Why Is Succulent Growing Tall Instead of Wide? (2 Reasons & Easy Fixes)

As a houseplant, succulents are very popular. These plants need less maintenance and are easy to grow.

But in some conditions, these plants get a weird shape and start to grow tall instead of wide. The gardeners and the plant lovers become very worried when this type of thing happens with their succulents.

Do you know why is succulent growing tall instead of wide?

Well, insufficient sunlight is the main reason behind this problem. Obstacles like a wall or a large big tree beside your succulents may block the sunlight. Or you have placed it in a corner where proper sunlight is missing. Another cause of this problem is that the roots of the plants not getting enough space to spread out.

Why Succulent Growing Tall Instead of Wide
Why Succulent Growing Tall Instead of Wide? 

So you need to place these plants in large pots. This article is about this common problem, and we hope our detailed research on this topic will help the readers who are too concerned about their succulent’s health and appearance.

Is it normal for succulents to grow a tall stem?

When succulents don’t get proper sunlight, these plants stretch out. In search of sunlight, these plants first bend towards the nearest light source, and then they grow towards it.

As a result, these plants become taller but with less dense leaves. In such conditions, the leaves’ size and color will be different from normal. The leaves will be smaller, and the color will fade green.

This type of condition is not a normal condition. But it is not too harmful to the health of your succulents. These will not die immediately. With such conditions, these plants can last 1.5 years to 2 years. So you can get ample time to treat and cure this problem.

How to Recognize a Stretched Out Succulent?

No one loves to have such a succulent that is stretched out. So it is necessary to monitor the condition of your succulents from time to time. You can resist its irregular growth as early as you can identify it. Some indications directly instruct that the succulents start to scratch out.

How to Recognize a Stretched Out Succulent
How to Recognize a Stretched Out Succulent?

The very first indication is the faded greenish color of the leaves and the second one is the huge gap between the leaves and not dense leaves. If you find these issues in your succulents, then you need to take some actions to feel the plant well, and it will resist the irregular growth of the plant. 

Why is Succulent Growing Tall Instead of Wide?

Insufficient sunlight is the main culprit if succulents grow tall instead of wide. Without proper sunlight, these plants can’t make proper photosynthesis. So they don’t produce ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). So, the plant cells start to weaken. 

When a succulent doesn’t get sufficient light, it tends to bend toward the nearest light source; in search of some comfort. Without proper sunlight, plants feel very uneasy about surviving. In search of sunlight, they start to be tall.

In this condition, there will be huge gaps between the leaves of the succulents. So the surface area of each leaf will be increased a lot. So there will be a high chance of getting a source of direct sunlight.

Without proper sunlight, succulents start to grow tall and will feel weak. If popper steps are not taken to feel well, the plant’s leaves may turn pale, and it will gradually die.  But some succulents grow tall over time. It is their natural property. These plants need to be cut time-to-time.

How much light do the succulents need?

Succulents need to be placed in direct sunlight for 4 to 5 hours. And for the rest of the time, you must place it under indirect light to make it healthy. Direct sunlight for several hours is also harmful to the health of succulents. On the other hand, these plants can die gradually for insufficient sunlight.

What is etiolation?

You may hear about this term- etiolation if you are a passionate gardener and love succulents. This is a special condition of succulents. In this phase, these plants’ stems become longer.

Paler is present in the stem, but the number of leaves decreases. The lack of sufficient sunlight for succulents is the main reason behind this problem. 

What is etiolation?
What is etiolation?

When the plant doesn’t get sufficient sunlight, it first turns towards the nearest source of sunlight and then it gradually changes its shape and color. Etiolation is a very common problem with those succulents that are kept indoors. Or those succulents that don’t get direct sunlight for very long. 

Is etiolation bad for succulents?

Etiolation is not too harmful to succulents. It is the result of abiotic stress. For etiolation, the normal shape of this type of plant gets ruined, and these start to grow tall. To resist etiolation, you must keep the plant open to the Sun for at least 4 to 5 hours.   

But if you notice that your succulents are getting taller every day and you don’t take the necessary steps, these plants will hardly survive for 1.5 to 2 years. 

Can you reverse etiolation?

Resisting etiolation is easy. Etiolation is caused mainly by the improper supply of sunlight. If there is sufficient light, the succulents will not be so desperate to search the nearest light source.

Can you reverse etiolation
Can you reverse etiolation?

So these pants can regain their natural growth process. But reversing etiolation is next to impossible. A succulent can’t revert to its original compact height and shape after stretching. You can cut the extended part, but this is risky.

How to fix elongated succulents?

To survive, succulents don’t need much care. But they need sufficient sunlight and other nutrients to survive. Elongated succulents are the result of insufficient sunlight. It is also called etiolation.

Whenever the succulents become too long, you must take some necessary steps to stop this irregular growth. 

How to fix elongated succulents
How to fix elongated succulents?

Shift Your Plant Position Gradually

The easiest way to treat this problem is to change the position of the plant. You need to change the pot after some regular intervals. So that the roots of the plant get enough room; if the previous atmosphere is not suitable for the plant, then in this new shiny atmosphere, these plants can regain their health status. 

Trim the Succulent Occasionally

From time to time, training (according to your pot’s size) is also important to keep the succulents in perfect shape. If you trim these plants, then irregular growth of the plant is next to impossible.

And such a succulent which is already enlarged also needs to be trimmed. Although in such cases, there is a risk of losing the plant completely. But in most cases, the plant doesn’t lose its existence. 

Opt For a Growth Lamp

A growth lamp is also another effective way to treat this problem. It is mostly used if you have placed succulents indoors. It is an indirect source of light. Where you can’t offer proper sunlight to the succulents, you need to use this alternative.

How to fix elongated succulents
How to fix elongated succulents?

Prefer Other Species

In extreme cases, when all the above mentioned methods don’t work, you need to look for another plant. When the stream of succulents becomes too large, it can break into pieces. In such cases, you also need to prefer other species of succulents.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do I do if my succulent is too tall?

Relocating is the easiest way for any succulent that is too tall. It is better to relocate your plant to southern exposure to get direct sunlight access.

How do you shorten tall succulents?

Trimming the tall succulents is very important. To shorten the tall succulents, you can use a sharp knife. You can also prune the succulents with scissors, but you must be very cautious. Don’t squash the cut. It can harm the plant’s health.

Can I cut the top off my succulent?

Trimming is good for the sustainable growth of succulents. But, if you cut the top off any succulent, then you need to leave it for a day to dry out. It can then be replanted in a new pot filled with fertilized soil. So if you have cut the top of your succulents, don’t worry; it will not cause any serious damage to their health.

When should succulents be repotted?

In general, every 24 months, you need to change the pot of your succulents. And it is good to consider the starting phase of its growing season for repotting. At this time, the chances of survival are high.


If your succulents grow tall instead of wide, don’t panic. Just replace the position of the plant with a shiny place. If you have recognized the problem in its initial phase, it will be easy for you to treat it.

Hope this article on succulent growing tall instead of wide will clear all the doubts of the readers who are too worried about – why their succulents are getting tall instead of wide.

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