem is the need for more proper light.

My Succulents Growing Tall

Fortunately, some solutions can assist you in stopping succulents from getting tall and leggy. Continue reading to know everything.

Why Are My Succulents Growing Tall?

Your succulents are growing tall because they don’t receive light or sunlight properly. It’s an in-built plant response in which plants try to get near a lighting source to get more light. This phenomenon is called etiolation and is highly undesirable because it decreases aesthetic value.

– Not Enough Sunlight

The succulents sometimes grow tall rather than wide, which is not normal behavior. The reason why this happens is because of improper sunlight. It’s no secret that plants need proper light to thrive. But lacking it can also lead succulents to grow upwards instead of showing proper growth.

When succulents grow taller, the space between leaves becomes wider. Furthermore, improper sunlight causes the plant to lose its original color’s intensity. As a result, the plant’s leaves will remain small and pale in color on a long stem. You see more of these symptoms in indoor plants than in outdoor ones. 

Succulent plants, especially aeonium arboreum, century plant, yucca, widow’s-thrill, fouquieria, African milk tree, etc., have thickened and fleshy parts that can retain water in their leaves, stems, and other parts. They can also get water from mist or dew, which they store. So they can withstand somewhat watering irregularities. But if the light is improper, they can’t use this water properly and begin to stretch towards the lighting source (The sun or led lights).

Reasons of My Succulents Growing Tall

Like all other plants, succulents also need the presence of sunlight to carry out the process of photosynthesis, a process in which plants use light to produce food. Later they convert this food into energy and use it for their growth, flowering, reproduction, and development of new leaves and roots. So, it is understandable why succulents stretch toward the lighting source.

– Placing Succulent Pots in a Wrong Location

If you are growing succulents indoors, you must be careful where you put the pots. They should be placed at an ideal distance from the grow lights. It is because if succulents are near the lights, sunburn will occur. If they are far, they will stretch abnormally.

Wondering how tall do succulents grow due to Etiolation? Well, above 7 inches, for sure. Some might even reach 14 inches in height. 

How Can You Recover Succulents After They Get Tall?

To recover succulents when they grow extra tall, you should ensure they receive sufficient light. This will stop them from growing even more. After this, trim the enlarged parts and either grow new succulents from them by propagation or bury them in the soil. 

– Give Proper Light

If you want them to stay manageable, you need to grow your succulents in locations where they get proper bright indirect sunlight. If you are growing them in pots, you need to relocate them into a well-lighted area.

It is better to place them near a window to get proper light and aeration. If you are growing them in soil, transplanting is the only option.

If it is winter and you don’t see the sun for many days, get help from Led grow lights. Place them at an ideal distance from the plants and turn them on for at least three to four hours. Since succulents are also sensitive to high intensity, keep checking the leaf behavior.

If you start seeing wrinkles, bending, or spots, you have placed the growing light too near. Succulents must receive optimal light – not too much and not too little.

– Propagate Them

If your succulents are stretched out and providing optimal light is not working, then it’s time to perform propagation. But before growing a new cutting, you need to find a proper place where it will get an adequate amount of bright indirect sunlight. It is because if you also grow the cuttings in the same area, they will lack sunlight and eventually start to stretch.

Solutions of My Succulents Growing Tall

After choosing the right spot, start the propagation process. 

  • Use sharp scissors to cut the top part of the succulents. Ensure the cutting has at least three leaves that can do photosynthesis and generate food afterward. Also, there should be enough stems to serve as a soil base.
  • Leave the cuttings in the open to dry until the ends start to callous. They will become slightly pinkish because of losing all the moisture. This usually happens in two to three days.
  • Next, dig a hole in the upper layer of soil where you want to plant them. Please use a formulated soil mix specially made for succulents and cacti. 
  • It would be best if you also focused on the drainage capabilities of soil to prevent the succulents from rotting. In this regard, you can add compost in small amounts for this. As a bonus, it will also increase the soil’s nutrients, making roots healthier and stronger. If you desire, you can also use coir as it improves the nutrient profile, balances pH, and is environmentally friendly.
  • After making sure the soil is correct, plant these cuttings and apply some water. Within two to three weeks, the root system will become stronger, and they will start producing more leaves and flowers. You can also add fertilizers (if required) to speed up growth. Follow every succulent care tip to avoid any frustration.

– Simple Trimming

If you want to avoid growing new succulents from cuttings, then don’t worry. Simple trimming will work too. So, how to trim tall succulents? Just cut off the top part of the stretched-out succulent, old leaves, and different shoots with a sharp pair of scissors. Make sure you don’t cut the flowers or the shoots that have flowers on them.

After cutting, you can either throw away these parts or use them to your advantage. What smart gardeners do is bury these plant parts in the soil. It is because when these parts start to decompose, nutrients are released, which can help with better plant growth.

It’s a money saver strategy because you won’t have to buy fertilizers. Plus, it is an organic way to give roots more essential nutrients.

In addition, burying the trimmed plant parts also improves soil drainage ability and aeration. As a result, the succulents will harness all these advantages in developing new leaves and flowers. So, it’s a win-win situation for the leggy succulents.

Conclusion of My Succulents Growing Tall


So now you know why succulents grow taller than expected and what to do to fix the problem. Here are the key points of the guide above for a quick recap:

  • Succulents stretch towards the light source (usually upwards) when they don’t receive adequate sunlight.
  • When you notice your succulent growing tall, putting it in a well-lighted area will resolve the problem.
  • You can also cut the top part of tall plants and use these cuttings to propagate new ones. If you do this, ensure you provide the best soil, proper watering, and sufficient light.
  • If you don’t want to propagate new succulents, trim the top parts and either throw them away or bury them in the soil.

Follow these points and have your succulents in the perfect shape and size.

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