Succulent Watering Guide and Tips

A Guide To Succulent Watering

learn more about succulent watering

Succulent watering can be tricky to figure out. Unlike most plants, succulents do not need a lot of water. They only need water when their soil is dry or if the environment they live in is very hot.

Most plants will thrive when they receive water weekly, but succulents will thrive infrequent waterings that are spaced out over a few weeks. They need much drier environments than other plants and can survive months without water.

Low Maintenance Plants

Succulents are a group of extremely low-maintenance plants. They will thrive in the same pots for years, tolerate most soils, and require little water. This makes them excellent beginner plants or decorative pieces.

Due to their easy-care, different types of succulents can be kept in the same container to make beautiful living arrays. Their vibrant colors and resistance to sunlight makes them perfect windowsill and outdoor plants.

Important Parts of Succulent Watering

There are a few important parts to watering succulents that make all the difference. Providing succulents with proper care will keep them alive. If done correctly, the plants will thrive.


Good drainage is essential to the health of plants. If water is trapped in a pot it will cause root rot and disease in succulents.

Improving drainage in pots is easy. Purchasing pots with holes in the bottom is a great start. However, ceramic or terracotta pots that do not have holes can be filled with rocks or gravel.

For instance, using a layer of stones at the base of pots allows water to drain from the soil and roots of a plant. This will aid in preventing rot and the spread of soil-dwelling bacteria.

drainage pots has an amazing, in-depth description of drainage in plant pots.

Check out the link below to learn about all the different types of pots and which offer the best drainage. Additionally, learn more about succulent aesthetics and how to make beautiful living arrangements.

Succulent Aesthetic and Garden Design


Time Between Waterings

In the same way as drainage, the time between waterings is extremely important. Knowing when to water succulents will prevent them from drying out or drowning in a pot of water.

Succulents do not need as much water as other plants. In fact, many succulents are native to hot and arid places around the globe. They have thick leaves designed to suck up water to store when its dry. Too much water will make the plant soggy and rot.

While all succulent species are different and each one requires unique care, most will be happy if watered once every two weeks.

If unsure, it’s safer to water less than more. Once root rot starts from overwatered soil, it is difficult to save a plant.

Amount of Water

One to two cups every two weeks is a good amount of water to use for succulents. Each species will differ, however, a thorough watering every two to three weeks will provide plants with the water they need.

The amount of water should be reduced in the winter months. Many succulents will go through a dry period during winter and this should be replicated. Once every three to four weeks is ideal. does a great job of describing when its time to water succulents.

Symptoms and Diagnoses of Watering Issues

Thankfully, cacti are quite good at showing when they are getting too much or not enough water. By looking for symptoms, making an accurate diagnosis, and taking action early, plants will survive.

Symptoms of Over-Watering

Cacti and succulents that receive a lot of water will swell up a lot. If they get too much water, they may start to become mushy or suishy. Eventually, they become brown or black; at this point chances of survival become slim.

Immediately transplant over-watered cacti and succulents to a new pot with sterile, dry soil. Make sure that the new pot has plenty of drainage holes.

Symptoms of Under-Watering

Succulents and cacti also suffer from under-watering, although this is far less common than from over-watering.

Succulents that receive too little water will become skinny and physically shrink in size, sucking inwards. They may also turn a light brown and feel rough when touched. If they have spikes or spines, some of them might fall off.

If a cactus or succulent is suffering from under-watering, gradually increase the amount of water given until it turns a vibrant green and plumps up in thickness. Be careful to not give it a ton of water over the course of a few days because an overly wet environment can cause the plant to rot.

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