How to Save Overwatered Aloe Plant (Step-by-Step Instructions)


Potted Aloe vera plant showing overwatered symptoms.

A properly managed watering system is an essential part of caring for indoor aloe plants. Overwatered aloe plants may be infected with diseases and lose the beauty.

Aloe vera plants can tolerate drought and quickly recover when watered again. But it can not tolerate overwatering. In severe cases, your aloe may die due to overwatering.

In this article, I’ll talk about how you can save your overwatered aloe vera. Also, the right way to water aloe plants.

Let’s dive right in.

what does an over-watered aloe plant look like

Before going to the solution, let’s take a look at the signs of improper watering of your aloe plant.  Your aloe begins to show signs that it is getting hurt. 

Signs of Over-watering

Aloe plants don’t like overwatering or stagnant water. If there is an excess of watering then you will see:

  • The aloe leaves are getting sagged
  • The stem and leaves become soft
  • The outermost leaves turning brown from the tips
  • Aloe Vera plant Turning Brown
  • Mold growing in soil
  • Leaves got blistered cells absorbing excess water

A lack of moisture has the following symptoms: 

  • Thinning of leaves. 
  • Leaf plates lose their juiciness and become dry.
  • Leaves may curl and turn yellow.
  • Container soil remains dry.

Now, another important thing to keep in mind is that aloe doesn’t like cold water. If you water it with very cold water the leaves will begin to fall. 

Proper watering practice will ensure your plant’s health and beauty. Keep reading this article to get the answer to all the questions about watering aloe plants.

Tip

There are over five hundred varieties of aloe plants. They differ in color, habit, size. But the growing method of the exotic guest is the same for all.

Dangers of Over-watered Aloe Vera Plant

Aloe  vera is a typical leafy succulent. Sword-shaped leaves are assembled in a spiral socket and serve for water storage.

If you cut the aloe leaf, you will see the flesh filled with plant juice inside. Under a microscope, it resembles cells that store moisture. 

You know that Aloe is a tropical plant. Rains in tropical deserts are rare. So the aloe plant tries to store as much water as possible. 

But with excessive watering, cell membranes begin to burst inside the leaf. As a result, the leaves turn brown and soft. In this way, the rotten processes develop. So, overwatering will make the leaves and the plant rot.

Fungus spores live in the substrate. Low temperature and high moisture are favorable conditions for them. It is almost impossible to save aloe from them. 

Fungal diseases lead to rotting of the root system, stems, and leaves. If you can identify the problem in time, transplant it as soon as possible. 

Now, let’s take a look at some actionable tips to save your overwatered aloe plant.

How to save Overwatered Aloe Plant

Now you know the signs of the overwatered aloe plant. If you find the sign mentioned above then you need to act immediately. It is difficult to save the aloe plant overwatering problem. Because the damage is already done. 

But here are some actionable tips that you can apply. These actions have been proved to be working over and over again. 

The first thing is to never change the aloe container at a time other than late spring or summer. The fact is that when changing the pot, the roots are slightly damaged. And that injury is very vulnerable to fungi and excess watering.

Here’s What I Would Do in Your Situation(Step-by-Step)

  1. Remove the aloe from the pot and lightly and shake the soil from the roots. Try to remove as much soil as possible without damaging the roots. You can do it with a wooden toothpick like the one used in Chinese restaurants.
  2. Leave the plant in a not very bright area for 3 days. Cover the roots with a paper (newspaper or similar). In an area such as the garage or semi-basement. There should be no heating and the temperature does not drop below 5ºC/41°F.
  3. Prepare a pot that is not very big. You should prefer smaller containers so that the roots fit right in.
  4. Prepare a well-draining substrate; 50% universal substrate and 50% stones of different sizes. For example, River Rocks, Pebbles, Outdoor Decorative Stones, Natural Gravel. (which you can find them here). These are perfect for using in aloe pot to facilitate drainage. 
  5. After three days put your aloe with the substrate you have prepared.
  6. Once transplanted, leave again another 3 days without water.
  7. Finally water it and place it in a partially shaded place. Where for the time being until spring arrives, it will not rain.
  8. If you are from a very cold area, I do not recommend that you leave it outdoors.
  9. Remember that it is very important that it does not get cold.
  10.  Aloe plant does not tolerate stagnant water in the container. So make sure that the substrate is well-drained after watering.
  11.  Finally, keep up with the regular watering frequency. The good news is I’m also going to talk about the watering frequency in different seasons. 

You May Also Enjoy: Why is my Aloe Vera Turning Pink? (And How to Fix It)Opens in a new tab.

How to water Aloe Plant

Proper watering and care is the key to a healthy aloe plant. One of the main conditions for the successful growth of aloe at home is proper watering.  

You must ensure moderate and accurate watering.  Otherwise, there is a high risk of destroying the plant. 

From overwatering, aloe leaves become lethargic and pale. You will find that the frequency of watering depends on different factors. 

