How to Tell if Aloe Plant is Watered Properly (How to Save it)

Last Updated on November 10, 2022 by Stephanie

The main difference between an aloe plant that has been underwatered and an aloe plant that has been overwatered can be seen in the way that leaves from an aloe that has been overwatered change color from yellow to brown with a soft, mushy texture, while the leaves of an aloe that has been underwatered get smaller and thinner before becoming brown.

The Aloe plant is a succulent which retain moisture in their leaves , which is the reason why their leaves shrink when the plant is submerged.

Aloe plants have been adapted to drought, and can cope better when they are submerged than overwatering.

Continue reading to discover what the distinction is between an overwatered and an underwatered aloe plant, and the best way to help it to recover…

How to Tell Whether an Aloe Plant is Underwatered

When an aloe tree has been submerged, the plant reduces in size, with the leaves getting thinner and curving upwards because the aloe draws on the water reserves within the leaves. The leaves can also change color if theyre heavily submerged.

Aloe plants are indigenous to dry, desert areas with soil that drains well and frequent rainfall.

Aloe plants dont require watering as frequently as other house plants, they must be given a good soak.

One of the most common mistakes made by aloe plants is that they misinterpret the fact thatsucculents and aloe plants dont require excessive water. This could mean that they can only be watered sparingly.

If you apply too little water to the soil it is only the soils surface is moist, and the water doesnt penetrate the soil and reach the aloes roots , where it is needed.

The soil must be evenly moist to ensure they can draw the water they require before they allow that the soils moisture to drain out. The water is retained in leaves, which is the reason why healthy plants leaves appear large and appear plump.

The first indication of an aloe plant that has been underwatered can be seen in the way that its leaves become thinner because the aloe is drawing on the moisture and resveals.

Fortunately, this capacity of storing water a component of aloes defense plan to withstand the heat and dry conditions of its natural environment. So, the aloe generally copes well when submerged and recovers quickly.

It is crucial to remember that the soil of an aloe can dry out faster when the pot is small, leading to symptoms of drowning. Additionally, high temperatures, intense sunshine and indoor heat could result in the soil drying out too fast for the aloes roots to absorb enough moisture, which could cause an aloe to become underwater.

aloe and plants on desk in office by window

How to Save an Underwatered Aloe Plant

To save an aloe that has been submerged plant Give the soil an ample soak.

  • Place the aloe in a bowl of water for about 10 minutes or so, making sure that roots and soil is submerged. This is the most effective method to water an submerged aloe plant since it lets the potting medium absorb effectively to reach roots. The risk with a heavily aloe that is underwatered is that the potting gets hard and could cause the soil to turn water-resistant (repels water) and cause the water to drip across the soils surface and into the drainage hole at the bottom, but not reach the roots.
  • After the plant has enjoyed a nice soak in the basin, take off the plant and clear the trays or saucers that have excess water. This will aid in improving the aloes appearance, as the roots absorb moisture and store it within the leaves. Dont water the aloe until the soil in the potting area feels dry. This will help you avoid overwatering.
  • Always give your aloe plants an ample amount of water to ensure that any excess water drips off the bottom of the planter. It is essential that the soil used for potting is evenly moist so that the roots of the aloe are able to absorb the moisture they require.

The most important thing to do when trying to save the aloe plant that has been underwatered is to determine how fast the aloes soil drys out. The speed at which soil is dried can differ based on the age of the aloe plant and the dimensions of the pot, and the temperature in its surroundings.

To establish the ideal timing for watering the aloe plants (to keep it from drowning) provide the plant with an extensive soak, then test the soil to determine the number of days it takes for the soil to feel dry in the bottom of the container. If the soil is dry in its bottom (feel it through drainage holes at the base to determine the presence of moisture) This is the ideal time to begin watering.

How to Tell If the Aloe Plant is Overwatered

If an aloe plant has been overwatered, its leaves change color from brown to yellow and are soft with a smooth texture and look of drooping. The roots become brown and then die, leaving behind decaying appearance and a sour smell.

Aloe plants are indigenous in The Arabian peninsula and thrive in well-drained sandy soils that receive little rain.

Aloe plants are adept at surviving conditions of drought which makes them extremely vulnerable to excessive watering as well as slow drainage soils. This typically result in root rot or mushy brown/yellow leaves.

(Aloe plants may turn brown due to a variety of other reasons, including sunburn. Check out my article on what is the reason for my aloe changing color).

