Succulents are an incredibly popular houseplant because of how easy they are to look after, how tough they are, and the beauty and color they can bring to your home.
But looking after succulents will inevitably raise a few questions.
And one of the most common questions new gardeners have is, “is it bad to pluck the dead leaves of a succulent?”
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Is It Bad To Pick The Dead Leaves Off A Succulent?
It is good to pick the dead leaves from your succulent. Doing so provides room for new leaves to grow and flourish. It also discourages pests from taking up residence and makes it less likely for fungus to grow and spread on your succulent.
The Benefits Of Removing Dead Leaves From Your Succulent
Removing dead or dying leaves from your succulent plant is definitely a good thing.
However, you might be wondering exactly why this is.
Here are a few of the main benefits of removing dead leaves from your succulent.
It Encourages Moisture And Air Flow
One of the first things you’ll probably learn about succulent plants is that they have thick leaves that retain water.
When a leaf dies, the water dries up and starts blocking the oxygen flow to the rest of the plant.
But, if you remove the dead leaves from the plant, you help to promote airflow and this allows the soil of the plant to dry more easily.
It’s important for the soil to be dry.
As healthy leaves already have a lot of moisture, excess water is not good for your succulent.
Rot And Mildew Prevention
The presence of rotting, dead, or dried leaves on a succulent can often lead to rot, mildew, and other plant diseases.
When removing dead or dried leaves in humid or very wet weather, you’re helping the succulent plant to prevent disease.
Picking The Dead Leaves Off Your Succulent Helps Prevent Pests
Another benefit of removing dead leaves from a succulent is that it helps prevent pests from making a home in your plant.
Pests/bugs love staying in moist places, where they can breed and hide easily.
However, if the dead leaves are pruned, it removes any cover for pests to hide under.
Decaying leaves are also a food source for many bugs.
Once they are removed, many bugs on the plant will also go away.
It Encourages New Growth
Plucking dead leaves will encourage your succulent to produce new growth.
The dead part of the plant, that you’ve pruned or trimmed away, now provides space for new leaves to grow.
How To Prune Or Trim Your Succulent
Pruning or trimming your succulent is an easy enough process.
Follow along with these simple steps:
1. Plan The Pruning Session
If your succulent plant is a flowering one, make sure that you’re pruning it when there aren’t any flowers on it.
This way once it is time to bloom, the plant can direct all of its energy into growing.
If the succulent is non-flowering, prune it right before growing season so that later its energy can be better spent on regrowth.
2. Trim The Plant
When you start trimming, make sure that you’ve cleaned your scissors with a plant-friendly disinfectant.
After that, you can start trimming the area that needs to be pruned according to the type of succulent you own.
Be sure not to over-prune your plant.
If you over-prune your succulent its health may decline due to the stress of having to constantly grow back leaves that have been lost to pruning.
3. Preserve The Plant
Once you’ve trimmed the succulent, make sure that the open areas on the plant scab over before you water them.
This is important, as your plant will rot or attract pests otherwise.
Make sure to also remove the dead leaves from where they’ve fallen in the soil.
Keep the plant area clean and tidy.
What Happens If You Leave The Dead Leaves On A Succulent?
If you leave dead succulent leaves on the stem of your plant for too long it may make it more difficult for the plant’s soil to completely dry out and this can lead to root and stem rot.
As the dead leaves are left to decay on your succulent, it may also encourage pests to take up residence and fungus to take hold.
Taking care of succulents is extremely rewarding and not too difficult.
When you’re entering the world of gardening and taking care of succulent plants, it can be a little daunting at first.
People often struggle because they don’t know if they should pick the dead leaves off their succulent and not doing so can stunt the growth of your plant and encourage pests.
Now you know that you need to trim them and then preserve the scabs or open wounds of the succulent to prevent any disease.
Once you’ve figured this out, watering and generally taking care of your plant becomes that bit easier.
This is especially true for succulents, as they are generally low-maintenance plants.