Stretched or overgrown succulents: what to do

Stretched or Etiolated

Succulents can grow tall and spindly when they are short on sunlight. As soon as you see signs of stretching, move the plant into sunnier conditions or install a grow light above it. Colors can come back with more light, but stretched succulents have to be pruned back into shape. Hardy succulents tend to stretch easily indoors; make sure they have plenty of light or move them outside.


Succulents naturally become overgrown after years of healthy growth. They will need to be repotted and/or pruned to avoid becoming root bound and shading out other plants. Try to prune during the growing season so that the plant can quickly re-grow roots.

How to Prune a Succulent

  1. Use a clean pair of scissors or pruning shears to cut the stem of the overgrown succulent
  2. Remove any undesired leaves to get the succulent to the size you need and leave about 1" of stem exposed at the base
  3. Leave in a cool, shaded location 2-5 days for the cut end to dry and cure
  4. Refresh the pot with gritty, well-draining soil
  5. Plant the stem cutting and place the pot in the Recommended Light Conditions for the given succulent variety
  6. Water deeply and only when the soil is dry

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