8 Reasons Why Aeonium Leaves Falling Off

Aeonium leaves falling off can be concerning, but it’s a common issue many gardeners face.

aeonium leaves falling off

 At first, Aeoniums might seem a bit puzzling, but let me tell you, I’ve learned a ton about looking after these awesome plants.

They’ve totally grown on me and become some of my go-to succulents because they’re so chill and dependable.

If your aeoniums are looking a bit down or shedding leaves, don’t worry!

There’s usually a simple fix to get them back to their perky, colorful selves in no time.

Aeonium Leaves Falling Off – Is this Normal?

Aeoniums naturally drop their old leaves from the bottom up, making it completely normal for them to shed leaves as new ones develop.

Unlike other succulents, aeoniums tend to drop or shed old leaves more frequently. These leaves often appear wilted, dried up, and sometimes droopy.

aeonium leaves falling off

If the leaves don’t fall off on their own, they will appear droopy, dried up, and brown at the bottom of the plant.

You can easily remove these leaves or simply wait for them to fall off naturally.

So, if you notice leaves dropping off your aeoniums, there’s usually no cause for concern. It’s just their normal behavior.

Aeonium Leaves Falling Off: Top 5 Causes

1. Dormancy

If your aeoniums have shed most of their leaves, making them look like they are dying, don’t worry!

They are most likely going through dormancy. Unlike other succulents, aeoniums experience active growth during the fall, winter, and spring seasons.

During the summer or hot and dry weather conditions, especially when left outdoors, aeoniums go dormant.

This is when they shed most of the bottom leaves, causing the rosettes to close up and the stems to appear bare.

aeonium leaves falling off

It may look alarming, but this behavior is completely normal for aeoniums, especially those exposed to extreme heat and sunlight in the summer months.

Throughout dormancy, not much activity or growth is expected. It’s crucial to allow the plant to rest during this time.

You wouldn’t want to take stem cuttings from a dormant plant, for instance.

While it’s essential to let the plant rest, you should still provide some water during dormancy, especially in dry and hot climates.

However, if you live in a humid environment, you can opt to withhold watering.

Remember, dormancy can occur at any time as long as aeoniums are exposed to extreme heat and dry conditions.

So, even during a warm fall season or mild summer, aeoniums can still go through dormancy.

aeonium leaves falling off

2. Aeoniums Will Shed Leaves when Under Stress

Apart from dormancy, aeoniums also shed leaves when they are under stress. Stress triggers can include intense heatwaves or underwatering.

If your aeonium’s feeling thirsty and low on energy, it might drop its lower leaves to save up water and energy.

If underwatering continues, the plant will keep shedding leaves, and the rosettes will close up, resembling the dormancy behavior.

Aeoniums appreciate thorough watering. Instead of misting, give them a good drink every 10-14 days or more frequently during warmer months.

Adjust the watering frequency based on the climate you live in. In humid environments, less watering may be necessary.

If you’ve been underwatering your aeoniums and notice signs of distress, simply increase watering, and you’ll see them perk back up almost immediately.

For instance, if you’ve been watering once a month, increase it to once every 2-3 weeks and observe the positive effects.

aeonium leaves falling off

3. Sunburn

Aeoniums thrive in bright and sunny locations, with the ability to tolerate full sun to partial shade.

Leaves that get sunburned look all crispy and dried up, sort of brown and scorched. How bad it gets depends on how much sun they’ve had.

Once they’re sunburned, those spots are there to stay, won’t just fade away. You can remove the sunburned leaves if desired or wait for them to fall off naturally.

If you notice your plant being sunburned, consider moving it to a shadier location.

Don’t worry too much about the aesthetics since sunburned spots on aeoniums are harmless and will eventually be replaced with new growth.

aeonium leaves falling off

4. They Die After Flowering

Most aeoniums are monocarpic, meaning they die after flowering. Aeoniums produce white or yellow flowers that emerge from the center of the rosettes.

