How to Water Succulents | Ultimate Guide

So you bought your succulent and you’re very excited to make sure it grows and thrives in its new home. With their vibrant colors and fascinating forms you want to make sure they stay and grow healthy for years to come. One of the questions that surely came to your mind was how you should water your succulent.

Succulents in generally require little care for them to be happy. Little care does not mean no care. Factors such as how often you water them, the type of soil you use, how much sunlight it gets, and the right kind of pot all play part in make sure your succulent plant will grow healthy and strong. This article contains details regarding out to take care of succulents indoors, outdoors, in the ground, and in terrariums.

How to Water Succulents Indoor

One of the best ways to water your succulent is through the “soak and dry” method. With this method, you soak the soil and let it dry off completely. Note that with this method, we are not talking about giving them drips of water here and there but a complete soaking. “Soak” to the point where the water flows out from the drainage hole (more on drainage holes later) and onto the saucer. Be sure not to have the access water sit in the saucer too long as succulents do not like to sit in wet soil for too long.

Many people who have succulents will find that 10 – 13 days is a good baseline frequency between watering. Adjust as needed as there are a number of variables such as inside temperature, etc. to consider.

Water needs lessen during winter. The reason for less water during winter is because this is the time when they normally go into a dormant period. During winter months, water it as frequently as every month depending on the condition of your succulent.

When to water indoor succulents

A question that comes into mind when we think of watering your indoor succulent is when to water them. Consider these factors when you know when its time to water your succulent:

  1. Water your plant if you see wrinkles appearing on the leaves.
  2. Thin and less plumpy leaves are a must sign that your plant needs water.
  3. Touch the soil and water only when it is completely dry.
  4. You can use a soil moisture sensor to know how if your plant needs water or not.

Do not mist succulents

If you may be used to misting your house plants, you may think doing it for your succulents may be harmless. Full grown succulents actually do not like to be misted. As mentioned above, succulents come from a arid climate. When you mist them, you are inadvertently changing the humidity around them. This in turn may cause them to rot or eventually die. Below, we show some drawbacks to misting succulents.

Drawbacks of misting a succulent

  1. The water falls on the leaves, which leads to the formation of patches on the leaves and may rot/kill them.
  2. Only the upper soil gets the chance to consume the water.
  3. The soil at the bottom remains dry, ultimately leading to succulent death.

Succulent Pots

Closely tied to watering, one of the considerations you need to take into account is the right type of pot for your succulent plant. Planting your succulents in the wrong kind of pot can lead to the succulent dying. So, there are two choices when it comes to choosing the right pot for your indoor succulents that is highly recommended. The first one is the ceramic pot, and the second one is the terracotta (clay) pot.

The following are reasons why we love these material for succulents succulent pots:

  • These materials are breathable, so they aid in better airflow.
  • They also encourage better evaporation, which helps to maintain the right water content in the soil.

When you are looking for succulent pots, look for ones that have proper drainage holes at the bottom. But also make sure that the hole (or holes) is neither too small nor too large. The hole size varies with the size of the pot. As a general tip, choose a hole size that allows easy drainage of the soil’s water. As such, it will prevent your succulent plant from staying in water for too long.

When watering you succulent plant, make sure there a drainage plate of saucer in place. The saucer will gather the excess water and prevent a mess. Another benefit of drainage plates is that they hold the water inside them, which can further be absorbed by the plant’s roots. As a piece of advice, it is suggested to remove the saucer after 5 minutes of watering. This time is appropriate for the roots to soak the required water. After 5 minutes drain the excess water that is left on the saucer.

Another factor You should also consider while watering indoor succulents is the medium you are using to water your succulents. Always make sure to avoid watering your succulents with increased pressure. This high pressure can be damaging for your succulent plant. The reason behind this damage is that succulent plants have very delicate and thin roots. Any elevated water pressure can lead to the breakage of these roots, ultimately resulting in plant death. So it is always advised to water your succulents with something that results in a smooth and gentle water supply.

