Succulents are definitely resilient, but just like other plants, they can also wilt. Withering can be due to different factors such as too little or too much water, lack or too much sunlight, extreme temperatures, and pests. If you see that your succulent plants are experiencing this problem, you should consider pruning them.

Pruning helps maintain the beauty of your succulents. It also helps divert the nutrients into the healthier parts of the plant, which guarantees its survivability. If your plant has pests, the immediate removal of the infested area can prevent its spread too.

Here are the tips you should remember when pruning your succulent plants:

1. Prepare a Clean and Sharp Knife or a Pair of Pruning Shears

The main tool that you will need for this is a knife or a pair of pruning scissors. We highly recommend using pruning shears to make everything easier for you. Of course, wear gloves for the added protection of your plant and hands.


Before anything else though, see to it that the blades of the pruning shears are sharp enough to ensure a clean cut on the part of the plant that you are trying to remove. Dull blades may cause a lot of damage to the stem and the cells of the plant, which may lead its wound to rot. Use a whetstone or an industrial blade sharpener to maintain the sharpness of your cutting tool.


The blades should be clean as well. A dirty pair of shears can introduce fungi and bacteria to the open wound of the succulent, which may result in diseases. They should be free from rust as well to avoid contamination.

You may use ethanol or isopropyl alcohol for sanitizing your cutting tool. Rubbing alcohol with at least 70% of alcohol content is ideal. These can easily be purchased in variety stores or drugstores.

Another effective cleaning tool is bleach. Prepare a container and fill it with nine parts water and one part bleach to dilute its acid content. Use it to clean your shears.

Rust Removal

If you notice some sort of reddish or yellowish-brown flaky coating on the surface of your blades, these may be indications of rust build-up. Simply rub the rust off with sandpaper or you can just utilize your sharpening tool for it.

2. Cutting the Withered Parts of Succulent Plants

When cutting dead or withered leaves, make sure that you make a clean cut at the base of each leaf where it connects to the stem. Be extra careful so you do not damage the crown or the center of the plant when you are pruning a rosette succulent.

If the damage comprises the whole stem or branch of the plant, and all the leaves on the area are already wilted, that means you should remove a larger portion of the succulent. To do this, locate an inflamed leaf node under the withered region of the succulent. Make the cut one-fourth inch above the node.

3. More Tips

Check out our earlier article detailing tips on how to revive withering succulents for more ways to successfully bring back the health of your plants or our guide on how to remove mealybugs if they are experiencing pest infestation.

About the author
Giancarlo Perlas
A freelance writer who loves cars, sports, carpentry, and gardening. Check him out on Twitter at @giancarloperlas and Pinterest at Succulent Shaman.

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