The overwatering of plants and aloes in soils that drain slowly is the most frequent mistake made when it comes to caring for aloe plants.

Aloe plants flourish when they receive an extensive watering, and then a time of drought for two weeks. This mimics the rain-deluge and then a drought-related watering they usually experience in their natural environment.

Aloe plants absorb water from the potting soil after a thorough soak, and keep the moisture in their leaves, allowing them to thrive in dry areas that have draining soils.

Aloe plants require the soil to completely dry between watering sessions that is usually that you water your plant every two weeks. (Read my article on the best way to feed aloe vera to know how often to water your aloe vera during various seasons).

If you water an aloe plant more than every week, youre overwatering your aloe plant as this doesnt provide the soil with enough of an opportunity to dry.

It is crucial to recognize that the correct timing for watering must be used in conjunction with the correct drainage pot soil in order to avoid effects of excessive watering.

Aloe plants dont do well in normal pots because it holds water for too long around the roots following irrigation, which causes signs of excessive watering.

A plant of aloe with soft, drooping leaves can be a sign of excessive watering, however it could not indicate that the plant is suffering from roots rot If you spot the issue quickly, prior to the root rot begins to develop.

How to Fix an Overwatered Aloe Plant

To save an aloe that has been overwatered, plant, recreate the conditions of its natural habitat by replacing the soil with well-draining, gritty succulent soil Only water the aloe after the soil in the pot has been dried and removed the brown, mushy leaves to stop the decay from growing.

  • Make sure the potting soil is completely dry between every watering session. To determine when it is the time to water your aloe plant, you can feel the soil in the base of the pot by putting your finger into the drain hole at the bottom. If you are able to detect the presence of moisture, you can delay watering for several days. If your potting soil appears dry, its the ideal time to water.
  • Remove your aloe plant of its soil and examine the roots for signs of root decay. The roots should be healthy and have a lighter shade (note roots may turn brown due to soil). If you notice any roots that appear brown, soft in texture, and smell unpleasant, then the roots are decaying. It is essential to cut the roots back to healthy growth using the help of a sharp pair of pruning scissors. Clean the pruners using an soaked cloth in disinfectant to stop the spread of fungal pathogens and diseases to healthy roots. Cut off the rotting roots until healthy, firm roots remain.
  • Take off any leaves that are becoming brown or yellow with a the sharpest pruning tools. Sometimes, you can peel the leaves back with a gentle stroke. The removal of these leaves stops this rotting from spreading to the plant.
  • Repot your aloe in succulent or Cacti soil if it has begun to drain slowly. The special succulent and cacti soils are created to mimic the soil conditions that are typical of the native aloe plant. This lets water be able to drain effectively and is the most effective way to reduce the effects of excessive watering (read my article about the most effective aloe vera potting soil).
  • Clean the pot prior to making a new pot or, better yet, put the aloe back in clay or terracotta pots. Clean the pot using disinfectants since the pot could be a home for fungal diseases caused by moist soil. Clay or clay pots are ideal for aloe plants because theyre porous, which allows that the soils moisture to be dried out more evenly after each round of watering. This reduces the effects of root rot (read my article on selecting the most suitable containers for the aloe plant).
  • The plant should be kept in indirect, bright light for two weeks while it heals. Aloe plants are tolerant of direct sunlight, intense sunlight and temperatures can cause stress to the plant that is suffering So, it is important to place the aloe in bright sunlight.

Aloe plants are able to recover from excessive watering, however when the root rot is too severe, the only solution is to reproduce the aloe from the remaining healthy leaves.

Aloe plants are fairly easy to propagate , and could be the only option to save the plant that is overwatered. Check out this YouTube tutorial to learn how to grow aloe plants using leaves.

Key Takeaways:

  • The most effective way to determine whether your aloe plant is drowned or overwatered is to examine the leaves. Aloe leaves that have been overwatered turn yellow and brown with soft, mushy texture and underwatered leaves get smaller and thinner and then turn brown.
  • To revive an aloe that has been overwatered, plant, trim the roots back using pruners. Remove leaves which are becoming yellow or brown, then replace the soil in the pot with a compact well-draining potting mix then wait for the soil to be completely dry before watering it again.
  • To revive an aloe that has been underwatered plant, put the pot in a water basin for 10 minutes, ensuring that your rootball is completely submerged, to ensure that the soil remains evenly moist . The roots will absorb the moisture they require to replenish the water reserves within the leaves.


Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)