Fixing Leggy (Etiolated) Succulents

Everyone wants their succulents to look as healthy as possible.  This short video will give you some tips and suggestions for fixing leggy succulents (also called etiolated).

[Transcript]  Hi you guys.  So today I thought that while I was we denote our succulent table I would take an opportunity to show you guys how to take care of your leggy succulents that have been either stretching for light or maybe they’re just losing too many leaves off the bottom of your succulent.

Fixing Etiolated Succulents

So how do we take care of that?  So first of all, I don’t want to be holding this whole pot the whole time.  So I take my pruners I get down here right close to the to the stalk where it’s next to the soil and I cut that off.  So, underneath that succulent I’ve got my stem that I just cut plus a whole bunch of dried up crunchy leaves.  Then as we progress up the plant they’re soggy to less soggy they get to the top we have a nice firm leaf.

So first of all, just over top of my garbage can here I’ll throw away my pots to my stub and I’ll just break off all these leaves here.  So, I’m not interested in propagating any of these leaves I just don’t have the time for that.  But after we break off bunch of these leaves backwards if I wanted to we could be saving these leaves.  So, I would be taking these leaves off properly.

So now at this point I’m looking at the top of the plant and I’m trying to make sure that he just starts to even out around the outside.  So that it looks good the whole way.  So, these guys need to come off here maybe these guys and these guys need to come off maybe this guy down here needs to come off.  Be a few more just to make them nice and even.

So, here’s my new my new succulent.  I’ve got a big long ugly stem though so I’m going to take my pruners and take it off to about a half inch and we’ve got this little nice reset again.  So, we’ll set this guy to the side and do the next one.  Here’s another succulent.  It’s gotten a little bit growth over time through the top of that plant.  So, we’ll throw away our tag.  We’ll get our pot and the root ball and so now we’ve got our cycling with the stub.  We’ll do the same thing but halfway up we’ll just reach in here and break off all these leaves.  Now we’ll take a look at the top and decide how we want it to look aesthetically.

Let me remove some of these guys here.  Maybe a few more with these last three big ones maybe just like that maybe now they got a room to fan out nice little growth it will cut that to stub off set him to the side as well a few more.  I kind of hear he’s just been losing leaves every time somebody bumps him he loses all these leaves here.  So, we’ll come in here and take the bottom of the plant off.

Now I will take off some of these autumn leaves here.  You’re going to make a satisfying sound and this one looks goofy but will propagate it into something good.  This one had a few little tiny babies and grow in here, so I think I’ll save those guys set him aside.  Oh, I’ve got one more another really ugly guy.  I had a lot of these that are really nice on the table so there’s no point in keeping one ugly one it’s just an eyesore.  So, we’ll cut them off break these bottom leaves off so we have our stem the top of our rosette.

I think I’ll remove some of these big guys too if we leave them just like that.  All right let’s see if we can do some more.  Okay we got one more.  So we will take these off to another baby on this one.  So, we’ll save that and take him off as well.  But see what we can do here.  Take a bunch of these leaves off working for I should take quite a few of them.  No point in hanging on to him he’ll live on he’ll look cute again.  Sorry that noise is somebody pulling a garden hose by.  There we go check that guy.  Oh, it’s beautiful again.

Removing Elongated Succulent Leaves

Now we’ll remove the stub looks like I have the remains of a little leaf here.  So, we’ll take that off there we go almost I guess one more little guy on here.  So, we’ll dig in here with our pruners – and we’ll take that off like that with that pot.  Okay I think I need to change much but there’s a few here we’ll take off there we go, and I got one more example one more this guy here is yet we did a video on a plant like this before that was more about how to propagate.

This kind of this more what to do when your plants just get gross and you really don’t know what to do with them anymore.  So, we’ll start at the top we’ll take back the top root off that.  Still looks really nice there we go we’ve got our roof it but she’s right full of leaves that gets in the way of trying to plant this guy in some soil of the leaves giving away.

Pruning Leggy Succulents

So, we plucked at the bottom I don’t know about an half inch or so off.  There we go you guys think should I take few more off maybe like I will I’ll take these ones off.  There, we’ll leave them like that just a smidge off here that’s just preference you can I mean if you had a container that was an inch deep you can leave that whole stem on there the whole thing would read out.

