Due to its affinity for well-draining soils and occasional watering, overwatering is the most prevalent cause of succulent death.
However, if they are not hydrated properly or are planted in soil that has peat as one of their constituents, which can reject water when it is dry, succulents can still succumb to drought stress.
Succulents shrink when they are not watered frequently enough or are irrigated too lightly. Succulents require more frequent watering than other plants (every two weeks or so), so that water trickles from the bottom of the pot to keep the leaves from shriveling.
After a flood of rain, succulents retain moisture in their leaves and stems as a defense mechanism against droughts in their native harsh, arid habitats.
The succulent’s leaves should appear thick and robust when it is properly watered.
The succulent pulls from and depletes the moisture stores in the leaves and stems, causing the leaves to look thinner and the surface to shrivel as a result. This can happen if the succulent is not watered frequently enough or too lightly.
Because the moisture reserves serve as the plant’s structural support, the leaves and stems can also droop as a result of drought stress.
It is important to remember that some potting soils, especially those that contain peat moss, repel watering when they become dry. As a result, water runs off the soil’s surface and down the side of the pot rather than penetrating the soil and reaching the roots, leading to the symptoms of drought stress, including shriveled leaves.
Fortunately, saving succulents that are under stress from drought is far easier than saving succulents that are overwatered.
How can a dying succulent be revived?
Yes, I am aware that it seems illogical to remove extra water from the soil, but bear with me. This is the justification. Too much water has already put the succulent under stress, and exposure to sunlight makes matters worse. Direct sunlight is a big no because most succulents require brilliant indirect light.
Place the succulent that has been overwatered somewhere dry and bright, but out of direct sunshine.
2. Permit the roots to breathe.
Cut off any brown or black roots as they are already rotting. Dig the succulent out of the ground and remove any excess soil that has become stuck to the roots. Place the plant on a mesh or other strainer until the roots have had two to three days to air dry. Replant the roots in the pot once they have dried completely.
Remove the entire root system and any puckered, spotty, black, or brown stems if the roots are entirely rotted. The succulent stem can be buried in the ground for propagation.
Keep the overwatered succulent on a mesh screen or other strainer until the roots have had two to three days to air dry.
3. Modify the ground
You might not need to entirely alter your succulent if it is already rooted in homemade or commercial succulent soil. Algae (green living matter) typically grows on soil that is too wet. If so, it is your responsibility to remove all of the top soil from the area around your plants and replace it with new succulent soil.
Can a dried succulent be revived?
- Symptoms. Succulents’ leaves can become soft and mushy and become brown or black, but the intensity of the cold damage will determine the exact symptoms.
- Causes. Although some succulent plants may endure a light frost, this is uncommon because most succulents are native to hot climes and normally suffer in temperatures lower than 50F (10C).
The majority of succulent types are not cold tolerant and will perish if left in temps below 50F (10C) for an extended period of time.
The majority of succulent species thrive in a standard room temperature environment, with a range of 55F-80F (13C-27C) being ideal for aloe vera.
Succulents’ leaves and stems may become mushy in texture and appear dark or black if they are subjected to chilly weather or even frost.
How to Revive Cold Damaged Succulents
Place your succulent in a location in your home or garden where the temperature is consistently between 55F and 80F (13C and 27C). Make sure that none of the leaves are directly in contact with windows, as these areas of the house can get much colder than the rest of the house. Reduce watering for the time being.
The cold damage should not likely worsen once the succulent is in a more stable environment.
Wait a few days, if not weeks, and the succulent’s mushy, cold-damaged section should dry out and callus over if the leaves feel gooey.
Cut the leaf back to below the injured section once the mushy portion has dried out. Cold-damaged succulent areas normally do not recover, but the succulent plant as a whole can recover.
In order to avoid additional potential issues, you should only restart watering the succulent once the callus of the leaf cut has completely healed over. Cold damage increases the danger of root rot.
