For many years, the leaves on your succulent were green, plump, and firm.

You’ve never had any problems and it’s always done really well.

But recently, you notice it beginning to turn red.

It’s a scenario many succulent owners face.

Why Is My Green Succulent Turning Red?

A green succulent turning red

A green succulent turning red is usually an indication of overexposure to sunlight and heat. Some succulents produce a red pigment and develop reddish tips on their leaves to protect themselves from sunburn when exposed to more sun or heat than they are used to.

How Succulents React To Good Stress

The habitat of most succulents contains dry, arid conditions that can lead to stressful situations, like drought.

So, these plants are capable of handling harsher conditions as long as the changes to their environment are not too drastic or sudden.

Because they often grow in areas most other plants find unbearable, they can thrive and adapt in almost any environment.

An example of “good” stress is when a plant retains its leaf structure and plumpness, but it reddens around the edges.

This type of change in your succulent is usually normal and not a cause for alarm.

Related Article: Why Are My Succulents Falling Apart?

How Succulents React To Bad Stress

On the other hand, if your succulent looks generally unwell with disfigured and distorted leaves, this is “bad” stress and means there’s something else going on that the plant can not deal with.

It’s also important to note that not all succulents will change color in reaction to stress.

Elephant Bush is an example of such a succulent; it will not change color no matter what it’s going through.

How Succulents Deal With Stress

If your green succulent is turning red due to mild stress from a little extra sun it isn’t harmful and it can actually allow for more beauty and visual variety to come through.

But too much stress can have negative effects on a succulent, indicating something more serious is wrong.

Monitoring stress in succulents is crucial because it can indicate a host of other problems that aren’t good for the plant.

This includes when it turns very red, too quickly.

This can be a sure sign of more serious problems.

Things That Will Make Your Succulent Turn Red


Sometimes, if there’s too much sun, your succulent will develop redness around the edges of the leaves.

This appearance of carotenoids is what the plant produces to protect itself.

This can be “good” stress because it doesn’t harm the plant and brings out more of its beautiful colors.

If you think your succulent is becoming too red in color or its leaves are looking a little unhealthy, move the plant to a different spot and ensure it gets only three to five hours of direct sunlight per day (depending on the type of succulent you own).

Putting it in a place where it gets sun in the morning but shade in the afternoon is usually ideal.


During season changes, like spring and autumn, severe shifts in temperature can cause your succulent to turn red.

A little drop or rise in temperature can help bolster the beautiful shades of red and copper.

But you may want to keep your succulent indoors when you notice the leaves becoming unhealthy.


Because most succulents do not need a lot of water, we may neglect it too much in erring on the side of caution.

But if the plant seems less verdant with changing colors, try increasing water frequency.

Only do this if it looks like it’s struggling.

Sometimes, a little thirst provides “good” stress.

Be careful, when it comes to watering, less is more.

Overwatering is probably the biggest killer of succulent houseplants.

Only water your succulents again when the soil has completely dried out.


Succulents also change colors when they aren’t getting enough fertilizer or they sit in infertile soil.

If you are making fertilizer too weak, try to make it a little stronger.

Check the soil, ensure it drains well and has a healthy texture.

Related Article: Why Is My Succulent Turning Purple?

Overexposure To EMFs

Electromagnetic Frequency Waves (EMFs) emit from modern tech gadgets and wireless routers connected to the internet.

This is “bad” stress.

If your succulent is too close to these devices, your plant may suffer discoloration and wilt from the frequencies.

Move the plant to another sunny location to see if this takes care of the problem.

Other Factors That Can Cause A Succulent To Change Color

Redness could mean that your plant has a spider mite infestation, leaving red spots behind or it could be a watering issue.

If it’s overwatered or underwatered, a succulent may change colors.

But in either watering condition, the leaves will look like they’re struggling.

What Does An Overwatered Succulent Look Like?

An overwatered succulent will have mushy leaves that feel squishy and soft to the touch.

And the color of the leaves can often appear more pale or translucent than that of a healthy plant.

What Does An Underwatered Succulent Look Like?

If a succulent is underwatered, the first thing you will notice is that the leaves are easy to bend and feel rubbery or shriveled.

Final Thoughts

Your green succulent turning slightly red can often be a normal occurrence and nothing to worry about.

In fact, some people deliberately cause their succulents mild stress in order to bring out these shades of red.

Of all the problems a succulent can develop, turning red is usually one of the least problematic, and may, in fact, be desirable to many succulent owners.

Stress can be good but it’s advisable to keep your eye on it and the plant’s reaction to it.

A little change in color is no problem at all as long as you don’t notice more serious health issues with your succulent.