In Diseases & Problems

3 Steps To Save an Overwatered Succulent and How To Identify Them

When you’ve had enough succulents in your house, you’ll find that they are surprisingly easy to overwater. The trick is to figure out how to identify an overwatered succulent and solve the problem before the succulent dies. Fortunately, there’s only a few steps to follow in order to save your plant.

how to care for an overwatered succulent

Step #1: Remove the Overwatered Succulent from the Wet Soil

Your first step is to remove the overwatered succulent from the wet soil. Do so very gently by turning the pot on its side and shaking the pot from side to side slowly. The plant and the soil will slowly fall out of the pot.

Trim off any dark or black (already rotten) pieces of root with a sharp, clean blade. If you pot the succulent with the rotten pieces, the plant will still die. Gently wipe off as much of the remaining wet soil as possible.

Step #2: Lay the Succulent Somewhere to Dry

Next, lay the succulent plant somewhere to dry on a paper towel. It should be lain on a shelf outside of direct sunlight and preferably outside of the heat. Allow the overwatered succulent a day or two to dry out and the roots to firm up a bit.

Watch your succulent closely for any signs of stress. Good stress indicators are changing colors in the leaves or roots. If you see any of these signs, plant your succulent right away.

Step #3: Repot the Overwatered Succulent in Appropriate Soil

Once the succulent is dried out, you can transplant into a new pot with the appropriate soil. Look for a cactus or succulent soil at your local garden center. If you can’t find one, select a potting mix and add perlite, pumice, rocks, or sand in order to increase the drainage of the soil.

Mushy succulent

What Does an Overwatered Succulent Look Like

An overwatered succulent will have leaves that turn brown or black at the base. They will also be somewhat mushy at the base because the extensive water will burst cell walls in the succulent leaf. If you see any of these signs, make sure to solve the problem immediately because your succulent can die within days.

What Causes Overwatering

This may surprise you but overwatering is not just caused by watering your succulent too much. Overwatered succulents can also be caused by soil that retains too much water. There is a reason why all succulents say that they require well-drained soil. Succulents and cacti are very easy to waterlog if the soil is a standard potting soil that retains moisture.

How to Avoid Overwatered Succulent Plants

The best way to save an overwatered succulent is to prevent the problem in the first place. There are several measures that you can take to prevent overwatering your succulent plants.

Set a Routine

One of the simplest ways to make sure that you don’t water your succulents too much is to set a routine. You can put a notification in your google calendar or you can use an app like Planta or Florish to help you keep track. So often, succulents are overwatered when people just forgot how recently they watered them.

Improve Drainage/Soil

The drainage of the soil is incredibly important in avoiding overwatered succulents. You need to make sure that if you do water your succulents too much, they water can at least escape the pot. Too often people realize their succulent has not just been overwatered but is sitting in a pool of old water and dying.

Increase Air Flow/Temperature

If you tend to overwater your plants, you could compensate for that to some degree by increasing the air flow or the temperature around your succulents. Both air flow and higher temperatures will dry your succulents out faster. This is a simple way to avoid overwatered succulents with very little effort.


Succulents are fairly easy to care for but they are incredibly susceptible to overwatering. While it is difficult to save an overwatered succulent, it is simple to avoid the problem.

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