hypertufa planter with brown spent blossoms on sedum

Pruning Off Dead Blooms On Succulents

Pruning off dead blooms on succulents outdoors or indoors can be beneficial for the health and good looks of your plants. About this time of year in Ohio, most of my succulents have a bundle of brown tips and need a “shave and a haircut.”

Late summer is a critical time for succulent gardeners as it marks the transition from the vibrant growth of spring and early summer to the slightly more dormant period before fall arrives.

brown tips on succulents wildly growing

Properly caring for your succulents during this time is essential to ensure their health and prepare them for the changing season ahead. Here are some essential tips for tidying up your succulents in late summer, helping them thrive and remain beautiful year-round.

Remove Dead or Dying Leaves

The first step in tidying up your succulents is to remove any dead or dying leaves. As succulents grow, lower leaves naturally wither and die. These spent leaves can become a breeding ground for pests and diseases if left unattended.

Sedum sexangulare next to hypertufa Easter Basket of eggs

You can gently pluck off the dead leaves with your fingers or use small pruning shears for larger succulents. Be careful not to damage healthy leaves or stems in the process.

When pruning off dead stems and flowers, use clean and sanitized pruning shears or trimming scissors to avoid spreading diseases between plants.

Locate the stem. Follow the stem of the spent bloom down to the base of the plant, where it connects to the main stem or rosette

My nursery pot needs pruning

Make clean cuts close to the stem of the dried flower or rosette without damaging healthy foliage. Be sure your succulents are well-cared for, with appropriate sunlight, well-draining soil, and proper watering to support their overall health and growth.

I always feel like this trimming or pruning makes the plant pout a little bit so I just baby it a little until it “feels” better.

tiny dried flower stalk on edge of planter

Trim Overgrown and Leggy Growth

During the active growth phase of spring and early summer, succulents may put out a lot of new growth, which can sometimes lead to leggy or stretched-out plants. To promote a more compact and aesthetically pleasing form, trim back the overgrown parts.

Use sharp, clean trimming scissors to cut back leggy stems to a desirable length. These are easy to use around succulents and houseplants because of the smaller and longer blades.

Don’t discard the accidental stem cuttings that may occur. You can propagate them to grow new succulent plants!

small dried flowers on succulents in bowl

Watch For Pests and Diseases

Late summer is the time to keep a close eye on your succulents for any signs of pests or diseases. Common pests like mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites can be particularly active during this season.

If you notice any infestations or signs of disease, take immediate action to prevent the problem from spreading. Isolate the affected plant if possible and, if needed, use organic insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat the pests.

For diseases, remove infected areas and avoid over-watering, as many diseases thrive in moist conditions.

dried flower stalks on Angelina sedum

Tidying up your succulents in late summer is a crucial part of their care routine. By removing dead leaves, trimming overgrown growth, addressing pests and diseases, checking for root-bound plants, and adjusting watering habits, you’ll set your succulents up for success as they prepare for the approaching fall season.

Some Succulents Are Better Left With Flowers

Remember that each succulent species may have unique care requirements, so it’s always beneficial to research the specific needs of your plants to ensure their optimal health and beauty year-round.

Not all succulents require deadheading, and some may even benefit from leaving the spent blooms to provide visual interest or food sources for beneficial insects.

Sedum Autumn Joy

I like to leave Sedum “Autumn Joy” and those similar sedums alone for the winter. Those flowers make great snow catchers in winter and enhance your garden.

However, for all of my succulents in containers like hypertufa, I like to clean them up and remove all the small brown stems so that they stay tidy.

crevice garden bowl of succulents

Something like grooming all of your garden planters and pots, plus all those succulents that are in the ground, is so satisfying. I really like how it tidies it all up and makes me feel like tackling another job!

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