How to Revive Succulents – Simple and Straightforward Tips

Do you want to know how to revive succulents? Then you landed on the right page!

To revive succulents, first, identify the cause of their illness. Then, follow the normal course of treatment for that condition. Common causes are edema, root rot, and excessive sunlight.

But before we jump right into the steps of how to revive succulents, let’s check out the signs you should keep an eye out for.

Signs That Your Succulent Needs Reviving

Not every odd condition you notice on your succulent is concerning. Some signs are normal, and other signs need quick attention for the plant to live.

Here are some signs to look out for; they may mean your plant’s health is disintegrating.

Yellowing, Transparent, or Mushy Leaves

Transparent or yellow leaves may indicate loss of chlorophyll. Without chlorophyll, plants can’t produce food, which eventually leads to their death. This can be caused by either overwatering or poor drainage because both lead to root rot, which leads to mushy leaves.

Small Bumps on Leaves

If you’re seeing pimple-like bumps on your succulent’s leaves, there’s a high chance your plant is suffering from edema.

The condition mostly happens because of unusually high water content in the roots. Edema is not harmful but it affects the plant’s appearance. The cause is usually overwatering or sudden temperature changes.

Shriveling, Wrinkling, Wilting, or Drying-out Leaves

Succulent with shriveling leaf

Shriveling, wrinkling, wilting, or drying-out leaves happen because of moisture loss or underwatering. Healthy succulents’ leaves are plump, fleshy, and not wrinkled. But not all dried leaves indicate a health problem.

You may need to check out where the dried leaves come from. If the leaves on the top part are still plump and bright in color, while the bottom leaves are drying out, this may be just a part of the normal plant aging process.

On the other hand, if all leaves are shriveling, it’s your cue that something is wrong.

Brown Spots on Leaves

Brown spots on leaves are also known as sunburn caused by excessive sunlight. This doesn’t kill the plant but the spots would remain for the rest of the leaf’s existence. The right way to go would be to cut off the affected leaves.

Holes on Leaves and Stem

If you see holes in your plant’s leaves, blame these on pest infestation. Pests feed on different parts of the plants, especially the leaves.

The most common pests that infect succulents are mealy bugs and aphids.

The mealybug secretes a sugary substance, which aids in mold growth and makes the plant more prone to fungal and bacterial infection. Its presence is marked by a white, cottony substance that you may see on the leaves.

Aphids feed on leaves or flowers. They keep sucking on the plant’s tissues, eventually causing stunted growth.

Also Check: Do Succulents Like Humidity?

How to Revive Succulents Based on the Cause

Now that we’ve identified the common signs and their causes, here’s how to revive your plant based on the cause of its ill state.

Poor Drainage

To revive a plant suffering from poor drainage, you’ll likely have to plant it in a new soil mixture, and you may need to get a new pot for it.

Firstly, make sure that the drainage holes on your pot are working. If they’re clogged, it’d be better to get a new pot altogether.

Use a pot made of porous materials like ceramic, terracotta, or concrete.

Then, replant the succulent using well-draining soil and test it when watering to make sure it doesn’t retain water.


Watering succulents

Overwatered plants can be fixed by saving the healthy parts and replanting them.

The first step is to carefully pull out the plant from the pot. Then, loosen the soil from the roots, careful not to tear them. Save the plant’s healthy parts by cutting off the leaves, stems, or roots that have already turned black or brown. Then, leave the plant to air dry for about 2 to 3 days.

Make sure that the roots are white and healthy before replanting. You can easily test this by dipping the plant in water and gently shaking off the stuck soil. Replant in well-draining soil or succulent potting mix.

As a fresh start to a new watering schedule, try not to water the replanted succulent for about a week or two. Keep an eye on the leaves, making sure they don’t turn yellow or mushy.


Succulents are known to be drought-tolerant, but they still need water to survive. If not watered, the reserve water in the leaves will get used up, which will lead to thin, fragile leaves. In the worst case, the plant will completely run out of water, causing the leaves to wrinkle.

The first thing to do is to move the plant to a shadier location. Immediately water the soil until you see water coming out from the drainage holes. Observe how your succulent is doing, then water as needed.

Excessive Sunlight

Excessive sunlight can cause succulents to get sunburnt, and you may notice when it’s already too late to save some leaves.

Firstly, remove the affected leaves that have brown spots on them. Don’t worry; the plant will grow new ones. Leaving them will cause them to compete with other leaves with nutrients, and they’re already damaged, so there’s no use keeping them.

Then, move the plant to a location with indirect sunlight until it gets used to the change.

Lack of Sunlight

Succulents in soil in the shade

While succulents can’t survive in too bright sunlight, they also can’t handle staying full-time in the shade. Different succulent varieties have varying needs for sun exposure. The lack of sunlight is likely to take a heavier toll on colorful varieties since they need more bright light.

To increase the amount of sunlight your succulent is getting, move the plant to a brighter area or install artificial lighting.

If the plant is too far gone, you can revive it by propagating from the leaves, stems, or rosette at the top. Plant the cuttings directly into well-draining soil but do not water for 7 to 10 days. During this time, avoid direct sunlight to prevent sunburn.


If your succulent is suffering from a pest infestation, you’ll need to act fast to save it.

To prevent the pests from moving on to the rest of your succulents, isolate the infested plant. Use cotton buds or a watercolor brush to apply 50% to 70% isopropyl alcohol on the affected leaves.

Then, spray alcohol on the stem and soil and place the plant in a shady, well-ventilated area—preferably indoors to let the leaves dry completely.

Following your watering schedule, treat the soil by substituting water with a mixture of 1 gallon of water, 2 tablespoons of neem tree oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid.

Shake the mixture until you start seeing bubbles, then start watering the plant with it.

Related: How Fast Do Succulents Grow?


Now that you know how to revive succulents, there’s no reason to panic. The good thing about succulents is they are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they are also resilient as well.

Most issues stem from too much or too little either water or sunlight. So, with early detection, you can easily reverse the situation and save the plant. Most of the solutions are to relocate, remove the problematic parts, or replant.

On the road to your succulents’ recovery, keep a close watch and be patient. Keep in mind that time heals, so your succulent may take some time to return to its healthy state.