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How Often to Water Succulents

Succulent plants are rising in popularity among gardeners both as houseplants and as outdoor garden statements. They are eye-catching plants that flaunt splendid foliage. They store water in their dense, shapely leaves, making them drought-tolerant and relatively self-sufficient plants.  One of the most appealing aspects of succulent plants, other than their easy maintenance, is that they can be discovered in a wide array of shapes, textures, colors, and heights.

An essential consideration to their success is how often to water succulents. While they don’t need as much upkeep and care as many other florae, they do require some precise maintenance in the watering department. They might not need as much watering as many people think they do, so it’s crucial to their survival that gardeners know what signs to look for when thinking about how often to water succulents. Check out our tips for keeping succulent plants thirst-quenched and healthy no matter where they are planted.

Hands Watering Succulent Plants

Succulent Soil Considerations

We can’t talk about watering without first touching on the subject of soil.  Succulents have shallow root systems and prefer soil that well-draining.  It won’t matter what your watering routine is if water is allowed to pool in a container, oversaturating roots for an extended period of time. The roots will rot, and the plant will not survive.

Plant succulents in a loose, rocky soil that is nutrient-rich for best results.  If you are planting succulents in containers, use a potting mix specifically formulated for succulents and cacti and plant in a pot with holes in the bottom for drainage.

How Often to Water Succulents Indoors

Indoor succulent plants should likely be watered approximately once a week.  They need enough time to store the water in their leaves and for the soil to dry out between waterings. Follow these tips and techniques for watering indoor succulent plants.

  • Use a watering with a small pour spout.
  • Apply water to the core of the succulent plant until it is fully saturated.
  • Allow water to drain through the holes in the pot thoroughly. If there is a saucer underneath the plant, be sure to dump out any water that drains through the soil.
  • Avoid saturating the leaves to ward off rot from the top-down since there will not be enough heat and fresh airflow to dry the leaves when planted indoors.
  • Allow soil to dry thoroughly between waterings.
Succulent plants being watered

How Often to Water Succulents Outdoors

It’s always important to pay attention to your succulent plants.  They will give you distinct signals on when to water them and when not to.  To put it plainly, if the soil is still wet, no matter what the timeframe, you should not water the plant.  If you notice that the soil is very dry and the succulent plant foliage appears shriveled or dry, it’s definitely time to water it.

How Often to Water Succulents in Containers

  • Water the base of the succulent plant until the soil is fully saturated.
  • Allow water to drain through the holes in the pot thoroughly. If there is a collection plate underneath the plant, be sure to dump out any water that drains through the soil.
  • Allow soil to dry thoroughly between waterings.
  • If heavy rain is imminent, move pots to a sheltered location.

How Often to Water Succulents In-Ground

  • Reduce watering during fall and winter months so that succulents can survive cold temperatures.
  • Saturated soil makes succulents more vulnerable to frost damage during the winter months.
  • During the hotter days of the growing season, plants will need more frequent watering.
  • Water plants deeply, allowing the soil to dry between watering sessions.
Woman watering succulent plants.

How Much Water Do Succulents Need?

Succulents are fun and easy to grow as long as they are cared for properly. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is overwatering their succulent plants. The word ‘succulent’ is derived from the Latin root sucus, which means sap or moisture, so water is crucial for these plants. But balance is key to succulent plant success.

Succulent plants will often communicate how often they need to be watered based on how their leaves and soil present themselves. Pay attention. Watering succulents too often is a recipe for disaster and will drown the plant.  If you don’t hydrate them enough, they could wither and die. Once you achieve that happy balance of how often to water succulents, you will have thriving plants that exude beauty and charm for many years to come.


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A green succulent with water droplets
A woman watering her plants

2 Comments

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    • Hi Gloria, some succulents can be left outside during the winter. It’s important to know your succulents growing requirements and what temperatures it thrives in. Hardy succulent varieties can be overwintered in their containers or in-ground as long as the soil remains well-drained and there is some protection from harsh conditions and extreme dips in temperature. More tender succulent varieties are not as hardy in colder growing zones and it’s best to bring them indoors during the winter months and place them in a sunny window, preferably one that faces south. You can also place them under indoor grow lights to assist their growth through the chilly days of winter. For more information on growing succulents outside, please check out this article: https://www.kellogggarden.com/blog/gardening/can-succulents-live-outside/. Happy gardening!

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