Overwatered aloe plant- how to fix and help your plant thrive

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overwatered aloe plant

Aloe Vera plants are supposed to be easy to look after, which is why you bought them to put around your home. But now you have an overwatered aloe plant that you’ve accidentally watered too much and you’re worried about killing it.

There are some simple steps you can take to help your aloe plant recover from overwatering and help it thrive again. We’ll share these steps in this article as well as things to look out for so that you don’t make the same mistake again.

Overwatered aloe plant- how to fix and help your plant thrive again

Overwatering an aloe plant is quite common. If you’re new to growing succulents but have other types of plants in your home or garden, you might be used to regularly watering your plants.

However, an aloe is a succulent which means it doesn’t need a lot of watering. It can thrive in dry, drought-like conditions and doesn’t like to be watered every day.

What does overwatered aloe look like?

You may have an overwatered aloe plant if you notice the following:

 

Mushy aloe leaves

A soft stem and leaves

Brown tips on the outer leaves

Plant turning brown

Visible mold in the soil

Blisters on the leaves

 

An overwatered aloe plant has leaves with water-soaked spots that are soggy and soft. This is because the leaves have absorbed too much water and have turned mushy.  These often look like blisters on the leaves.

The first thing you will notice is that the bright green and white leaves will suddenly fade and lose their vibrant green colour.

The aloe leaves will then turn brown and mold may be growing in the soil. Mold loves water, so an overwatered aloe plant provides the perfect conditions for mold and fungus to grow.

Another thing to check is the soil in the pot. If the soil is very wet then chances are that the drainage is poor, which nearly always ends with an overwatered plant.

Check by placing a stick inside the pot and notice how the soil feels when you do this. If it is overwatered, you may hear a squish of the water, and the stick will be very easy to push into the soil. When you remove the stick, smell the soil that’s on the stick. If it smells off or moldy, then you know you have an overwatering problem.

How do you save an overwatered aloe plant?

Thankfully it’s possible to save an overwatered aloe plant! All is not lost and you can stop thinking that you’re always killing every living plant you’ve had in your home.

A little care is required to help your overwatered aloe plant recover, so let’s take a look at what you need to do.

Here are the 4 steps to saving an overwatered aloe plant:

  1. Remove the overwatered aloe from its pot
  2. Check the aloe leaves and roots and remove unhealthy leaves
  3. Repot in a succulent soil mixture with aerating agent
  4. Drill a drainage hole into the new pot if it’s missing

 

 

Remove the overwatered aloe from its pot

The first step is to take the overwatered aloe out of its pot, to stop it absorbing even more water and deteriorating.

Remove it and allow it to dry in a spot that’s out of direct sunlight. Place it on paper towels and let the plant sit for about 2 to 3 weeks depending on the weather. This should give the aloe vera enough time to dry.

If there are any offshoots growing, known as pups, this is a good time to remove the new growth to plant in another pot.

Check the aloe leaves and roots

Look over the aloe leaves and roots and look for any that have rotted or smell strange. Remove these leaves, leaving only the healthy ones.

By doing this, you’re helping the aloe plant focus its energy on promoting new growth rather than trying to keep the damaged leaves alive.

Put some fungicide on the roots to help prevent fungus and mold from growing.

Repot the aloe plant

Rather than plant the aloe back in its waterlogged pot with soil that’s unhealthy, it’s better to plant in a new pot using soil that’s appropriate for succulents.

You might need to add an aerating solution to the soil to help prevent overwatering your aloe in future.

Check the soil in the pot to see if there’s a drainage issue. If there are no drainage holes in the pot, drill a hole in the pot. Also ensure that the soil isn’t packed into the pot tightly as this doesn’t allow for easy drainage or for oxygen.

How do you dry out an overwatered aloe vera plant?

Your overwatered aloe plant can be placed on a dry paper towel and left for a day to dry, somewhere out of the way and also not in direct sunlight. Keep the plant drying indoors especially during winter as you don’t want the plant to get wet.

Tips for watering your aloe vera plant

Now that you’ve rescued your overwatered aloe plant, here are some tips for watering your plant to prevent overwatering it again.

Wait for part of the soil to dry

Wait for the top third of your soil to dry out before watering the plant. If you have your plant in 9 inches of succulent potting soil, allow the first 3 inches to dry before watering again.

Water less frequently

Aloe vera should be watered approximately once every 3 weeks, and less often during winter.

If you have a new plant, you should water once every 2 weeks until the root system is established and the plant is a lot hardier.

Add liquid fertilizer during growing season

During your plants growing season, add liquid fertilizer to the water before watering your plant.

Use purified, room temperature water

Ideally, use purified water that is free from chlorine. Room temperature is best so as not to shock the leaves and cause them to have brown tips.

Keep an eye on drainage after watering

After watering your aloe vera plant, keep checking it to see if the water drains into the saucer. If there’s a lot of water in the saucer, empty some of it otherwise you risk root rot and overwatering again.

The other thing you could do is go to a sink and water your plant, and then hold it above the sink until the water has finished draining before returning it to the saucer.

Place in another part of your home

If a room is too damp, remove your aloe plant and put it somewhere else. If you keep it in a bathroom that is humid then take this into account when working out how often to water the plant. Your aloe vera plant will absorb the moisture in your bathroom.

 

Frequently asked questions about watering aloe plants

What should the pH level of an aloe vera plant be?

A pH level of between 7.0 and 8.5 is ideal for an aloe vera plant. This makes the soil in the range of neutral to slightly alkaline.

Should pebbles be placed at the bottom of the pot?

While some recommend putting pebbles at the bottom of the pot, doing so could cause drainage problems. When watering your plant, the water pools on the top of the pebbles and doesn’t drain. This keeps your plant’s roots constantly wet, which prevents the roots from getting enough oxygen to grow.

One final word

Succulents like the aloe vera plant are not used to overwatering. They thrive in desert-like conditions and are common in areas where there is a drought. They make the perfect modern plant for those who don’t have time to spend gardening and need something that’s low maintenance.

However it does take a little getting used to when you’ve never grown a succulent. This is why it’s common overwater aloe vera plants.

But with quick care using the steps outlined in this article, you will save your aloe plant and help it return to normal and thriving.

By Christine Carlisle

Christine is a freelance senior writer for Home Health Living and has been writing for us for 4 years. She's a health copywriter with over 10 years experience as a writer. Christine lives alone in a cabin in Maine and was once a hand model while living in New York City. She's a dog person.