Overwatered Succulent Remedies, Signs & Preventions

overwatered succulent featured image

Life can sometimes be annoying. Just imagine: You do everything to take care of your succulents. You give them the best attention, watering them well. But, after a while, you discover that you have a plant with succulent leaves falling off! The leaves look translucent and feel squishy. What should raise the red flag? 

Rushing off to carry out some research and, while at it, you confirm your worst fears: The succulents are rotting! You need to learn overwatered succulent plant remedies to fix it! A little more investigation and conclude that the cause of the succulent rot is simply overwatering.

Overwatered Succulent Remedies
Succulent leaves falling off from over-watering @timotheigh

It’d Not Be Pleasant At First

Has something like this ever occurred to you? There is no need to feel bad; life is like that, and this can happen. Perhaps it was left out in the rain.

Sometimes, if this happens, the growing roots may be compacted, blocking the drainage hole.                  

If this is your predicament, you are in good company. How can you save your overwatered succulents?  Let us take some time to learn overwatered succulent remedies. Before this, another question arises: How can we diagnose overwatered succulents correctly?

Overwatered Succulent Remedies
Echeveria over-watered @flossiesplants

What Does An Overwatered Succulent Look Like?

Start by checking the succulent roots for any signs of rot. Do not be afraid to pluck your succulent out of the soil to do this effectively. Of course, a plant’s roots are always essential to its health. Succulents, on their part, are far more tolerant of being dug up than other plants.

If you overwatered, but there are no signs of succulent plant leaves falling off or rotting, take the plant out of its container, and the problem is solved. Period.

Ensure you leave the soil and root ball intact. Also, squeeze out excess water. After this, place the plant and root ball near the container. Leave it for just a day or two, allowing the soil to dry out rapidly. This prevents any rot from developing, and it is our first overwatered succulent remedy.

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

The First Signs 

Often the initial sign of overwatered succulents is this: You may find that the leaves are changing color, beginning to look a little bit translucent. This is usually due to excess water bursting the water-storage cell walls.

Because it is no longer stored within the specialized cells, as usual, the water now runs through the leaf. This dilutes its color, making the leaf squishy. The plant soon begins to rot. Before long, you have the succulent leaves falling off.

Remember that overwatering is what makes the succulent rot. Indeed, this is the fastest way to kill succulent plants. For this reason, the sooner you recognize that a succulent is overwatered, the sooner you should take action to save it.

Overwatered Succulent Remedies
Succulent topped pumpkin @lushsucculents

How To Save An Overwatered Succulent

As you will find out, one of the first signs of trouble in succulents might be the floppy leaves. They can start falling off at the slightest touch.  If you dig up the plant, as advised, you may discover that, apart from the succulent leaves falling off, the stem has a squishy discoloration where it is brown. It appears like a bit of bruise on a piece of fruit. This is the tell-tale sign: You have a succulent stem rot!

The tiny amount of root structure compared to the top growth’s size demonstrates a problem. This is, perhaps, a newly rooted succulent cutting. If not, then much of the root has rotted away. How should you deal with this? Dig up your succulents to get a better look at the heart’s structure.

As noted, succulents are relatively more tolerant than other plants. It is also an excellent way to determine what is happening. If you suspect or discover a root rot, rinse the roots and remove excess water if the soil is muddy. Thoroughly wash the container and discard the used soil.

Treating Succulent Rot

Has the overwatered succulent developed a decay of the leaves, roots, or stem? It is essential to isolate the rotting tissue from the healthy plant. First, discard the used soil and other harmful parts of the plant. In such a case, you will find that the plant top remains healthy with just the little root structure and features of the lower leaves and stem rots.

Overwatered Succulent Remedies
Astrophytum cactus @driftwoodcactus

As a first step, remove all the signs of rot. That means removing the leaves and cutting off any rotten stem. Next, look inside the remaining limb. Check for signs of decay in the stem core. Cut it back until all the symptoms are completely gone. You may even remove the healthy leaves from the stem.

If a rice rosette remains after all signs of succulent rot are gone, you can do something about this. Treat this rosette just like a succulent stem cutting for propagation. You will realize remarkable success. Soon, you will find that multiple leaves are forming baby plants, and the top of the rosette is rooting well in fresh soil. Your overwatered succulent is saved! Please recognize that people somehow propagated these healthy leaves from their meristem tissue.

Of course, the meristem tissue is that part of the leaf that generally sprouts new leaves and roots. You cannot expect further growth or development when the meristem is rotted. Happily, on closer inspection, you will find that the other leaves, located above the succulent stem rot, still appear healthy. Because these have rotted at the location where the meristem tissue develops typically, they are no longer helpful for propagation.

Treating For Black Echeveria Rot – The Extremely Sensitive Succulent

Black Echeveria, just like the Black Prince, is particularly sensitive to rot. If you like growing these, you will likely have a plant with succulent leaves falling off, one time or another. Such plants respond quickly to overwatering by dropping all leaves suddenly. Good enough, this also means most of the fallen leaves remain in a healthy state to root, developing into independent plants. This beautiful survival mechanism helps the plant propagate, regardless of whether the parent is susceptible to death.

