Succulent Growing Long Stem? Do This!

Are you noticing your succulent growing long stems? This could be a sign of etiolation, and it’s important to take action. In this article, we’ll discuss what etiolation is and why it happens, how to cut back long stems, propagating from long stems, as well as how to prevent it from happening in the future. You’ll be able to keep your succulents healthy and thriving by the time you’re done!

succulent growing long stem

Why Is My Succulent Growing Long Stem?

If you’ve noticed your succulent growing a long stem, it’s likely because it is naturally a long-stemmed variety. It could also be reaching out for more light as plants tend to grow toward the light sources they’re exposed to. So if you’ve recently moved your succulent or changed its environment, that could explain why its stems are getting longer.

It’s A Naturally Long-Stemmed Succulent

You’ve got a naturally long-stemmed succulent, so you don’t need to do anything special to get it to grow tall. Some of the long-stemmed succulent varieties are as follows:

  1. Sedum: Also known as stonecrop, Sedum plants are known for their fleshy leaves and long, trailing stems. They come in various colors and are great for hanging baskets or cascading over walls.
  2. Senecio: Senecio plants, commonly known as string of pearls or string of bananas, feature long, trailing stems with small spherical or banana-shaped leaves. They are excellent for hanging planters or as trailing accents in arrangements.
  3. Rhipsalis: Rhipsalis plants are epiphytic succulents that naturally grow as long, cascading stems. They have slender, jointed stems with small leaves and make beautiful hanging plants.
  4. Aeonium: Aeonium plants have rosette-shaped succulent leaves on long stems. While some varieties have compact growth habits, others, like Aeonium arboreum, can develop tall, branching stems up to a meter in length.
  5. Disocactus: Disocactus, commonly known as orchid cacti or epiphyllums, are succulent plants with long, arching stems and colorful, showy flowers. They are popular for their cascading growth habit and are often grown in hanging baskets.
  6. Hatiora: Hatiora is a genus of epiphytic succulents that includes the popular Easter cactus (Hatiora gaertneri). These plants feature long, branching stems with flattened, segmented leaves and produce vibrant flowers in spring.
  7. Aporocactus: Aporocactus, also known as rat tail cactus, is a genus of succulents with long, trailing stems covered in spines. They produce tubular flowers and are suitable for hanging baskets or trailing over pots.

It’s Reaching For The Light Source

succulents growing long stem

Succulents are amazing plants, and they have an incredible ability to adapt to their environment. When a succulent is in a spot that doesn’t have enough light, it will start to grow longer stems in order to reach the light source. This is a natural response to the environment and is a great adaptation that helps the succulent to survive. So if your succulent is growing long stems, it’s probably just looking for some sunshine!

What Is Etiolation And Is It Bad?

Etiolation is the process of a plant stretching in search of light, and it can be detrimental to the health of the succulent.

Etiolation can cause the leaves of the succulent to become pale or yellow, as well as the stems to become thin and brittle. This can lead to the succulent becoming weak and prone to disease and pests.

To prevent etiolation, succulents should be placed in an area where they will receive plenty of bright, indirect light. If the succulent is not receiving enough light, it can be placed in an area with more light, or supplemented with a grow light. It is also important to ensure the succulent is not overwatered, as this can lead to root rot that can further exacerbate the effects of etiolation.

How To Cut Back Succulent Growing Long Stems

If your succulent is growing stems that are too long, it’s time to cut them back. Trimming your succulent also helps promote bushier growth. To do this, make sure to cut stems back above a leaf node, which is where the leaves meet the stem. This will encourage the succulent to grow multiple stems from the same node, creating a fuller and denser plant.

When cutting back stems, use clean and sharp scissors to make a clean cut. Make sure to avoid leaving any jagged edges on the stem, as this can cause the succulent to become susceptible to rot and disease. After trimming, it’s important to move your succulent to a spot with more light, as this will help encourage new growth.

Propagating From Succulents With Long Stems

cutting succulent with long stems

By propagating from your succulent with long stems, you can create new plants while maintaining the original’s growth.

To propagate from your succulent with long stems, begin by cutting off healthy sections of the stem with a sharp knife. Make sure that each cutting has at least one or two sets of leaves. Remove any leaves from the lower part of the stem, and then dip the cut end of the stem in a rooting hormone.

After that, place the stem in a pot filled with potting soil and lightly water it. Place the pot in a warm area with bright, indirect sunlight and keep the soil slightly moist. After a few weeks, you should see new growth appearing near the base of the stem. With a little bit of patience, you can create a full, healthy new succulent from the cutting of the original.

How To Prevent Succulent From Growing Long Stem

If you want to prevent your succulent from growing long stems, there are three key steps you should take: provide adequate lighting, rotate the pot, and understand dormancy vs growth. Adequate lighting is important because it helps a plant grow in a healthy way; rotating the pot will keep the stems from reaching in one direction; and understanding when your succulent is dormant or actively growing can inform how often you water it.

Provide Adequate Lighting

Providing adequate lighting is essential for succulent plants to grow long stems. LED lighting or natural sunlight are both good options.

When it comes to succulent plants, it’s important to remember that different varieties may need more or less light depending on the type. For example, most cacti prefer bright, direct sunlight, while some succulents may prefer more indirect light. It’s best to research the specific type of succulent you have and adjust the lighting accordingly.

Additionally, it’s important to note that plants need a period of darkness in order to rest. Therefore, it’s important to provide your succulents with around 8-12 hours of darkness each day. Finally, it’s important to remember that too much light can damage the leaves of succulents, so it’s important to adjust the lighting accordingly.

Rotate The Pot

Rotating the pot periodically will ensure your succulents get the sunlight they need. The amount of light is essential in keeping your plants healthy and happy. It’s important to rotate the pot every few weeks so that all sides are exposed to equal amounts of sunlight. Here are some tips for properly rotating your pot:

  • Turn the plant at least once a week to ensure all sides receive equal amounts of light.
  • Move it slightly every day if possible to ensure maximum exposure.
  • Reposition it if necessary when changes in weather or climate occur.

Understand Dormancy vs Growth

The key to keeping succulents from growing long stems is to understand their growth cycles. During the growing season, succulents should be given plenty of water and fertilizer to encourage healthy growth.

During the dormant season, they should be watered sparingly and given less fertilizer. This helps prevent them from growing long, lanky stems. Additionally, it is important to make sure the succulent is receiving enough sunlight during the growing season. Too little direct sunlight can cause the stems to stretch and become too long. Too much sunlight can cause the succulent leaves to burn. Knowing how to adjust the amount of sunlight and water your succulents receive during the different seasons can help keep them healthy and prevent long stems.


Don’t worry if your succulent is growing a long stem – it happens! Etiolation isn’t all bad, as you can use the long stems to propagate new plants. If you want to keep the original plant short, simply cut back its stem. To prevent etiolation in the future, make sure to give your succulent plenty of sunlight and water it regularly – but not too much! With these simple steps and a little bit of love, you’ll have healthy succulents with beautiful short stems.