Overwatered Aloe Plant: Symptoms & Solutions To Save Them

Aloe plants are succulents which means they rather prefer to live in dry conditions, but their enthusiastic owners love to water them. An overwatered aloe plant can face several problems that can lead to their death without proper solutions to revive them. I want to discuss this matter today because overwatering aloe plants is one of the common rookie mistakes to avoid. It does not necessarily mean you water your aloe plants too much, there are other causes too. We are going to talk about them in detail today, and hopefully, you will be able to save your aloe vera plants after this.

Overwatered Aloe Plant

Many aloe owners often water them every morning or even twice a day to accelerate their growth. Little did they know that aloe vera and aloe plants, in general, don’t really need too much water at all. Another thing that you should know is that overwatering is not the only cause of overwatered aloe plants. There are several other factors that also contribute to cause your aloe plants experiencing too much water. So if you already cut down the amount of water but the plant is still unhealthy, check out the other causes below.

1. Causes

1.1. Insufficient Drainage

It is not always about the water, insufficient drainage from your pot can also cause overwatering. A good pot should have at least one hole at the bottom of the pot so that the excess water can leave. Some people don’t like drainage holes in the pot because they don’t like the escaping water from their indoor plants. Instead, they think giving a little water is better so that there won’t be any excess water. Insufficient drainage causes the water to build up which affects the health of the plant. Too little water fails to support the roots, causing the plants to change color. This is why you should always choose a pot with proper and sufficient drainage for your aloe plant.

1.2. Soil

Although it is a hardy plant, aloe vera plants don’t just live in any type of potting soil that you choose for it. The best soil for aloe vera plants is the free-draining soil because it helps with nutrients absorbency and ventilation. You need this type of soil for the aloe plant because it provides proper water drainage. This plays a part in preventing water building up which can lead to an overwatered aloe plant problem. In case you already picked an ordinary potting mix, you can add grit, perlite, or river sand to it. By doing so, the soil will be able to drain quickly without retaining too much moisture.

1.3. Watering Habits

When it comes to watering habits, there is an important factor that you have to know about. The first thing is the way you water the aloe plant because improper watering can also be harmful to the plants. If you water your aloe plant from above like other plants, change this habit now. When you water it from above, it leads to the appearance of spots on the leaves. At the same time, you may not be able to know if the water is too little or too much. Instead, water the aloe plant at the base so that the soil can absorb the water to support the roots.

1.4. Weather Conditions

Humidity, to be exact, can rise in certain weather conditions which causes the aloe vera plant to lose less moisture. So when you water the aloe plants while the moisture is still remaining in the soil, it can cause too much moisture. Even if you don’t give the plant too much to drink, moisture accumulation can still occur on aloe plants. The excess moisture then builds up at the root system, leading to diseases and other problems that affect the aloe plant. Not many people actually notice the humidity or weather conditions, and this is why the plants suddenly change the healthy look.

2. Symptoms

2.1. Color Changing

Overwatering is one of the major causes of discoloration and wilting in aloe vera plants. When you give your plant too much water, the leaves will either turn brown or yellow. Without early treatment, there will be wrinkles on the parts of the leaf which give the impression of being underwater instead. I say this, again and again, this succulent is a tropical plant that is native to arid desert regions. This simply means they don’t need a lot of water so do not give them more than what they need. So if you see these symptoms, it is highly possible that you overwater your plant.

2.2. Moldy Soil

This normally occurs to not only aloe plants but also other plants when you overwater them. According to Restoration Master, overwatering produces an idyllic environment for spores while poor drainage encourages mold to grow. More than that, excess moisture also triggers the mold to spread faster in the soil which affects the plants. If you don’t treat it soon enough, it can also kill your aloe because the soil is no longer nutritious.

2.3. Rotting Roots

You should expect root rot disease when you overwater the aloe and any types of plants out there. When the excess water accumulates in the soil, fungi and other pathogens will come. Then they will cause root rot disease that affects not only the appearance but also the health of the succulent. The symptoms of root rot disease are the brown-black discoloration and soggy texture on the aloe. As the disease develops, your succulent will also produce a characteristic bad smell.

2.4. Mushy Leaves

This is an indication of root rot due to overwatering which results from a bacterial infection. The infection causes water-soaked spots in aloe leaf and turns them mushy as the decay spreads. Not too long, the leaves will collapse, and the plant may die from this infection. Another problem is that it is quite difficult to bring your succulent back to life. You may repot the plant, and it may survive if the disease is still at an early stage. In case things don’t work, then you may need to discard your overwatered aloe and get a new one.