Overwatered Succulent Remedies
Black Echeveria @eva.kelley92

You can take a few steps to forestall the problem of rotting succulents. The key is to have a good schedule for watering the plant. This is the best preventive measure you can take. Consider the following steps:

Avoid Overwatering

If you find some dead leaves on the upper parts of new growth, this is a clear sign of danger. It might be caused by overwatering or under-watering.

Moreover, soil can also cause trouble for succulents. If the leaves are beginning to look yellow and transparent or feel soggy and mushy on touch, it is likely, a typical case of overwatering. Further, overwatered succulents usually get black spots and soft yellow leaves.

The most acceptable way to avoid over-watering is to ensure the soil is completely dried before re-watering. Indeed, most succulents can go for three days or even a week without water. Wisely, when in doubt, do not water: wait!

If you notice any over-watering symptoms on your plants, act to cut back on the watering schedule. Check if you need to change to a better mixture of soil.

Create a watering- schedule for your succulents. Read ‘How often do you water succulents?‘ for an in-depth guide on all things watering.

Avoid Underwatering

Over-watering succulents are not the only culprit. Most succulents are equally sensitive to under-watering. However, plants like Senecio Haworthii and Portulacaria Afra love to be watered more frequently compared to other succulents.

If you discover that your plant’s upper leaves are beginning to wrinkle and get crispy and dry, it might be time to provide your succulents with more water. 

Understand the dangers of underwatering succulents with “The Dangers of an Underwatered Succulent.”

Overwatered Succulent Remedies
Black Echeveria @gymno_cactus

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

The Last Few Tips

The scourge of overwatered succulents will always happen, regardless of how careful we are. For this reason, take the following simple steps to help you limit the damage and save your plants from the succulent rot:

  • Always plant your succulents in proper soil.
  • Water the succulents only when the soil is very dry.
  • Closely monitor the health of the succulents by touch and sight.
  • Understand the signs of succulent trouble and act fast once you see the signs of a succulent rot.
  • Pluck the plant from the soil to better check on the roots.
  • Remove excess soil and, if necessary, rinse the roots to check the plant condition.
  • Remove the rotting leaves, checking the stem for any signs of rot.
  • If you discover a root rot, discard the used soil immediately and cut back the roots, ensuring all flesh is healthy and firm.
  • Radically remove all signs of rot.
  • In case the rooted plant survives, replant this into fresh succulent soil, watering lightly.
  • Prepare the healthy plants and leaves for propagation.

Voila! Hopefully, you now know our overwatered succulent remedies. You know precisely how to save it and propagate it.

Overwatered Succulent Remedies
Succulent garden @sukulent_marketim

Before You leave …

Take practical steps to diagnose your succulent. Get the diagnosis as soon as possible. This gives you a good chance of helping the succulent recover.

Pay close attention to your succulent. You will catch the early signs of such problems. This makes it easier to save your succulents well before things get out of control. 

Undoubtedly, life is better and more vibrant with succulents around! Preserve them jealously for posterity.

For more helpful guides for succulent care, check out How Often to Water a Cactus, What to Do When My Succulent Leaves are Splitting, or How to Make Succulent Soil at Home!

Do you have more overwatered succulent remedies? Let us know with a comment below or share in our exclusive Facebook Group, Succulent City Plant Lounge!

Happy planting!

Succulent City chief editor


Richard | Editor-in-chief at Succulent City

Hey everyone! I’m Richard. Welcome to my blog, which is all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, I began my journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, my fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and I gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

6 thoughts on “Overwatered Succulent Remedies, Signs & Preventions

  1. Can you advise how I can help this distressed deuterocohnia brevifolia (Image sent to your email)? Garden helper overwatered it while I was disabled post surgery. I recently re-potted into terra-cotta pot in cactus mix with some perlite. It is about 18“ across, receives filtered morning sunlight, afternoon shade. I mist it once a week.
    is there any way to return it to its previous compact form? Should I trim brown leaves? Can I save it?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Carol,

      Thank you for contacting me! To be honest, this is not a plant on my list, as I never actually have one. However, it looks like one of my Aloes, and I think the care requirements are similar.

      As you mentioned, overwatering is dangerous for plants like this. I once had a plant in the same situation for a few months. It gradually lost the leaves and died when I discovered all the roots were smushy. The best I recommend is to check for healthy parts, cut them off, and then propagate them into new plants.

      There is no way you can save this plant. Only growing new plants from it will keep you a few smaller versions of this plant.

      Here are a few related guides that I think are helpful for your process:

      Regarding the size of this plant, it’s gonna take a while to perform. I wish you some good times planting!

      1. Thank you so much for your kindness in replying so quickly and sending resources!
        Wishing you happy gardening!

  2. I love succulents. I’ve just got two cactus. But I’ve got another one on the way. This has helped me a lot. I’ve killed two I think by over watering. I didn’t think I was, but evidently I did. One was a Devils Tongue cactus which I loved. I ordered another one. This article was helpful.

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