Succulents have now become some of the most popular houseplants, and this is mainly due to the fact that they're so low maintenance! In this article, we're going to take a look at how to water succulents the right way! These plants not only look great in any environment, but their low maintenance upkeep is great for anyone with a busy life, or just someone who doesn't have a green thumb!
But be wary – just because succulents are low maintenance, doesn't mean there isn't room for error! Properly watering succulents is actually SUPER important because it can make the difference between life and death…for the succulents at least! Frequent watering could make the succulents wilt and dye, so it's better to water them less rather than more.
Succulents grow in almost any medium, meaning they're easy houseplants to care for. But, as with any houseplants, there are still some important rules you need to follow in order to have a beautiful and healthy succulent plant. Growing succulents indoors, for example, requires that you wait until they dry out completely before watering them. Excess water in succulents is a huge no-no and can kill your plant almost instantly. Have a pot with good drainage is key when growing succulents. Growing conditions, amount of water given, and well drained soil are all key components in succulent care.
How to Water Succulents
Over-watering and under-watering are the quickest way to kill off a succulent plant, so keep reading this guide on how to water succulents the right way! One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to succulents, is that they don't need water. While they ARE drought tolerant, they still need SOME water to survive!
If you see yellow, soggy leaves, this is an indication of over-watering. Brown, dry leaves that reside in the middle or the top, will indicate under-watering. If you see dry leaves at the bottom of the succulent though, this is completely normal and does NOT indicate under-watering. This just means that your plant is ready to replace its leaves!
Succulent Watering Schedule:
You should be careful when and how often you water your succulents because too much water can cause root rot, while not enough water will cause your plant to dry off and dye. Succulents also hate siting in wet soil, so be sure to plant your succulents in well draining cactus mix or succulent soil. See here how to make your own succulent soil! Don't ever use regular potting soil, as it will not drain the water fast enough!
While there's no exact science on how much and how often to water your succulents (this all depends on the variety and the climate you're in), there IS a rule of thumb, and this is it:
Water your succulents ONLY when the soil is dry and water thoroughly until you start to see water draining through the drainage holes. For most climates and varieties, you'll only need to water about once a week. Once a week has gone by, just touch the soil with your finger to feel whether the soil is dry or not. It should be dry to about 1 inch deep!
How to Water Succulents:
You can water your succulents a few different ways:
Using a watering can: this method is best done on bigger potted succulents. Water deeply until the soil is completely wet, and only water the soil.
Using a watering syringe: this method is best suited for smaller potted succulents. Inject water filled syringe directly into succulent soil until completely soaked.
Using a spray bottle: spray water directly onto soil when dry to the touch. This method works best for climates that are wet and humid where water succulents may need less water than normal. This method is also recommended mostly when propagating succulents.
How to Water Succulents Indoors:
The most foolproof way of watering succulents indoors is to completely soak the soil and then let the soil dry completely before watering again. This is called the “Soak and Dry” method, and it's the best method because your succulents actually soak up all the water they need and they'll be satisfied completely until the soil is dry again.
If your succulents are bigger and have a well established root system, this method of soaking and drying is best. This is because during the time the soil is dry, or during the “drought”, new roots will sprout and they'll be ready to absorb all the water once it's time to water again.
Another important aspect to watering succulents indoors, is your home's humidity level. Those that live in a dryer climate, might need to water succulents more often than those that live in a more humid climate. Succulents that have thicker leaves will also need less water than those with thinner leaves
How to Water Succulents Outdoors:
For outdoor succulents, follow the same method as for indoor succulents. Soak the soil and then let dry completely before watering again. The amount of water your outdoor succulents will need all depends on your climate. Those in humid climates, can expect to water less, while those in dryer climates, should water more.
Also, if you live in a tropical or subtropical climate, changes are, the temperatures will be higher. This means that the soil will dry out faster, and you'll need to water more often. In the middle of the summer, when temperatures are soaring, you should water outdoor succulents every 2-3 days. Outdoor succulents need to be watered more often because the water will evaporate faster due to air flow. Make sure to keep an eye on the soil, as outdoor plants may need more water, more often.
