Overwatered Aloe plants‘ life span are very short due to health problems that emanate from this situation. To differentiate between a healthy vs unhealthy aloe vera plant that is overwatered, identify the latter by identifying green leaves turning yellow, as well as becoming droopy and mushy, with their tips also turning brown.
Healthy Aloe leaves are plump and firmly upright with an even green color. In most cases, aloe plants develop water-soaked spots that are soft and soggy.
If you encounter this problem, do not panic because overwatering problems can be reversed especially when they are detected earlier rather than later.
- What Causes Overwatering of Aloe Plants?
- How to Fix an Overwatered Aloe Vera Plant
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Causes Overwatering of Aloe Plants?
Overwatering of an Aloe vera plant is caused by several factors that include too frequent watering, poor draining containers, slow-draining soils, and poor management of changes in atmospheric conditions.
Aloe vera does well in desert-like conditions so you are more likely to encounter fewer problems if you mimic them in your growing spaces. Any exaggeration or limitation of the aforementioned factors may contribute to overwatering. Remember that if you neglect one of the aforementioned factors, overwatering is most likely to take place.
– Too Frequent Water Supply
Being a succulent, an Aloe vera plant can survive for a long time without being watered and its roots are very sensitive to overwatering. You should keep in mind that this plant’s leaves store water so it’s quite easy to add a little too much.
That being said, and even though they are drought resistant, a certain amount of moisture is needed to keep them thriving. Another important thing to note is that an over-supply of moisture unnecessarily saturates the soil, thereby leading to root rot.
Please note that overwatering is one of the most common problems in Aloe vera cultivation, so you should be very watchful when it comes to irrigation.
An Aloe vera plant should be watered deeply once every three weeks so that it fills up its succulent leaves with enough water for its upkeep. If you irrigate the soil before the top one-to-two inches are dry, overwatering is probably going to occur.
Organisms that cause rot thrive in continuously damp conditions and if you take long to solve this situation, the plant will not survive for long.
– Changes in Atmospheric Conditions
During summer, it takes around three weeks for the soil to be ready for the next watering session due to high temperatures and sunlight. However, this is different from winter irrigation as water loss is generally low because of reduced temperatures and sunlight levels.
You should know that evaporation and transpiration are the causes of moisture loss from both plants and soil therefore, you should monitor them closely. The higher the water loss rate, the more frequently you should irrigate the soil.
Poor consideration of humidity levels in the immediate environment is another factor that affects the watering schedule of your Aloe plants.
When moisture levels are high, transpiration is very low, so your plant will not lose much water in the atmosphere. In this scenario, if you do not reduce irrigation significantly, your Aloe plant will slowly start turning yellow.
When grown indoors, especially in places like bathrooms and kitchens where moisture levels are high, using the same watering frequency as that of outdoor or low-humidity room-grown aloes will lead to overwatering.
– Slow or Poor Draining Soil
Aloe vera compliments a well-draining soil mix as its roots hate sogginess. The natural environment of this plant has dry soil that allows excess water to drain away easily. This means that if you use water-holding soils like clay, your aloe plant will not do well.
When water is held in the soil for a long time after irrigation, the roots of your aloe plants will begin to rot. Despite the pot having enough drainage facilities, if the soil does not allow water to pass through easily, it will remain soggy for a long time.
Poorly drained soils give the perfect conditions for the manifestation and breeding of rot-causing organisms. Once the roots are attacked, they can no longer absorb adequate water and nutrients for the Aloe vera’s upkeep.
That is the reason why you will notice your aloe plant’s leaves yellowing, wilting, and drying up within a short space of time. You should also know that if water continuously occupies the airways of the soil, the circulation of oxygen around the root system is greatly reduced.
In soil that loses water quickly, Aloe vera is much happier. You should know that an underwatered Aloe vera plant is easier to revive due to its drought-tolerant nature compared to one that is overwatered.
– Using Water for Pest Treatment
Although pests like whitefly, caterpillars, and snout weevils can be eliminated by gently hosing the plant with water, you should avoid overwatering. This method is very effective but can saturate the soil with water. Letting the water access the soil is one of the common mistakes that Aloe growers make.
If the soil has not dried up and you decide to use the hosing method, you should consider covering the pot with plastic paper so that the water does not settle in the soil. Also, when the soil has dried up, you can take advantage of the watering session to wash off pests without compromising the irrigation pattern.
How to Fix an Overwatered Aloe Vera Plant
To fix and overwatered aloe plant you must fist evaluate the causes of overwatering, stop irrigating and repot the plant etc. It is disheartening for growers to see their Aloe vera plants dying but the good news is that they can be revived.
If you are growing a red aloe plant, you should see the color returning after administering the proper care needs. This section will take you through how to fix mushy aloe vera plants.