The succulent can ultimately sprout new leaves and begin to regain its usual appearance after being damaged by the cold, but it takes a lot of persistence.
- The most frequent cause of succulent death is root rot brought on by over watering and poorly draining soils. Plants that can withstand drought, succulents need the soil to dry out between waterings. A succulent that has mushy, brown, yellow, or black leaves is withering because the soil is excessively wet.
- Overwatering or sunburn cause succulents to turn brown. Brown, mushy succulent leaves are a sign of excessive moisture around the roots. Due to a rapid rise in sunshine intensity, scorched-looking brown succulent leaves may be the result of sunburn.
- Because of excessive moisture around the roots brought on by frequent watering, wet soils, or pots without drainage holes, succulent leaves turn yellow. The soil needs to dry out between waterings for succulents. Yellow and mushy succulent leaves may be a sign of root rot brought on by over watering.
- If succulents are exposed to too much shade, they become tall and lanky. Succulent leaves grow tall in the direction of the strongest light since the majority of succulents need bright, indirect light or full sun. Tall succulent leaves can droop under their own weight and often have weaker, withering leaves at the base.
- Due to inadequate or excessive watering, succulent plants experience drought stress, which causes their leaves to shrivel. As a means of survival, succulents store moisture in their leaves. Underwatering your succulent causes it to draw on the moisture reserves in the leaves, giving it a shriveled appearance.
- Recreate the circumstances of the succulents’ natural environment by planting them in well-draining, rocky soil with the appropriate amount of sunshine, and watering them when the soil becomes dry. To preserve the succulent, take cuttings from healthy areas of the plant.
What does a succulent look like when it is overwatered?
How can you tell if your succulent is getting too much water? You can usually determine if a succulent is being overwatered or underwatered by looking for telltale indications. A plant that has received too much water will have soft, mushy leaves.
The leaves would either turn translucent in color or appear lighter than they would on a healthy plant. A succulent that had received too much water would frequently lose leaves readily, even when only lightly handled. Usually, the lowest leaves are the ones to suffer first.
The plant will look to be unhealthy overall. When this occurs, the plant is either being overwatered, sitting in the incorrect soil that does not dry out quickly enough, or both.
Your plants are being overwatered if you have been giving them regular waterings or if you have been following a watering schedule regardless of how the plant appears.
On the other hand, a succulent that has been submerged will have withered, wrinkled, and deflated-looking leaves. The leaves will appear thin and flat. The entire plant will appear withered and dry.
The leaves of a good succulent plant should be thick and solid, not mushy or desiccated.
To learn more about this subject, visit my post titled “How To Tell If Your Succulent is Over or Under Watered,” in which I go into great length about how you may determine whether your succulent plant is being over or under watered.
This String of Pearls ‘Senecio Rowleyanus’ plant leaf is one that has been overwatered. If a succulent’s water storage capacity has been exceeded, it may physically burst from overwatering.
How does a succulent look as it ages?
The leaves on your succulent may appear yellow, translucent, or wet. Your succulent is starting to die as a result of overwatering. A more serious condition is indicated by leaves that are brown or black and appear to be rotting. Therefore, you must begin saving your withering succulents!
Do cacti require a lot of light?
Ensure That Your Succulents Receive Enough Lighting Depending on the type, succulents need six hours of sunlight each day because they are light-loving plants. You might need to gradually expose newly planted succulents to full sun exposure or give shade with a translucent screen because they can burn in direct sunshine.
How can I tell if a succulent is about to die?
A succulent should be simple to care for. But there are a few things to know in order to maintain it healthy. How can you tell whether your succulent is prospering or dying, first?
Generally speaking, the following are typical signs that a succulent is perishing:
- The roots are rotting if the leaves are brown and mushy.
- Pale, yellow leaves are a sign of illness or rot that has spread.
- Dehydrated, wrinkled leaves indicate that the roots are drying up.
- Rot or infection was indicated by brown roots.
