How To Rescue Overwatered Succulents

Various types of succulents arranged beautifully in a rectangular plastic container.

Overwatered succulents that are dying are very challenging to rescue. But most of the time, some parts of them can still be saved and propagated to start a new beautiful plant.

Succulents have unique characteristics, such as to store water in their stems and leaves. These plants can often survive long drought or extremely arid environments.

However, water is essential for every plant’s health, and just like others, succulents do require water. Succulents love to drink water too, and when drained, you’ll notice some indications they need more.

On the other hand, succulents start to have a puffy looking stem and leaves when they are over watered.

Realizing this, there might be panic thinking about what you did wrong and try everything to rescue the plant. But some leaves will keep falling, and your succulents are gradually dying.

Early detection will make it easier to save the plants, and how much you can save your succulents depends on the severity of damages the plants incurred.


Signs You Have Overwatered Your Succulents

Four leaves of a succulent fall naturally from the stem due to overwatering.
Image by: thesucculenteclectic.com

Succulents have fascinating features, vibrant colors and versatile characteristics that will surely add style and elegance to your home.

To enjoy the beauty and charm of succulents, you need to know how to care and keep them healthy.

If you are new to growing succulents, it might be hard for you to tell if your plants are dying due to under or over-watering.

You may try to Google and with tons of information in the online world, you might still be left guessing and unsure what was wrong with your lovely plants.

Some indications are sometimes hard to read. An under-watered succulent often displays an appearance identical to an overwatered plant.

By looking at the appearance of your succulents, you’ll be able to conclude if the plants are not feeling well.

But how do you know the reasons behind their unhealthy shape?

Healthy succulents usually store water and nutrients available in the soil, yet overwatering causes the storage of your plant to burst.

You’ll be able to notice this occurring when the leaves of your plants start to show discoloration, and gradually becoming translucent.

The plant starts to lose its firmness looking soft and mushy. Saving an overwatered plant is possible but very challenging.

However, if your plants suffer from such conditions for too much time, bringing them back to life is impossible.

Another way to not lose your plant entirely is to save some healthy leaves from it and try to propagate and grow brand new plants.

Overwatered succulents are:

Overwatered succulent with swelling leaves filled with black stains due to overwatering in a black plastic container.

  • Soft and mushy

Some people are confused about finding their plants have soft, mushy leaves that sometimes appear slightly withered. They can’t tell whether their plant is being over or under- watered.

Too much water absorption will make the plants weak and unhealthy. They will display an overall sick appearance telling you they are suffering within.

  • Older leaves turning yellow

If overwatering continues, you will find their leaves turning yellow gradually, and when the roots start to rot, you will see leaves turning black.

Rotting usually starts from the center of the plant and works its way up. You will find the plant is already decaying because of the invading fungal diseases due to overwatering.

  • Soggy

When the leaves of your plants start falling, it is also an indication your succulents are overwatered.

Overly drenched leaves swell, causing them to fall easily, particularly when you touch them slightly.

How To Tell If Your Succulents Needs Water

  •  Wrinkly

An under-watered plant will display an indication of dryness as storage continues to run low. The plant will begin to wither and look droopy, depending on the severity of water deprivation.

  • Upper leaves getting wilted

Succulents usually try to conserve energy for prolong survival by dropping leaves when water starts running low from storage.

The bottom leaves dry out first, and if not watered within such condition, leaves will turn brown and dries up completely, resulting in a plant’s death.

  • Leaves lose plumpness and firmness

Another indication that your succulents are under-watered is when you’ll notice they lose their plumpness and firmness and sometimes look like flattened leaves.

The plant relies on the stored water and nutrients, and when spent, the once plumped and firmed leaves start to display dryness.


How To Rescue Overwatered Succulents

An overwatered succulent with translucent mushy leaves in the lower stem in a plastic container pot.
Image by: succulentsbox.com

Like others, succulents display signs of their health. If your plants are showing any symptoms specified above after adhering to a watering schedule, it means they are overwatered.

Finding your plant’s undesirable condition at an early stage will give them a bigger chance to survive.

Overwatered succulents for some time will likely succumb to rot, and if damage has developed immensely, there’s nothing you can do to save it.

Here is the step-by-step guide on how to rescue your dying succulents:

  • After finding some leaves are starting to rot, remove the plant from the container and wash off wet soil holding onto the roots.
  • Allow the plant to dry off completely.
  • Amputate the rot if the infection is not severe, and there will still be a higher possibility to survive.
  • Make sure to disinfect your cutting blade before using it with a 70% denatured alcohol.
  • Remove the rotting portions until you find them clear from infection.
  • Place the newly treated plants in the spot where it gets bright light and good air circulation.
  • Allow the wounds to dry and heal, then try re-potting it in a fast-draining mix designed for succulents.
  • Leave the newly re-potted succulents for about a week or two without water.
  • Discard all infected portions removed from the plants.
  • Make sure to disinfect the tools you used along with the work area. You can either use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide solution when cleaning to prevent the spread of possible disease.
  • Avoid adding contaminated portions into your compost, and make sure to discard them properly.
  • Mist the plant when the soil feels dry, and keep it away from direct sunlight until the roots are fully established to avoid possible sun damage.

