Underwatered Echeveria – Signs and How To Revive

Underwatered Echeveria - Signs and How To Revive

Echeverias are rose-shaped succulents that are part of the Crassulaceae family. These plants grow well in areas with desert-like conditions, being native to Mexico, Central America and northwestern South America. Their waxy leaves are usually blue-gray or gray-green in color, but can also be green or purple. These popular succulents, despite being drought-resistant, are also susceptible to the effects of underwatering if neglected for long periods.

Underwatered echeveria – Signs and how to revive 

Signs of underwatered echeveria 

Underwatered echeveria plants will have shriveled leaves and a wrinkled appearance because the water stores in their leaves are low. The plants will also look droopy and wilted due to severe dehydration. The leaves will also start turning brown and drying out, starting at the bottom of the plant. As the dehydration becomes more severe, the higher-up, younger leaves will also be affected. The dry leaves may also drop off the plant. This is because the plant is conserving its remaining water to ensure its survival, rather than prioritizing the health of the leaves. 

Underwatered plants will also have soft, flat, deflated leaves. The leaves lose their plumpness and firmness due to the depleted water stores in their cells. For the same reason, the plants will feel rubbery and will bend easily.

They may also grow aerial roots, which appear as white or pink tendrils growing from the stem above the soil. Succulents send out these aerial roots to absorb water from the air, and will be more prone to doing this when the soil is not providing the required amount of water. Plants in areas with high humidity tend to have aerial roots. 

Although succulents like echeveria plants store water in the tissue of their stems and leaves, they still need a certain amount of water to survive. These plants are highly adapted to dry conditions and can withstand drought, but if they do not get water after their stores have been depleted, they will succumb. 

How to revive underwatered echeveria

To revive an underwatered echeveria, use a watering can to pour water generously around the plant’s base. Once the soil has absorbed the water, pour more. Repeat these steps until water starts to drain out of the holes at the bottom of the pot. Allow all of this excess water to drain completely. 

The plant should look revived and feel firm again after a few days. If, after three or four days, the plant still does not feel firm but instead looks wrinkled, repeat the watering process. Resume your regular watering schedule once the plant has recovered, but water it slightly more frequently than you did before, to avoid repeating the underwatering problem. 

Nevertheless, always err on the side of underwatering rather than overwatering. If you have been watering every two weeks and your plant is looking shriveled, try switching to every 10 days.

Echeveria plant care 

Echeverias are low-maintenance plants, but they still need basic care. Plant them in well-draining soil that allows proper drainage. Perlite and coarse sand can be added to further improve drainage. These plants do well when planted in unglazed pots with drainage holes, as the clay or terracotta absorbs excess moisture and protects the roots in the event of overwatering. 

These plants require ample sunlight to develop properly, and they thrive in full sun. Ideally, they should get at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. If they lack exposure to sunlight, they may become elongated or leggy. Echeverias should also be moved outdoors during hot weather. 

These plants are very sensitive to overwatering, which could cause root rot and attract pests like mealybugs. Soak the soil thoroughly when watering, but allow it to dry completely before you water the plants again. 

Echeverias do well in desert-like conditions and are intolerant of cold temperatures. They should be grown in dry areas, because too much humidity could lead to root rot. The ideal temperature for these plants is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your plant outgrows its original pot, you can repot it, but do not do this often. Gently remove the plant from the pot and clear the soil from around the roots before transferring it to a new, larger container with fresh soil mix. The best time to repot plants is in spring, which is the start of the growing season. 

Echeverias can be propagated by separating the offsets from the mother plant, or by using leaf cuttings.


Echeverias are low-maintenance, drought-resistant plants with waxy blue-gray, gray-green, green or purple leaves. These rosette-shaped succulents are also prone to the effects of underwatering if neglected for too long, and the most common signs are shriveled, wrinkled leaves that feel limp and rubbery. 

To revive an underwatered echeveria, water it thoroughly until excess water pours out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. If, after three or four days, the plant still looks dry and wilted, repeat the process. Going forward, adjust your watering schedule to avoid underwatering the plant again. 

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