Once the plant grows new healthy roots, it will be able to absorb enough nutrients and water to aid the full recovery of the entire Aloe vera plant.
Depending on the extent of damage, there are several ways through which you can save overwatered aloe plants. However, we advise that you carefully take one step after the other, based on the plant’s response to the previous action.
– Evaluate the Causes of Overwatering
The first step is to take a look at the causes of overwatering and identify the ones that affected your aloe plants. This should help you to administer the correct measures to save overwatered aloe plants. Certain conditions, for example too much humidity or exposure to rain will need you to move the plant to a more suitable spot.
Also, check your plant closely to determine the extent of the damage incurred as a result of overwatering. Keeping in mind that in some cases, the plant would have been previously kept in low light positions, you should not move it to a high light spot immediately, otherwise, it will experience a shock that might cause more damage.
– Stop Irrigating the Plant
Bear in mind that in overwatered situations, water is your enemy so it should be limited as much as possible. You should stop watering aloe plants once you notice them showing overwatering signs.
This gives them ample time to use up and lose the excess moisture, thereby readying them for recovery. If the aloe plant is slightly damaged, you should see signs of recovery just by reducing water application to the soil.
Under normal circumstances, you should water your Aloe vera plants once every three weeks but, in overwatered cases, consider letting the soil dry before irrigating again.
Make sure that the top two inches of the potting soil are dry before your next watering. You can achieve this by inserting your finger in the potting mix and if it comes out with some soil particles stuck to it, do not irrigate.
You can consider using a moisture meter for more accurate testing of whether soil is dry. This tool is very user-friendly as you simply have to use the readings on the scale to determine if it is the right time to irrigate the aloe or not.
– Remove the Plant From the pot
If your aloe plants do not respond to limited watering, the next step is to check their roots for any damage. Hold the pot and tilt it upside-down and gently tap its base to remove the Aloe plant from the soil without causing any damage.
Examine the aloe’s roots for rot and if you notice dead or mushy ones, that should be the problem. Bear in mind that roots play a pivotal role in the growth of a plant so, the healthier they are, the more vibrant the foliage becomes.
In severe cases, you may notice almost the entire root system dying and one of the possible options in such cases is to discard the plant. This is because the recovery chances of your aloe plant will be very low. However, you can cut off some good parts of the plant for propagation.
– Prune off Dead Roots and Discolored Foliage
Dying Aloe vera roots are usually mushy and black. Use a sterilized knife or scissors to cut off all dead roots leaving only the healthy ones.
Please dip the tools in diluted hydrogen solution after cutting every single root to curb the spread of pathogens to the healthy ones. Make sure you properly dispose of the infected trimmed roots away from your plants.
If the quantity of damaged roots is high, the remaining few may fail to support the plant therefore, the size of the foliage should be reduced.
However, in light cases, once you prune off unwanted roots the entire aloe plant’s foliage will start responding positively. You should also use disinfected tools to cut away discolored and dying Aloe vera leaves. This enhances the development of new healthy leaves.
Pruning the massive foliage also helps the few healthy Aloe vera roots that are left after trimming to be able to support the plant effectively. In this case, there is a balance between the roots and foliage, thereby aiding the growth of both new roots and leaves.
– Clean and Treat the Healthy Roots
Use a three percent hydrogen peroxide solution to rinse the remaining healthy roots and eliminate fungal infections.
This provides clean and disease-free conditions for the growth and development of new roots. You should also use the hydrogen peroxide solution to clean the pot that you are going to use for repotting.
Make sure that all the particles of the previously used potting soil are removed. Please, do not reuse the previous potting soil but rather dispose of it.
– Choose the Correct Pot
Select a pot that is big enough to accommodate your Aloe vera plant’s root network. You should therefore consider using a bowl-like container that is wide.
Do not use narrow and deep vase-like containers because the Aloe vera’s roots extend literally and this plant becomes heavier as it grows. When potted in narrower containers, they tend to tip over easily as the aloe plant grows bigger.
Select a pot that has adequate drainage holes on its bottom to enhance optimal drainage. Remember that a recovering plant should not be exposed to soggy conditions which call for proper drainage.
The climate in which you are growing your aloe plants also contributes to the selection of the right pot. If you are cultivating Aloe vera in the warm South region climate, we recommend that you use plastic pots.
In cold climates, we recommend that you get a clay or terracotta container for potting. Clay is porous and allows excess water to drain away even during low evapotranspiration situations. This helps to keep the soil moist but not extremely wet during cold seasons.
– Make a New Potting Mix
A succulent potting soil is best for Aloe vera plants. The composition of sand in these mixes increases their drainage abilities. This significantly lowers overwatering chances on your plants.
You can make your accustomed soil mix for your succulents at home by combining equal parts of coarse sand and gravel. We do not recommend you use fine sand because it tends to hold moisture for a long time.