Watering Succulent Leaves
If you're propagating succulent leaves, this is the time to use a spray bottle. For quick and healthy growth, spray your succulent leaves once a day. Do this by spraying the top of the soil, and the leaves will absorb the water from the air around them. If you're growing your succulent leaves in well draining soil, you can go ahead and give them a little more water.
Top 3 Succulent Watering Mistakes
These top 3 mistakes are super common and the reason why most succulent plants just don't make it. As long as you avoid these mistakes, you'll be on your way to growing amazing succulents!
Mistake #1: Using Bad Soil
One of the most important aspects of growing succulents, is using the right type of soil. Most people think you can just grow succulents in regular potting soil, but this is not the case. Most succulent varieties prefer cactus soil or succulent soil that is fast draining and can be purchased from your local nursery. See how you can make your own succulent soil! Once you have your succulents growing in well draining, succulent or cactus specific soil, they'll start to thrive! It's also a good idea to place small pebbles at the bottom of the pot, as it allows for better drainage.
Mistake #2: Using Pots Without Drainage Holes
We all know how crucial it is for succulent plants to be able to get rid of excess water, so a pot with drainage holes is very important. While it is possible to grow succulents in pots without drainage holes, it makes for a whole lot of work. So instead, always opt for drainage holes and it'll make your life easier, and the succulents' lives all that much better!
Mistake #3: Watering With a Spray Bottle
A lot of people make the mistake of watering their succulents with a spray bottle, when in truth, this is the worst thing you can do. The only time you should use a spray bottle is when your succulents aren't grown in pots with drainage holes or when you're watering propagating leaves. Otherwise, a spray bottle watering is just not enough. The correct way to water succulents is to soak the soil and let dry completely before soaking again.
So now that you know how to water succulents the correct way, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to planting!
How to Water Succulents the Right Way
- Water succulents once a week or once every two weeks.
- Use your finger to check the soil.
- If the soil feels dry, water deeply and thoroughly until soil is completely soaked.
- Be sure your succulent pot has good drainage holes, so that any extra water can easily drain out.
- Let soil dry completely before watering again.
Do succulents need direct sunlight?
Although succulents don’t need direct sunlight, they do well when they receive at least 3 hours of indirect sunlight per day.
how long can succulents go without water?
Because succulents are part of the cactus family, they can go for weeks, or even months without water. Just like in their natural environment (dry, arid climates such as deserts), it may not rain for months. But, when it does rain, it does so heavily and the soil gets completely saturated with water. So although you could technically not water your succulents for several weeks, it’s best to completely saturate the soil with water once the soil is dry to the touch.
Don’t leave your succulents without water for more than 2 weeks! Even though they can technically take it, it’s best to give them water once a week or once every 2 weeks!
Should I water succulents after repotting?
Yes, absolutely! You should water any plant after re-potting, especially if you’ve switched out the soil.
I water my succulents once a week or once every two weeks, and I do it in the correct way, but some of them dried out and dyed. What happened??
Succulents can be very finicky. Are you growing all of your succulents together in one pot or are they separated? Sometimes, different succulents need different watering schedules. Also, what type of soil are they grown in? It could be that you’re watering them too much. Remember to ONLY water when the soil is completely dry. Once completely dry, water deeply until the soil is saturated.
Omg I always thought that succulents should be water very very rarely…no wonder all of my died 🙁 thanks for the tip!!
You’re very welcome Sierra 🙂
How do you know when a succulent needs water?
The first sign of a succulent plant that’s low in moisture, is obviously dry soil. The second sign will be dried, shriveled leaves. If your succulents have wrinkled and shriveled leaves, it’s time to water them!
will succulents outgrow their pot?
Yes, succulents can outgrow their pot. When this happens, you should repot the succulents into a bigger pot. When you make the move, be sure to provide your succulent plants with plenty of water.
Great to know!! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Eddie 🙂
Super helpful! I’ve been underwatering my succulents it seems…oops!!