HousePlant Care

Signs Of Overwatered Cactus – Causes & How To Fix It

Signs Of Overwatered Cactus: It is a commonplace for people to believe that cacti can be unbreakable. Additionally, it’s the case that they’re deficient in maintenance.

Cacti require only a tiny amount of water to remain alive, and too much water could cause the death of the Cactus.

Due to this, it’s common for people who love plants to overwater their Cacti. It is crucial to be aware of the signs of excessive watering to know when to cut back on the watering.

Below are some steps to help save your Cactus that has been overwatered.

  • Stop watering as soon as you notice
  • Remove any excess water and then move the plant with more sun
  • Get rid of the Cactus and the insect roots to test for root decay
  • If there are indications of root rot, cut off the affected part
  • Please clean up the entire root system and let it dry before Repotting
  • Make a report with a fresh mixing mix and container that has high drainage.

Continue reading, and I’ll guide you through each solution that can be caused by water overflow.

Is your Cactus dehydrated or submerged?

5 Signs Your Cactus Needs Less Water - CactusWay

It is more likely for the plant to be a cactus that is overwatered rather than underwatered. However, there are ways to examine both. One indication of a cactus that has been overwatered is brown or pale-colored leaves.

cactus that has been submerged tends to dry out and eventually die.

If the Cactus goes without water for a long duration, its roots will dry up, and the plant will not develop.

If you’re not sure if your Cactus requires the water or not, then it’s best to be on the safe side of submerging.

Because cacti can withstand drought, they are much simpler for a plant to recover from drowning instead of overwatering.

Signs of Overwatered Cactus

Underwatered Cactus: Signs + How to Save the Succulent - Gardenine

Cacti are low-maintenance, and they don’t need much watering. Cacti have adjusted to their desert environment. This is the reason they can endure on such a small amount of water.

It is possible to overwater your plants, and many end in killing their Cactus by compassion. Here are some signs of excessive watering:

Looks Can Be Deceiving

The first indication of excessive watering is a bit counterintuitive. If you overwater your Cactus, it is likely to increase in size and expand, appearing healthy and happy.

However, in reality, the roots are in danger, and the Cactus may shortly begin to show indications.

It’s crucial to be aware of the symptoms of watering too much early. At this point, you can slow down the watering and have the best chances of conserving your Cactus.

Color Change

A cactus that has been overwatered can turn into a dull green. In time the Cactus may change to yellow in the process known as Chlorosis.

It can result in stunted growth as the plant isn’t able to get nutrients out of the soil.

Small Black Circular Spots

If you spot small circular spots on your Cactus, it could indicate an infection caused by fungal bacteria. Other signs to look for include spots of discoloration on the scabs, soft patches as well as hollow spots.

Fungi thrive in humid and warm temperatures and are often the result of excessive watering.

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Soft Brown spots

Soft brown spots that appear on the exterior of the Cactus can be an indication of root decay. Root rot happens when the Cactus has been kept in moist soil, and the roots start to decline.

If roots begin to die and the plant dies, it will not absorb enough liquid from the soil. This could cause the entire plant to be killed.

There are other factors you should look for to confirm whether root rot is taking place.

Rotten Smell

Cactus with root rot generally have an unpleasant stink of rotting. Some describe the smell as sour or similar to compost.

The smell results from bacterial growth at a place that is not oxygenated, like the bottom of a pot that has been soaked in water.

Root Rot

If you’re concerned about watering too much, it’s best to look at the roots of your plant for indications of decay. Healthy sources are white, while rotten ones will be brown or black, and they will feel damp.

Depending on the extent to which root rot has advanced, you might still be able to keep the plant if the root rot has gone.

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How To Fix An Overwatered Cactus


close-up view of beautiful green cactus in pot isolated on yellow

However, if you observe that the soil is wet, you don’t notice any indications of stress caused by water. All you have to do is dry the soil and stop the plant from getting repeatedly overwatered.

  • If the standing water has gathered in the soil, it is best to drain it away. In the earth, flush it out.
  • Don’t water the soil again after the upper of one to two inches is dry.
  • Check that water has a route to be able to drain from the soil. Set the planter above a saucer, holding the excess water flowing out of the drainage channels.
  • If you can, create additional air space around the roots using pencils to poke tiny indentures in the soil. This will let more oxygen reach the roots and assist your soil is drying out more quickly.
  • Then, move your succulent to an area that is dry in the home. If the Cactus is in proximity to the humidifier, consider moving it elsewhere.
  • Transfer your Cactus to an area that receives more sunlight. This will enable the Cactus to make use of the water faster. Cacti generally thrive in areas with plenty of sunshine and light. It’s best to put your Cactus on the south-facing side of your window to ensure it receives sufficient sunlight.

