Why Is My Succulent Turning White? (10 Reasons & Easy Fixes)

Succulent plants, with their vibrant colors and unique shapes, have become a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor gardening enthusiasts. Their easy-care nature and stunning appearance make them a favorite for many. However, one common issue that succulent owners face is the mysterious phenomenon of their succulents turning white. This can be concerning, as succulents are known for their vibrant green hues. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the most common reasons your succulent plant might be turning white and explore the best ways to address this issue.

Potted succulent plant that is turning white on a table top.

Why Is My Succulent Turning White?

Before we delve into the possible reasons for your succulent’s color change, let’s address the primary question: “Why is my succulent turning white?” Succulents turning white is not a single issue but rather a symptom of various underlying problems. It can manifest in different ways, from white spots and patches to an overall loss of vibrant color. To identify the specific cause and take appropriate action, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

Common Indicators of a Succulent Turning White:

  1. White Spots and Patches: Small white spots or patches on succulent leaves are a common sign of trouble. These spots may indicate pest infestation, fungal infection, or other issues.
  2. Overall Loss of Color: If the entire plant starts to lose its green color and turn white, this could be due to a variety of reasons, such as too much direct sunlight or fungal diseases.
  3. White Substance on Leaves: The presence of a white substance on the leaves, often resembling a powdery or mold-like substance, can be a sign of powdery mildew or other fungal infections.
  4. White Dots or Insects: Sometimes, white dots or insects may infest your succulent, leading to a loss of color and overall health.

Now, let’s explore the most common causes of succulents turning white in detail and discuss the best solutions to rectify these issues.

Close up of Echeveria succulent rosette macro covered in white spots

The Most Common Reasons Your Succulent Is Turning White

1. Overwatered Succulent

One of the most common reasons for a succulent turning white is overwatering. Succulents are adapted to thrive in arid conditions and store water in their leaves. When they receive too much moisture, their cells can become waterlogged, leading to various problems, including root rot and, in severe cases, the death of the plant.

Solution: Ensure your succulent is in a pot with good drainage holes and use a well-draining potting mix. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings, and pay close attention to the signs of overwatering, such as mushy leaves and soil. Adjust your watering frequency accordingly.

2. Not Enough Light

Succulents require ample sunlight to maintain their vibrant color and compact growth. When they don’t receive enough light, they might stretch or become pale as they reach for the available light.

Solution: Place your succulent in a location with bright, indirect sunlight or partial shade, especially if you live in an area with intense heat. If you’re growing succulents indoors, consider using a grow light to provide adequate illumination.

3. Too Much Direct Sunlight

While succulents need sunlight, excessive direct sunlight can scorch their leaves and cause them to turn white or brown. Succulents are typically adapted to full sun conditions, but extreme heat can be detrimental.

Solution: If your succulent is experiencing too much direct sunlight, move it to a shadier location or provide shade using a shade cloth. Gradually acclimate your plant to more intense sunlight to prevent sunburn.

4. Fungal Infection

Fungal diseases can affect succulents, causing various symptoms, including white patches, white substance on leaves, or an overall color change. One common fungal disease is powdery mildew, which can manifest as a white powdery substance on the leaves.

Solution: To combat fungal infections, remove the affected parts of the plant with clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. Improve air circulation around your succulent, avoid overhead watering, and use organic fungicides like neem oil to prevent further fungal growth.

5. Pest Infestation

Succulents can fall victim to various pests, including spider mites and scale insects. These tiny creatures can damage the plant tissue, leading to a loss of color and overall health.

Solution: Inspect your succulent closely for signs of insect infestation, like white or brown spots. Use insecticidal soap or isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab to remove the pests gently. Keep your succulent in a dry area to deter pests, and avoid overcrowding your plants, which can facilitate infestations.

6. Poor Soil Drainage

Inadequate soil drainage can lead to excess water retention around the roots, potentially causing root rot and turning the leaves of your succulent white.

Solution: Use a well-draining potting mix specifically formulated for succulents and ensure your pot has drainage holes. Transplant your succulent into a pot with better drainage if needed.

