sad, leggy succulents begging for help!!

by Anne
(Milwaukee, WI)



Don't laugh. OK, go ahead and laugh. These 2 are definitely desperate cases at this point. I guess this is testament to the doggedness of succulent plants!!

So, as you can see from the photos, I have a flapjack plant that somehow just keeps growing despite my utter neglect. And another incredibly leggy guy that I don't actually know how to identify...

My question is: how (and WHERE) do I trim these guys down to help them live a happier life??! I've have them both for over a year, and I water them every week or 2 when they seem very dry. Sometimes even less.

The lower leaves of the flapjack look pretty sad, and I'm not sure if I just leave them the way they are, or what? This guy has grown so tall & top-heavy, I have to prop him up against something so he doesn't just pull his roots & soil right out of the sad little plastic pot he came in. I would like to repot him. But do I cut the stem somewhat up above those lower leaves to make him shorter so he doesn't tip over??

The other leggy guy seems less happy. My cat apparently really enjoyed chewing on his lower leaves until I realized what she was doing & moved him to a higher shelf.

So those leaves also are quite unhappy. But, he has persevered and keeps getting taller and taller (in a general sideways fashion). Do I cut this stem in numerous places then to make a variety of smaller plants maybe, since there seems to be some distance between the healthier-looking parts??

I did get myself some decent cactus-type soil, I have worm castings for fertilizer, and I also picked up a decent pair of trimmers as you suggested on one of your other pages, but I am nervous to cut these down in the wrong location. Please help!

Comments for sad, leggy succulents begging for help!!

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Jul 30, 2016
Be brave...
by: Jacki

Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath, and cut. You have it exactly right; "Do I cut this stem in numerous places then to make a variety of smaller plants?" Exactly! Don't worry, you can't possibly make them look any worse.

However, based on the long legginess of them, they aren't getting enough light.

It sounds like the watering and soil you've been doing is fine.

They do lose their lower leaves, that's normal. They will grow new shoots out of the axils of where the leaves meet the stem, once they're removed, and the top cut off.

As to where you actually cut them, make a cut directly above a set of leaves, don't leave a long piece of stem, it will just rot. I've made a diagram on this page to help you; Pruning Succulent Plants.

Aug 02, 2016
in response:
by: Original Poster

Ha!!! You are right, I guess no matter what I do, they can't look any worse than they do right now! Poor guys. Thanks for the helpful diagram & info. I'll keep you updated as to how things turn out!!


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