How to Save Overwatered Aloe: A Vital Guide

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that thrives even in places where water is hard to come by, which is why some folks make the mistake of giving it too much water, which then kills it.

Can you save an overwatered aloe and how? If the plant was already subjected to too much moisture, the first thing you need to do is remove it from the pot. Depending on what the symptoms are, you might need to trim the roots, the leaves, or most of the aloe so that you can propagate the rest. You might also need to dry it under the sun.

Dying aloe plants due to any number of issues can still be saved if you know what you are doing, but you can just as easily make the problem worse if you don’t.

How to Save Overwatered Aloe Vera

If you have overwatered aloe in your hands, you have two choices on how you are going to deal with it. One is to simply abandon the whole thing and just get an entirely new batch of the succulent. The other is to try and save it through a variety of options that you have on hand, which can depend on the circumstances surrounding the issue.

Assuming that you don’t really have much of a problem just throwing plants away, you can just go with the first option. It’s not really that big of a deal for you to do so as long as you know what went wrong and how you can prevent it from happening again. However, if you are the type who can’t bear to let plants die, you can still do something to salvage the situation.

You just need the right:

·         Information

·         Tools

·         Procedure

These are what we will be discussing now. It is worth pointing out that there are cases where the aloe is just gone and you can’t really do anything to help it anymore. In such cases, you really don’t have any choice but to let it go. The good news is that, unless you are an incredibly neglectful person, this is not likely to happen.

As such, the methods for saving an overwatered aloe contained in the table below should still help you out.

Check the extent of damageExamine the leaves of the aloe and see just how much damage has already been done by overwatering via the discoloration and overly squishy texture
Remove aloe from the soilCarefully extract the aloe vera from the ground, being careful to scoop it out instead of pulling it out
Wash and dry in the sunWash away any residual dirt, rotting materials, and everything else, and proceed to dry under the sun
Trim rotting parts of root rot has set inIf root rot has set in, be prepared to trim some parts of the aloe depending on the extent of the damage already done
Propagate if left with no other choiceIf the damage is too extensive, you can simply salvage any of the parts that are still worth saving and create new batches of aloe from those
Repot or replant the aloeRegardless of whether you had to trim a little or a lot or none at all, you will need to replant the aloe, and it needs to be done with the right soil
Observe and apply proper careObserve if the aloe plants thrive and if they do, you need to provide them with the necessary level of care while avoiding overwatering from now on

Ultimately, though, your level of success in saving your overwatered aloe will depend on your skills and patience. You can have all of the information in the world but they will do you no good if you can’t even put them to good use. With that being the case, what you really need to ask yourself is how willing you are to save your aloe plant.

After all, you can just as easily to the store and buy another pot of the stuff. This time, you just won’t water it as often. This would certainly be the route that most people would take.

However, if you are really determined, then the methods discussed in the table above should be immensely useful to you. To that end, we will be discussing this matter a little bit more so that you will actually have more context on how to save your overwatered aloe.

Damage Exam – The first thing that you should do if you want to save your overwatered aloe is to check just how much you will need to do in order to actually do so. You have to remember that this is an issue that affects a lot of aspects of the plant, especially the aloe longer, but thinner leaves. If you don’t know how far the damage has spread, you won’t know how to save the plant.

With this being the case, you need to check the aloe from top to bottom. You can start with the actual tips of the aloe since that is where one of the most obvious signs of damage will occur. From there, you can proceed to check the surface of the leaves for discoloration until you reach the bottom. A lot of this will actually be easier if the leaves are drooping a bit.

On the other hand, it’s a clear sign that the overwatering has already oversaturated the aloe leaves quite a bit. Then again, it shows just how you will be able to deal with the situation if that is the only issue that you need to contend with. The worst sign that you might come across, however, is the actual rot.

If the aloe is given too much water, its default state is to absorb as much of that as it can. Eventually, it will reach its limits and this can lead to a condition known as root rot. The rot can start from the bottom but this does not necessarily mean that the progressions will follow a straight line. Sometimes, the damage can go from the base, skip the middle, and rot the top.

This is the kind of thing that you will need to keep a close eye on if you are examining your aloe. This is so that by the time you are able to do something about it, you already have a fairly good idea of what you can expect.

Extraction – After the examination of the aloe is its extraction and you will definitely want to put some time into this. Not because the removal of the plant is difficult on its own. Even with healthy aloes, a quick tug on the leaves would usually be enough to allow you to pull them out. No, the reason why you need to put in some time is that you need some patience to do it right.

You are not pulling the aloe leaves out when you are extracting it for the purpose of saving the plant from overwatering. You are scooping it out and this can be quite cumbersome compared to just grabbing some leaves and heaving. The most irritating part about this is that you will need to work around the roots to get to your objective.

