Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 09:03 pm
Troubleshooting and Saving Overwatered Succulents: A Guide
Succulents are known for their resilience and low maintenance requirements, but overwatering can quickly lead to their demise. One Reddit user’s picture of an overwatered Pleiospilos nelii (commonly mistaken for Lithops) sparked a discussion on how to save the upper, still living part of the plant. This guide delves into the issue of overwatering succulents and outlines methods to potentially rescue the surviving portions.
Understanding the Problem
Overwatering is a common mistake when caring for succulents. These plants are adapted to arid environments and store water in their fleshy leaves and stems. When they receive too much water, their root systems can rot, causing the plant to decline rapidly. Symptoms of overwatering include soft or mushy leaves and a noticeable lack of firmness in the plant.
- Identification: The Reddit user’s plant had clearly experienced overwatering as it exhibited signs of rot in the base and dead roots. The upper, living part of the plant was still viable but disconnected from its root system.
Methods to Save the Surviving Part
- Remove Dead Parts: The first step in trying to save a succulent that has experienced overwatering is to remove all the dead, mushy, or rotting parts. Cut back to healthy tissue, ensuring there is no sign of disease.
- Let It Dry: After cutting away the affected areas, allow the upper, healthy portion of the plant to air dry. Place it in a dry, warm location away from direct sunlight. This helps prevent fungal or bacterial infections.
- Rooting Hormone: While the Reddit user suggested using rooting hormone on the surviving part, it’s essential to understand that rooting hormone powder doesn’t guarantee success, especially if the rot has spread extensively. However, you can apply rooting hormone to any potential root areas to encourage new root growth.
- Choose the Right Soil: When repotting the surviving portion, ensure that you use a well-draining, sandy or gritty cactus mix. It’s crucial to replicate the natural conditions of succulents’ native habitats.
- Avoid Watering: For a significant period after repotting, refrain from watering the plant. Succulents are resilient and can survive without water for extended periods.
- Wait and Observe: Saving an overwatered succulent is a patience game. It may take some time for the plant to recover or show signs of new growth. Be vigilant and avoid any further overwatering.
General Succulent Care Tips
- Right Soil: Succulents require well-draining soil that replicates the rocky or sandy conditions they thrive in naturally. Avoid heavy, moisture-retentive soils.
- Minimal Watering: Succulents only need water when their leaves start to become soft or wrinkled. There’s no set schedule; you should water them when they show signs of thirst.
- Adequate Light: Most succulents need bright, indirect light. Ensure they receive sufficient light to support their growth but avoid intense, direct sunlight, which can cause sunburn.
Overwatering is one of the most common causes of succulent plant problems. Recognizing the signs of overwatering and taking prompt action to address the issue is essential. While it’s possible to save the upper portion of a succulent that has experienced rot, success is not guaranteed, and patience is required. By understanding their native conditions and providing proper care, you can help your succulents thrive and avoid the pitfalls of overwatering. Remember that succulents are resilient, and even if one doesn’t make it, your next one may flourish with the lessons learned from past mistakes.
The Reddit users’ quotes presented in the previous conversations offer a valuable insight into the collective knowledge and experiences shared within the platform’s diverse gardening community. These quotes reflect the wisdom, camaraderie, and genuine concern that members have for one another, making Reddit a robust and supportive resource for plant enthusiasts. Let’s take a closer look at the significance of some of these quotes:
- “Too much water. They are fine with being watered twice a year.”
- This quote encapsulates a fundamental principle of succulent care: that they thrive in arid conditions and require minimal watering. It serves as a reminder that overwatering can be a common pitfall for succulent enthusiasts.
- “You might be able to re-root the green part if you remove the plant from the soil, remove the dead leaves, and trim out any dead roots.”
- This quote offers practical advice on how to attempt to save the living part of a succulent that has experienced root rot due to overwatering. It shows the community’s willingness to help others with detailed, actionable solutions.
- “Succulents need watering when they need watering.”
- This succinct quote emphasizes the importance of paying attention to the plant’s specific needs rather than adhering to a rigid watering schedule. It highlights the flexibility required in succulent care.
- “You can remove the green part and let it dry out, but once a mesemb starts to rot, they are usually done for.”
- This quote underscores the challenges of saving an overwatered succulent, especially if rot has spread extensively. It provides a realistic outlook and sets expectations for the difficulty of the task.
- “In today’s busy, fast-changing world, we need a reminder that life needs to take its time.”
- This quote goes beyond the realm of gardening and offers a philosophical reflection on the pace of life. It underscores the patience and care required in succulent care and gardening in general.
- “The internet says they are good till -2°C or something like that. I pop them in the freezer or on the back step if overnight lows are around -1°C, boom dead mealies.”
- This quote demonstrates the community’s willingness to share unique and practical methods for dealing with pests and keeping succulents healthy, even in colder climates.
- “Hate to break it to you, but rooting hormone powder doesn’t work miracles.”
- This quote reminds readers that while rooting hormone can help stimulate root growth, it’s not a guaranteed solution, especially when dealing with extensive rot.
These quotes collectively showcase the knowledge, shared experiences, and empathy found within the Reddit gardening community. They provide valuable insights for both novice and experienced gardeners, emphasizing the importance of understanding the specific needs of plants and the patience required in their care. Reddit’s platform serves as a vibrant space where enthusiasts come together to exchange knowledge and support one another on their gardening journeys.