Etiolation refers to the abnormal elongation or weakening of plant growth due to lack of sunlight.

In succulents and cacti, etiolation causes the plants to grow leggy, pale, and thin as they stretch towards any available light source. This is an unhealthy condition that indicates the plant is not getting sufficient sunlight to support robust, compact growth. Providing more light exposure can help correct etiolation in succulents and cacti.

Pronunciation: ee-tee-oh-LAY-shun

Etiolation over the course of a year etiolation
Example of etiolation over the course of a year. I neglected this echeveria and it was kept under a shelf and got very minimal sunlight at times. In addition to the extremely long stem, the leaves are curling down to maximize the surface area exposed to the sun.

Click the image below to learn more about the light needs of succulents and cacti.

Guide to succulent light needs etiolation