Remember that what you are trying to achieve here is salvaging of the plant. This means that you should avoid adding to the damage that has already been done through your own carelessness. If you are working with a potted aloe, you can just run a ruler or a blade around the perimeter of the soil and then invert the pot.

This will allow you to remove the aloe from the pot with fewer issues. Unfortunately, aloe plants that are on the ground are quite a bit more challenging, especially if there are multiple succulents crowding a small space.

Wash & Dry – Regardless of how you do it, the important point here is that you get it done. This means that you need to make sure that your aloe is ready to be cleaned and dried to proceed with the next stage. The first order of business after extraction is to remove all traces of the soil. You can shake it a little bit first before you wash away the rest with water.

You need to be careful while doing this because your overwatered aloe is likely to be quite vulnerable and easy to damage, at this point. Only after you are done washing and cleaning the aloe plant can you place it in a new, clear container upright and then allow it to dry under the sun for a few hours. Don’t worry, it will be just fine.

It’s worth noting that this method will only really be good if the aloe plant has not reached a point where pretty much the vast majority of its flesh has begun to rot. In fact, this method is best when the aloe has only begun to show symptoms of being overwatered. This is due to the fact that you are basically just trying to remove some of that water, at this point.

Being dried under the sun directly without the protection of the soil means that the aloe will have less resistance to the heat. Less resistance means faster evaporation and pretty soon, your aloe will have lost some of the water that it had absorbed. All you need to do now is to wait until it loses most of the water that you gave it.

You do need to be careful to not go overboard, though. If you leave the aloe plant out in the sun for too long, it will dry to the point where you will have the opposite problem that you had earlier. This will present its own sets of challenges that might then bring us back to where we started if you are not careful.

Trimming – Depending on the circumstances, one of the solutions that you might turn to in order to save your aloe is to do a little trimming and pruning. This is most obvious when you are dealing with root rot, which can affect the base of your aloe most easily. With that being the case, you already know where to start your cutting.

Be sure to use a very sharp knife for this particular task because it can help your aloe thrive faster and better later on. You are dealing with a succulent, after all. As to how much you will actually need to cut off, this will depend entirely on the amount of damage that was done.

If the root rot has only just started, you can just remove the small parts that have begun to show signs. It is often the case where you might need to slice off the entire root system and just encourage the individual to allow leaves to sprout roots for propagating.

Propagate – If you are going to propagate the aloe plant that has become affected by overwatering, then you are not technically saving it anymore. Rather, you are giving it a chance to go through a rebirth, which might matter to you or it might not. At the end of the day, what matters most is that you did not waste the plant and you can still use it at some point when it grows bigger.

Assuming that you chose to go down this route, you need to make sure that the parts that you are saving no longer pose the same threat of rot. This is a particularly significant concern with aloe parts that you cut unevenly just to have enough that you can propagate. If you don’t pay close enough attention to it, you might end up with the same problems as before.

If everything was done right, you can now turn to a dry growing medium, which is how you will basically encourage the growth of new roots. If the roots grow out, you will have a much easier time propagating the aloe pieces that you managed to cut away from the rotting bodies.

Repot/Replant – Whatever route you may have chosen or was available to you, the end goal of all of them is to save or salvage the overwatered aloe. Assuming that you have already done the necessary deeds, it is now time for you to proceed with the repotting or replanting. Naturally, this needs to be done right.

The first order of business is to choose the place where you will grow the new aloe and you might want to choose pots. Pots will basically allow you to grow these new aloe plants with ease because you control a lot more factors. Among the factors that you need to think most about is the soil, which will need to be the right kind.

Potting mixes that allow for maximum drainage is ideal since it won’t retain water. Of course, you need to pair it with the right pot so that you won’t have to worry about the water just gathering at the bottom.

If you have to replant the aloe directly in the ground, try to make sure that it isn’t too dense or clumpy. You might also want to choose a place that doesn’t gather water when it rains because your aloe shoots will only end up drowning.

Observe, Care, Enjoy – Over the next few weeks following your replanting of the aloe shoots, you need to observe them carefully. This means checking on them in the morning and in the afternoon. You have to make sure that the propagated aloes are actually taking root so that you will be able to leave them alone in due course.

If something goes wrong, you can either do something to fix it or decide not to waste any more of your time on it. Assuming that everything goes well, all you have to do now is to make sure that you stay the course. This will involve you limiting the amount of water you give it so that you won’t have to worry about the plants dying in due course.

Even more important than that, however, is to simply enjoy the experience. Making mistakes is just part of gardening and overwatering your aloes is certainly a common enough mistake to make. Fortunately, there are still things that you can do about it to fix the issue.