2.5. Soft Leaves & Stems

Another symptom of overwatered aloe plants is the mushy or soft leaves and stems. It appears so because the stem tissues are holding excess moisture more than they require to survive and thrive. At the same time, the leaves begin to develop water-soaked spots that make them look mushy and soft. It is an easy symptom to notice but could be deadly if you don’t spot it soon enough. Without immediate treatment, the overwatered aloe vera can easily die in no time.

3. Solutions

3.1. Repot

One of the solutions to save your overwatered aloe vera is to move it from one pot to another. It can save the plant because the new soil will be less damp and soggy which provides a better condition. When repotting, tilt the pot upside-down while lightly tapping the bottom side to dislodge the plant. Doing so allows you to remove your aloe plant without causing physical harm or stress to the plant. Don’t forget to examine the roots in case there is a root rot before you transfer it to a new pot. If the root system is all healthy and well, then you are good to go.

In case there are decaying and dead roots, you will have to prune them out with sterile scissors or shears. This is to ensure that the rest of the root system is healthy without infecting with the disease. Cut off the roots that are black and mushy because those are decaying roots that you must not keep. If the damage on the roots is severe, then you will need to cut some of the aloe’s foliage. It will save the aloe vera plant by letting the healthy roots support the plant without working too hard. If you spot damaged leaves that you think you cannot save, you should cut them also. Once you remove the decaying roots and dead aloe leaves, then you may repot the aloe to its new home.

3.2. Proper Light

After you repot the plant, you want to make sure that you provide it with proper light for its growth. Put the pot in an area with bright indirect sunlight, and don’t water it until the soil is dry. In a few weeks, you will start to see new leaves once the roots are strong enough to support the plant again. This is also what you should do with other plants because proper sunlight allows the water to dry well. Avoid direct sunlight because it can burn and cause browning or yellowing leaves. Another thing to remember is that you must not leave the aloe vera plant outdoors on cold days. Even if there is sunlight, the cold can affect the plant by causing stress or freezing its cells.

3.3. Proper Watering

Before we go to this part, you will need to stop watering your plant first. This is the primary step to save your overwatered aloe plant when the symptom is still mild. Remember that aloe vera plants are succulents that can go for a long time without water, so don’t worry if it gets thirsty. When you start to see a better sign, always make sure to allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. You will notice the improvement of the plant’s color and texture after a week or two. Once the conditions begin to improve, then you may create the watering schedule to avoid the problem from happening again.

Tips: Let’s say the condition of your overwatered aloe plant is very bad, and you cannot save it. Look for plantlets called “pups” at the base of the plant, and cut them so that you can propagate. This is a way to begin a fresh start without buying another aloe vera plant. Below is a guide to propagate an aloe vera that you can easily follow, feel free to check it out.

4. Aloe Vera Plant Care: Others Problems & Solutions

Apart from overwatering, there are also many other common aloe vera plant care problems that you should know about. Since you are already due to the watering issue, we should discuss deeper about more caring mistakes and the solutions. It can be challenging at first, but you will get used to it when you have several succulents at home. I have 7 common aloe vera problems to share along with how to deal with them, so take a look.

4.1. Bending Leaves

As you may already know, the aloe vera plant has firm and hardy leaves that are strong and tough. When the leaves bend either at the base or in the middle, then you know there is a problem. The main cause of this is lack of light which could be because it stays in the shade for too long. Aloe vera enjoys at least 6 hours of bright natural yet indirect light for healthy growth. This problem often occurs on cold winter days when the sun is not as bright as in other seasons. It causes the plant to become weak; hence the bending or creased leaves.

4.1.1. Solutions

The solution to insufficient light is to provide the aloe vera plants with as much light as possible. You can reposition the pot to a brighter spot so that it can receive more sunlight. On cold days or in winter when the weather is cold, you should place the pot near a sunny place. It could be near the window and don’t forget to rotate the pot every two weeks. This is to ensure that all parts of the plants receive even light when the sun is not so bright. Another solution is to add fluorescent light on cloudy days in winter. Since this succulent also survives under fluorescent light, it is a great bonus to add.

4.2. Brown Patches

This problem is more common to indoor aloe vera that stays too close to a hot window. One thing that you should know about the plant is that its leaf is full of liquid. When it stays too close to the window, the sun can burn the leaves. This is why brown patches start to appear on the leaves, or even worse, they turn brown or orange. When things reach this stage, it is already a bad sign that indicates too much sun.