These are a few warning indications that your succulent may not be prospering. If you have one or more succulents and are worried that your plant is dying, continue reading to learn how to identify when your plant needs care.
How frequently do succulents need to be watered?
During the months that are not winter, when the temperature is above 40 degrees, you should water your succulents every other week. You should only water your succulent once a month in the winter (when the temperature falls below 40 degrees), as it goes dormant at this period.
A few situations constitute an exception to this rule. Because their tiny leaves can’t hold as much water as other varieties with larger leaves, some varieties of succulents need to be watered more frequently. In the non-winter months, feel free to give these small leaf succulents a water if they appear to be thirsty. When they are thirsty, succulents generally exhibit a wrinkled appearance. But always keep in mind that being underwater is preferable to being overwater.
Can succulents endure direct sunlight?
Due to their drought tolerance and water-storing properties, which enable them to tolerate high heat and very harsh sun exposure, succulents have become well-known. This is true for the majority of succulent plants, however some cannot survive direct sunlight without protection, and if exposed to excessive heat, they may suffer sun damage.
The best 10 succulents and cacti that will thrive in full sun are listed below. Some of these plants can withstand full sun exposure better than others.
How can you tell whether a succulent is well-watered or not?
Okay, so we’ve talked a lot about succulents that are dry, but what about those that have received too much water? Well, if you recall, overwatering essentially causes those particular balloon-like cells to overfill and burst, leading to damaged cell structures and rotting leaves and roots.
Discoloration and a change in the shape of the leaves are the first indications of overwatering to look out for. The leaves will turn transparent, floppy, and squishy, and unlike those that have been under-watered, they won’t be retrieved by the plant. It won’t be simple for succulents to recover from this state, but they can. Taking leaves and cuttings to root and grow new plants is an alternative to rescuing the overwatered succulent.
Do I need to immerse my succulents in water?
Although the photograph is wonderful (and serves as a fantastic example of water therapy), I would never advise temporarily storing succulents in water. If kept out of direct sunshine and left bare-root, they would do just well.
 Remove The Substrate
Taking your succulent out of its container, remove the substrate. In a perfect scenario, the substrate would be completely eliminated, however this is not always feasible in real life.
Remove as much substrate as you can, carefully and delicately, to totally expose the plant’s roots.
 Make The Roots Come Into Contact with Water
Keep the succulent’s roots submerged in water and let the rest of it dry out. I advise using a glass or transparent container so that you can see the plant.
You might wish to utilize dark containers for your plants because the roots enjoy the darkness. In my experience, brown glass ones tend to function well.
Make sure the plant can fit in the container. You can make sure that your succulent only comes into contact with water through its stem and roots—not its leaves—by using this arrangement.
 Allow The Water Therapy To Take Effect And Monitor Its Progress
You will need to monitor the water level throughout the therapy to make sure the roots are continually in contact with it and that the water is clean, which may need changing it frequently.
When the therapy seems to have an effect on the plant, you should take the succulent out of the water. How would you know? It ought to appear hydrated, plump, bright, and healthy.
Depending on how dehydrated the succulent was when you started, this process can take some time. People typically leave them for anything between 24 and 72 hours to a full week.
One of my succulents has survived on its own for as long as two weeks. Your plant’s appearance will help you decide whether it should be removed from therapy altogether or kept in therapy for a longer period of time.
It is not typical for the plant to turn yellow or brown, lose leaves, or appear translucent while it goes through this change.
All of these suggest that the plant was overwatered and may have started to decay. If you observe any of these signs, take your succulent out of the water.
 Replant your Succulent
After your plant has benefited from the water therapy, it’s time to replant it. Remove it from the water and plant it; then, let the roots drain the extra water.
It is preferable to hold off on watering for at least three days. This is because too-wet soil can damage roots, which can result in deterioration.
After planting, wait a few days before starting to water again. Your succulent will actually be properly moisturized after the procedure.