More than that, though, being able to save a plant that was dying and seeing it thrive before your eyes are quite the gratifying experience. You can see this for yourself when it is your turn to try and save aloe plants on the verge of death only to end up with more than one. The important thing is that you live and learn.

Why Overwatering Aloe is a Bad Thing

With all of this talk about saving aloe that has received too much water, why exactly is overwatering aloe a bad thing? For that matter, what exactly does it mean for aloe pants to be overwatered? Let’s answer the second question first before we move on so that you have a better idea of what you can expect.

When dealing with other types of plants, you can easily tell when you are overwatering them because you are just pouring more water than what that plant will likely need. You can judge this fact quite easily because you are the one who is doing the pouring. In the case of succulents like aloe, though, it can be a bit more complicated.

You can easily make the mistake of thinking that the same amount of water that you give them like other plants is just the right amount. The second issue is the frequency of the watering since most plants do need to be watered fairly frequently while aloes do not. In fact, succulents only really need to be watered a few times a week or a month, depending on the environment.

This is why you can overwater your aloe plants without even realizing it and this can be a problem. First of all, the aloe will absorb more water than it really needs to, which will then make it quite heavy. This will then distort its shape, thus leading to aloe leaves that droop.

At some point, there will also be so much water in the soil and aloe that root rot will begin to set in. After all, too much moisture leads to a compromised system since the aloe can no longer regulate itself. When this happens, you basically end up with a succulent that is mushier than it really needs to be.

How to Prevent Overwatering Aloe?

If you really want to make sure that your aloe will not be subjected to the same overwatering issue, there are a few changes that you will need to make and aspects that you need to consider. First is the matter of the soil, which needs to be loose and soft enough that it will allow the excess water to easily drain away.

Naturally, you will need to pair that soil with a pot with a good drainage system so that the water will not linger. Then again, none of that will make much of a difference if you keep watering the aloe too much, so dial it down a bit. In most cases, watering your aloe once every two to three days is enough to keep it healthy.

You should also make sure that your aloe plants get a healthy amount of sun to help keep it dry and to prevent moisture from building up. More sunlight also means a faster growth and the faster the aloe grows, the less likely that it is going to get overwatered. So be sure to place it in an area where it will get a minimum of six hours of exposure to sunlight.

Related Questions

Why is My Aloe Wilting?

The reason for your aloe wilting could be due to any number of reasons. It could be because it is not receiving enough sunlight or it could be because it is not getting enough water. You might also be giving it too much water, which will still lead to its death. It might have even contracted a disease.

Should I Cut the Brown Tips Off My Aloe Plant?

The brown tips of the aloe plant need to be cut off because they show a sign that the aloe is dying. Doing so will allow your aloe to keep flourishing, but you must remember that it needs to be done using a sharp blade. You can’t just cut off any part of an aloe using a dull instrument.

Can You Harvest Overwatered Aloe?

Thanks to the rise in popularity of such beverages as aloe water and aloe juice, there is now an increase in demand for the flesh of aloe plants. If you are growing aloes at home for this purpose, you might be wondering if an overwatered aloe is still worth harvesting despite its condition. The answer would depend on just how bad the condition is.

There are several stages to overwatered aloe, starting with just the bloated, droopy state. This is basically where the aloe leaves have become quite thick and are getting quite heavy. When this happens, you basically end up with leaves that hand low. Fortunately for your purposes, this is exactly what you want.

Although it may be counter to our current discussions, an overwatered aloe will actually yield a bigger harvest, provided you get it at just the right time. If you wait too long, you will end up harvesting aloe leaves that have started to rot.

Now, let’s say that your aloe has been overwatered and rot has started to set in. Instead of going through all the trouble of saving the aloe, you decide to just harvest it. Can you still do so?

The answer is yes, though, you will have to be careful where you cut. You need to find the parts where the rot has yet to set in and the flesh is still pristine. Do not make the mistake of getting aloe flesh that has already been tainted because you will be able to tell by the taste and smell.

Can You Revive Rotted Aloe?

If you actually want to do it, there should be no reason why you can’t revive aloe that has already begun to rot. However, the extent of the damage is going to dictate the amount of work and time that you will have to invest into doing so. What’s more, there are just cases where the plant is just too far gone to save.

You can basically follow the methods that were discussed in the earlier section of this guide where you check, extract, clean, dry, and trim as needed. In the case of aloe that has only begun its rotting process, your chances of reviving it are actually pretty high. However, if the entire root structure has succumbed to the rot, your chances dwindle rapidly. It’s up to you then to proceed or just start fresh.

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