7. Drought Conditions

While succulents are adapted to withstand drought, prolonged drought conditions can cause them to lose their vibrant color and vigor. It’s essential to provide adequate water even for these resilient plants.

Solution: Water your succulent when the soil is dry to the touch. During the growing season, provide enough moisture to keep the plant healthy. Pay attention to the specific water requirements of your succulent species.

8. High Humidity

Succulents thrive in low humidity conditions. If your indoor environment is too humid, it can lead to issues like white mold or fungal growth on the plant.

Solution: Ensure good air circulation around your succulent, especially if you’re growing it indoors. If you live in a high-humidity area, consider using a dehumidifier or placing your succulents in a room with better ventilation.

9. Poorly Suited Pot

The type of pot you use can also affect the health of your succulent. If the pot is too large or doesn’t have proper drainage, it can contribute to overwatering and other issues.

Solution: Choose the right pot size for your succulent, ensuring it has drainage holes. Repot your succulent if it has outgrown its current container or if the pot doesn’t allow for proper drainage.

10. Use of Tap Water

The minerals in tap water can accumulate in the soil over time, affecting the overall health and color of your succulent. This is especially true if you live in an area with hard water.

Solution: Consider using distilled water or rainwater to prevent mineral buildup in the soil. If you must use tap water, allow it to sit for 24 hours to let the chlorine dissipate before watering your succulent.

Group of succulent plants in small brown plastic pots indoors

How To Restore Your Succulent’s Color

Restoring your succulent’s vibrant color and overall health is a process that requires a combination of the solutions mentioned above. Depending on the specific issues your plant is facing, you may need to employ a multi-faceted approach to rejuvenate your succulent. To help you further, here are some additional tips to consider:

1. Pruning Dead Leaves

When succulent leaves become damaged, whether due to overwatering, fungal infection, or other factors, they often lose their vibrant color and negatively impact the overall aesthetics of the plant. Pruning dead or severely damaged leaves is a crucial step in the restoration process.

To prune dead leaves effectively, use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. Ensure that your cutting tools are sterilized to prevent the spread of disease. Trim the damaged leaves as close to the healthy tissue as possible, but be careful not to damage the healthy parts of the plant. This process will give your succulent a neater appearance and create a more favorable environment for new growth.

2. Repotting in Fresh Soil

If your succulent has been struggling due to poor soil quality, inadequate drainage, or overwatering, it might benefit from repotting in fresh, well-draining soil. This is a crucial step in restoring your succulent’s vitality.

To repot your succulent, gently remove it from its current container, taking care not to damage the roots. Shake off the old soil, and examine the root system for any signs of rot or disease. Trim away any unhealthy roots. Select a well-draining potting mix specifically formulated for succulents, which often includes materials like perlite or sand to enhance drainage. Place your succulent in the new pot, making sure it sits at the same depth as before. Water it lightly after repotting and allow the soil to settle. This process will provide your succulent with a fresh start in a more suitable environment.

3. Encouraging New Growth

One of the most promising signs that your succulent is recovering is the emergence of new leaves or growth. Observing new, healthy leaves is a positive indicator that your plant is regaining its vitality and color.

To encourage new growth, continue to maintain the appropriate care conditions for your succulent. This includes providing adequate light, well-draining soil, and proper watering practices. If your succulent is growing indoors, consider rotating it periodically to ensure that all sides receive an equal amount of sunlight. Additionally, protect new growth from potential pests or diseases by regularly inspecting the plant.

4. Providing Adequate Light

Ensuring your succulent receives the right amount of light is critical for its recovery. While succulents require abundant sunlight, it’s essential to strike the right balance and prevent overexposure to extreme conditions.

Ensure your succulent is placed in a location with bright, indirect sunlight or partial shade. If you live in an area with intense heat, consider using a shade cloth to protect your succulent from excessive sun exposure during the hottest part of the day. If you’re growing succulents indoors, use a grow light with the appropriate spectrum for succulent growth. Position the light source at the right distance from the plant, typically a few inches above the succulent, and provide it with the recommended daily light duration based on its species.

