Why Are My Succulents Soggy?

You have a beautiful cactus, standing all tall and with its colorful flowers on the windowsill.

There are some potted plants on the balcony that make the small space look inviting and refreshing.

However, your succulent is looking a little under the weather.

It’s been a couple of days since you noticed the signs, and you have done everything to revive it. No amount of watering or sunlight seems to perk it up.

In the end, you decide to get rid of it.

Well, we know how worried you have been, and whatever you did was for the betterment of your succulent, but we hate to tell you this:

You might have drowned your succulent in water, which is why it looked so sad.

Succulents need tender care. Though they are pretty tough, which often leads people to assume they can survive anything, they still require monitoring and water at the right time.

To help them thrive, you must inspect your succulent and decipher what it is trying to stay through its roots, leaves, stem, and soil.

When healthy, succulents have suppled and firm leaves. The leaves hold moisture to stay green and alive. Unlike other plants, they don’t seek moisture from the soil.

However, the leaves dry up and die if you don’t quench their thirst.

If your succulent does not look well, there’s nothing to worry about. There are many ways to revive a dying succulent, but first, you must find out the cause.

Give your succulent a gentle squeeze. If it feels soft and mushy to the touch, you are dealing with a very unhappy plant.

If you don’t take the appropriate steps to dry it out, soon you will have a limp succulent in your house.

Now that we have established why your succulent is soggy, let’s take a look at the early signs of this problem:

Signs of Overwatering

Did you know that succulent tries to communicate with you right before it’s about to drown? It gives out signs of rescue, which you need to take seriously.

An overwatered succulent does not indicate you have a brown thumb. In fact, it says the opposite.

Concern for your plant made you water it more than the plant needed. The good news is that it can be fixed quickly.

First, let’s take a look at the signs of overwatering:


If your succulent’s leaves are pale yellow and squishy from the bottom, you have overwatered the plant.

The leaves will appear almost translucent, and the plant will have difficulty standing up straight after a while.

Leaves Dropping

Once the plant swells up with water and gets heavy, the leaves start to fall. In fact, even a slight touch or wind might leave your succulent naked.

Leaves Turning Black or Brown

While the above signs don’t show any serious problem with your succulent, if the leaves change color to black or brown, it means your plant is rotting or has caught a fungal disease.

This can be too draining for your succulent and, if not addressed in time, might lead to your plant’s death.

Reasons Behind Overwatering

Watering Your Succulent Frequently

This is an obvious one and self-explanatory. Succulents store water in their stem and leaves.

That’s how they can survive drought. The more you water them, the more bloated the plant gets and eventually bursts.

Low Soil Quality

You can’t just use regular soil for your succulents that you use for other plants. Everything matters in keeping your succulent healthy, from the soil’s quality to the size of the pot.

If the soil is thick, it won’t drain properly and fast enough. This means the roots will sit in water for a long time, which can cause root rot.

As for the pot, if it is smaller than your succulent, the water will take time to dry up, making your plant die slowly.

The bigger the pot, the better the circulation and the happier your succulent will be.

Densely Packed Roots

Does your pot have a drainage system? Small holes on the bottom of the pot allow excess water to drain when the succulent absorbs and stores water in its roots and leaves.

The roots will block the drainage holes if the soil is densely packed. As a result, the water won’t drain, making your plant mushy.

To solve this problem, take the succulent out of the pot, rub the roots gently, separate them, and then plant them back.

Root Rot Due to Overwatering

When your succulent retains too much moisture, it develops root rot. This is quite damaging to your plant.

Yes, succulents are tough, but that doesn’t mean they don’t require water. At the first sign of underwatering, people usually water the plant too much, which leads to overwatering.

The succulent then turns black, yellow, or brown and dies.

Succulents are well-adjusted to draining and gritty soils, infrequent rainfall, and high temperature in native environments.

This allows them to thrive in any condition, and this also happens to be the reason why succulents don’t tolerate too much water.

As we said earlier, from your succulent’s color to other physical appearances, there are plenty of signs that show you are overwatering your plant.

The only way to save your succulent from dying is to put the water can down.

The two most common reasons your succulent is having a hard time adjusting in a pot or your garden include:

  • Watering more than once a week
  • Using ordinary potting soil, which retains moisture

Let’s say you have come up with a watering schedule. When the sun is beating down on the plants in summer, you should water your succulent thrice a week.

Despite taking all the watering precautions, your succulent is turning brown and not looking good.

Your succulent’s condition deteriorates because the soil you use is the same one you use for other plants. As a result, your succulent gets root rot.

Succulent soil contains unique ingredients and is well-draining, allowing the plant to thrive.

Here are some signs of root rot in succulents:

  • Stems and leaves turn translucent due to bloating and then black or brown
  • Leaves dropping slowly
  • A wilting or drooping appearance
  • Wrinkled leaves that burst when touched
  • Leaves feel mushy and soft rather than healthy and plump

Ideally, a succulent should be watered once a week. However, if the temperature in your area is too high, you can water it thrice a week.

To ensure your succulent grows successfully, you need to follow a routine:

  • Check the soil for insects
  • Inspect the roots for root rot
  • Make sure the water is draining properly from the bottom
  • Water the plant only when the soil feels dry to touch

Saving Succulents from Root Rot

Once you have established that overwatering and root rot is indeed the reason behind your succulent dying, here’s what you need to do:

Do the Soil Finger Test

The Soil Finger Test allows you to check whether the soil your succulent is planted in is wet or dry. Insert your finger into the soil and move it around gently.

If your finger comes out clean, you can water your plant. If your finger is caked with soil, wait a few days or a week before watering your succulent.

If you water your plant now, the root rot will spread and lead to the leaves falling off one by one.

Repot Your Succulent

Repotting your plant fixes two things: First, it allows you to change the soil and replace it with a gritty, less dense, and well-draining mixture.

Second, you can ensure the pot has enough drainage holes to prevent the roots from drowning in water.

You also need to measure the growth of your succulent. If the pot is too small, the soil and roots will block the drain holes, leading to more root rot.

Place Your Succulent in Shade

A succulent needs around 5 hours of sunlight. After that, it needs to rest in a shaded area. Too much sunlight can cause plant stress and stop it from functioning correctly.

Air Dry the Roots

If your succulent does not show improvement after you have brought it indoors and stopped watering it, try air drying the roots.

Since the roots were submerged in water, rot at the bottom may prevent the plant from perking up.

Gently massage the roots with your fingertips and cut the rotted parts. Leave the plant on your kitchen counter before the window and let it air dry for five days.

Promote Better Airflow

The faster your succulent will dry, the faster you can repot it and give it the care and love it needs.

So, place your succulent in a spot where you feel a draft. If the roots are dripping with water, we recommend placing a small hand fan in front of it to speed up the drying time.


An overwatered succulent has a 101% chance of survival if you spot the warning signs early.

After air-drying the roots and cutting the rotted parts, prepare the right pot for your succulent and fill it with the soil especially made for this plant.

Once your succulent has adjusted to its new soil and pot, test the soil and only water the plant if the soil feels dry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are succulents easy to look after?

Succulents are a very easy plant to care for, you just have to be sure to give them enough sun exposure and water.

Is it ok to spray alcohol on Succulents?

Is alcohol safe on succulents? If alcohol is sprayed on plants, most people do not know if it is safe or dangerous to the plants.

Some sources say that alcohol should only be sprayed on plants when it is diluted with distilled water.

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