Succulents are known for their striking appearance and low-maintenance nature, making them a popular choice for gardening enthusiasts and plant lovers.
However, have you ever noticed your succulents turning purple? This article will explore the various reasons behind this fascinating color change, from environmental factors to potential stressors.
Join us as we unravel the mystery of purple succulents and learn how to keep your plants healthy and vibrant.
Why Are My Succulents turning purple?
Understanding the reasons behind your succulents turning purple can help you address any potential issues and maintain the overall health of your plants.
By monitoring sunlight exposure, maintaining consistent temperatures, providing essential nutrients, and recognizing natural color variations, you can enjoy the beauty of your succulents for years to come.
Reason 1: Sun Exposure
The Cause: Sun exposure is one of the most common reasons for succulents turning purple. Succulents produce pigments called anthocyanins, which act as a natural sunscreen to protect the plant from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. When the succulent receives more sunlight, it produces more anthocyanins, resulting in a purple or reddish hue.
The Solution: To prevent your succulents from turning purple due to sun exposure, monitor the sunlight they receive. Most succulents prefer bright, indirect light; some can tolerate a few hours of direct sunlight. Gradually introduce your succulents to more sunlight to help them adapt and avoid sunburn or stress.
Reason 2: Temperature Stress
The Cause: Succulents can change color due to temperature fluctuations as well. When exposed to cooler temperatures, some succulents may develop a purple or reddish hue as a response to the stress. This color change is a protective mechanism that helps the plant conserve water and energy during colder months.
The Solution: To avoid temperature stress, maintain a consistent temperature for your succulents. Most succulents thrive in temperatures between 60-80°F (15-27°C). During winter, move your plants indoors or to a sheltered area to protect them from frost and extreme cold.
Reason 3: Nutrient Deficiencies
The Cause: A lack of essential nutrients can also cause your succulents to turn purple. Phosphorus deficiency, in particular, can lead to a purplish discoloration in the leaves. This is because phosphorus plays a vital role in producing chlorophyll, which is responsible for the green color of plants.
The Solution: To address nutrient deficiencies, use a well-balanced fertilizer specifically for succulents. Follow the recommended application rates and avoid over-fertilizing, which can lead to other problems. Additionally, ensure your succulents are planted in well-draining soil to prevent root rot and encourage healthy nutrient absorption.
Reason 4: Natural Coloration
The Cause: It’s important to note that some succulents naturally exhibit purple or reddish hues as part of their genetic makeup. In these cases, the color change is not a sign of stress or poor health but rather a unique plant characteristic.
The Solution: If your succulent is naturally purple, there’s no need to worry or take any specific action. Simply provide proper care, including adequate sunlight, appropriate watering, and well-draining soil, to ensure your plant remains healthy and vibrant.
Reason 5: Underwatering
The Cause: Underwatering can lead to succulents turning purple due to water stress. When a plant does not receive enough water, it may produce more anthocyanins to help protect itself from damage and conserve its resources.
- Establish a consistent watering schedule for your succulents to avoid underwatering.
- Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings, and then water thoroughly until the excess drains out.
- Adjust your watering frequency based on the season and the specific needs of your succulent species.
Reason 6: Poor Soil
The Cause: Poor soil quality can make your succulents turn purple due to inadequate nutrient availability and poor drainage. This can lead to various issues, including nutrient deficiencies and root rot.
The Solution: Use a well-draining soil mix specifically for succulents to ensure proper drainage and nutrient availability. To improve drainage and aeration, you can also amend your existing soil with perlite, coarse sand, or pumice.
Reason 7: Excessive Fertilization
The Cause: Over-fertilizing your succulents can cause a soil buildup of salts and minerals, leading to root damage and nutrient imbalances. This can result in your succulents turning purple as they struggle to cope with the excess nutrients.
The Solution: Always follow the recommended application rates for your chosen fertilizer and avoid over-fertilizing. It’s better to under-fertilize than over-fertilize, as you can always add more nutrients if needed. Be sure to flush the soil occasionally to remove any excess salts and minerals.
Reason 8: Root Rot
The Cause: Root rot is a common issue for succulents, often caused by overwatering or poor drainage. When the roots become damaged, they struggle to absorb nutrients and water, leading to purple discoloration in the leaves.
The Solution: To prevent root rot, ensure your succulents are planted in well-draining soil and avoid overwatering. If you suspect root rot, remove the affected plant from its pot, trim away any damaged roots, and repot it in fresh, well-draining soil.
Reason 9: Fungal Infection
The Cause: Fungal infections can cause your succulents to turn purple as the plant’s health deteriorates. These infections often occur in damp, poorly ventilated conditions and can spread rapidly if not addressed.
The Solution: To prevent fungal infections, maintain proper watering practices and ensure your succulents have adequate air circulation. If you suspect a fungal infection, isolate the affected plant and treat it with a fungicide according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Succulent leaves turning purple and falling off: What To Do?
To address the issue, you can:
- Adjust your watering techniques: Ensure the soil dries out between waterings for overwatered plants and water more thoroughly for underwatered ones.
- Provide sufficient sunlight: Succulents generally require around 6 hours of light per day during the growing season. If growing indoors, you can use LED or fluorescent lighting (60 watts, 10-14 hours daily).