Once the flowers finish blooming, the plant dies. However, before flowering, the mother plant usually produces plenty of offshoots, ensuring the survival of the species.

The surrounding rosettes and offshoots will continue growing as long as they don’t flower.

5. Pests

While aeoniums are hardy succulents, they are not immune to pests. If you suspect insects are nibbling on your aeoniums, you might be correct.

In fact, my aeoniums were dealt with pests last year.

If you notice ants hovering around your aeoniums, take a closer look. Ants may seem harmless, but there’s usually an underlying pest infestation occurring.

Ants bring these pests to your plants and protect them, acting as their caretakers. My aeoniums experienced this firsthand.

Despite the infestation, they managed to bounce back, showing their resilience and hardiness.

aeonium leaves falling off

Here are some common pests that can bother your aeoniums:

  • Ants: While not pests themselves, seeing ants crawling on your aeoniums is a clear indication of other pests, such as mealybugs and aphids. These pests secrete honeydew, which ants love. You’ll usually spot ants farming them and transporting them from plant to plant.
  • Mealy Bugs: These pests are particularly fond of aeoniums. They are tiny and often go unnoticed. Look for a white cottony substance on your plants, which is their telltale sign. Mealybugs secrete honeydew, which can promote the growth of mold and make the plant more susceptible to infections. They are slow-moving insects that can be easily recognized and removed if detected early.
  • Aphids: These small, chubby insects come in different colors, with green or black being the most common. They suck on leaves or flowers, often found at the end of stems. Aphids also secrete sugary substances that can lead to the growth of black sooty mold.

To keep these pests at bay, inspect your plant regularly and remove old leaves to prevent hiding spots. If you spot ants, take immediate action.

aeonium leaves falling off

8 Reasons Why Aeonium Leaves Falling Off

To sum up, you can rest assured if you see your Aeonium plants have some leaves falling off, and the center of the rosette remains healthy.

However, there is a checklist of reasons and solutions for you to take a look and take proper action:

  1. Seasonal Changes:
    • Aeoniums are sensitive to seasonal changes, and it’s normal for them to drop some leaves, especially in response to environmental shifts. For example, some Aeonium species are winter dormant, and they may naturally shed leaves during this period.
  2. Overwatering:
    • One of the most common reasons for succulent leaf drop is overwatering. Aeoniums prefer well-draining soil and should be allowed to dry out between waterings. If the soil is consistently wet, the roots may rot, leading to leaf loss.
  3. Underwatering:
    • On the flip side, underwatering can also cause Aeonium leaves to drop. If the plant is not receiving enough water, it may shed leaves to conserve moisture. Ensure that you water the plant thoroughly when the top inch of the soil is dry.
  4. Pest Infestation:
    • Check for pests such as aphids, mealybugs, or spider mites. These can feed on the plant’s sap, causing stress and leaf loss. Treat any pest issues promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil
  5. Sunburn:
    • Aeoniums dig bright light, but not the direct, harsh kind (much like how I fear the scorching in Southeast Asia – it’s painful!). They might get sunburned if they’re under that strong sun for too long, and then the leaves might start dropping. Just ease them into the sun if you’re shifting their spot to a brighter place.
  6. Temperature Extremes:
    • Aeoniums are sensitive to extreme temperatures. If exposed to very high or low temperatures, they may drop leaves as a stress response. Protect the plant from temperature extremes and sudden changes.
  7. Transplant Shock:
    • If the Aeonium has recently been transplanted, it may experience transplant shock, leading to temporary leaf loss. Ensure that the plant is well-watered and receives appropriate care during the acclimation period.
  8. Natural Aging:
    • Like many plants, Aeoniums shed older leaves as part of their natural growth process. If the lower leaves are dropping and the center of the rosette remains healthy, it may be a normal part of the plant’s life cycle.

Remember, caring for aeoniums requires attention and a bit of understanding.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure the health and vibrancy of your aeoniums.