Is Your Succulent Turning Purple? 5 Reasons & Solutions

A purple succulent may be a sign of some sort of damage, unless that is it's natural color!

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Jimena Bolívar

June 20, 2021


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Why do Succulents Change Color?

Are your succulents changing color? Well, don’t be alarmed! One of my succulents started turning purple and I thought there’s something wrong with it. But it’s pretty normal.

A succulent may turn purple due to natural side effects or when subjected to stress. The many reasons for a succulent turning purple may include underwatering, overheating, too much light, a rotten root, or simply due to natural factors. This may be prevented with proper care.

Although a succulent changing color may look beautiful, it can be disastrous for your plant if there are severe underlying issues.

Why Is Your Succulent Turning Purple?

1. Natural Change

A succulent can change its color naturally too, with no underlying issues!

Succulents are mainly green. But if you have a closer look, they can develop hints of other colors such as blue, purple, or red. These colors can slowly spread to the rest of the plant and change the color of the plant altogether. If the leaves of the succulent look healthy, there’s nothing to worry about. The change is natural, so sit back and enjoy!

Did you know there are some succulent species that are naturally purple? For instance, the Echeveria succulent plant and the purple cactus!

2. Too Much Heat or Light Exposure

Is your succulent getting more sunlight than needed?

A purple succulent

Overexposure to direct sunlight is one of the reasons why a succulent turns purple, red, or blue. This phenomenon is known as heat or light stressing.

Many succulent species love direct sunlight. However, direct sunlight doesn’t necessarily mean prolonged hours of exposure. It causes damage to the plant cells and breaks down the plant’s basic ability to thrive and survive.

Signs Your Succulent Has Been Scorched

  • Whitening
  • Yellowing
  • Corking

Solution

The best way to avoid your succulent from changing color is to keep rotating it. If you’ve kept it facing the sun for a long time, rotate it to bring the other side in front.

Also, refer to the heat and light requirements of your succulent plant. Some succulents need bright indirect sunlight, whereas others require partial sunlight or shade. Most succulents need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight during the growing season, but the timeframe can vary.

Always place your succulent according to its light and heat needs. If you don’t have an indoor brightly lit spot, you can use fluorescent lighting or LED bulbs for between 10 to 14 hours per day. The ideal power for artificial light growing is 60 watts.

3. Underwatering

Little for your succulent? No wonder it’s turning purple!

An aerial shot of purple succulent plant

Underwatering causes the plants to shrivel and wither. The leaves can curl and may eventually lose their original color. The plant will dry up to the extent that roots get damaged.

The symptoms of underwatering are crystal clear:

  • Curled leaves
  • Shriveled plants
  • Dry soil
  • Thin, unhealthy leaves. The leaves may appear to look less juicy and plumpy.

Solution

Underwatering issues are most common in the summer. The dry and hot weather makes the succulents use up the water quickly. For winter, it’s best to keep your succulent inside as it can freeze if kept outside.

Hence, during the winter, you’ll have to underwater it, compared to the summer. For winters, limit the watering to once a month if you water your succulents once every week in the summer. It’s always best to check the soil before watering to prevent underwatering issues. If the soil is too dry, your succulent needs thorough watering!

WARNING!

Never Overwater

Never forget to check the base of the soil before watering! Overwatering is as dangerous as underwatering. It can cause the succulent to turn yellow or even brown.

PRO-TIP

Look at various factors for Watering!

The base of the soil is not the only factor involved! You can look at the succulent pot, lighting, and temperature to get a better idea. A succulent that is exposed to a lot of light is more likely to dry up quickly and hence, need more water.

4. Using Inappropriate Soil

Is your succulent soil mix providing proper drainage and nutrients to your plants?

many purple succulent plants

Succulent soil may become deprived of nutrients with time. A lack of nutrients can cause the plant to wither and discolor as a result. The succulent will turn purple, or in some cases, even yellow.

Even if you use a fertilizer, it won’t cause any effects on the soil if the mix already doesn’t have the nutrients the succulent needs for proper growth.

Solution

Repot your Succulents

  • Take fresh soil and a new pot.
  • Gently squeeze your hand inside the pot and take out the plant.
  • Make sure not to touch the leaves or the roots in the process. Also, inspect the old soil to see what went wrong. Were there any black roots or was the soil infected? It will help you manage your plant better in the new soil.
  • Add a layer of gravel to the bottom of the new container to assure proper drainage.

PRO-TIP

Always choose a pot of relevant size!

If you choose a pot that’s too large, your plant will struggle to get the right quantity of water and nutrients from the soil. This may cause stress, which can make the plant turn purple.

5. A Rotten Root

Have you checked the roots of your succulents?

A purple echeveria succulent plant

A succulent’s root may rot due to pest attacks or watering issues. Black roots are a sign of rotting.

If the roots are unhealthy, then the entire plant will get affected. Most of the time, the leaves will turn yellow if there’s a rotten root but the color can be different if accompanied by stress or other symptoms.

Solution

To make sure your succulent has tidy and healthy roots, you should take the plant out of the pot every few weeks. While inspecting the roots of your succulent, here is what you need to look for:

  • The roots will appear distorted and black.
  • Gently touch the roots, and you may find the damaged ones loose and falling off immediately.
  • Repot the plant after using a sterilized knife to cut off excessive roots.

For succulents, pruning should not be just for the leaves, but also for the roots. If you are repotting your plant, trim excess roots to avoid root-bound soil in the future.

Conclusion

So, some succulent species may be completely purple naturally, or they may turn purple if they have hints of purple in their leaves. Other reasons may include stressing, overexposure to sunlight and heat, using inappropriate soil, and even a rotten root. If you maintain proper lighting, temperature, soil, and water according to your succulent species, you can prevent it from turning purple.

Do you wish to learn more about colorful succulents? Have a look at the rainbow succulents, along with wonderful ideas!.

Are Rainbow Succulents Real? 21 Ideas & DIY Instructions!

Succulents come in a variety of colors. They even come in the colors of the rainbow!

Jimena Bolívar Picture

By Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Jimena Bolívar Picture

Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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