A potting mix that has coarse sand and organic matter helps an aloe plant’s roots to flourish due to improved air circulation. If you replant the recovering Aloe vera plant into the previous potting mix, overwatering issues will remain and this disrupts the revival process.
This is the reason why we advise you to use a fresh, pathogen-free potting mix. Aloe vera is not too picky when it comes to pH levels and can do well in soils that are slightly acidic, neutral, or alkaline.
– Repot Your Aloe Vera
Fill the pot with a well-draining succulent mix, up to the halfway point and create a hole in the middle. Place the plant into the hole and cover the root system with the soil mix.
Do not water the plant for a few days after replanting it so that it gets enough time to adapt and repair itself. Once you start noticing new leaves growing, it is a sign that your Aloe vera has developed new roots.
You should loosen the potting soil occasionally with a disinfected suitable gardening tool. This helps to keep the soil free from compaction. After repotting, water the plant only when the top two inches have completely dried up.
– Expose the Plant to its Normal Growing Conditions
Place your aloe plant in a spot where it gets at least six hours of sunlight each day. When placed in low light positions, Aloe vera leaves start growing tall in search of light and their vibrant green color will become dull.
In their natural environments, aloe plants are exposed to direct sun for a long time, but this should be different from indoor-grown ones to avoid burning the leaves. Keeping in mind that once the overwatered aloe plant’s leaves are still recovering, you should slowly transition it to a high-light spot to avoid shocking it.
The temperatures around your plants should range between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. These plants are drought-tolerant and can thrive in warmer environments.
Aloes hate high humidity so you should not place the recovering plant in places that have elevated moisture levels. Within a few weeks of proper care, you will notice new and healthy growth appearing on your plant.
Water Aloe vera plants using mineral-free or distilled water to prevent the accumulation of salts in the soil. Please do not rush into fertilizing your plant before it establishes itself.
If the aloe plant’s root system and foliage are fully recovered, you can then apply a 10-40-10 houseplant mix or any succulent mix during the growing season to boost its development. Before fertilizing water aloe plants deeply to get rid of lingering salts to curb root burn.
Frequently Asked Questions
Aloe vera growers have several questions about the growth and upkeep of this plant. Let us briefly take a look at some of these questions, including their answers.
– What Causes Aloe Vera Plant to Become Sticky?
One of the most common causes of the stickiness of an aloe plant is chemical residue exposure. If you have ruled out chemical residue to be the cause of stickiness, look out for pests.
Overwatered aloes are more susceptible to pests like scale, aphids, and mealybugs which secrete sticky substances on the plant’s foliage. If you are not seeing any pests on the plant, you should thoroughly inspect the leaf undersides as well as the crown.
The stickiness of the surfaces of an aloe plant is not a good sign. The moment you notice this situation, quickly isolate your plant and inspect it. If you see any pests, use an appropriate treatment method to eliminate them completely before bringing the plant back into the vicinity of the others.
– Why is my Aloe Vera not Slimy?
Overwatering Aloe plants is one of the factors that cause the leaves to lose their slime. As the roots die, less water uptake by the plant decreases leaf fluid production. The leaves become weak and start growing toward the direction where more light is coming from.
Growing Aloe plants in poorly drained soils and pots with poor drainage facilities retain unwanted moisture which causes the leaves to lose their slime. Inadequate sunlight exposure also stresses your Aloe vera plants to the extent that they start to droop and lower leaves dry out.
This dries out the tissues of the plant causing them to become less slimy. In this case, once you notice brown leaves on the aloe plant, it is probably drying up.
– Why are the Tips of my Aloe Plant Drying out?
The drying out of an Aloe plant’s leaf tips is usually a sign of moisture stress. Sometimes, it can be difficult to differentiate between an overwatered vs underwatered Aloe plant due to similar symptoms such as turning yellow, wilting, and drying tip leaves.
Watering Aloe vera plants each time the top two inches of the soil dries out should curb this problem. It is very important to know how much to water your Aloe plants to help them flourish.
Although Aloe vera is a drought-resistant and easy-to-care-for plant, overwatering remains the biggest threat to its survival. Listed hereunder, are some of the main points that are relevant to the revival of an overwatered aloe plant.
- Watering Aloe vera plants too frequently, poorly draining soil, slow-draining soils, and poor management of changes in atmospheric conditions are the main causes of overwatering.
- As environmental conditions like temperatures, humidity, and sunlight change from time to time, you should change the watering pattern accordingly.
- The first step in overwatered Aloe vera plant care is to stop watering it, and if it does not respond, it will be time to check its roots for possible damage.
- After repotting the aloe plant, you should expose it to the normal succulent care needs to enhance its recovery.
Aloe vera is not too demanding, which makes the efforts to help it recover from the effects of overwatering much easier. You should just be patient, follow the recovery steps, and enjoy the revamp of your once-ailing beauties!
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