Now, I’ll talk about how you can water your aloe plant properly. So that you don’t have the problem of over or under-watering. 

Ways of watering 

If you are a beginner then you may think that there is nothing difficult about watering. Just water when the soil dries up! But, It’s not that simple for the aloe plant. In the case of aloe, you have to follow certain rules. 

Don’t worry I’ll share the step by step process here. From today your aloe will not suffer from improper watering problems. There are two ways to water your aloe plant:

1. From the Top

You have to carry out this process of aloe watering with the help of a watering can. In this process, You can ensure the water enters the root part. 

You have to pour water until it begins to fill the tray.  Make sure that the soil in the irrigation area is not washed out. 

Thirty minutes after watering, you should check that there is no excess water in the tray. If any water accumulates, you should pour out the excess water.

Draining out excess water will prevent the root system from rotting. It is better to water early in the evening, after a decrease in solar intensity.

Also, you can use a fine sprayer for spraying. But this is not essential to do. If your aloe plant stands on the sunny side of the apartment, then spraying is not recommended. 

Because the leaves can get burned. You should also avoid spraying water during daytime hours in summer.

For adult aloes, the top watering method is more suitable. Water it carefully, from a watering can with a narrow nose. Make sure the water doesn’t wet the leaves. 

You have to be careful so that the soil at the watering point is not washed out.  Also, the roots are not exposed. To do this, I recommend that you loosen the soil in the pot a little before watering.

Tip

The best time to water aloe plants is in the early evening. At this time the solar intensity has already decreased and the water will not evaporate as vigorously as during the day. This is especially true in hot seasons. As aloe prefers a lot of light, you can keep it on the sunniest windows.

2. From Below

In this method, water is poured into the pan. Then keep the container into the water of the pan. This method is more useful because it prevents the leaching of nutrients from the soil.  Large roots are not over watered and small roots get water in the right amount.

For young Aloes, the lower watering method is more preferable. The procedure itself takes a couple of minutes. 

Then it allows excess moisture to drain and return the succulent to its place. This way, nutrients are not washed out quickly and the soil is not overwatered.

Watering Frequency of Aloe Plant

The frequency of aloe watering depends on several factors:

  • time of year;
  • plant age;
  • containment conditions – temperature, air humidity;
  • drainage quality;
  • Plant container material.

To establish the frequency of watering aloe indoor, you should bring them as close as possible to their natural habitat condition.

Watering During The Active Growing Season

In spring and summer, aloe plants begin a period of active vegetation. In the spring and summer months, you should carry out watering approximately once a week. 

From one watering to another, the soil should dry out almost completely. After watering, it is necessary to get rid of excess water trapped in the container.

Good to know

From spring to summer, you should water your aloe plant in the morning. And in the cold season, any time period during the day is suitable.

The interval between watering can be from 3 to 10 days. Plants older than 3 years need a large quantity of water but less frequently. 

Young plants grow in a smaller volume of soil. So it dries faster, they have to be watered more often.

Watering during the dormant period

In the fall, growth processes are suspended due to the shortening of daylight hours. In this period, aloe begins to prepare for the winter dormancy. 

So, at this stage your job is to gradually increase the gap between irrigation. In autumn, it is enough to water the aloe every 2-3 weeks. In winter, aloe is watered moderately once every 30–45 days using a watering can. 

You have to carry out watering in the morning so as not to freeze the roots. You have to maintain this watering method during the dormant period of your aloe plant. Your indoor aloe’s dormant period is from mid-November to the end of February.

Tip

If you keep your aloe plant at the same temperature all year round and does not go into hibernation, it is watered the same way as in fall and winter.  (once every 2-3 weeks)

source: ResearchgateOpens in a new tab.

How Does The Frequency of Watering Depend on The Selected Pot?

Aloe vera plant in a pot

The material of plant pots affects the frequency of irrigation. You should prefer to grow aloe in ceramic or clay pots. Because, oxygen enters the roots through the walls of such a container. 

Also, excess moisture evaporates through the pores. This is a big plus, but in the summer you need to water your aloe a little more often and more abundantly.

Important!

Aloe plant container must have drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Also, a drainage layer of broken bricks, shards or stones. This will ensure proper drainage of overwatered aloe plants.

In the absence of drainage, excess water from irrigation will accumulate in the root zone. Consequently, this will surely lead to the development of root rot. 

For the same reason, you should use only a specialized substrate for cacti and succulents. Because, specially formulated substrate promotes the penetration of water after irrigation into the root zone, and does not allow it to stagnate.

Additional Water Treatments

Sometimes you spray indoor plants to refresh them. But in case of aloe you should avoid spraying water. Because, if drops of water remain on the leaves, they can cause a sunburn, which will spoil the decorativeness of your aloe. 

The penetration of moisture through pores of leaves can often lead to rotting processes.  If you need to clean leaves from dust, it is better to simply wipe them with a damp cloth. But be careful not to wipe the wax coating.