5. Monitoring for Recurrence

After taking corrective actions to restore your succulent’s health and color, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and monitor its well-being to prevent the problem from returning.

Regularly inspect your succulent for any signs of pest infestation, disease, or changes in leaf color. Be observant and attentive to your plant’s needs. If you notice any issues, take swift and appropriate action. This might involve treatments such as organic fungicides, insecticides, or pest prevention strategies. By staying alert and proactive, you can enjoy the ongoing vibrancy of your succulent.

Earthenware pot and freshness leaves of Echeveria plant in white backgroundYayImages

How To Prevent Succulents Turning White

Preventing succulent health issues is often more effective than dealing with problems after they arise. By proactively implementing these preventive measures, you can maintain the vibrancy and vitality of your succulents for years to come. Let’s explore each measure in more detail:

1. Proper Care

From the outset, providing your succulent with proper care is crucial. This encompasses all the essential aspects of its well-being, starting with its initial placement.

Research the light preferences of your succulent species. Place it in a location that mimics its native habitat, whether it’s full sun, partial shade, or bright indirect light. Regularly rotate indoor succulents to ensure even light exposure from all angles.

2. Good Drainage

To prevent overwatering and root rot, one of the leading causes of succulent problems, it’s crucial to use pots with drainage holes and a well-draining soil mix.

Always select pots with drainage holes and opt for a potting mix designed for succulents or cacti. These mixes typically contain materials like perlite or sand, enhancing drainage. Water your succulent thoroughly when the soil is dry to the touch, but ensure excess water can escape through the drainage holes.

3. Adequate Water

Proper watering is an essential aspect of succulent care. Succulents thrive when they receive water when the soil is dry to the touch, but they don’t fare well when left sitting in water for extended periods.

Establish a regular watering schedule based on your specific succulent species and local conditions. Allow the soil to dry out entirely between waterings. Use a moisture meter or perform the “stick your finger in the soil” test to gauge when it’s time to water.

4. Air Circulation

Good air circulation around your succulents is vital to prevent humidity-related problems and deter pests.

If you’re growing succulents indoors, use a small fan or periodically open windows to improve air circulation. For outdoor succulents, make sure they have sufficient space between them to allow for proper airflow.

5. Regular Inspections

Regularly inspecting your succulents for signs of trouble, such as white spots, insects, or color changes, is a proactive approach to maintain their health.

Set aside time for periodic inspections of your succulents. Look for unusual color changes, signs of pests, or any abnormalities on the leaves. Address any problems you discover immediately, whether through pruning, treatment, or isolation of affected plants.

6. Shade Cloth

Using shade cloth in outdoor settings is an effective method to shield your succulents from intense sunlight, especially in regions with scorching heat.

When growing succulents in outdoor garden beds or containers, use shade cloth with varying shading percentages to adjust the level of protection based on your local climate and the needs of your succulent species.

7. Avoid Crowding

Crowding your succulents can create conditions conducive to pest infestations and hinder air circulation.

When planting succulents, provide adequate space between each plant. This not only deters pests but also allows your succulents to grow and develop to their full potential.

8. Fungicide and Insecticide

Consider using organic fungicides and insecticides preventively to avoid common succulent issues.

Research suitable organic fungicides and insecticides that are safe for succulents. Apply them at recommended intervals or as a preventive measure, especially when your succulents are at risk or you’ve had previous issues.

Macrophotography. Succulent from the genus Aloe green in a pot close-up.Texture or background.Selective focus.


Succulents are known for their beauty and resilience, but even these hardy plants can face challenges that cause them to turn white or lose their vibrant color. Understanding the most common reasons for succulent color changes and their respective solutions is key to maintaining a thriving succulent garden.

Remember to be vigilant in providing the right conditions, such as well-draining soil, adequate light, and proper watering practices. Regularly inspect your succulents for signs of trouble and take action promptly if you notice any issues. By following the advice outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can enjoy a stunning collection of colorful succulents that thrive and bring beauty to your home or garden.

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