How to Save Overwatered Succulents: Remedies and Care

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How to Save Overwatered Succulents

Help, my succulent plants are dying! If this is you, don’t worry, it might be possible to save your overwatered succulent plants. We are going to share a few tips and tricks, to learn how to save overwatered succulents, that will help you try to save the plants before you give up hope on your cute little houseplants.

succulents in a pot

Succulent Plants

Succulent plants are a type of water storing plant. Although related to cacti, not every type of succulent is a cactus. A healthy succulent plant is special because it stores up water in the succulent leaves. This results in succulents having plump inflated leaves that almost look like little balloons.

As a succulent owner, it can be a bit tricky to determine what conditions make your plant happy, such as sunlight exposure and especially how much it should be watered. This is important because your plant’s health is a priority, and part of that is to properly care for them and help prevent fungal infections. Let’s start off by first looking at how you can determine if your succulent plant is overwatered, then we’ll determine how to save overwatered succulents.

Signs of an Overwatered Succulent

When a succulent plant has been overwatered, there will be several signs of overwatering for you to observe. Most of these can be seen without looking too hard or long at the plant. Early warning signs are that the leaves of an overwatered succulent are struggling, and just not looking quite right.

They may be an odd color or becoming wrinkled. Other signs of overwatered succulents include the following most common reasons:

Mushy Leaves

The first sign, which is a good indication that it is overwatered, is that the succulent’s leaves on the plant no longer appear full and plump. Instead, the leaves are soft and mushy. They could even pop if they have absorbed too much water, they literally reach their bursting point.

Brown Spots

Brown spots on a succulent are signs of dead cells in the plant that can result from it being overwatered along with several other reasons for the spots.

The spots can also mean that it has received too much sun exposure and is starting to get scalded, isn’t exposed to enough humidity, or there can also be not enough light exposure for the plant.

Black Spots

When you see black spots on a succulent, this is not a good thing. Often it is caused by a fungal infection, which can stem from being overwatered or a few other reasons.

When you see black spots on the plant you can try repotting it or removing all but the healthy leaves. However, the chances of being able to save it when it has reached this point are very slim.

Losing Leaves

Other obvious signs you can observe that your plant is struggling is when it begins to lose leaves. When this happens it could mean the plant has too much moisture content in the soil and has started to struggle.

Although the chances are low of being able to save a succulent that is in deep trouble, it can be done. You can also save healthy leaves off the dying plant, to sprout new plants from the leaves. An overwatered plant can be at risk of a fungal disease, or even at the risk of causing a succulent to rot.

tall succulents

Signs of a Rotting Succulent

Because of too much water, succulents may also rot as they reach their limit of water intake. A rotting succulent stems back to the cause of being overwatered. Some ways you can determine if your succulent plant is rotting can be by observing the following:

Root Rot

To tell if your succulent is experiencing root rot, first remove the sick plant from its pot. Carefully shake or brush off any soil and look at the color of the root. If it has healthy roots, it will be either a yellow or white color.

But, if the roots are a dark brown or black color, the plant is in serious trouble. You will also notice that the roots are slimy and may break off easily.

Wet Soil

When a succulent has wet soil that doesn’t drain properly or fast, it can also cause problems for the plant. It is very important that succulents be planted in well-draining soil that does not retain too much water. Soils such as peat moss, or even coarse sand work well.


Looking at the leaves will also clue you into the plant’s health. If the plant is struggling, has dead leaves, or has started to rot, it may lose its leaves or have shriveled up leaves. When a succulent has black, brown, and mushy leaves, these are all signs that the plant has been overwatered to the point of rotting.

Can overwatered succulent plants be saved?

Even though it may be a challenge, there is hope that an overwatered succulent plant can be saved. There are a few basic steps you can follow, that will help the overwatered plant dry out, and hopefully survive.

However, if you are afraid the plants are too far gone, you can always break off some of the leaves to propagate new plants. Before you try that though, let’s look at how to save overwatered succulents.

mini cacti succulent

How to Save Overwatered Succulents

#1 Let the Plant Dry Completely

The first thing you can do is when you notice that your succulent is overwatered, is to let it dry out completely before watering it again. To help it dry out, you can place it in a bright spot, away from direct sunlight for a couple of days. Bright indirect sunlight will help the plant to dry and revive the plant.

#2 Drainage Holes

While you are waiting for the plant to dry out completely, you can also check the plant to make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. This will help it release any extra water. You can also carefully use a pencil and poke a few holes in the soil to help it dry out. Be careful to not damage the plant’s stem.

