Easy to grow and incredibly low maintenance, it’s no wonder succulents continue to be a favourite choice among gardeners, particularly in South Africa. Amassing a cult-like following, this loosely defined group is packed with interest and variety, with options suitable for every gardener. 

Although succulents are most suitable for outdoor growth thanks to their desert-like habitats, they are becoming increasingly popular as indoor plants. Their geometric look adds tons of visual appeal to indoor spaces and they thrive without much attention at all. 

However, this does come with a caveat – sunlight. Most succulents need a full day of direct sunlight to thrive. Anything less and they will begin to thin out and stretch toward the nearest light source, scientifically known as etiolation. Gardeners who attempt to grow succulents indoors will know this issue all too well. 

Unfortunately, there is no way for a succulent to go back to normal once it has stretched. But there is a way to turn one succulent into many new ones that don’t face the same problem. 


Follow these simple steps to fix your stretched succulents:

  • Cut the top part of the stem off where growth is still relatively compact. Remove just below a set of leaves with a sharp craft knife or secateurs. 
  • Cut the rest of the stem into compact sections to propagate or remove individual leaves if you want to grow even more plants. 
  • Leave the top and sections on a piece of newspaper for a couple of days. This allows the wounds to seal, preventing rotting when exposed to moisture. 
  • Plant the top back into the container with fresh succulent soil mix. Root the other sections or leaves on the same mixture, planting out again once plantlets have formed at the base. 

This process not only stops your succulents from looking scraggly, but it also allows you to make even more succulents at the same time. 


Get water-wise with a succulent garden