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by Becki


I have an echeveria, and when I bought it, it was normal.

I sometimes go a week and a half to 2 weeks without thorough watering, but I’ll mist it and get the soil slightly damp to give it a little ‘snack’ between waterings.

It’s in full sun for about 4 to 6 hours starting about mid afternoon.

Its leaves aren’t squishy, and it’s growing – but it’s getting long and lanky but still fleshly in the stem. Is this normal? What’s causing this and can I fix it?

Hi Becki, you’re killing your drought tolerant plant with kindness; ie; overwatering it.

I generally will go at least two weeks between waterings, especially at this time of year, and I never ‘water’ between times, even lightly with a spray.

They much prefer to go almost completely dry between waterings. Stop spraying now. You don’t need to do this.

Other things you could be doing wrong; as the plant is leaning, your light source is not bright enough – at this time of year, because we have now passed the equinox (when the day and night hours are the same – which is what they would get around the equator where they originate) the leaning or stretching is saying that the plant is not getting enough light.

Either subsidize with a grow light, or put it somewhere it will get more intensity. Keep in mind that the suns rays can be too much through glass, so watch that it’s not getting sunburnt.

You could also turn the plant (and pot) about one quarter a day, so it doesn’t stretch towards the light. If the light is directly overhead (in the case of a grow light) then it won’t need to stretch.

The pot is too big for this plant too, if you potted it up after you bought it, then keep this in mind. Most of these plants have quite small root systems, and prefer a pot just big enough to keep them from tipping over.

Soil type is important too; this looks more like some kind of regular house plant potting soil. Echeveria like good drainage, so this type of soil generally holds too much moisture.

Mixing it half and half with added aggregate (pumice, small gravel or sand, or perlite) or using a soil specifically for cactus is best. Echeveria do not like any soil with lime in, so avoid this, or at least don’t add any extra.

You can see more about succulent care here, and specifically how to grow Echeveria.

Hope that gets you back on track!