4.2.1. Solution

The solution to this problem is rather easy because all you need to do is to reposition the aloe. Move it away from the window on hot sunny days, and place it somewhere with bright indirect light instead. It is recommended to place the pot in a south or west exposure so that it can still receive the light. You can also prevent this problem from happening by changing the position of the pot in summer. This is more like a precaution since the issue is easy to predict and fix. So if you know hot days are coming, reposition the aloe so that it won’t suffer.

4.3. Curly, Flat, Thin Leaves

We all know that aloe vera grows upward, but things are not right if the leaves are curly, flat, or thin. Similar to the first problem, the cause of flat leaves could be because of insufficient light. When the aloe plant does not receive enough light, it can cause the leaves to become flat instead of thick. Sometimes the leaves are curly and thin, and it indicates the low moisture level in the soil. This is what happens when the plant is dry because it uses its own liquids to support the entire plant.

4.3.1. Solutions

The solution to flat aloe vera leaves is to provide the plant with sufficient light, at least 6 hours a day. As for the other two problems, you will have to provide it with enough moisture and water. Many people avoid overwatering the plant, and it can result in underwater instead. You can check the soil every week to see if it is dry or moist to decide on watering sessions. An aloe needs water once a week or once every two weeks, but things may change on hot days or summer. This is why soil checking is an effective method that can help you with that.

4.4. Droopy Leaves

Droopy aloe leaves is a result of the cold water that you water your plant with, and that is not good. If you think that watering this succulent with cold water to cool it down in summer, you are wrong. Even a sudden drop of temperature in the room can affect the plant, let alone watering it with cold water. When the temperature is cold or when you water this tropical succulent with cold water, the leaves will droop. It cannot tolerate the cold, so this can cause great damage to its health and structure. A few more reasons that can also cause this are fungal infections, inadequate sunlight, poor watering practices, or pot problems.

4.4.1 Solutions

Before you fix the problems, you have to identify the cause first. If it is because of the cold temperature or cold water, change it so that the plant can get back to its healthy state. In case the light is not enough, reposition the pot or provide it with fluorescent light for sufficient light. As for fungal infections, you may need to check the plant and soil to detect the problem. If there are fungi present, then you should change the soil or repot the plant. The last cause is shallow pots that make it difficult for the roots to absorb the nutrients from the soil. You will need to change the pot to a deeper and sturdy one so that the aloe plants receive full support.

4.5. Sticky Leaves

There is more than one cause that makes the leaves of aloe vera become sticky. It could be because you growing it under a sappy plant or because it is exposed to chemical residues. Another common reason is the invasion from pests like aphids, mealybugs, and scales. These insects leave honeydew secretions on the leaves which create a viscous film. So if there are no chemical residues or sappy plants, chances are your succulent is under attack by pests.

4.5.1 Solutions

Check the underside of the plant to see if there are any bugs or suspicious white spots. If you find the pests, treat the areas with horticultural soap or neem oil for an effective result. Then make sure to regularly check in the pests come back and cause another infestation. In case of chemical residues, you can use clean water to clean and rinse them off the leaves. As for the sappy plant matter, all you need to do is to reposition the plant.

4.6. Stressed Aloe Plant

Plants can get stressed too, and it is not always your fault. Sometimes the aloe plants and other plants that you get from the store are already under stress. The ones that sit on the shelves at Home Depot or Lowe’s are the options that you should avoid. This is because they don’t receive proper sunlight or watering, and they are probably struggling to survive. So when you get them from the store, chances are some of them already give up or are difficult to save. Plus with the fact that you are a beginner, things can be challenging for you.

4.6.1 Solution

If you are a beginner, I recommend getting your succulent from a gardening shop instead. They are better taken care of, and you are able to get some good advice from them also. Another useful tip to remember is to choose a healthy plant with green color and strong leaves. Avoid the ones with bending leaves, brown spots, or yellow leaves because those plants are already dying.

4.7. Wobbly Plant

It is never a good sign for a hardy plant to become wobbly, and the reason for this is insufficient light. When aloe does not receive enough sunlight, there are many different symptoms that appear. So if it becomes leggy or wobbly all of a sudden, then you know why. Just like other ways to fix this problem, you need to provide the plant with enough sunlight. Change the spot, open the curtain, or give it fluorescent light for several hours to bring it can back to life.

Wrap Up

Depending on your preference, aloe vera is an amazing plant that you can grow both indoors and outdoors. It is okay if you are new to them because this succulent is very easy to take care of. Just make that it receives enough water, good potting soil, or potting mix, then it will be good. And if you experience changes that you are not aware of, I am sure I have covered those above already. Feel free to ask if you have any questions, I am always here to help you out.