Why Some Succulents Are Having A Long Stem?

Recently, when I take a random check on the succulents that I planted inside one of my rooms in my house, I found that one of my favorite succulents has a long stem. The stem is elongated toward the window.

Even though the window does allow the sunlight to shine inside the room, this plant is shaded by other taller plants, which makes it need to stretch itself to get more sunlight.

As we know, succulents are a diverse group of plants known for their ability to store water in their leaves, stems, and roots, which allows them to survive in arid environments. While many succulents have a compact, low-growing form, others may develop a long stem or “etiolate” over time. There are several reasons why succulents might develop elongated stems, including:

Insufficient Sunlight

While most of you may know that if you grow succulents indoors, it is complicated for your succulents to get as much sunlight as they need. And when they are struggling to reach out to the sunlight, they will be stretching themselves, which causes the plant to grow with a long stem.

Most succulents need a pretty substantial amount of sunlight to maintain compact growth. My succulent has a good amount of water, but it just hasn’t been getting enough sunlight. Lack of sunlight is what causes my succulent to have a long stem.

All succulents need different amounts of sunlight. Also, some succulents will grow faster than others. For those succulents that didn’t grow very quickly, the long stem will not be noticeable if you didn’t pay much attention to the plant. Placing this succulent at shaded places where they cannot receive sunlight isn’t good.


Another common cause of elongated stems in succulents is overwatering. When succulents are watered too frequently or given too much water at once, their stems may stretch out as they try to absorb the excess moisture. This is because succulents are adapted to store water in their tissues and can become stressed when exposed to too much water. Overwatering can also lead to root rot, which can cause succulents to develop elongated stems as a result of weakened root systems.


Some succulents are simply genetically predisposed to have long stems. For example, some varieties of cacti naturally grow tall and have long, cylindrical stems, even when grown in optimal conditions. These succulents may still require adequate sunlight and proper watering to maintain their health, but their natural growth habit is to produce long stems.


Some succulents may develop elongated stems as they age. This is because older plants may have exhausted their stores of energy and nutrients, and may need to stretch out their stems to access more resources. Additionally, some succulents may grow more slowly as they age, which can cause their stems to become elongated over time.

Succulents can develop long stems for a variety of reasons, including insufficient sunlight, overwatering, genetics, and age. Succulents require proper growing conditions, including adequate sunlight, well-draining soil, and careful watering, to maintain their health and appearance. Many succulents can keep their compact, low-growing form for years with proper care.

Can I Revert Elongated Succulents?

Once your succulent grows a long stem, there is no way for you to revert them to its original shape no matter how much sunlight you provide. What you can do is reconstruct the entire plant, propagate them in different pieces, grow them in a new pot, and take good care of them to grow again from scratch.

Even though you cannot revert a long-stem succulent, but you can revert its colors. If colorful succulents like those in bright red and brown colors gradually turn green with long stems caused by not getting enough sunlight, you can still manage to revert them to their original colors by providing them with enough sunlight.

Fixing Elongated Succulents

For my elongated succulents, I have tried some of these methods to fix them, and the result is quite obvious. I think it is good for me to share with you what I did, though.

1. Place My Succulents Close To The Window

To let my succulents get the sunlight they need, I just placed them in my room, close to the window. I have the windows facing south, east, and west, which are the best areas to locate them.

2. Indoor Plant Grow Lights

If you place your plant in a room without a window, the plant can’t get any sunlight. You can then get some grow light as supplement light and turn them on indoors so that your succulent can get the light they need.

The indoor plant growth lights can be a critical component in your growing efforts if you live in an area with a short growing season. You can get a head start on your growth by using indoor lighting to succulents from cutting. Based on the quality and amount of light they emit, you can get a bit of healthy little growth started fairly easily.

Of the three essentials needed to grow plants, water, nutrition, and light, light is the most commonly misused and can thwart even the best efforts at plant growth. You need the essential components for good plant growth, and since artificial light is much weaker than sunlight, you have to compensate for that by leaving the lights on anywhere from 12-18 hours per day.

Get Quality Light

Light quality can also play a large role in plant growth. Depending on their growth stages, plants can use both blue light and red light. Blue light is used for things like energy, and red light is used for things like reproduction.

Because a plant tends to absorb very little yellow or green light, it is much more efficient to choose an indoor plant to grow lights with a higher red and blue output. Yellow and green light tends to get reflected, so plants look green to the naked eye.

Another important thing to think about when choosing an indoor plant to grow lights is the age of the bulbs. Nine months or older, the light production is about 30% less than when they were brand new.

That means you are spending the same amount of money to run the lights, but your plants are getting 30% less benefit from them. Replacing them at the start of each growing season ends up being much more cost-efficient in the long run.

If you like your plants to really bloom, you can also choose different indoor plants to grow lights and perform different duties. High-pressure sodium lamps emit red and orange light. These colors promote blooming in your plants. There are also five kinds of high-intensity discharge lamps as well.

These include mercury vapor, xenon short-arc lamps, metal halide, low-pressure sodium, and high-pressure sodium.

3. Place Them Outside Every Morning

To ensure that non of my succulents lack sunlight, I figured out that I should place them outside during bright days as I found out from my friend who told me that succulents need a minimum of 4 to 6 hours of strong light every day to maintain their health and look.

Therefore, every morning at about 7, I will move all the succulent pots outside and leave them there. When the sun rises, It will supply natural sunlight to them. And at around 12 pm, I will move them back to my room. After some time, I can see that they are growing compactly, and the long stem issues have been resolved.

4. Leave Some Rooms For Succulents

I have noticed some of my succulents are overgrown, and they look very crowded growing in a pot. This makes them compete with each other to grab the nutrient and also places to receive sunlight.

Some of the weaker succulents seem not too competitive, and they start to wither.

What I did was I took out those compact succulents and planted them into other pots. Doing so helps to free up some space for the succulents, which allowed the succulents to grow healthier.

Refresh and Propagate Succulent

Some of the stems are not only long but also curved. This is also another sign that the succulent is not getting enough sunlight, and it bends the stem to get close to the source of sunlight.

If you want to save them, you can propagate them from the stem, leaves, or rosette.

What you can do is get a pair of sharp and sterile pruning scissors that ease your task of cutting the succulents effortlessly. Depending on the size of the succulent, you may also want to have a sharp knife.

Make sure they are sterile so they don’t cause any infections or problems with your succulents.

Cut the stem, and then plant them into a new pot with fresh soil. Do not expose them to direct sunlight as they are still fragile, and direct sunlight can cause them to get sunburned. Also, don’t water them for 7 to 10 days. Water the pot only when the soil is arid.

After a few months, you will get many new succulents, and it will pay off your effort.