This article is a complete guide to overwatered succulent solutions. It will teach you how to identify the causes of overwatering and solve these issues through proper care and maintenance of your plants.
This book covers everything from drainage and soil quality to houseplants that are susceptible to overwatering. Inside, you’ll find common issues and how to solve them.
On top of that, there are several case studies in the book with actual solutions. These real-life examples will help you with your own succulents!
This guide is perfect for people who want more information about this topic but do not know where to look or start.
Overwatered succulent Signs:
What to look for The symptoms of being overwatered is very similar to that of under-watered succulents.
They don’t like dry soil either! Sometimes we can misidentify the signs, resulting in a dead plant. To help you understand the problem better, here’s a list of over and under-watered plants:
Brown leaf tips (overwatering) Dark brown or black spots on leaves (underwatering) Tiny yellow dots on leaves (underwatering) Wilting leaves (underwatering ).
Droopy growth (overwatered) Small roots with holes or rot at the base (overwatered) Cracking in the stem/root zone (overwatered ) Soil that stays wet for a long time (overwatered).
The causes of overwatering In this section, we’ll go through all the common reasons why succulents are being overwatered.
If you see your plant experiencing one or more of these problems, then your plant is probably being overwatered.
All plants will experience transplant shock if moved from their original environment (this also includes repotting).
The symptoms include droopy leaves and/or wilt. It’s best to mimic the conditions in their previous pot rather than follow a strict watering schedule.
To avoid transplant shock, you should “harden off” the plant by exposing it gradually to stronger light and less water before transplanting.
Improper drainage: Improper soil drainage can be a major cause of overwatering. If the roots cannot absorb water, you’ll see signs of being overwatered quite quickly as a result.
This is easily fixed with drainage holes in pots or soil substrate that drains well (cactus potting mix).
Poor quality soil: The wrong type of soil can cause problems for succulents. When choosing your succulents, make sure they match the needs of the plant.
For example, cacti require very porous soil, while most aloes prefer a higher organic content in their soil (mixing sand and compost is ideal).
How do I prevent overwatering my succulents?
Here are a few tips to ensure that your succulents stay healthy and happy for long periods of time.
Keep track of watering
: Keeping a schedule will make it less likely to over or underwater your succulents. You’ll see how much the plant needs and when it doesn’t need any more water for a while.
Please don’t wait until the soil is dry: The biggest mistake most people make is waiting too long before watering their plants again, usually after the soil has dried out fully.
The best way to fix this problem is to use an automatic timer that waters your plants for you. You’ll still have control over how much water they get by setting timers for intervals.
Always check drainage: Ensure there’s no standing water in pots, as this can quickly cause root rot! Drainage holes are essential in preventing overwatering.
The best way to check is by sticking your finger in the soil. If you feel moisture, do not water yet, as this could lead to overwatering (unless it’s time for them to be watered!)
‘Hands on’ approach: I prefer hand watering my succulents because it gives me better control over how much they get and allows me to notice when they need more water.
I also use an automatic timer that waters my plants a couple of times per week for 15 minutes at a time. However, you should use whatever works best for you!
When is it OK to let the soil dry out? It depends on the plant, but most succulents can survive being completely dry between watering sessions so long as it’s only for a day or two.
Cactus and succulents with thick fleshy leaves can go much longer without water so long as they aren’t in direct sunlight.
Just remember, if you’ve just transplanted your plant make sure it has enough time to adjust before letting the soil dry out completely.
Don’t use ‘too much’ fertilizer: Fertilizer should be used sparingly on succulents.
While too little is harmful to your plants, too much will lead to nutrient burn and salt buildup. When using fertilizer, follow the instructions carefully!
Transplanting: One common reason why you’ll overwater is that you’re moving them around too often. If you take care of the soil, it will last for several years without any issues whatsoever.
Here are some things to remember when repotting or transplanting succulent plants: Dig a bigger hole than required (at least twice as big) Add 2-3″ worth of drainage rocks Bury the pot deep into the soil Remove the plant from its container Gently remove each bit of root mass from its original pot Mix and re-pot using fresh soil Wait for a few days to adjust to its new environment.