- Check for pests or diseases: Inspect your plant for any signs of infestation or illness, and treat accordingly.
- Minimize shock: Avoid sudden changes in temperature or lighting conditions.
- Prevent physical damage: Keep your succulent safe so it won’t be knocked over or damaged.
Succulents turning purple and brown
Succulents may turn purple and brown due to various factors such as insufficient sunlight, poor soil drainage, exposure to extremely cold temperatures, underwatering, overwatering, and nutrient deficiency.
Environmental stressors such as sudden temperature changes, too much heat or light, and lack of water can also cause succulents to turn purple or red due to pigments called anthocyanin and carotenoids.
Additionally, succulents may experience color changes due to stress from overwatering, underwatering, intense sunlight, freezing temperatures, wrong soil type, or a sudden change of environment.
To address these issues, ensure that your succulent receives adequate sunlight, has well-draining soil, is protected from extreme temperatures, and receives proper watering and nutrients. Monitor your succulent for any signs of stress and adjust its environment to help it regain health.
How to prevent the leaves of succulents from turning purple?
To prevent the leaves of succulents from turning purple, you can follow these steps:
- Provide adequate sunlight: Ensure your succulent receives enough sunlight, typically 6 hours per day, and rotate the plant regularly to expose all sides to sunlight.
- Monitor temperature: Keep your succulent away from extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, and maintain a stable environment.
- Use well-draining soil: Ensure the soil has proper drainage to avoid overwatering and root rot.
- Water properly: Avoid overwatering and underwatering by allowing the soil to dry out between waterings and thoroughly watering when needed.
- Check for pests: Inspect your succulent for any signs of pest or disease and treat accordingly.
By following these steps, you can maintain the health of your succulent and prevent its leaves from turning purple.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What succulent turns purple in sun?
Answer: Some succulents that turn purple in response to sun exposure include Echeveria ‘Perle von Nürnberg’, Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’, Sedum nussbaumerianum (Coppertone Stonecrop), and Sempervivum varieties. These succulents produce pigments called anthocyanins and carotenoids, which protect them from the harmful effects of intense sunlight. The purple coloration results from these pigments being activated under stress from the sun, and it is a natural response in certain succulent species.
What does an overwatered succulent look like?
Answer: Overwatered succulents may exhibit several symptoms, such as yellowing leaves, soft and mushy leaves, black or brown spots, rotting stems, and a foul smell. The leaves may also appear swollen or translucent due to excess water absorption. Overwatering can lead to root rot, a serious condition that can cause the succulent to collapse and die if not addressed promptly. To prevent overwatering, ensure proper soil drainage and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
What does a succulent look like with too much sun?
Answer: When a succulent receives too much sun, it may display signs of sunburn or sun stress. Sunburned succulents may have brown or black spots on their leaves, which can eventually become dry and crispy. Sun-stressed succulents can change color, turning shades of red, orange, or purple, depending on the species. If you notice these symptoms, move the succulent to a shadier location or provide protection from direct sunlight, such as using a shade cloth or moving it indoors near a bright window.
How do you know if a succulent is dehydrated?
Answer: A dehydrated succulent may exhibit symptoms such as wrinkled or shriveled leaves, a thin and weak stem, and a drooping or wilted appearance. The leaves may also become dry and brittle and lose their plumpness. Dehydration often results from underwatering or insufficient water absorption due to damaged roots. To help a dehydrated succulent recover, provide it with a thorough watering and ensure that it is planted in well-draining soil to promote healthy root growth.
Can succulents get their color back?
Answer: Yes, succulents can regain their original color once the stress factors causing the color change, such as too much sun, overwatering, or cold temperatures, are addressed. To help your succulent regain its color, ensure it receives the appropriate amount of sunlight, water, and temperature for its specific needs. Gradually acclimate the succulent to any changes in its environment to minimize stress. Remember that some color changes are natural and seasonal and may not require any intervention.
What does it mean when a succulent turns purple?
Answer: When a succulent turns purple, it often indicates a response to environmental stress, such as intense sunlight, temperature fluctuations, or water stress. The purple coloration is due to the production of pigments called anthocyanins and carotenoids, which act as a protective mechanism for the plant. In some cases, the purple color may be an attractive feature of the succulent species and not a cause for concern. However, if other symptoms of stress accompany the color change, it’s essential to address the underlying issue.
Do all succulents turn purple under the same conditions?
Answer: No, not all succulents turn purple under the same conditions. The response to environmental stress varies among different succulent species. Some succulents may turn purple, red, or orange when exposed to intense sunlight, while others may not exhibit any color change. Factors such as temperature fluctuations, water stress, and nutrient deficiencies can also cause color changes in some succulents but not others. It’s essential to understand your succulent species’ specific needs and characteristics to provide the best care and maintain its health.
As we have explored, these factors can be both natural and induced, offering succulent enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy a vibrant and diverse color palette in their collections.
While some may be concerned about the health implications of purple succulents, it is essential to understand that this color change is often a normal response to environmental conditions and can benefit the plant.
By monitoring and adjusting the care for our succulents, we can appreciate the beauty of these captivating plants while ensuring their health and longevity.