The appearance of brown spots in a succulent is certainly a cause for concern for its caregivers. While it is not always necessary to be alarmed, these brown stains are often an indication that our succulent needs attention. In this article we will talk about the reasons that cause these spots and how to avoid it.
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Why Does My Succulent Have Spots?
Edema (Excess Water)
Succulents are made to store water in their leaves. This allows them to thrive in a wide variety of climates. However, that same ability to easily absorb water can work against them when overwatered.
If you don’t allow the soil to dry out between waterings and the roots remain in constantly wet soil, the plant can accumulate too much liquid on its leaves, which, among other things, can lead to the appearance of brown spots.
This accumulation of liquid, called edema, can occur even in humans, but in your succulents, it is an indication that your plant may be beginning to rot, and it will be necessary to suspend irrigation for a long time or even change the substrate if the soil it is inappropriate.
To learn more about it, we recommend the following articles:
How long do succulents last without water?
Succulent leaves splitting: why it happens and how to prevent it
How do I know if my succulent has root rot?
The best soil for succulents in pots
How often to water succulents?
Dissolved Salts and Chemicals
Succulents are sensitive to excess fertilizer and usually must be fertilized very infrequently and at a fairly dilute concentration.
If you overfertilize a succulent, the salts it contains will saturate the soil and the plant will begin to absorb them. As it rises with the plant, this salt can burn the roots, stems and reach the leaves, causing brown spots.
To help you fertilize your succulents correctly, read: The best fertilizer for succulents.
Succulents are susceptible to the invasion of parasitic fungi that cause spots on their leaves. In general terms, these fungi need water to reproduce and spread, so they are diseases that tend to proliferate more in areas with high humidity.
When invading the plant, the fungus can form brown spots on the leaves that gradually form larger lesions. When a fungus has invaded a succulent there is not much you can do, so your best chance is to cut out the affected area and place the succulent in an area with good ventilation or less humidity.
How to Prevent Spots on Succulents?
Since we know the main reasons that cause the appearance of brown spots on succulents, the solutions can be quite simple.
To begin with, it is important that the succulent has a suitable substrate, a soil that does not accumulate water and that dries properly between waterings. A porous soil with large particles is ideal. Also, if your succulents are in pots, make sure they have drainage holes that allow the water to escape.
It is also important that, when watering, you completely flood the soil, until the water comes out of the drainage holes. To begin with, this is the proper way to water the succulents, but also, with this you can clean the substrate of any excess salts that it may have, which also cause burns on your leaves.
And lastly, keep your succulents in an area with plenty of indirect sunlight and good ventilation. This environment will prevent the accumulation of humidity and will reduce the possibility of fungi appearing.
And if you notice that fungi are beginning to appear, be quick to prune any sections and quarantine any affected succulents to prevent their spread, while following the recommendations above to prevent them from appearing again.
In extreme cases, you can try using a commercial fungicide but these efforts are often futile, so prevention is best.