One of the biggest mistakes that succulent growers and beginners make while growing succulents is they overwater them. Succulents are drought tolerant plants that don’t need or want too much water. Overwatering succulents is very dangerous, and basically once a succulent is overwatered, root rot will then occur.
Root rot is the #1 most common reason why a succulent will die. Overwatering a succulent simply leads to root rot. This is why it’s much better to have your succulents under watered than being overwatered. It’s much much easier to fix an underwatered succulent than an overwatered succulent.
So what happens when a succulent is overwatered? Can you fix an overwatered succulent? Will an overwatered succulent die? By the end of this article you will know the exact answers to these questions!
Can you Save an Overwatered Succulent?
The answer is yes, you can save an overwatered succulent however, it’s not easy and you will have to take action immediately and follow proper steps. It also depends on how bad the root rot is. If the root rot is really bad then you most likely will not be able to save the overwatered succulent.
If the root rot is really bad and the succulent dies completely, you can save the leaves or the stem. You can then propagate those leaves and the stem to produce another healthy succulent. For information on how to propagate succulents, check out our article.
Signs/Symptoms of an Overwatered Succulent
There are a couple of signs/symptoms your succulent will show if it is overwatered. Those signs and symptoms would be mushy leaves, rotting leaves, leaves falling, moldy soil, smelly soil, and just an unhealthy or dying looking succulent. The leaves will also look yellow, pale, or even lack color.
This is all happening because the succulent has been overwatered and it has root rot. The succulent will just look like it’s very sick or that it’s just rotting and dying. Mold and bacteria have attacked the roots making the succulent look like it’s dying or sick.
Sometimes growers get confused if their succulent is under watered or overwatered. Remember dry/wrinkled leaves are common signs of underwatering, and mushy, moldy, pale leaves are signs of overwatering.
When you unpot the succulent you will see that the soil is filled with mold and bacteria. This is why your succulent looks like it’s dying. Again, that mold and bacteria has attacked the roots of the succulent giving it root rot. Root rot has occurred because the succulent was overwatered, giving mold and bacteria a chance to occur.
Signs/Symptoms of a Rotting Succulent/Stem Rot
A rotting succulent will have nasty black decay on its leaves and on its stem. The stem will look black, brown, mushy, and just very unhealthy. If you see this on your succulent then the succulent is rotting all because of overwatering. If you don’t take action and treat it immediately then the succulent will end up dissolving and dying.
The stem will also feel very squishy and gross, this isn’t good. You will need to take action immediately so you can save the succulent. The leaves will also fall off because of the rot starting at the meristem where tissue develops. This is why the whole succulent is very weak and is dying.
So how do we fix an overwatered succulent? Let’s find out!
How to Fix an Overwatered Succulent
First thing first is to not panic. Depending on how fast you caught the overwatered succulent will determine if you can even fix the overwatered succulent. If you just noticed all the signs/symptoms that we listed then your succulent will be fine and will survive. If your succulent looks destroyed as in it lost all of its leaves or just looks dead completely then there’s no chance unfortunately. Most of the time succulent growers will notice it before root rot actually takes over and kills the overwatered succulent.
Steps to Save Overwatered Succulent
First you will need to unpot the succulent. You can do this by gently grabbing the stem of the succulent and the bottom of the pot. Pull on the succulent very gently so it can come out of its pot. If the succulent is not budging then stop pulling. If this happens then you will need to dig it out with your hands or a small shovel. When getting the succulent out of its pot make sure that you bring out the entire root system on the succulent. Make sure that the root system stays on the plant!
After you get your succulent out of its pot then set it out a paper towel so it can dry. You will have to let the succulent sit out without any water for about 1-5 days or until the roots are completely dry.
While waiting for the roots to dry it’s best to buy some fast/well draining succulent soil. You must also clean the entire pot, getting the soil out completely and throwing the old soil away. Clean the pot so there’s no soil left.
Do not water the succulent after planting, you must let it sit with no water for about 3 days. Once 3 days have passed go ahead and water the succulent, but make sure to not overwater it. Just water it for about 10 seconds or until water leaks out of the bottom of the drainage hole.
Will its Leaves Grow Back?
Yes, as time goes by the leaves will definitely grow back however, it’s up to you. You have to make sure to continue to grow this succulent healthy, giving it proper sun and water. To make the leaves grow faster you can use seaweed fertilizer.
How to Save a Rotting Succulent From Overwatering
First you will need to cut some leaves off and the stem. While doing this, make sure to avoid all areas that have mold, bacteria, or rot on them. If you try to propagate a leaf or cutting with rot on it it will just die.
