If you’ve noticed your succulent shooting up a tall stalk covered in blooms, you may be puzzled by this change in growth. Typically, succulents stay compact with their thick leaves pressed close to the ground. So why the sudden vertical growth? Read on to learn why your succulent is blooming on a stem and how to care for it in this condition.
Understanding Succulent Blooms
Growing a long, erect stem with a cluster of flowers on top is many succulents’ natural blooming habit. It allows them to showcase and spread their blossoms.
This blooming stem is known as an inflorescence in botanical terms. The specific structure depends on the succulent variety:
Echeveria and Aeonium form arching pink stalks covered in dainty flowers.
Agave sends up a gigantic center stalk up to 30 feet tall!
Kalanchoe produce tall stalks with hundreds of tiny blooms.
Haworthia grow slender stems with white orchid-like blossoms.
So in essence, the tall stalk is just the succulent flowering. This is a sign of maturity as the plant enters its reproductive stage.
Why Do Succulents Bloom?
Succulents typically bloom in late winter to early summer, with some species blooming in fall. But what triggers succulents to send up that sudden bloom stalk? Here are the main factors:
Maturity : Most succulents must reach a certain age and size before having enough energy to bloom. It may take 3 to 10 years.
Day Length : The increasing days of spring trigger hormones that initiate blooming in many succulents.
Temperature : Warmer temperatures of spring and summer tell the plant it’s go time for flowers.
Light Exposure : High light prompts blooming in some succulent varieties. Sun-stressed plants tend to bloom more.
Pruning : Removing the rosette or top leaves can initiate the bloom response.
So in summary, maturation and ideal seasonal conditions send signals to the succulent that it’s ready to reproduce.
Caring for a Blooming Succulent
To support your succulent during this flowering period, follow these care tips:
Keep in bright, direct light to fuel the blooming process.
Don’t skimp on water. The bloom stalk has high needs.
Stake tall bloom stalks for support if needed.
Remove faded blooms to encourage further bud development.
Expect leaves to thin out or drop off as energy goes to blooms.
Prune stalk once done blooming to encourage compact growth.
Overall, mostly continue your usual care regime while giving it a boost of sun and water. Enjoy this temporary tall, flowering display before your succulent returns to its rosette form.
Problems With Succulent Bloom Stalks
Sometimes succulent inflorescences run into issues. Watch for these potential problems:
Leggy, weakened stalks from lack of sun.
Wilting or dying from underwatering.
Toppling over or snapping from lack of support.
Failure to bloom due to low temperatures or premature removal.
Rots from overwatering in low light.
Modifying care and providing support minimizes these risks. Let the bloom develop fully before cutting it if desired.
Will Succulents Die After Blooming?
Fortunately, most succulents do not die after blooming contrary to myth. However, here are exceptions:
Some Agave species are monocarpic, meaning they die after the massive final bloom.
Sempervivum form offsets to carry on before their rosettes bloom and perish.
Aeonium arboreum often declines and dies off after flowering.
Otherwise, common succulents will live on for many years post-bloom. Cut back the flower stalk and resume normal care.
Will My Succulent Bloom Again?
Given proper conditions, most succulents will bloom again, though unpredictably. Here are some factors:
Mature plants bloom more consistently year after year.
Some varieties bloom annually in seasonal conditions.
Stress can delay reblooming. Make sure to meet the plant’s needs.
Fertilize lightly to help it regain energy to bloom again.
So while blooming is not guaranteed annually, you can expect repeats if you care for your succulent well post-flowering.
Should I Remove Succulent Bloom Stalks?
This is an aesthetic choice. The stalks can be unsightly once flowers drop. But leaving them may encourage a quicker repeat bloom. To remove:
Wait until the bloom is fully finished.
Cut the bare stalk off at the base where it meets the top of the plant.
Resume normal care to regrow the rosette.
For tall, top heavy stalks, removal helps prevent toppling and damage to the main plant.
Flowering on long, vertical bloom stalks is natural for maturing succulents. Bright light, warm temperatures, and high water needs support blooming. While the leggy stalks are temporary, don’t sacrifice your succulent’s normal care in this phase. With the right conditions post-bloom, most succulents will return to normal growth and even rebloom again someday. So enjoy those flowers as a sign of your thriving plant!