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How Much Water Do Succulents Need?

Understanding how much water succulents need is crucial to providing proper care for your plants. Succulents have different watering needs than flowering houseplants. Too much water and you could send your succulent to its death bed. Keep reading to find out how much you should water succulents and how often.

How Much Water Do Succulents Need?

Many people have the misconception that succulents don’t require watering. But although most succulents are drought-tolerant due to the engorged, fleshy leaves and stems that retain water, they still need less frequent hydration. 

The growth location also affects how much water to use for succulents and how often. Also, consider these three factors – humidity, wind, and temperature. Succulent plants grown indoors do not need as much water as those produced outside. 

Succulent in a pot

What Are Succulents?

Succulents are plants with a higher tolerance for low water needs due to arid, dry climates due to their native growing conditions. 

Succulents do well without water because they retain water in the roots, leaves, and stems. If you notice wrinkling succulent leaves, it’s typically an indication that the plant needs water. 

We can separate most succulent plants into two categories – those that grow in summer and go dormant in winter and those that bloom in winter and go dormant in summer. 

Your summer succulents will grow from May to August and then go dormant from November to February. In comparison, succulents that thrive in the winter bloom from November to February and then go dormant. 

Watering Succulents Indoors

You should water the specimen once weekly during your succulents’ growing period. To wet your plant correctly, you’ll need to soak the soil thoroughly. 

Once you start seeing water draining out of the holes at the bottom of the pot, stop watering. This ‘soak and dry’ method offers the best watering method and should only be done once the soil dries out completely. 

An easy way to check your soil’s moisture level is to place a bamboo stick deep into the ground. Let it sit for a few minutes. If your post looks damp or has wet soil, your plants don’t need water. Only add water if the stick is easy to pull out and looks completely dry.

You won’t need to water your succulents as much during their dormant period. However, if you notice the plants starting to wither, it’s time to water them. 

But if you keep your summer plants indoors and heated through winter, they require more frequent waterings – once weekly. 

Watering Succulents Outdoors

The weather and growing season determine your water routine when growing succulents outside. High temperatures and windy conditions cause soil to dry out faster and require higher waterings – up to 3 times weekly. 

Close up of a succulent that is properly watered

Do Succulents Need Pots with Drainage?

A great debate occurs between pots with drainage holes versus no holes. The container will play a big role in the frequency of watering succulents. 

It’s recommended that you choose pots that have adequate drainage. If your succulents are left to soak in water, they can experience rotting of the roots. 

While you can grow succulents in pots without the ability to drain, you’ll need to perform less frequent waterings. And use a method of testing the soil’s dampness, such as a bamboo stick, toothpick, or chopstick. 

Another option is to choose a glass terrarium, which lets you view the dampness of the soil. This option makes it easier to enjoy succulents while knowing when to water them. 

How Do I Know if I Overwatered Succulents?

Overwatering succulents means that the soil stays so damp that it causes rotting of the stems or roots. Once the rotting reaches the stem, the roots are already rotten. 

You’ll also notice that the leaves turn translucent – clear – or a funky yellow and become mushy. You can also spot leaf cracks or splitting. 

If you’ve overwatered your succulents but not to the extent that you’ve noticed rotting, you can attempt to save your plants. 

Start by taking the succulent out of its container. Then gently clear all the soil from the plant, including the excess dirt clinging to the roots. 

Examine your plant for signs of rot. If you spot signs of damage, separate the plant from the rotted piece. You may have to break off all of the roots and start over. 

Let the healthy parts of the plant have a few days to air-dry. Then put the pieces into fresh, dry soil. 

Watering Succulents in Winter

In the wintertime, remember two rules about watering succulents. First, only give your plants enough water that it keeps the root ball from drying out – sparingly. 

And second, hardy succulents grown outdoors should not get watered after October until the following February. 

When to Water Succulents after Repotting

Several occasions may arise when you decide to repot your succulents. First, it could be that your plants experienced overwatering, and you had to salvage them.

Or you might decide to repot your plants to upgrade to a bigger size, a more decorative pot, or because you propagated – divided – your plant into several specimens of new growths. 

Regardless of why you chose to repot your succulents, you should give the plants one week to adjust before watering. 

Proper Succulent Watering Routine

Succulents are resilient, drought-tolerant plants commonly grown in hot, dry climates. In addition, the low watering needs of this category make these plants perfect for beginning gardeners and people who often forget to water their plants. 

When grown indoors, your succulents often only need watering once every one to two weeks. Succulents grown outdoors require more water than indoor plants unless they’re under grow lights. Most succulents require less infrequent watering during dormancy. 

For more succulent ideas, check out this indoor succulent planter!

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