Why Succulents Grow Tall or Stretching? Full guide | Succulents That Grow Tall

As you known, succulent is a different plant when compared to other plants you see everyday. They have unique texture and behavior. Most of the times they are confined to small spaces. But there are some succulents which can grow bigger. Same as some Succulents grow tall and some grow short. In this post, I will explain all about why Succulents that grow tall.

The basic reason for taller succulents are not enough sun light. These tiny plants loves sunlight. more than water they need sunlight. Therefore if thy are not getting enough sunlight they try to get as much as sunlight by growing taller. So there are few thing you can avoid this condition. Next I am going to describe those methods in details.

Are Succulents supposed to grow tall?

Why Succulents Grow Tall or stretching and Succulents that grow tall

For this question, we can say “Yes, some times.” But keep in mind this depends on the variety of succulent that you are growing. Succulents come in different shapes and sizes. So some succulent plants grow tall. But for this process, they need some other necessary ingredients as well. The succulent can be taller when they have flowers, foliage, or stems.

On the other hand some succulents are suppose to stay small. But they grow tall anyhow. When you see these plants, you will figure out that they do not fit into the initial space and need more space.

Why Succulents Grow Tall or stretching?

Most people love to keep succulents as a hobby or do it as a passion. Therefore, people love to keep the succulents inside the house mostly. Whether you like sunlight or not, trees and animals need sunlight to maintain their life cycle. Simply succulents grow tall when they do not have enough sunlight.

Do you know green plants have to go through a process called photosynthesize? Photosynthesizes is a process that green plants go through to make their food. When they have enough sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water, they can convert these energies to food or energy.

Have you seen a succulent grow in an exact direction by any chance? That is, they are seeking sunlight. Like animals and humans, plants also move and, this process is called etiolation. When succulents lack sunlight, they grow in the direction of light. when this happens you can see gaps in between leaves, and it become leggy. This is why Succulents Grow Tall.

Succulents stretching

Is stretching bad for Succulents?

In general, succulents are growing slowly. But it is a common fact that succulents thrive horizontally when you keep succulents at home. But most of the leggy succulents do not have a healthier life. When the plant is leggy, you can see a large gap between the leaves. And leaves are becoming very small, and you can not see the leaves’ regular green color. These leaves become pale with time.

How do I stop my plants from growing taller?

Simply you can keep your succulent near a window, or you can keep your succulent outside for a few hours every week. Or else you can also purchase a special light for succulents and help them gain the necessary light and be healthier. And also, you can propagate the tall stems. You can use a knife or scissors to cut the branches.

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Keep in mind you have to cut the stem from the top of the stretched body. And keep a considerable amount of the plant to grow again. And you have to keep some leaves to continue with photosynthesis as well. When you are have done with propagating, you can keep the plant to have more sunlight and, you can water the plant when it needs.

Well, do not throw the branches or stems that you cut down. You can keep the on a dry surface for a few days, and after some time, you can see new roots are growing. Then you can plant them or keep them on the soil, and You can have more succulents by doing this procedure.

How to trim tall succulents

If you think your succulent is too tall, of course, you can trim it. You have to find a scissor that is easy to handle and cut the stems from the plant’s top. Keep in mind to leave three to four leaves because the plant needs to grow again. You can plant cuttings that you have cut down later. It will grow roots in 2-3 weeks. Make sure to use the right soil mix and good light.

Please keep them in good conditions and arrange them properly before planting to keep them healthy.

_How to Keep Succulents Small and manageable_ Simple Guide infographic

Do succulents grow and get bigger?

There are so many species of succulents that you can see. Some succulents grow taller and bigger, and some are not. Specifically, we can not say all succulents develop and get bigger. It differs.

What to do with succulents that grow too tall?

Simply, You can trim your succulent, and you can plant the stems that you have cut. I think now you have good idea Why Succulents Grow Tall. now lets see Succulent plants that Grow Tall.

Succulent plants that Grow Tall

1. Fishhook Barrel or Compass Barrel

How can you recognize the fishhook barrel? When you see the same, you can see the shape is like a barrel, and it is thick surrounded by spines as well. And at the top of the Succulent Plant, you can always see red or yellow flowers along with yellow fruits. You can see these fishhook barrels mostly in desert areas. At first, these have been found in south-central Arizona and Mexico.

Approximately fishhook can go around 2 to 4 feet tall, but sometimes it can be taller until 6 to 10 feet tall as well. These plants can live about 50 to 100 years. The fact is fishhooks are keeping water inside them as oxalic acid.

Fishhook Barrel or Compass Barrel

2. Golden Barrel Cactus

The botanical name of the Golden barrel cactus is Echinocactus grusonii. The shape of the plant is like a ball surrounded by spines. The native area of these plants is Mexico, SW United States. They will grow approximately 3 ½ to 4 feet and 2 feet wider as well. In summer, you can see a yellow flower at the top of this cactus.

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When you try to grow this at home, their growth is prolonged. People call this plant a “mother-in-law cushion,” too. The life span of the golden barrel cactus will be over 100 years.


3. Ocotillo

When it comes to Ocotillo, It is one of the tallest succulents in the desert, and this grows as a shrub. When you see an Ocotillo, there are so many branches straight towards the sky. You can see some red flowers on top of the Ocotillo. The exciting fact is Hummingbirds are the best friends of these plants. They suck nectar from the flowers regularly. Ocotillo can develop up to 20 feet tall, and their life span is approximately 60 to 65 years.

