Succulent Leaves Turning Brown: Reasons & Easy Fix

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Succulents are beloved plants for their unique and attractive appearance, low maintenance, and ability to store water in their fleshy leaves.

However, sometimes succulent leaves can start to turn brown, which can concern plant owners.

This article will explore why your succulent leaves may turn brown and provide practical solutions to address the issue so you can enjoy healthy and vibrant succulents in your home or garden.

Succulent Leaves Turning Brown

Let’s get started!

Reasons for Your Succulent Leaves Turning Brown

If you’ve noticed your beloved succulent’s leaves turning brown, it’s essential to identify the underlying reasons to provide the proper care and keep your plant thriving.

Several factors can contribute to browning leaves, including underwatering, overwatering, sunburn, extreme heat or drought, lack of nutrients, lack of airflow, humidity and even pest or fungal issues.

Here we will delve into these reasons, helping you understand why your succulent leaves are changing color and guiding you toward practical solutions to restore their health and beauty.


One of the most common reasons for brown leaves on succulents is underwatering.

Succulents have adapted to survive in arid environments by storing water in their leaves and stems.

When they don’t receive sufficient water, their leaves can dry out, resulting in brown and crispy edges.

Additionally, underwatering may cause the plant to draw water from its older leaves, leading to browning.


While succulents are drought-resistant, overwatering can be equally damaging.

When the soil remains consistently wet, the roots can become waterlogged, leading to root rot.

Consequently, the plant cannot absorb essential nutrients and moisture, causing the leaves to turn brown and mushy.


Succulents thrive in bright light but can get sunburned if suddenly exposed to intense sunlight, especially when kept in low-light conditions.

Sunburned leaves will develop brown spots or patches that may spread across the leaf surface.

Lack of Airflow

When succulent plants are placed in an environment with poor ventilation, their leaves can turn brown due to fungal infections.

These infections can cause the leaves to wither and eventually die. To prevent this, it is important to ensure adequate airflow around your succulent plants.


Succulent leaves can also turn brown if they are exposed to too much moisture in the air. When the humidity levels are too high, the leaves can become waterlogged, leading to rot and discoloration.

To avoid this, it is recommended to maintain appropriate humidity levels around your succulent plants. This can be achieved by using a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce the humidity in the room.

Extreme Heat or Drought

Succulents are hardy plants, but they can still struggle with extreme heat or prolonged periods of drought.

High temperatures can cause the plant to lose more water through transpiration than it can take up, leading to browning and wilting of leaves.

Lack of Nutrients

Like any plant, succulents require essential nutrients to grow and stay healthy.

A lack of vital minerals and micronutrients can result in weak, brownish leaves and slow growth.

Pests or Fungus

In some cases, brown leaves on succulents can be a sign of pest infestation or fungal infections.

Insects like mealybugs, aphids, or spider mites can damage the leaves, while fungal infections can cause browning, discoloration, and lesions.

How do you fix brown leaves on succulents?

Brown leaves on succulents can cause concern for plant owners, but fear not, as there are practical solutions to remedy the issue.

Whether it’s due to underwatering, overwatering, sunburn, extreme heat, nutrient deficiencies, or pests and fungus, understanding the root cause is essential for successful treatment.

Here we will explore practical and straightforward methods to fix brown leaves on succulents, ensuring your beloved plants regain their vibrant and healthy appearance.

Fix Lighting Conditions

Gradually introduce them to direct sunlight to prevent sunburn or ensure that your succulent receives enough light.

If your plant is indoors, place it near a bright window or provide supplemental grow lights to ensure adequate light levels.

Conversely, consider moving it to a shadier spot if the plant gets too much direct sunlight.

Minimize Stress during Extreme Heat or Drought

During extreme heat or drought, provide extra shade or move your succulent to a more fabulous location.

Water the plant more frequently, but allow the soil to dry out between waterings to avoid overwatering.

Using a well-draining soil mix is crucial to prevent soggy roots.

Fertilize Your Succulents

Supply your succulents with a balanced and diluted liquid fertilizer during the growing season.

A specialized succulent fertilizer or a general houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength will provide the necessary nutrients without risking burning the plant.

Adjust Watering Techniques

Ensure you water your succulents correctly by following the “soak and dry” method.

Water the plant thoroughly until water drains from the bottom of the pot, then allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again.

Adjust the frequency of watering based on the environmental conditions and the specific needs of your succulent species.

Treat Fungus Infestation

If you suspect a fungal infection, isolate the affected plant to prevent the spread to other succulents.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions, treat the plant with a fungicide suitable for succulents.

Additionally, remove any infected leaves to prevent further spread.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you fix Brown leaves on succulents?

To fix brown leaves on succulents, you need to identify the cause of the browning first. If it’s due to overwatering, stop watering and let the soil dry out completely before watering again. If it’s due to underwatering, water the succulent thoroughly and increase watering frequency. If the leaves are sunburnt, move the plant to a shadier place. You can also cut back the brown leaves or propagate the severely sunburnt succulent.

Why are my succulent leaves turning brown and crispy?

Identifying the reasons behind brown succulent leaves, such as underwatering, overwatering, sunburn, extreme heat or drought, lack of nutrients, lack of airflow, humidity, pests, or fungal infections, is crucial in restoring their health and beauty.

Should I cut off brown Succulent Leaves?

The decision to cut off brown succulent leaves depends on the extent of the damage and the underlying cause. If the damage is slight, trim the affected parts, but if it is extensive, cut the entire leaf back to the base using sterilized tools to improve the plant’s appearance and direct its resources to healthier growth.

What happens when a succulent turns brown?

When a succulent turns brown, it could be a sign of various problems such as overwatering, underwatering, sunburn, pests, disease, or nutrient deficiencies. The browning could start at the tips of the leaves and spread inward, or it could be in patches or spots. It’s important to identify the cause of the browning to address the issue and prevent further damage to the plant.

Is a brown succulent dead?

Brown leaves on a succulent can indicate various issues like overwatering, underwatering, or pests. It’s best to examine the plant closely and identify the cause of the browning before determining if the succulent is dead.

Can you revive brown succulents?

It depends on the reason why the succulent turned brown. If it’s due to overwatering, stop watering and let the soil dry out completely before watering again. If it’s due to underwatering, water the succulent thoroughly and increase watering frequency.

What do brown succulent leaves mean?

Brown succulent leaves can indicate various stressors, such as underwatering, overwatering, sunburn, extreme heat, nutrient deficiencies, or pest and fungal issues. Diagnosing the specific cause is crucial to provide the appropriate care.

Wrapping Up

Succulents are fascinating plants that bring beauty and charm to any setting.

However, brown succulent leaves can indicate various problems requiring attention and care.

By understanding the reasons for brown leaves and implementing the appropriate solutions, such as adjusting watering practices, providing proper lighting conditions, and addressing pests or fungus, you can ensure your succulents stay in optimal health and showcase their stunning beauty for years.

Remember that every succulent is unique, so closely monitor your plant’s response to different care strategies to find what works best for its needs.

With a little effort and knowledge, you can enjoy a thriving collection of succulents that bring joy and tranquility to your surroundings.

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