How to Save an Overwatered Succulent [7 Vital Steps To Take!]

how to save an overwatered succulent

As you most likely know, succulents don’t like to be overwatered. They naturally occur in dry, arid regions that have occasional bursts of rainfall. For this reason, they’ve learned to adapt by having the ability to store water in their roots, stems and leaves.

But, once they’ve reached their water-storing capacity, any additional water will cause the plant to slowly rot and die.

So, can an overwatered succulent be saved? This depends entirely on how far the damage has progressed. But in most cases, there are things that you can do to save your precious plant.

What Are The Common Signs Of Overwatering In A Succulent?

Determining whether you’ve overwatered your succulent is easy because the plant will show you signs of distress. Here are signs to look out for:

  • The leaves will be soft and mushy.
  • The color of the leaves will be lighter than usual and can actually turn translucent.
  • Leaves will start to drop off the plant starting with the bottom ones.
  • Overall, your plant will look sick.
  • There may also be signs of rot on the stems turning these brown or black.

How To Save An Overwatered Succulent

saving an overwatered succulent

The good news is that if the damage has not progressed too far, there are steps you can take to save your overwatered succulent. The most important thing to remember is that it needs to dry out.

Here are the steps you can take to revive your succulent:

  1. Take the plant out of the pot or dig it out of the ground if it’s growing outside.
  2. Remove all the wet soil from the roots of the plant.
  3. Allow the plant to dry out. This could take from 3 days to a week.
  4. While it’s drying out, put it in a bright spot away from direct sunlight. You don’t want to burn the plant or the roots.
  5. Once the plant has sufficiently dried out, you can repot it. Make sure you use a good quality, free-draining mix. Do not water the plant as soon as you repot it.
  6. Wait for about a week before watering the plant and then give it a good soak and let all the water drain out of the soil.
  7. Pop the plant in a bright, sunny spot and don’t water again until the soil has completely dried out.
Pro Tip
If your plant is only starting to show signs of overwatering and you already have it planted in a free-draining mix, you may not need to take it out of the pot. Just let the plant dry out for about a week. Then test the soil to see if it’s dry. If not, you will have to repot it because the soil is just not draining well enough.

Once you start to see new growth on your succulent, you’ll know that it has recovered. Just make sure you don’t overwater it ever again!

What Can You Do If Rot Has Started To Set In?

If your succulent is starting to show signs of rot, especially in the stem, then you may be able to save parts of it to grow a new plant. Succulents are actually very easy to propagate from plant material. Here’s what you can do:

  • Collect as many good leaves from the plant as you can. Make sure these leaves are whole and don’t show any signs of damage.
  • Put these leaves in a dry spot out of direct sunlight. You can place them on some paper.
  • Allow the leaves to dry for a number of days.
  • Once dry, you can put the leaves in a free draining potting mix. Either lay the leaves directly on the soil or pop them into the mix in an upright position. If you have some handy, you can first dip the leaves into a rooting hormone as this will help the roots to form.
  • Keep the plants away from direct sunlight but in a warm spot.
  • Mist them frequently, especially when the soil feels dry. You can also cover the pot with a clouche or plant dome to help create a humid environment.

Note: This is the only time that you ever want to mist a succulent plant!

  • Keep an eye on your plants to see if they’re growing roots. Once they do, you can gently pot them up into their new home.
Pro Tip
You can also use parts of the stem to propagate new plants. You just need to choose pieces of stem that are still viable and show no signs of rot. After you cut the pieces of stem, let them dry out and allow callouses to form on the cut edges. Then, follow the steps above to plant the pieces of stem.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Did I overwater my succulent?

If the leaves of your succulents are soft and mushy, then you’ve definitely overwatered it.

Can you save a dying succulent?

Generally, succulents are very hardy plants and depending on the cause of the problem, you should be able to save it with some care.

Why are the leaves falling off my succulent plant?

There could be two reasons for this and both have to do with watering. Too much water can cause the leaves to turn soft and mushy and eventually fall off. On the other hand, too little water will cause the plant to shed its leaves to conserve moisture.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve overwatered your succulent and it’s starting to show signs of distress, don’t panic. Succulents are fairly resilient and if you follow the steps above, you should be able to save your plant.

Even if your plant is starting to rot, you can still save parts of it to propagate new plants from. And, you might find that you now have more than one succulent to care for and enjoy.

Have you saved an overwatered succulent successfully? Please share your stories with us in the comments below.

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