Why are succulent leaves turning purple

Why are Succulent Leaves turning Purple?

Succulents are one of the lowest maintenance plants, you can have. Fullfil their basic needs & they will be good to grow. However, succulents are quite sensitive to overcaring and under caring. They can start showing signs of various stresses via various color changes of the leaves.

Why are succulent leaves turning purple? Succulent leaves turn purple owing to lack of proper sunlight, exposure to cold temperature, soil drainage issues, overwatering, or underwatering problems & due to natural stress response because of a sudden change in environment.

Why Do Succulents Change Colors?

Succulents generally change colors whenever they are going through stress.

They produce pigments like anthocyanin which turn them into blue or purple and carotenoids which turn them into red or yellow.

  • Anthocyanin is related to protecting the plant from temperature stresses and also for protection against overexposure to sunlight.

succulent leaves turning purple due to stress

If you see your succulents changing colors, you need to research more about your succulent type and see if it’s common because certain varieties of succulents change colors as they grow up.

  • For example, it is common for the leaves in Hens & chicks succulents to turn purple around the edges. Sometimes it’s not something you need to get worried over.

But if it’s not common for your succulent to change colors then you need to go through your watering schedule as well as take a look at whether the plant’s sunlight needs are getting fulfilled. See if the succulent is showing signs of overwatering or under watering or stretching.

  • If the succulent is not showing any prominent symptoms of distress apart from the purple color change, it may be not a matter of worry. Color changes happen in succulents.

The most worrying factor will be if they turn pale or black then you need to check for root rot and think about propagating or repotting it.

Also Read: What to do with Fallen Succulent Leaves?

Is my Succulent Over or Under watered? What does Overwatered succulent look like?

In summer or spring, Succulents need to be watered more frequently than in the fall.

There is no magic watering schedule that fits all succulents cause the whole matter depends on many variables like succulent type, soil type, whether it’s kept indoors or outdoors, how much Sun it gets, etc.

Signs your Succulent is turning purple due to Overwatering:

  • Stunted growth along with yellowish leaves
  • Tips of the leaves are turning brown
  • The leaves will feel moist, soft and mushy as they are filled with too much water
  • Leaves are falling easily when touched

How to save an overwatered succulent:

  • Firstly stop watering your succulent too much.

Succulents are desert plants that can adapt to under watering to some extent but in no way to overwatering. when in doubt that you should water or not, don’t water. Wait for a day or two and then water.

The main rule of watering is to water only when the soil dries up completely.

The upper layer of the soil dries up pretty easily however it takes a lot of time for the lower part to dry up especially if it is an indoor succulent. Depending upon the needs, you should try to water your plant once in 5 to 8 days.

Signs the Succulent is turning Purple due to underwatering:

  • Leaves have become discolored, curl and crispy
  • Stems and the leaves are shriveling
  • The plant has overall lost its vibrancy
  • Aggressive shedding of leaves and branches
  • The soil will become super dry

underwatered suuculent

How to save an underwatered succulent:

Use a soil moisture meter by dipping in the soil and measuring the dampness of the soil.

  • This totally leaves the guesswork out of the equation and the best thing is, you can use this for all of your plants. As most succulents die due to overwatering, So this can be quite handy.

Also Read: How Long can Succulents Go Without Water?(Ultimate Study)

How to Stop Succulent Leaves from Turning  Purple

Provide Adequate sunlight

Most Succulents love indirect filtered sun throughout the day. Change your succulent position, keep it on a balcony or window that receives proper sunlight throughout the day.

Provide Suitable Temperature

Succulents don’t do well against cold so it’s best to keep them inside especially in winter. There are a view variety of succulents that can tolerate cold temperature to some degree and can be kept outside even in winter. They grow best within (25-12) degrees Celcius.

Right Soil Mixture

Succulents can only survive in cactus mix soil that is rich in organic components like sand, rocks, etc. So make sure to grow them in a store-bought cactus mix. Alternatively, you can prepare your own soil for growing succulents. Mic equal amounts of potting soil with coarse sand, volcanic rocks, pebbles, pumice. Never use garden soil as potting soil & always use coarse sand in place of beach sand.

Make sure to mix them well. If you dont mix organic and inorganic matters properly the soil below the succulent can get hard and not loose enough to facilitate better breathing of the roots.

  • This may cease the growth of the roots and can transform the color of stems and leaves into purple.

succulent leaves purple watering

Be Careful of Your Watering Schedule

Use a moisture meter to properly judge the moisture of the soil and in deciding your water schedule accordingly.

Succulents are not like other tropical homegrown varieties of plants whom you need to water regularly. They are found in places that are drought-prone. So only water them when the soil of the pot truly gets dried up, both on the upper portion and deep inside.

Abide by Best Watering Practises

While watering target the soil and the stem base. Avoid watering the leaves and upper plant parts. The water gets mainly absorbed via the roots only. Watering the branches and leaves can lead to pest manifestations.

Use a succulent friendly watering sprinkler for better control while watering.

Have Drainage Friendly Pots

Use pots with drainage holes at the bottom for growing succulents. You can also use terra cotta pots instead of plastic ones as these help in better absorption of water from the soil.

How to make sure succulent leaves do not turn purple because of stress?

The stress response is pretty common among all plants and not just succulents.

Stress response of plants is related to temperature, sunlight, and water.

  • Firstly try to find out if stress responses are common with your succulent type. You can contact your nursery or search for it online.
  • Keep your succulent under temperatures of 12-25 degrees Celcius.
  • Water them only when soil is dry and when watering dont hold back till water comes out off the drainage holes.
  • Make sure that the succulent is receiving enough indirect bright sunlight and is not overexposed to full sun.
  • keep an eye out if the plant is showing any other weird symptoms like developing pale or white spots, blackish stains on the stem, etc. Keep an eye on the overall health of the plant.


How do I know if my succulent is dying?

  •  The growth of the succulent has stunted
  • The leaves have started to change into colors which are not usual for your succulent type
  • Many leaves at the bottom especially are turning pale or discolored or maybe too mushy or dry and wrinkled
  •  Leaves are falling off from the bottom quite too often
  • The whole plant is feeling worn out and discolored and have lost its vibrancy
  • There are black spots developing from the base of the stem

Why is my succulent turning purple and losing its bottom leaves?

If the leaves in which the succulent is losing at the bottom are looking wrinkled and dried out then the plant is suffering from under-watering. It is getting dehydrated from inside and the soil will be pitch dry in these situations.

This luckily has a lot easier fix than overwatering. Just start watering modestly than before.


Succulent Leaves turn Purple due to several kinds of reasons.

Many succulents naturally go through this process of color change owing to the natural stress response. Other reasons are related to watering practices and sunlight issues. Adjusting your watering schedule, having a drainage friendly soil in place, sufficient exposure to the indirect sun are the fundamental needs of a succulent.

Which of these reasons do you think are responsible for the change of your succulent color into purple? Lets me know in the comments!

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