Revive The Damaged Cactus

The next step is to evaluate the extent of the damage. If you observe the Cactus showing symptoms of damage like the leaves turning yellow or sudden growth, it is essential to determine the size to which the injury has occurred.

Cover the Cactus in the newspaper, then tip it out of the container. Next, gently scrub soil away from the root.

If the majority of your roots have white colour, then you’re in good shape. The damage isn’t going to go to the point of being irreparable, and your succulent will have a better chance of recovering.

In this instance, it is recommended to take care to nurse your Cactus back to good health, then drain the soil, then plant it in new soil after the condition of your plant has stabilized.

  • Remove a few leaves from the top of the Cactus. This will assist the plant in conserving energy and redirect its resources to healing.
  • If your soil becomes very soaked, remove the Cactus from the container and allow it to dry on a piece of newspaper. Transfer the entire plant in the same amount and try your best to avoid damaging the roots.
  • Apply a fungicide to the soil. The fungi thrive in humid environments. Therefore, it’s a great idea to keep it from growing.
  • Do not fertilize your Cactus until it has grown back.

There is a chance that, after all that, the soil remains a bit soggy. This could be because of the soil type or planter you are employing, in which case you are required to change the pot.

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Repotting The Cactus

Choose an unglazed clay or Terracotta pot that is a little bigger than the Cactus.

The pot should be filled with an uncooked potting mix. You can purchase potting mix specifically designed for Cacti in gardening stores. Potting soils using coarse substances like perlite will aid in aerating the soil as well as increase drainage.

  • Carefully place the Cactus in the soil that has been prepared, making sure not to damage the roots.
  • Place the cactus one centimetre into the ground in the earth.
  • Add soil to the pot.

If the roots have changed color, black or brown, that indicates that root rot is taking place. It is necessary to remove the roots that are damaged and encourage them to sprout new ones. These are steps to accomplishing this:

Treating Cactus Root Rot

  • Use a sharp, sterilized knife to remove the decayed portions of the roots if any decayed bits are left and be spread to the remaining part of the plant.
  • Remove the Cactus from the soil and allow it to dry for a couple of days until it develops a scab on the areas you cut.
  • When the scabs are dried, you’re now ready to plant again. Follow the instructions in the previous paragraph to move the Cactus to an unclean pot filled with the cactus-potting mix.

If your Cactus suffers from an infection caused by fungal bacteria, the treatments are different. Examine your Cactus, and check for signs of fungal disease, which may include tiny discoloured spots as well as mushy spots and tiny sunken spots.

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Treating a Fungal Infection

  • Make use of a sterilized knife to cut away the tissue that has been damaged.
  • Let the wound to be dried out. Do not sprinkle water on the plant from the top until the wound heals.
  • When the fungal infection has infected your roots, it is recommended to get rid of the affected soil and plant the plant in the new potting mix. Be sure to clean the roots before planting.
  • There is a chance that you won’t be in a position to keep your succulent when it has been infected by fungal disease and taken over to its roots. If you cannot save the entire planet, you may cut a piece and let it take root to form a new plant. Let the cuttings dry for a couple of days until it develops a callus, then transplant it into the soil.

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When To Water After Transplanting Cactus

Overwatered cactus - Gardening & Landscaping Stack Exchange

When you transplant a cactus plant, you should not water it for the first few days after the repotting. It’s crucial to allow the soil to dry before watering it once more.

If it is not, the Cactus may persist in exhibiting signs of excessive watering. Place your finger up to two inches in the soil and look for any moisture. When the soil’s top layer appears completely dry, you can start to water again.

After one week has passed after repotting, you can water your Cactus regularly until new growth begins to appear.

How Often To Water Cactus

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To avoid overwatering, It is essential to ensure that your water is in moderate amounts. Cacti are distinctive in that they store water in their stems and leaves. This makes it simple to overwater them, so be cautious.

There are a variety of factors that contribute to excessive watering. Here are some suggestions to keep from overwatering:

Water When The Soil Is Dry

Always allow the soil to dry between irrigations. Let the upper one or two inches dry entirely before applying water to the Cactus once more. The general rule is to sprinkle water on the Cactus once every ten days.

Your Cactus mustn’t get placed in stagnant water. The roots to be swollen and cause root decay. Make sure your plant can drain and drain the saucer in case water accumulates.