Many gardeners advise bathing aloe under a warm shower. This approach will refresh the leaves, relieve dust, and help open the stomata. Bathing your aloe is equivalent to watering one time. 

But here is an alert! After the procedure,  use your towel to remove droplets of water from the leaves.

After bathing, do not expose aloe to direct sunlight. You can do this 1-2 times during the summer. But you should avoid doing this in winter and autumn.

What kind of water does an aloe plant need?

This part is important to consider for proper watering of your indoor aloe vera plant. This might surprise you that you can not use normal tap water. Because, tap water contains a lot of chlorine and alkaline impurities. 

These impurities will  negatively affect the health of the plant. Therefore, you need water that has been stored for at least 24 hour. During this period, most of the chlorine will evaporate.

You do not need to boil the water, this will reduce the amount of dissolved oxygen.

In order to normalize the acid-base ratio you can use citric acid/lemon juice 3-5 g per liter of water.

To obtain the optimal water for aloe, you can proceed according to the following steps:

  1. Fill any container with tap water and store it for 12-24 hours.
  2. Carefully drain the liquid into a clean bottle of food-grade plastic. Try to avoid getting into the sediment.
  3. Keep the bottle in the freezer, wait until it freezes completely.
  4. Then get it out and leave it until it melts
  5. Wait for the water to reach room temperature.

The temperature of the water is also important. Here is the water temperature for aloe plant watering according to seasons.

  • In the summer, it should be at least 30°C  /86°F, 
  • In the spring  20-25°C/68-77 °F 
  • In winter and autumn,  you need water which is higher than in the room by 8-10 °C/ 46.4°F-50°F

Tip

In winter and early spring, you can use melted snow for watering your aloe. Just pick it away from outside, it will work fine. In summer, rainwater is suitable.

When to water aloe after a transplant?

Before transplanting aloe, you should not water the aloe plant for a month. You have to transplant the plant into already moistened soil. 

As the indoor exotica grows, a larger area is required. Because of plant growth the root system also grows. So the plant needs transplant to a larger container.

You should transplant young aloe to a new pot annually. Mature aloe plants of more than 4 years of age need transplant every 3-4 years.

It is recommended to do this in the spring. Since, aloe plant remains in its vegetative growth stage. 

You have to use  loose and soft soil for transplanting aloe plants.  At the bottom of the pot keep a layer of drainage. To do this, you can use any suitable material, for example, broken brick or stones. 

Transplanting steps of aloe plant for optimum watering:

  1. Stop watering your aloe two weeks before the transplantation. So that you can facilitate pulling the root system out of the old container.
  2. Gently tap the walls of the pot, tilt it and try to take out the plant. If you didn’t succeed, take a watering can with a long nose and moisten the soil slightly along the walls of the pot.
  3. Transplant the plant into a new container at least 2-3 cm more spacious than the previous one.
  4. Do not forget about a suitable substrate and drainage layer.
  5. After transplanting, fill the pot with plenty of soil.
  6. Do not water before 5-7 days after transplanting. 

In case of diseases,you need to do an emergency transplant with the removal of rotten roots. Such a type of  measure is often required with overwatering. If the earth in the aloe pot begins to turn acidic, remove it from the substrate.

Gently rinse the roots, remove all rotted parts with a sterile knife. Powder the cut portion with charcoal crumbs, let them dry a little. Transplant it  in fresh ground. After an emergency transplant, do not water aloe for 5-7 days.

Here is a helpful video on transplanting aloe plant:

Common Mistakes in Watering Aloe Plant

As you already know how harmful improper watering of aloe can be! So, lets know about frequent watering mistakes made by aloe growers:

  1. Very often, flowers are water from above. For aloe, you should avoid this mistake.  Since it leads to the appearance of yellow spots on the leaves. If there is dust on the leaves, wipe it with a dry soft cloth.
  2. You may see that aloe leaves drop suddenly. This may be due to the fact that  you have used too cold water for irrigation. This is especially dangerous in the summer. If there is  a significant difference between the temperature in the room and the temperature of the water.
  3. Excess water stagnant in the pan leads to the development of bacteria and fungi. This can provoke strong rotting and death of the roots. It is especially important to monitor this winter if the pot is located on the windowsill. Because in this case, the root may have severe frosts, the bottom can freeze.
  4. The plant dies with insufficient watering. This demonstrates itself in the form of wilting, thinning leaves. Provide enough water for your plant growth.
  5. Inappropriate watering is considered a common mistake. This should be done rarely and moderately. Do not water aloe every day, as this leads to rotting of the roots. This usually indicates itself in the form of a white or rusty coating that occurs on the ground.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to save your overwatered aloe plant. You can easily grow this beautiful and beneficial plant within your home. If you follow the above tips you don’t have to worry about your aloe plant health anymore. 

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

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