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Help! My Succulents Have Black Spots and Drying Leaves!

By: Jessie Keith

“My succulent house plants have dry leaves in the middle of the stem and black spots. Why is this happening?” Question from Karina of Wenatchee, Washington

Answer: Succulent plants can develop dry leaves when they are being either overwatered or underwatered. The black spots and the fact that leaves are drying and dying in the center of the stem indicates stem and root rot, which is caused by a fungal infection that develops when plants are being overwatered. (Click here for some great images of overwatered succulents.) Sadly, central spotting and leaf death is an indication that your plant is dying and will not recover.

One possible way to save your plant is to propagate and root and healthy leaves from your plant that show no sign of damage. The process is easy and will save your plant! (Click here to read a great overview of how to start cacti and succulents from cuttings.)

I hope that these tips help.

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

About Jessie Keith


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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