Select A Pot With Good Drainage

Although it might seem like an insignificant thing, the type of container you choose to use will have a significant impact on the health of your Cactus.

Unglazed ceramic pots are a good choice because they hold in moisture and protect plants from temperature fluctuations.

Terracotta pots are an additional excellent alternative to choose from as they absorb moisture and help keep the soil from getting waterlogged.

One disadvantage to ceramic or terracotta ware is that they’re not transparent. This means you can’t quickly determine if there’s excess water in the pot.

Plastic and fiberglass aren’t the best materials for cacti as they don’t drain as quickly.

It is best to avoid using a container made from metal because metal is scorching and may cause burns to the Cactus. Metal drains less efficiently.

Whatever material you choose, ensure that the planter is equipped with drain holes at the top.

It is essential to maintain the cactus’ water supply until the water can drain through the drainage holes as it helps to flush out all dirt in the soil.

Use a Small Container

When choosing a planter, choose the smallest size you can. The Cactus must be able to rest comfortably in the pot without having much space.

A small pot can help to keep the Cactus from being in excessive water. If you use a larger pot, it will take longer to evaporate and increase the chance of root decay.

Use a Soil That Allows Water to Drain

The soil type is also crucial. The soil must be draining correctly to allow water to quickly move through the soil before getting to those drainage holes in the base in the bottom of the pot.

Choose a pebbly, sandy, and porous potting mixture. The soil must also be rich in organic matter that can help to moisten the roots but also dry them out rapidly.

Water According to Season

The seasons affect the needs of plants for water. Some seasons differ across globe in around the world.

Use this as an overall guideline and then tailor your irrigation schedule to the climate in your region and the requirements of your Cactus.

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Cactus require smaller amounts of water in the winter months because they typically stop growing when temperatures drop below freezing.

It also stays humid because it does not evaporate as quickly. This means it isn’t necessary to water in lower temperatures frequently.

In winter, your Cactus could only require to be watered every month. However, every Cactus has its unique characteristics.

The most effective way to be sure to water your Cactus is to test the moisture in the soil.

One important thing to remember in mind is that heating could cause the plant to get dry. To stop this from happening, place an area of water close to the Cactus, or use humidifiers.


In spring, cacti spring up following a period of dormancy. It’s essential to provide water to your Cactus more often around this time, roughly once per week.


When it’s hot, plants lose more water because of transpiration. It is recommended to water your Cactus at least two or three times per week during summer to make up for water loss.


Temperatures can be volatile in the fall, so be sure to keep your eye on soil’s moisture levels. As a guideline, aim to apply water approximately once per week in the autumn.

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Water According to the Age of the Cactus

Cacti require different amounts of water throughout their lives. Young cacti require more water than the older ones because they are growing.

Cacti that are large and older have a lower surface area about their size.

This implies that less water evaporates off the plant’s surface compared to the quantity of water it absorbs.

In the end, more enormous cacti don’t require more water than smaller ones.

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Common Mistakes in Watering Cactus

Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when they are taking care of Cactus.


As you are aware, cacti are very sensitive to excessive watering. It is essential to allow the top couple of inches to dry completely between irrigations.

It is essential to water your Cactus as often as is possible. Your plant will be grateful.

Choosing the Incorrect Soil Type

When the soil has become not sufficiently compacted, water won’t be in a position to be able to drain through. This could lead to the soil being flooded and can result in root decay.

Compacted soil also blocks nourishment from reaching the plant’s root and can cause to deficiency in nutrients.

Select a potting mix that is pebbly, sandy, and porous. This kind of soil allows water to flow freely through the soil and prevents excessive watering.

Utilizing a pot with poor drainage

The kind of pot you choose can also affect drainage. Containers made of non-porous substances like metal and plastic are not suitable for Cacti. Instead, choose a pot that is made of unglazed clay or Terracotta.

The frequency of watering does not Change With The Seasons.

As temperatures change and the weather changes, so do the needs of your plant’s watering. The Cactus will expand in warmer weather and require more water to ensure its growth.

If the temperature gets colder, your Cactus won’t require more water. Be sure to alter your watering schedule to accommodate temperature changes to ensure that you don’t overwater it—excessive water.

Can you save an overwatered cactus

If you take care of it properly If you take care of it, you can revive your dying Cactus. If your Cactus has been overwatered, it is essential to reduce the amount of water you give on your schedule and let the soil completely dry out.

There are numerous steps you can follow to avoid overwatering. Selecting the suitable potting material, allowing drainage, and paying attention to your Cactus needs is essential.

What can you do to maintain your succulent healthy and happiness? Please let me know by commenting below.

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