There are times when succulents in people’s gardens start growing long stems, thus creating inconveniences for someone who did not expect it to cover much space. The leggy stem can mess up your whole arrangement, especially if you have several plants, and the garden space is not large enough. Succulents growing long stems is something that happens from time to time due to a variety of reasons. Almost every individual with home garden or pot plants will testify of seeing a phenomenon wherein the succulents stretch their stems, in the process of losing the beauty and cuteness of the plant. Sometimes these leggy and stretched stems end up intertwining with other plans creating a messy picture. In this guide, I will walk you through the solutions of how to deal with succulents growing long stem.

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Why succulent growing long stems

There are several reasons that explain why succulent plants grow long, leggy, and stretched out stems. The most common reason is their need for sunlight since succulent needs a certain amount of light to grow properly. If succulents do not get enough sunlight, they begin to grow tall and stretch out. Succulents growing long stem when it receives inadequate sunlight, and this can happen indoors or outdoors. As long as the plant is denied adequate light, it will stretch and get this necessity for growth. A shortage of light will prompt the plant to become leggy and stretch its stems in a bid to teach the nearest source of light.

Picture via Succulentcity

At the same time, succulents will stretch their stems when the source of light comes from one direction. The plants require considerable exposure to light before developing in the desired shape and will grow towards any direction where there is a light source. Even if there is enough light coming in, the plant will tend to grow towards a source if the said light is not enough to hit your plant all around.

However, sunlight is not the only reason why succulents grow long stems. Some plants will become leggy because it is their nature and have the tendency to become leggy. Sometimes there is nothing wrong with the plants growing leggy based on the type of species you have selected for your home. For example, Agave is a succulent plant that has the tendency to become leggy.

A succulent stretching for more light has a weak stem compared to those that sprawls out as their nature has stronger stems. The number of leaves on the succulents also vary depending, while some succulents will stretch less than others. While this practice ill mostly happens with plants grown indoors, you will find some outdoor succulents stretching, especially when there is too much shade.

What you do with succulent growing long stems

Versatility is one of the appeals associated with succulent plants, which means you can do a lot with them in modeling to your desired shape. Before deciding the appropriate solution, you should first determine the reason for the plant is getting leggy. If you have succulent plants getting leggy by growing long stems in a natural way, you simply need to give them a good haircut. Trimming the plant will help its growth by ensuring uniform sprawling without getting leggy. It is a great way to propagate the succulent and multiply its collection since the base of the plant where cuttings were taken from will continue to grow and produce baby plants.

Succulents Growing Long Stem Guide

Picture via thespruce

On the other hand, if the plant is becoming leggy due to inadequate light, the solution is to increase the amount of sunlight inside the room. Once you increase the amount of light to the plant, it will slowly recover and start to correct its growth. Of all the factors affecting plant growth in the interiors, adequate light is the most important. This is because plants need light to produce food through photosynthesis and survive. In this regard, increasing the number of hours of light exposure to a plant can help reduce becoming leggy. Putting the succulents in a poorly lit area will not help much in preventing the crop from stretching.

How to fix a long succulent stem

If you experience succulents growing long stem despite being a short variety, then you need to do something to stop the rest of the plants from stretching. However, it is not possible to revert back a succulent that has stretched out to its original height and shape. The first thing you will need to do is to cut off the elongated stem using a sharp pair of scissors while leaving a couple of leaves on the base to absorb sunlight.

These cuts can even be used to grow succulent brood exponentially. Pruning the stems when they stretch can also be a solution to this problem, though it will not last since succulents can easily propagate and replant. The perfect time to prune succulents is during the spring or summer, which are perfect seasons to give the plants time to grow before the freezing season. However, it is allowed to prune the leggy succulent any time they appear too stretched.

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Lighting up is a natural solution to avoid leggy succulents, especially when dealing with indoor plants. Ensure you provide adequate light for the pot plants, such as a glowing light that is evenly distributed to help in growth. Secondly, you can avoid long stems in succulents by making a habit of moving the plants to positions with enough light exposure. For example, if one side of the plant is exposed to the sun more than the other, you can take turns to switch up positions. Alternatively, you can keep the pots going around by rotating them periodically. This way, each of the plants will be hit by the light evenly for proper growth.

Picture via Succulentbox

Temperature is also an important factor when discussing the issue of succulents growing long stems. In essence, ensure your plants get as much indirect sunlight as possible to prevent them from stretching. The sunlight provides both temperature and light needed for their growth. When dealing with indoor plants, the most sensible option is to put them close to a window where they can get the most sunlight throughout the day. A succulent that is stretching is not really a problem as the cuttings can be used to start a new garden out of it.