But for our purposes here we’ll take it off and I think there was a few more babies on here that we could probably salvage is he got here he’s got a whole baby that’s growing out of the soil down here so take him off.

And in the last video that was titled how to propagate or how to prune / propagate succulents there’s a lot of people asking afterwards, do I have to use the rooting hormone?  No, you don’t have to use a rooting hormone to propagate.  A succulent will root themselves usually within about two weeks.  If you want to speed the process up if you decide that you want to speed it up to be like a one week process or a week and a half, you can use the rooting hormone and it will speed the process up a little bit.

We use root boost here sometimes not all the time but sometimes if we know that a plant takes a really long time to root then we’ll use a rooting hormone.  I use a rooting hormone on everything at home just because it’s not like to do at home.

The other question was uh how long do you keep him out of the sunlight?  I had mentioned that I had mentioned that when you take a cutting and you plant it into your soil that you should keep it out of the sunlight for a while.  Um I realized that I didn’t I kind of rushed the end of the video and I didn’t talk about that so but the whole reason you’re doing that is because these plants the only moisture that they have right now is the moisture that they have inside the leaves they don’t have a root system.

So, there’s nowhere for this plant to pour water from at the moment so it’s relying entirely on the moisture that it has.  So, if you go put it into a high intensity heat or some location where it’s really warm that plants trying to use up the moisture that’s inside the leaves to keep itself cool.  So, if you put it out keep it out of the Sun that point loss you maintain that moisture for like six months at a time like a cutting a release and go six months before it will ever rot.  Some of them some rot a little bit sooner.  So, I suggest keeping it out of the Sun until it has the roots.  Once it has a root then you can then you can move it into the Sun because now it has a molar supply it has a water supply that it can tap into.  But it helps I find giving them an opportunity to root without the Sun beating down on them.

So, all I’m doing now is I’m just taking these the cuttings typically I would let them tell us over usually that takes about three or four days and this is this edge will callus.  You can plant that down into the soil.  It really isn’t necessary to let it callus you can just plant it directly into the soil and it will root.  But those are just tips I found that helps speed the process sock so if you decide to callus it and then you decide to use root boosting you decide to keep it out of the Sun those are all things that will help speed up the process.  And so, all I’m doing right now is taking these stalks here and I’m pushing them down into the soil until the soil touches the bottom of the leaves and then even it there like that.  And the last one here the guy’s a little bit funny who knows what he’ll grow up to look like.

So that’s all the example.  So, let’s get the camera off the tripod here and show you what we have.  Okay so I had a whole bunch of really ugly succulents that were just overgrown.  This guy here was just actually at least I was laying inside one of the containers he had lots of roots and a little bit because I kind of felt bad throwing him away, so I figured I’d plant him.  We have all these rosettes here that we decided to keep so they as soon as they root out they’ll be a nice little inch and a half or two inch plugs and then we’ll be able to transplant them and sell them.

And also, you have a pretty succulent again instead of an overgrown plant and no one wants to buy.  And so another idea that you can do.  This is a greenhouse application where we have a plug tray that we decide to plant them all in and later we’ll transplant them and sell them just like that as an individual succulent.

Propagating with Cuttings and Leaves

But another thing you can do is actually take once you take your cuttings and you can just replant them all together into a mixed container and let them root and let them grow together and root them directly inside your container.  So, these guys here none of these have a root system right now.  They’re all just succulents that I had pruned off of their main plant.  We’ve got some Burro’s Tail some, Pinwheel.  None of these have any roots so we’ll leave them here like this and let them grow it into a really nice container and it’s one way to save plants that otherwise wouldn’t have wouldn’t have turned out.  See if we can save a nice plant here yeah, they’ll be pretty nice.

So anyway, thank you guys very much for watching and if you guys want more tip videos or if you have any questions that I didn’t talk about or I glossed over just leave them in the comments below.  Also, if you if you like the video and you want more content like that then just subscribe that’s probably the easiest way then you’ll get a notification when we post more succulent propagation videos.  Awesome, thank you guys. [End of transcript]

Our Summary:  Most of the time you do not want your succulents to look leggy or elongated.  These were some great tips to help avoid that or to help you correct leggy succulents.  A little bit of pruning and sometimes starting over, can make an ugly succulent look beautiful again.  Another video may be helpful called How to Fix Elongated Succulents and Propagate Fast.

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