Why Is My Succulent Turning Red?
Mon, Sep 20, 2021

The Succulent Is Turning Red: Causes of an Unusual Phenomenon

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The Succulent Is Turning Red

Many gardeners often notice how their succulents turn red or change leaves to a different color. And this attracts many plant lovers. But what could that mean? This is how the plant communicates that it does not like something and that it is under stress. But not in all cases, this stress is dangerous for them. Let’s figure out under what conditions this is normal for succulents, and which ones are dangerous for the plant.

Why Is My Succulent Turning Red?

Succulents turn red, purple, orange, or pink in response to stress. But don’t worry, in most cases, this stress is harmless to the succulent and allows you to admire the colorful plants. ​Have you suddenly noticed that your aloe plant turns red and takes on an unusual appearance? It is certainly a beautiful sight, and some gardeners even deliberately put succulents under stress to diversify their appearance. The fact is that succulents produce pigments called anthocyanin and carotenoid in response to environmental stressors. And this is the reason for the color change of the plant

Environmental Stressors

Environmental Stressors Succulents

Signs of Over-Flooded Succulents

Proper watering of succulents is perhaps the most important part of plant care. After all, the fastest way to destroy a succulent is to overfill it. What happens to it in this case? Due to strong waterlogging, the water-storing cells inside the plant greatly increase in size and can even burst. How to understand that the plant is overfilled? Outwardly, this manifests in a change in the color of the leaves: succulents are turning yellow, becoming pale and transparent. Be sure to monitor the condition of your plants, and take the necessary measures in time to preserve most of the plant. If the leaves have become completely soft and transparent, then, unfortunately, it is almost impossible to save the plant.

Signs of Dehydration

Dehydration is not a big deal for succulents, and you can use these signs as signals that it is time to water the plant. But some gardeners deliberately do not water the plants to achieve colorful leaves. In this case, succulents turn pink, red, or orange. This is because the plant begins to use its moisture reserves. As soon as you water the succulent abundantly, it may return to its solid green color. If you want to experiment and achieve an unusual color for your plants, then do not water it so often. If you water it once a week and it still has green foliage, then water it every 2 weeks. It is very important to learn to see the line between an easy experiment and the irreversible loss of the plant.

Signs That Your Succulent Is Damaged by the Sun

Succulent leaves turning black or dark brown if exposed to too much sunlight. Just like our skin, plants can get burned. In the early stages of sun damage, small spots of different colors appear on the succulents. For example, jade leaves are turning red and as the sunburn progresses, these spots become darker. If you see brown or black spots on your succulent while keeping it in a bright and sunny location, immediately move it to the shade! These spots can mean that your succulent has an advanced sunburn that could potentially kill the plant. The fact is that with sun-damaged tissue, succulents cannot carry out photosynthesis. Therefore, it is important to watch for early signs of discoloration and adjust the amount of light that hits your succulents. If you keep your succulents outdoors in the summer, you should use rags to protect them from the sun and to keep the plants cool.

Lack of sun is no less harmful than too much sun. Insufficient sunlight causes even the most colorful succulents to turn green again. You probably had to deal with the fact that in a garden store you bought a bright colorful succulent, and when you brought it home, the cactus turned light green and lost all its colors. The fact is that now it receives less light than in the store. All you have to do is place it where it can receive more sunlight and wait. The vibrant colors of your plant are sure to return!

Succulents Change Color after Temperature Fluctuations

Yes, the temperature has a big impact on your succulents. Many of these plants can withstand full sun and high temperatures with dignity, especially considering the conditions under which they grow in their natural environment. But this does not mean at all that sharp fluctuations in temperatures do not stress succulents. You’ve probably noticed that as the seasons change, your plants can respond to rising or falling temperatures with a color change. This is their way of self-preservation. As the temperature rises or falls, the effect of sunlight on the plant also changes. Therefore, temperature and sunlight usually go hand in hand, which is double stress for plants! This is why your succulents become more colorful in the summer when the temperature rises and turn green on cooler days.

How Not to Harm a Plant?

Succulents Change Color after Temperature Fluctuations

Experienced plant lovers know that the cactus, despite its harsh appearance and thorns, is rather delicate and vulnerable. To avoid problems, first of all, it is necessary to create favorable conditions. The best microclimate would be as close as possible to that to which the plant is accustomed in its historical homeland. As we are talking about succulents, we must make a notice: they are divided into desert and forest. Outwardly, with rare exceptions, they are completely different from each other, in nature they have adapted to live in different conditions. And at home, the microclimate for the inhabitants of the desert and the inhabitants of the tropics should differ.

Desert Dwellers

You can easily recognize them by their fleshy stems, which can be of different sizes and the most bizarre shape: resembling a ball, a column, or a caterpillar. Most desert succulents do not have leaves; in the process of evolution, they atrophied and turned into thorns. This helped to reduce the evaporation area. All desert cacti have spines that can be hard or soft, long or short, sparse or dense.

All desert dwellers love the same conditions. The most important thing is a lot of sunlight, especially in winter. They have nothing against direct sunlight, although in the summer heat it is better to shade the plant. The soil should be light, loose, and moisture-permeable. The temperature in winter should be 15-18 °C. Most varieties can tolerate “frosts” of about 5 °C without damage to themselves.

In winter, the succulents hibernate. This is another prerequisite for maintaining health and harmonious development. During the rest period, watering is needed less often and in smaller quantities. With the beginning of spring, it is gradually increased, bringing it back to normal by summer. By mid-autumn, watering is again limited. You should give your plants only warm and soft water.

Inhabitants of the Tropics

Forest succulents, living in the tropics and subtropics, are mainly epiphytic plants: in nature they can live on trees. They are distinguished by dense, fleshy stems, consisting of segments similar in shape to leaves. And their main decorations are flowers. They like bright sunlight, but it should be diffused. They also prefer slightly acidic light substrates. The temperature is moderate (22–25 °C), during the rest period it should be cool (15–17 °C).Thus, with the help of such manipulations, you can achieve an unusual appearance of your plant and not even harm it. But you need to be very careful with these experiments. For example, the red or purple leaves of the Christmas cactus can indicate serious problems. Most likely, it lacks beneficial nutrients. Be sure to feed the plants monthly from spring until mid-autumn with a general-purpose fertilizer for indoor plants. Also, keep in mind that a color change may indicate that the succulent is sunburned or lacks water. Be sure to follow the rules of care and constantly monitor the condition of the plant. Fancy, colorful succulents are great, but only if they are safe.

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