Mystery succulent growing quickly and dying at the same time

by Harriet
(Rhode Island)


I got this succulent for my birthday in early July and I really love it. It was from a small garden shop and didn't come with a label to identify exactly what type of succulent it is -- I liked it because its so different than my other plants but it's uniqueness is making it a struggle for me to figure out what it is.

I've been keeping it on my porch with my other plants and for a while it seemed to be doing very well. It has a main stem as well as three smaller babies now. All of them are growing very rapidly (these pictures are from a couple weeks ago and its grown even bigger since!)

The problem I'm having is that while the top leaves and the stems seem to be very healthy and happy the bottom leaves keep dying. They start at the tips and slowly dry up and shrivel out, eventually falling off. It's happening on both the large plant and the small baby plants. You can kind of see it starting to happen in the pictures. Since its growing so tall the plant now has a large amount of bare stem before its healthy looking leaves.

I've tried to look up online and in some of the books I have exactly what type of succulent this is so I can figure out whats wrong with it, but so far I've had no luck. Most sites I've found have made me think it might be an Echeveria but I'm not sure. The top of the plant has never really looked like a rosette -- the leaves dont grow that close together and they're all pretty large. I'm afraid to try to propagate it before knowing what it is. I'm also nervous about propagating because the baby plants that are growing naturally are already growing in the same fashion as the large stem (growing tall rapidly, with the bottom leaves dying off).

I'm also not sure if this is simply how the plant should grow normally or if I have been caring for it wrong. I first thought that I was watering it too much -- around once a week -- but I'm letting it go with no water and it isn't improving.

Any advice would be super helpful and hopefully I can figure out how to deal with my poor little plant!

Comments for Mystery succulent growing quickly and dying at the same time

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Aug 29, 2014
A Few Tips...
by: Jacki

Hi Harriet, this could be an Echeveria, it's not easy to tell sometimes. One thing that you definitely need to do is provide much more light for the plant. That's why it's growing so tall, and has long internodes (the space between leaves) and this is also why the lower leaves are dying off so quickly. There is just not enough light to keep all the leaves going, so the older ones have to go.

There are also many different forms of Echeveria; not all of them have the rosette forming type of growth. Lots grow more shrubby, with a central stem, and lots of leaves spaced up the stem. You can chop the top of the main stem off, and it will start getting more smaller stems out of each axil, or where the leaves attach.

You might want to look at these pages;


How to grow Echeveria

Succulent Care

Jul 18, 2016
Same plant, same problems!
by: Mbphotolove

I have this plant! I cannot for the life of me figure out what species/hybrid it is. It seems to be naturally leggy- which I figured out after beheading and replanting the poor things numerous times! The leaves are the easiest and quickest to propagate that I've ever seen, and "air roots" form at the site of any missing/ pinched leaves.

The leaves are not the right shape or thickness to be any pachyveria or graptoveria that I've seen, and it is most certainly not a pachyphytum, graptopetalum, OR Echeveria! I am losing my mind trying to figure out what this plant is :-( If anyone knows what this is, please share!

Jun 01, 2019
Same unknown plant, and same exact problem
by: Logan

I have nothing beneficial to add other than that I have the same exact plant inside next to a window at out lake house and it has shot up in height but dropped the bottom 1/3 of leaves on the floor. Confused.

Aug 06, 2019
by: Austin

To clear up the confusion - this is an Echeveria and Graptoveria Hybrid. This variety is "Fred Ives", and they love light! They will get a purple /red color in better light, as well as show less stem. The leaves drying up are normal. This is the Plant aging. Cut the top off and propagate as usual if it is bothering you.

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