You will also need to replace the oil rotting soil with fresh new fast/well draining succulent soil. Make sure to also clean the pot so that no soil is left over whatsoever. Once you have fresh new soil and a clean pot then it’s time for propagation.
Basically the rotting succulent is dead, but not really. You still have the leaves and a beautiful rosette to work with. However those leaves or rosette are not rooted, so you will have to propagate and root them.
To do this you must make sure that your leaves or stem form a callus before planting. After cutting the leaves or stem let them sit out for about 2-5 days or until a callus forms. Once a callus forms then go ahead and plant the leaves and stem into fast/well draining succulent soil.
Make sure to grow them in shade for the first week, and then move to full sun and give them sun for about 4 hours a day. Avoid too much sunlight and of course overwatering. After about 2 weeks the stem and leaves will root, and then just keep a regular watering and sunlight schedule on the rooted leaves and stem.
How to Avoid Overwatering a Succulent
To avoid overwatering a succulent you will need to use fast/well draining succulent soil, use a pot with a drainage hole, and you will need to make a perfect watering schedule that avoids overwatering.
Use Fast/well Draining Succulent Soil
Fast/well draining succulent soil is very important if you want to avoid overwatering. If succulents need 1 thing to survive it’s fast/well draining succulent soil. Fast/well draining succulent soil drains the excess water keeping the soil dry and not wet for several days.
If you don’t use fast/well draining succulent soil then the soil you use will stay wet for several days. Once soil stays wet for several days, this gives mold and bacteria a chance to grow. That mold and bacteria then attacks the roots of the succulent giving it root rot. Fast/well draining succulent soil simply prevents overwatering and root rot. It drains the excess water so the soil doesn’t stay wet for several days.
We recommend using 'Ramsey Succulent Soil'.
Ramsey Succulent Soil has ingredients such as perlite, sand, and seaweed. Perlite and sand are known as the best ingredients out there if you want your soil well-drained. The perlite and sand will soak up all the excess water that your succulent does not need, preventing the soil from staying soaking wet for several days. So yes, Ramsey Succulent Soil will prevent mold/bacteria and root rot (the #1 most common reason why a succulent will die) simply because there will be no excess water.
That's not all tho.
What makes Ramsey Succulent Soil arguably the best are the nutrients that's in the soil. These nutrients will help your succulents grow bigger, faster, and healthier.
Ramsey Succulent Soil has seaweed fertilizer, which has 60 trace minerals and nutrients. Yes, your succulents will be absorbing 60 trace minerals and nutrients. This will make your succulents grow bigger, faster, and healthier without a doubt. Compared to other succulent soil, this succulent soil will make a huge huge difference for your plants. Don't believe us? Check out this picture below. You can definitely tell which succulent soil is better for your succulents.
Use a Succulent Pot With a Drainage Hole
It's important to use a succulent pot with a drainage hole. This will allow the excess water to drain out of the bottom of the drainage hole, keeping the soil dry and preventing overwatering and root rot. It's very important that your succulent pot has a drainage hole, most experience succulent growers know that having a succulent pot with a drainage hole is a must when growing any succulent. If your succulent pot doesn't have a drainage hole no problem! Check out our article on how to grow succulents in pots without drainage holes.
Water 1-2 Days a Week
To avoid overwatering a succulent, it’s best to water the succulent 1-2 days a week or when the soil looks or feels very dry. If the soil looks or feels very dry then you should give the succulent water so you avoid under watering. Simply dig your finger into the soil, if the soil feels very dry then go ahead and water the succulent.
Keep Track of Watering
It’s very very important to keep track of the exact last time you watered your succulent. This helps prevent an overwatered succulent because you know the exact last time you watered it. You won’t overwater it because you know when the last time was!
Succulent Rot in Black Echeveria
Black echeverias are very well known to get overwatered. Nobody knows why but for some reason this succulent just always experiences overwatering. When growing this succulent you will realize that its leaves do tend to fall off a good amount. This is totally normal because it’s very sensitive to rot and overwatering.
To make sure this succulent avoids over watering just make sure you water it 1-2 days a week or when the soil looks or feels very dry. If some leaves fall off, go ahead and try to propagate them so you can grow more of this beautiful succulent.
Thank you for visiting our website and reading our article. We hope we brought value, and great information to you today. Our goal is to help fellow succulent lovers like you! Any questions or if you’d like more tips email us or comment below!
We thank you so much for your time.
Family Owned & Operated