Once you’ve established healthy soil, your plants will be much more tolerant of being moved. Don’t do this too often, and you’ll have far fewer issues with overwatering!
Repotting: Most people don’t like reporting, but it’s actually very beneficial in the long run. A good rule of thumb is every 1-2 years; if the roots fill their pots or grow past their barriers, then it’s time to transplant them.
Always use fresh potting soil when re-potting your succulents. This will result in healthier plants because they’ll get all the nutrients from the compost they usually miss out on.
During the diagnosis of Succulents overwatered, you need to check the following things:
Check for proper drainage of the plant pot. If the plant pot has no hole at all, then temporarily drill a few in the bottom (make sure it’s not located in a place where they might get damaged during watering). After that, drain out water from plant container(s) and see if this helps or not.
If it doesn’t help, your succulents are probably overwatered because they are exposed for a longer time without water. If so, you should try to find out why? Succulents plants are drought tolerant, but overwatering can damage them badly as well, like any other type of plant or more than any other type of plant too.
Tips to solve the issue:
Overwatering is one of the well-known reasons why succulents are dying. Don’t let this happen to you and your succulent plants. Prevent overwatering and ensure proper drainage at all costs. Over time, your soil will become loose enough that you’ll never have overwatering or under-watered issues again.
The only cure for a plant with root rot is complete removal (using gloves) and immediate replanting in proper growing medium/substrate; good drainage is a top priority here!
In case of sudden overwatering, either pour out excess water from the container or immediately remove the plant pot from its place to allow excess water to drain easily that may be trapped in between the roots of the
How do I save overwatered succulents?
Cacti and succulents are pretty easy to fix if they’re being overwatered. While they don’t need to be watered as often as other plants, it’s important to give them proper care when they do receive water.
For example, many people will over-water their plants once or twice a month (if the weather is extremely dry outside).
The soil will stay wet for several days in this case. This can cause root rot or create fungal problems! In short, overwatered succulents must be dealt with quickly.
Here are some simple solutions that you can use to un-do all of the damage:
Remove dead or dying leaves: If your plant has yellow leaves – remove them immediately! Let your plant rest during its recovery period.
You can replace the removed leaves with cuttings later on, to make your plant look fuller. Provide proper drainage: You need to ensure airflow in your pot (if you have a clay pot).
If these methods don’t work, try repotting or putting the succulent in another container and ensure it has enough drainage holes.
Reduce watering frequency: Make sure not to water your plant for several weeks so that the roots fully dry out before re-watering them.
This is easy if you keep your succulents in direct sunlight.
This method works best for cacti and other plants that are “spongy” when wet. Waterlogged soil makes it difficult for them to absorb any water.
In this case, you’ll see them “drying out” temporarily (or puckering up) after watering until they can fully absorb the water again.
How often should I water my succulents? Succulent plants require very different amounts of moisture depending on the species.
They also need to be watered differently depending on whether or not they’re in full sunlight.
Most succulents prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. No matter what, always check for signs of wilt/lack of freshness before watering your plant! If you’re unsure, just hold off for now.
Treating the stem rot:
Stem rot can be a major cause of overwatering, considering how succulents absorb every bit of water from the soil.
Unlikely to happen in non-succulent plants, it often sneaks up on us when we least expect it.
To help prevent stem rot:
Use high-quality soil to maintain high humidity levels early in the day (7a – 10 am), reduce or stop fertilization as soon as you see signs of yellowing leaves. If stem rot becomes too severe, prune away the damaged parts and disinfect with tepid water and bleach solution.
Underwatering is just as bad as overwatering! It’s better to err on the side of caution than to let your plants wilt. But there are ways to tell if your plant is underwatered or not.
Wilting leaves/drooping growth Brown leaf tips (underwatering) Tiny yellow dots on leaves (underwatering).
Soil that stays wet for a short time Cracking in the stem/root zone (overwatered ) Fading flowers and buds Turning color earlier than expected Yellowing leaves Droopy growth Weak stems.
A succulent’s life cycle There are several factors involved in overwatering, including improper care, environment, and plants themselves.
The lifespan of a succulent depends on how well it adapts its lifestyle to the climate.