#3 Succulent Soil

The type of soil a succulent is potted in is very important. You will want to be sure that the potting mix is a kind that drains quickly. If it does not currently have this type of soil, you can always replant it in new soil if needed so that it is in a well-draining potting soil mix.

#4 Healthy Leaves

You may need to break off the sick leaves from the plant, to help it start to grow new healthy leaves. Another way that you can save an overwatered succulent if it is far gone is to salvage the healthy parts of the plant.

This means you can break off the healthy leaves and even parts of the stem, place them carefully in new well-draining potting soil, and propagate new plants.

plump succulents

New Growth

For leaves that either fell from the plant or were broken off, you might be wondering will leaves grow back as the plant comes back? Yes, thankfully, when the plant grows and becomes healthy once more, it will grow back so that there are more new leaves and new growth from the succulent stem.

Propagate Healthy Leaves

As mentioned above, if the entire plant is too far gone to save an overwatered succulent, you can break off any healthy leaves, let it dry, then gently press the tips into the soil to propagate a new plant using this method.

Steps To Create New Succulent: Cutting Method

1.    Take a healthy leaf from the mother plant and pinch or cut it off.

2.    Let the leaves dry for a few days until roots begin to form.

3.    Once you see roots beginning to grow from the leaves, it’s time to plant the leaf in a new pot.

4.    Plant it in a small pot with well-draining soil.

5.    Place in indirect sunlight and water occasionally.

Underwatered Succulents

There are such things as succulents that suffer from a lack of water as well. This is when the plants are struggling because they are not receiving enough water.

There are several signs of an underwatered succulent as well. Some of these signs include shriveled leaves, wrinkled leaves, or a wilted appearance. You can correct this by watering the succulent, but be careful to not water it too much, or too often.

spotted succulent

How to Water Succulents

The best way to water succulents is to thoroughly water them, and then let the dirt dry out completely before watering them again. This only works well if there are drainage holes in the bottom of their pots.

Make sure when you water them, you let them dry out between times. This means that they do not need to be watered very often, to avoid access to water.

Give them a good drink of water, then don’t water the plants again for a long time. This will allow the plants to dry out between waterings so that don’t become flooded.

Should you water succulents from the bottom or from the top?

Although you can choose to water succulents from the bottom as well as from the top. It is a good idea to water the bottom of the succulents from the base of the plant.

This method is much better than watering the top of the plant because it encourages root growth and causes the roots to be much stronger and healthier than when plants are watered from the top.

Because watering plants from the bottom encourages root growth, it is even more important that the pots have drain holes in the bottom, so that the soil and roots can absorb water from beneath.

Even though you can water succulents from the top, it is not recommended for several reasons. Not only does this way of watering not promote strong root growth, but it also can cause unwanted bacteria and fungus growth that could be harmful to the plants.

A word of caution when watering from the bottom. It is important that you water it enough to satisfy the plant, but you don’t want to leave the plant sitting in water for days on end.

If the plant does not absorb the water from below, you may want to consider dumping any access water. The best thing is to pay close attention to how much water it needs, most only need a little water. 

spotted succulent

Best Practices for Succulent Care

Avoid Direct Sunlight. Succulent plants are the healthiest when they are exposed to bright indirect sunlight. This means you can place them in the window, but preferably a west or east-facing window so that they don’t get scorched by direct sunlight.

Watering Schedule. It is important that succulents receive enough water, but not a lot of water too often. For the best results, you might consider setting up a watering schedule for your succulent plants so that they have time for the soil to completely dry out before they are watered again.

All in all, setting up a watering schedule for your plants will help prevent them from receiving excess water.

Succulent Soil. The soil your succulent is planted in is another very important thing to keep your plant happy and healthy. You will want to make sure that the pot and soil provide good drainage for the plant roots.

A succulent plant prefers well-draining soil for its root system. You may have also noticed that most succulents are in small pots or planters, this is because they do not need excess soil and are happiest when they have just enough.

Healthy Succulent Plant

Healthy succulent plants are a fun addition to your house plants. They come in so many different fun varieties, in all different shapes and sizes. When a plant gets too much water, its helpful to know how to save overwatered succulents so that they have long lives in your house.

If your succulent is sick or struggling due to receiving too much water, there are several steps you can take to help it recover and become a healthy plant once again. You can often save overwatered succulents without losing the entire plant. Proper care of succulents will help you keep the plants nice and healthy.

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About the author

Hi! My name is Faith, I am the creator behind My Sweet and Saucy. I have so many different things that I enjoy doing, and this is my space to share them all with you. I really hope you enjoy it! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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