Why Is the Succulent in My Terrarium Rotting

rotting succulent in terrarium

Are you puzzled by the unfortunate state of your beloved succulent in the terrarium? It seems that it may be experiencing some troubling circumstances.

In this article, we will explore the various factors that could be contributing to its rotting condition. From overwatering to poor drainage, lack of air circulation to pest infestation, and even incorrect lighting, we will delve into the scientific details to uncover the reasons behind this unfortunate dilemma.

So, let's embark on this informative journey and discover how to revive your succulent's vitality.

Overwatering: The Number One Cause of Succulent Rot

You need to be careful with your watering habits because overwatering is the number one cause of succulent rot.

Succulents, with their thick fleshy leaves and stems, are adapted to survive in arid conditions and store water for extended periods. When you overwater them, their roots become waterlogged, leading to root rot. This condition deprives the succulent of oxygen, causing the plant to deteriorate rapidly.

Signs of succulent rot include a soft, mushy texture and a foul smell emanating from the affected areas. The leaves may also turn yellow or brown and start falling off.

To prevent succulent rot, make sure the soil is well-draining and allow it to dry out completely between waterings. Remember, underwatering consequences are easier to manage than the damage caused by overwatering.

Poor Drainage: How Improper Water Flow Can Lead to Rot

Ensuring proper drainage and allowing water to flow freely through the soil is essential in preventing rot, as stagnant water can suffocate the roots.

When it comes to succulents, having the right soil composition is crucial for maintaining adequate drainage. Improper soil, such as dense clay or compacted organic matter, can hinder water movement and lead to waterlogged conditions. This creates an ideal environment for rot-causing pathogens to thrive.

Additionally, dehydration can also contribute to succulent rot. When succulents are deprived of water, they may start to pull moisture from their own tissues, causing them to become weak and susceptible to rot.

Lack of Air Circulation: Why Stagnant Air Can Spell Trouble for Succulents

Stagnant air can have a detrimental impact on the health of your succulents within a terrarium. Air quality plays a crucial role in the overall well-being of plants, and succulents are no exception. In a closed terrarium environment, where airflow is limited, stagnant air can lead to a series of problems for your succulents.

Firstly, it hampers the exchange of gases, restricting the intake of carbon dioxide and the release of oxygen. This can hinder the process of photosynthesis, which is vital for plant growth. Additionally, stagnant air can create a humid environment that encourages the growth of fungi and molds, increasing the risk of diseases.

To ensure the longevity of your succulents, proper terrarium design should include provisions for adequate air circulation to prevent the negative effects of stagnant air.

Pest Infestation: Uninvited Guests That Can Contribute to Succulent Rot

Don't let pests be unwelcome guests in your terrarium, as they can contribute to succulent rot. Preventing pest infestation in succulent terrariums is crucial for the health and longevity of your plants. Identifying and treating common pests in succulent terrariums is essential to keep your plants thriving. Here is a table outlining some common pests, their identification, and treatment methods:

Pest Identification Treatment
Mealybugs Small, white, cotton-like insects Remove with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol
Spider Mites Tiny, web-spinning pests Spray leaves with water or insecticidal soap
Aphids Small, pear-shaped insects Use insecticidal soap or neem oil
Scale Insects Hard, shell-like covering on leaves and stems Remove with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol
Fungus Gnats Small, black flies that hover around the soil Allow soil to dry out and use sticky traps

Incorrect Lighting: How Light Exposure Impacts Succulent Health and Rot Potential

You can prevent succulent rot by ensuring you provide the correct lighting conditions for your plants. Light exposure plays a crucial role in the health and wellbeing of succulents. These plants have adapted to thrive in environments with ample sunlight.

Natural light is the ideal source for succulents as it provides the necessary spectrum of light for photosynthesis. Place your succulents near a window or in an area where they can receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.

However, if natural light isn't available, you can use artificial lighting to supplement their needs. LED grow lights are a popular choice among succulent enthusiasts as they emit the right balance of wavelengths needed for optimal growth. Remember to adjust the distance and duration of light exposure according to the specific needs of your succulent species.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Water My Succulent in a Terrarium?

To prevent root rot in your terrarium succulent, it's important to water it properly. Overwatering is a common cause of rot, so make sure you don't water too frequently. Succulents like to dry out between waterings, so a good rule of thumb is to water only when the soil is completely dry.

Also, choose the right soil for your succulent. A well-draining soil mix specifically designed for succulents will help prevent water from pooling around the roots and causing rot.

What Are the Signs of Overwatering a Succulent in a Terrarium?

If you notice signs of overwatering in your succulent, such as yellowing or wilting leaves, it's important to act quickly to save your plant.

First, remove it from the terrarium and allow the soil to dry out completely.

Check for root rot and trim any affected areas.

Repot the succulent in fresh, well-draining soil, and be sure to adjust your watering schedule to avoid overwatering in the future.

With proper care, your succulent can recover and thrive.

Can I Use Tap Water to Water My Succulent in a Terrarium?

Using tap water to water your succulent in a terrarium has its pros and cons.

On one hand, tap water is easily accessible and convenient.

However, it may contain minerals and chemicals that can harm your plant over time.

To avoid this, you can consider using filtered water for your succulent.

Alternatively, you can explore alternative watering methods such as bottom watering or misting to ensure your succulent stays healthy and avoids rotting.

What Are Some Common Pests That Can Infest Succulents in a Terrarium?

Common pests in terrarium succulents can be a nuisance, but there are ways to prevent them. Some common pests include spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids.

To keep these pests away, ensure your terrarium has proper drainage and avoid overwatering. Regularly inspect your succulents for any signs of infestation and promptly treat affected plants with organic insecticides.

Additionally, keeping the terrarium clean and free from decaying plant matter can help deter pests from taking hold.

How Do I Know if My Succulent Is Getting Enough Light in a Terrarium?

To ensure your succulent thrives, you must understand the delicate dance of light. Like a sunflower reaching for the sky, your succulent needs the right amount of light to flourish.

To choose the right succulent for your terrarium, consider its light requirements. If your succulent isn't getting enough light, it may start to rot.

To adjust the light levels in your terrarium, try placing it near a bright window or using artificial grow lights to mimic the sun's rays.


In conclusion, remember that succulent rot is like a dark cloud looming over your terrarium. Just as overwatering, poor drainage, lack of air circulation, pest infestation, and incorrect lighting can lead to the demise of your succulent, so too can neglect and ignorance cast a shadow on your gardening efforts.

By understanding the underlying causes and taking proactive measures, you can ensure a thriving and vibrant succulent garden that will flourish under your care.


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Author Bio
Emmanuel Orta

Hi, I am Emmanuel, and I love everything about insects, plants and building terrariums.


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