While some require more water than others, most of them have a relatively short lifespan. But it’s important to understand that some succulents need more attention than others and should never be neglected.
Looking after your overwatered plant If you’re lucky, your succulent may need a little extra love to become healthy again.
Here are some ways to help your plant survive the mighty shock of being overwatered: Don’t let water stand for too long in the saucer or pot (empty and refill often). Soak up excess water from around the area of your plant with old newspaper (after an extreme watering event).
Move your plants into bright light but cool temperatures until they bounce back.
Reduce feeding amount and frequency as signs of recovery begin (you’ll know when the tips of the leaves start to re-green) and move your plants back into a sunny position.
Once you see signs of recovery, you can increase watering amounts again (but overdo it by less than the last time).
Don’t forget about their natural environment: some palms need more water than succulents and vice versa. Be patient – good things come to those who wait. If there’s no change after a few days, then try something else.
Never water your plants in the middle of the day. Never over-water when you’re away!
Water only when needed and wait until signs of wilt start to appear before watering again (this takes a while with succulents). Take hold of the leaves between two fingers and tug at them to determine if they need water.
If it feels dry, wait until next week, but if not, then go ahead and water thoroughly.
How to sow seeds The first step is covering up the drainage hole: use a piece of paper that’s been cut into a circle, or, even better, buy some potpourri trays from craft stores for this purpose (they’ll already have holes in them).
Mix your soil with sand and/or ash to prevent drainage but allow oxygen flow.
Water your soil thoroughly and place it in a warm spot (24c) until the surface becomes dry to touch.
If your seed is still not germinating, try covering the saucer with plastic wrap or placing it in a clear ziplock bag before placing back into a warm spot.
Some seeds need light for germination: if you’re unsure about which ones you have, take out one of your eyes and put it on top of each seed
.If nothing happens within 3 hours, then that means you need to switch on some lights for them. Avoid touching the seeds and keep them covered if possible during this stage.
When you first get them home, plant your succulents in a pot that’s 2-5 times bigger than the root ball. One of the biggest errors in planting is watering too much and not letting the soil dry out properly between waterings.
Don’t be tempted to over-water, as this will lead to rotting roots. If you want a plant to stay small and create a beautiful bonsai effect, don’t let it grow longer than its pot – put some stones or marbles at the bottom of the pot, so they don’t get any big ideas!
Watering schedule Here’s when you should start watering your plants:
The amount of irrigation varies with region, season (rainy vs. dry), and even time of day. If you’re not sure, then check the soil every few days to see if it’s starting to dry out (you’ll notice that the top layer of soil will start to crumble).
If so, water thoroughly until it drains through. Don’t worry about under-watering – this is nearly impossible with succulents!
Sometimes it may seem as though your plants are getting too much water, but most likely, what’s happening is they’re being watered more often than they would receive in their natural environment.
This isn’t a bad thing – just an adjustment period while your plant gets used to its new home. In fact, watering frequently can be good for many types of succulents because it reduces stress and increases healthy growth.
The best time to water your succulents is in the early morning since they are resting during this time and are less likely to be stressed by the handling of watering.
If you have many plants or it’s boiling out, I would advise watering in the evening instead, as hot temperatures (above 30C) will cause most succulents to wilt (gray leaves).
What about over-watering? This may seem contradictory given that I just explained how frequent watering could help grow healthy “bushy” habits in some species, but there are exceptions!
Over-watering is a problem if your plant starts to rot from the roots up or loses its lower leaves. You’ll notice that after watering your plant, the soil will look wet and may even pool at the bottom of your pot.
The best way to tell if you have over-watered is: touch the soil gently with your finger; if it falls apart easily or feels soggy, then you are definitely over-watering!
To fix this isn’t simple and will take a while – I recommend “resting” the plant for a week or two after this happens by removing any leaves that rot off and leaving just one new leaf on each stem.
After that period, water only as needed (when you’re sure there’s no standing water).
Taking care of your succulent plants not being regularised can be hard work but well worth it.
They won’t die from being moved around, don’t need lots of water, and can be difficult to kill as they are completely drought tolerant.
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