Why is Your Succulent Growing Too Tall?
Best Tips to Prevent Etiolation

Are you hating the fact that your succulent is stretching way too much? Read ahead as I will tell you why it is growing taller than usual.

Kelly Adams Profile Picture

Kelly Adams

April 25, 2021

Why is Your Succulent Growing Too Tall? Best Tips to Prevent Etiolation Thumbnail


There is no doubt that succulents are beautiful. You might have got one for your room or garden to make the space more attractive. But now, the extra stretching of your succulent is making you worried.

Well, there is nothing to worry about if you see your plant stretch. I will tell you the most common reasons why this may be happening. I will also brief you on how you can prevent abnormal growth on your plant.

Insufficient sunlight stretches your succulent. The process of thinning of leaves and elongation of the succulent stem is called etiolation. Etiolation cannot be reversed. It can only be prevented by placing your succulent in a spot with adequate sunlight.

The Lack of Sunlight is Making your Succulent Stretch Taller

Sunlight is very important for plants. It helps them in a process called photosynthesis. During photosynthesis, plants use sunlight to convert water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into energy. This resultant energy is fuel for the plants.

Plants use sunlight to convert minerals into energy. This process is called photosynthesis.

Just as other plants, succulents need sunlight for photosynthesis as well. If they do not get enough light, they get pale and thin. Apart from this, the stem of succulents also starts to elongate, stretching the plant taller than normal. The process of elongation of succulents due to lack of sunlight is called etiolation.

Sunlight helps in warding off etiolation.

1. Lack of Sunlight and Drying of Succulent Leaves: The First Stage

The immediate effect of lack of sunlight comes in the form of drying of leaves. When this happens, the process of photosynthesis halts. This halt results in a shortage of energy. The absence of necessary energy makes the plant weak, pale, and dry.

If your plant dries and gets pale, take it as a precursor of etiolation. Please place your plant under before things get worse.

So, if your succulent is looking pale, it can be a possible first step towards the issue of etiolation. This point is a good signal that it is time for you to bring your plant under some sunshine.

Did You Know?

Indoor succulents are more likely to stretch taller due to etiolation. However, outdoor succulents can also undergo etiolation.

An etiolated succulent

2. Less Sunshine and Etiolation: The Second Stage

If your succulent is not getting enough light for many days, the next step is etiolation. Etiolation is the elongation of the stem. It is a defence mechanism of the plant. Succulent uses it to stretch its leaves to increases the chances of getting light.

After the drying of leaves, etiolation is the next step. Etiolation refers to the elongation of the succulent stem in the absence of sunlight.

During this process, the plant elongates and gets taller. The leave density decreases drastically. The leaves of the plant get pale. And the plant starts to lose its natural shape and form.

Did you know?

Exposure to excessive sunlight is also bad for succulents. Too much sunlight makes the leaves fall off the plant.

An etiolated succulent

How can You Avoid etiolation?

Etiolation cannot be reversed. However, pruning your succulent will lessen the effects of etiolation.

Well, there are two simple things you can do to make your succulent look pretty again. For starters, you should make sure your plant is at a spot where it can get sunlight. In case etiolation has already occurred, you can use pruning to cut the elongated part.

Give Your Plant More Light

If your plant is still at the first stage of drying, make sure it gets more light. Placing indoor succulents near a window or opening can help you escape the ugly-looking phase of etiolation.

If your room has no light opening, you can consider getting lights for your room that are good for plants too. You can get one awesome grow light and forget about your light worries in no time.

GE BR30 LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

I highly recommend this wonderful grow light than can aid the growth of your succulent!

Amazon Prime Logo

Prune Your Succulent

If your succulent has already gone through etiolation, you cannot reverse it. However, you can take a few steps to mitigate the harms of etiolation. The most important of these steps is pruning.

You can cut the elongated parts of your succulent. Make sure you keep the healthy leaves and cut the ones that are dried out. Later on, you can plant the pruned plant somewhere else. Given ample light, the daughter plants will grow just fine. Meanwhile, your trimmed parent succulent plant will no longer look weird.

Prune to make your plant look good.


Lack of sunlight first makes your succulent dry. Given the conditions persists, the natural defence system of the plant triggers. It starts to elongate the stem of your succulent to find more sunlight. The process in which your succulent stretches tall in the absence of exposure to sunlight is also called etiolation.

You can put your dried-out succulents in a well-lit place. This will keep your succulents safe from etiolation. If your plant has already undergone etiolation, use pruning to trim the elongated stems and to regrow them.

If you’re new to all of this and want to learn more, I think you should read more about succulents. I recommend this comprehensive guide that will tell you how to grow succulents!

How to Grow Succulents? An Extensive Guide with All the Helpful Tips!

Succulents are easy-going, beautiful plants that can survive almost anything. Let's learn more about growing succulents in this post

Kelly Adams Picture

By Kelly Adams

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Kelly 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!

Posted in:

Kelly Adams Picture

Kelly Adams

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Kelly 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!



You may also like:

Keep Learning!

Our Best Tutorials (for beginners), the Best Inspiration and Our Latest Projects Straight to Your Inbox! You can unsubscribe at any time, but almost everybody stays. We must be doing something right!