How and When to Water Succulents

Learning how to water your succulents is of no use without getting the right soil for succulents. These plants require the fast-draining mix that contains aggregate and perlite allowing oxygen to penetrate deep down into the roots.

There are lots of potting mixes available in the market today, and you can make your own too. There is no perfect mix for succulents.

The mixture differs depending on the growing environment and the types of plants you want to grow.

The key to growing succulents successfully is to have a fast-draining soil and by making sure the plants aren’t sitting in waterlogged soil.

Paying attention to the condition of your potting soil is essential if you wish to enjoy the beauty and charm of your succulents at your home.

Outdoor plants usually demand more water than indoor plants, and the growing environment can tell how frequent you need to water your succulents.

  • Soil plays a vital role to ensure your plants get the water they require.
  • Give your succulents an adequate amount of water by saturating the roots deeply. However, make sure to remove excess water and do not water again until the soil is 90% dry.
  • Make sure to run a soil finger test to see if the soil dries out completely before watering again. You should feel the soil dry and warm.
  • Check the soil regularly to avoid under or over-watering. If you find the soil is moist, do not water the plant. Instead, wait for another week.
  • Succulents need more water when the plant is growing in the early spring. However, the amount of water they require may lessen in the summer.
  • In winter months, when they are in a dormant period, succulents require a very minimal amount of water.
  • You may need to water your plants once in winter, but make sure to do it sparingly.
  • You also need to evaluate the light your plant gets with the growing environment.  Also evaluate the container size when considering watering your succulents.
  • Growing your succulents in a larger container may not require constant watering. The soil in big containers retains more moisture than small and shallow pots, which is why they may require frequent watering.

Provide Ideal Soil For Succulents

Repotting aloe vera plant from white ceramic container to an orange plastic container.
Image by: hgtv.com

Here are the three main components of an ideal soil for your succulents.

  1. The soil should contain nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.
  2. It should provide excellent aeration for the roots to fully establish.
  3. It can retain just the right amount of soil moisture the plants need.

Getting the ideal soil for your succulents is also an essential factor you need to consider once you’ve figured out how to water them correctly.

  • Succulents prefer fast-draining soil, whether you opt to grow hardy or annual varieties.
  • Replace the soil when you transplant succulents to ensure they get a potting mix that drains well.
  • Remember that the type of soil you will use for your succulents matters a lot when it comes to watering.
  • Sitting your plants in the potting mix that holds excessive water can make them suffer from drowning.
  • Succulents typically love to get a good drink of water, yet require adequate time to dry out.
  • To mimic their natural conditions can make your succulents thrive and flourish.

Final Thoughts On How To Rescue Overwatered  Succulents

Growing succulents at home will allow you to form a relationship with the plants. It is also best to know that the plant’s health lies at how you provide the right soil and correct watering.

However, learning the right way how to care and keep them healthy is essential or else, you are killing them unknowingly with your kindness.

Often, the problem begins when you start to water them frequently without understanding when they need water and when they don’t.

Succulents feature cells that hold moisture from the soil. They take up moisture until fully hydrated and gradually utilize the stored moisture while growing.

When fully hydrated, they start to showcase their extraordinary charm and character. Many people take advantage of their beauty by arranging them uniquely, making them one of their favorite displays.

Other people also think that succulents need very little or do not need water, which leads to many deaths due to severe dehydration.

Treating them like common plants that depend on amended soil often leads to their untimely deaths.

Like others, the lowest part of your succulent leaves normally withers and drops. However, when the uppermost leaves are drying and showing indications of rot, it is a sign that the plant is gradually dying due to overwatering.

Remember that most succulents originate in a habitat with occasional rain and thrive in the loose and sandy type of soil.

Also, learn to understand how they communicate with you silently through their appearance.

They will tell you clearly how they feel within, particularly when they need a good drink, and avoid watering them just because you want to.

About Benita Abucejo

Hi there! My name is Benita Abucejo. What can I say? I truly love spending my days in the outdoors, specifically in the garden. Gardening has always been a strong passion of mine since I was a little girl. It has brought me so much joy and happiness that it is definitely safe to say that I will be a gardener for life. For a period of time, I was able to work with people who are into home gardening and I found it to be quite beneficial to my physical health, as well as my mental well-being. Here at Seasonal Preferences, I am going to share with you my experience and ideas so that you can fulfill yourself with the same satisfaction and happiness. Of course, if you have ideas, I would love to hear those as well! Being creative in the garden can really be quite fascinating so let's share our experiences and be the best gardeners we can be. With that being said, thank you for dropping by and please leave me a comment on one of my posts if you would like to get in touch!

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