Why is My Succulent Growing a Long Stem?

Why is my succulent growing a long stem?

On April 16, my parents gave us a bed of cacti. Upon reaching home, a few of its fuzzy leaves brushed against the car door and fell off. We felt terrible.

Based on our 2021 year-in-plants (demised evergreen bonsai, shriveled succulent, two lost herbs), we feared for this innocent new addition to our collection (one that is still composed mostly of plastic). Nevertheless, we watered the succulent on Sunday the 17th and Sunday the 24th as per its schedule and requested it to remain alive.

On Tuesday the 26th, one of the succulents sprouted a stem.

Succulent Growing Long Stem
Succulent Growing Long Stem


This was exciting! But not necessarily out of the ordinary. Some quick research indicated that a cactus, at times, can produce a flower. So while we were pleased with our results, we went about our business.

Then last night, Saturday, I was shocked to notice that the stem had more than tripled in size in four days. It was a regular stalk.

Succulent with Long Stem
Succulent with Long Stem

I called my parents to share the news. They said the plant was happy. I remained suspicious.

This morning, by 6:30am, the stalk had grown taller and bent all the way to the left. But I forgot to take a photo.

By 10:37am, the stalk looked like this:

Succulent with Long Bent Stem
Why is my succulent growing a long stem?

In just four hours, the stalk bent 180 degrees.

Finally, after coming home this afternoon, at 2:53pm, the stalk was even taller and bent itself back to the left.

Why is my succulent growing a long stem?

Here’s the time-stamped progression.

From some cursory research, it appears my succulent is of the Haworthia genus, also known as the zebra plant. The stem is referred to as an inflorescence that can reach 8″ tall (but mine is currently 24″!) and is adorned with small, pink flowers. Fortunately, Haworthia are not monocarpic (they don’t die once they flower, as some succulents do).

It’s nearly one year later now, and my succulent has bloomed its leggy floral a total of four times. Once the flowers die and fall off, we cut off the long stalk, and the base plant carries on. We hadn’t seen a bloom in months until a few weeks ago. It was a nice, reassuring surprise.

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If you liked this post, you might like this one about crunchy lettuce from a farmstand and this one about a basil plant (that’s no longer with us, sigh).

Brown and red leaves with frost on grass

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    1. Hi! Thanks for reading and commenting! I think so, but it’s moving so fast. It did that in less than a day! It’s about one third bigger now.

  1. Yes. Thankyou. Its very interesting…moreover because we have a Succulent Zebra plant that is doing the same. I bought said plant for pennies tbh so anything is a bonus. It started off in a 5″ pot and since it settled here its really flourished.
    I think of nature lots and tbh I am forever impressed by it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by!

      That’s great that your zebra is flourishing! We just snipped off another long stem — and yet another one sprouted now! Endless entertainment these plants. 🙂

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