People use many names for Ocotillo, Candlewood, Slimwood, Coachwhip, Vine cactus, Flaming sword, and Jacob’s staff.


4. Palmer’s Agave

This succulent is also native to Arizona. Palmer’s Agave has fleshy leaves with 2.5 inches of spines, and leaves develop to approximately 4 feet tall. The flowers of Palmer’s Agave is pale yellow and green. After the flowers, you can see a green fruit filled with nectar, and this fruit is attracting all insects and birds.

The leaves of Palmer’s Agave were made with fiber. Palmer’s Agave approximately lives for 15 to 20 years, But there are more than 250 species in Agave, and sometimes their life span can be changed. The fact is most of Palmer’s Agave start to die when they bloom flowers.


5. Saguaro

Saguaro is native to the Sonoran desert. These are large in size, and when they get older, you can see branches are dividing as well. Like all other cactus, Saguaro is also covered with spines, and you can see white flowers on top of the stems and red fruits in summer.

Saguaro can be killed by cold weather and frost, So these need a perfect temperature and water to have a good life cycle. If Saguaro can have an excellent environment to grow, it can live around 150 to 200 years approximately. When it comes to growing Saguaro, it grows slowly, and the fully grown plant is about 40 to 60 feet tall.


6. Hedge Cactus/Queen of the Night

Hedge Cactus or Queen of the Night was found in Brazil, and this is also covered with black and grey spines all around. It is easy to care about this plant without any problem. You can see Hedge cactus as bushes. If you want to propagate these plants, it is easy, and you can do the same with stems or seeds as well.

Hedgehog Cactus

7. Senita, Old Man Cactus or Whisker

Sentia or pachycereus schottii is native to Arizona and northern, western Mexico. Pachycereus schottii has many common names such as Old Man Cactus, Whisker cactus, Totem pole cactus. Senita has 5 to 10 stems for a plant, and they have very sharp spines except the flower producing stems called “Mature.” Mature stems have grey bristly spines and see flowers from April to August in a year.

You can see a greenish-white outside of the flower and slightly pink inside the same when it has flowers. The impressive fact is this is grown as a shrub without a trunk. You can see a few stems when it has fully grown, surrounded with spines. Pachycereus schottii can develop up to 20 feet In general.

Old man cactus

8. Hedgehog Cactus

Hedgehog Cactus is native to Mexico and the western United States. The shape of the Hedgehog Cactus is like a cylinder or barrel-shaped. This succulent is short, spiny, and it grows slowly. When it is spring, you can see beautiful flowers on top of the branch with various colors. This plant can grow for 20 inches maximum. The fruit of Hedgehog Cacti is edible to everyone who enjoys it. Hedgehog Cacti can live for 200 years full.

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9. Arizona Fish Hook Cactus

Mammillaria grahamii or Mammillaria microcarpa is the scientific name of the Arizona Fish Hook Cactus. People use Graham’s nipple cactus as a common name for the same. This succulent is native to west California, Arizona, and Mexico. Arizona Fish Hook Cactus is quite common, but it is tiny in size. It can be visible when flowers are blooming with light and dark pink, and you can see thin, red fruits as well.

The spines of Arizona Fish Hook Cactus are short, but you can count the spines if you want. The height of the plant goes up to  5 inches to 8 inches approximately. Arizona Fish Hook Cactus also can live around 50 to 100 years.

10. Burbank’s Spineless Cactus

Luther Burbank was introduced more than 60 varieties of spinless cactus to the world. Burbank’s Spineless does not have a native geographical, natural environment because this is a hybrid plant by a man. Mr. Burbank has made spineless cactus by the crossing of Indian fig and Mexican prickly pear. He wanted to reduce the spines and find an excellent fleshy fruit which edible for both humans and cattle.

In 1904 he tried to keep Burbank’s Spineless Cactus in the desert, and it was succeeded. Burbank’s Spineless Cactus can go up to 10 to 12 feet. When it is the summer, you can see a large orange flower on top of the stem, And the leaves are like paddles. When it comes to Burbank’s Spineless Cactus, there are mainly two types. They have grown one for fruits and plants’ pad is edible for human consumption as well. It is called “thalli or nopalitos.”

Frequently asked questions.

Is dragon fruit a succulent?

Dragon fruit is a cactus, and all the cactus are succulents. But all the succulents are not cactus. Yes, Dragon fruit is succulent.

indoor succulents that grow tall

Burro’s tail, Zebra cactus, Aloe vera, Senecio Serpens, Adromischus christatus, Adromischus maculatus. Kiwi aeonium. we think now you have idea on why Succulents Grow Tall

succulent growing tall instead of wide

These are few succulents that grow taller than wider. Ocotillo, Palmer’s Agave, Saguaro. Senita.

large succulents for landscaping

These are few succulents for landscaping. Agave, Foxtail agave, Boutin blue, Tree Aloe, Golden barrel cactus

About author

I’m Dr. Chamika, As a hobby love talking about plants and showing you that taking care of indoor plants. My website is knowledge I’ve learned over the years and continue to learn about growing succulents. If you’re a succulent lover, then you have come to the correct place.