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Why Succulent Colors Change

Colorful Succulents: Why Succulents Change Colors?

Aeonium Kiwi Color Change

Succulent plants will often change their color because of stress. Stress sounds bad, but it is perfectly normal and encouraged if you want that color to pop. Succulents change colors because of 3 variables: Water, Sunlight, and Temperature.


Perfectly watered succulents will almost always lose their color and revert to a plain green. If you are looking for color, consider not watering it so often. If you water once a week and the result is green leaves and foliage, test out watering it every 2 weeks. Not watering a succulent that you know has the potential to be colorful usually leads to a vibrant margin, tip or foliage.

Pink Sunrise Color Change


These plants need sunlight, and providing them with early morning sun and afternoon shade is the ideal situation you want to provide them. If they are indoors near a windowsill or a shady area that doesn’t provide them with enough sunlight, they conserve their energy by turning green. If they get just enough sun they will not stretch, but will lose their color. For more information on caring for succulents indoor click here.

Sedum Confusum Color Change

Ordering succulents online is a great example of this: You order colorful succulents online, they ship to you in a dark box for a few days, you open the box when they arrive it may just look like a pack of green plants. This is perfectly normal, and the solution is sunlight. If you want your succulents to reach their vibrant color potential, simply increase the amount the direct sunlight they get in the morning. Morning sunlight is not as intense as afternoon sunlight so they will not scorch the plant.


Temperature plays such a significant role in the color of your tiny but mighty plants. Pink varieties are a great example of this. In the dead of Winter in Southern California, the pink varieties we have are amazing. When temperatures drop below 70 but stay above 40 degrees for an extended period of time, the pink and red intensify because of “stress.” In Spring, when the weather begins to warm, the colors are less intense. In the Summer months, the foliage looks doesn't pop in color as much.

Kalanchoe Aurora Borealis Color Change

There are many varieties that have dramatic shifts in color change. A few of my favorites are in the images above. One succulent plant I didn't have images of that I love are the Euphorbia Sticks on Fire. This lovely, tall, branching plant is mostly green and yellow in shady areas. Once it gets access to sunlight, it turns a beautiful deep red color.  Be careful if you break off this particular plant for cuttings.  The sap that leaks out from these will irritate and burn your skin.
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