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It happens most often in winter. The previously compact, densely leafed succulent stretches incessantly. In the end, the houseplant has lost its harmonious shape and stands there with long, thin shoots. Read here what caused the mishap. How to solve the problem.

If there is a lack of light, the succulent can shoot up

Lack of light causes extensive growth in length

Almost all succulent species are sun worshipers or at least want a partially shaded location. If the plants are in a too warm and dark place during the winter, they will stretch out towards the light in fear.

Specialists refer to this process as vergeiling or etiolement. As the succulent rushes to get more light, the horny shoots grow long and thin. The distance between the leaves (internodes) is becoming increasingly larger. If the succulent curves at the same time, botanists speak of phototropism. The affected plant will definitely become unsightly. So read on for what to do now.

Tip for troubleshooting - how to do it with offshoots

When a succulent plant stretches due to lack of light, not all parts of the plant are affected. By cutting off, potting and caring for intact offshoots in good time, you can keep the exotic houseplant. How to do it right:

  • Cut off a head cutting that has grown normally or a daughter rosette on the side
  • Let the cuts dry for a day
  • Fill a growing pot with lean cactus or succulent soil and moisten it
  • Do not plant the offshoot too deep in it
  • After 8 to 10 days, begin the normal maintenance regimen for adult succulents

If your succulent has no suitable offshoots or children to offer, the rescue plan will also succeed with leaf cuttings. Cut off a thin leaf edge to reveal the succulent tissue. Then place the cutting on lean, slightly moist potting soil so that it can root and produce new succulents.


So that your succulent does not form a long stalk in the first place, it should overwinter in a bright, cool location from November to February. Lower temperatures reduce the need for light so that no horny shoots can develop. If no adequate winter quarters are available, simply compensate for the lack of light in well-heated living rooms with a daylight lamp.

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