Also, make sure not to water the leaves of your succulent plant but water the soil. Over-watering the leaves can help fungal growth on your succulents. Moreover, water droplets that have fallen on the leaves result in white patches when dried out. This lead to the discoloration of the plant affecting the overall appearance of the succulent. As such, water the soil not the succulent plant.

How to water succulents without drainage holes

When talking about indoor succulents, some people do not prefer planting their succulents in pots with drainage holes. The main reason behind this is that drainage holes give out water that is extra for the succulents. If you haven’t kept the right sized plate under the pot, watering your succulents may create a small pool in your succulent area. As a result, rather than adding beauty to your home, succulents start creating a mess. People prefer keeping their indoor succulents in pots that don’t have any drainage holes as a solution to this problem. But this does not mean that you have got it all sorted out, another problem is just on its way.

Do you even know how difficult it is to water indoor succulents planted in pots without drainage holes? Most people do not have the proper knowledge of watering such succulents, and they end up killing their succulents. But you don’t have to be amongst those people, as we have got some tips for you regarding watering succulents without drainage.

  1. Avoid using water cans with large holes for watering your succulents.
  2. Use watering equipment that only has a single small water outlet.
  3. Do not fill the succulent pot all at once.
  4. Water the succulent with small interval breaks.
  5. Fulfill the normal water need of your succulent but just with care.  

Succulent Soil

No discussion of how to water succulents would be incomplete if we did not mention what type of soil succulent need. As succulents do not like to be in wet soil all the time, they need soil which is fast draining.

Succulent & Cactus Soil Mix

Cactus soil mix is a great soil type for your succulents. It contains one part organic matter, such as coconut coir or potting soil, to two parts mineral material, such as perlite, sand or a fine gravel. This ratio works well whether you’re planting cacti in pots or in designated areas outdoors.

Organic Succulent and Cactus Soil via Amazon


No discussion of watering indoor succulents would complete with proper sunlight. The amount of sunlight needed by indoor succulents varies with the type of succulent you are using. Some indoor succulent types require a high quantity of sunlight, while others only require a moderate amount of sunlight. But don’t forget that succulents are desert plants and all they love is light.

For helping maximum sunlight reach your succulents, follow these things.

  1. Keep your succulents in areas where sunlight can enter.
  2. Do not place your succulents in shady and dark areas such as cabinets etc.
  3. It is better to keep your succulents in your windows where light can easily fall.
  4. Keep the curtains open for letting maximum sunlight reach your succulents.
  5. If you do not have ample lighting, you may choose to use LED grow lights which help your succulent get ample lighting.

How to Water Succulents Outdoors

The first thing you need to keep in mind for the healthy growth of outdoor succulents is choosing a pot with the right material. So succulent experts have shared that clay pots are the best choice for growing outdoor succulents. The main reason behind this is that clay pots show great evaporation properties. This means that when you water an outdoor succulent in a clay pot, the soil will dry out faster. It is because the clay will encourage quick evaporation of water. This ultimately results in quicker drying of the soil than the time taken by outdoor succulents planted in other types of pots.

The next thing is to choose a pot with drainage holes. This is important so that your succulent plant gets only the required quantity of water. Drainage holes will help in releasing the excess water from the soil. This ultimately saves your outdoor succulents from dying because of excessive water intake. Use drainage plates to avoid the mess in your succulent area.

When to water outdoor succulents

Deciding when to water your outdoor succulents is no less than a challenge. Watering them at the wrong time may end up in succulent death. So make sure to keep these things in mind when watering your outdoor succulents.

  1. Check the soil and water only if it is dry.
  2. Water your plant when the leaves start getting weak. 
  3. Avoiding water your outdoor succulents at night.
  4. The best time to water your outdoor succulents is in the morning.
  5. Do not water your outdoor succulents when it is raining outside.
  6. Avoid watering outdoor succulents in extremely hot weather.

How to water succulents in the ground

 The most important thing to keep in mind when growing ground succulents is to check whether the soil is appropriate for succulent growth. Succulents grow in soil, having good drainage properties. To check if the soil is well-draining or not, dig a hole of about 20 cm in the ground and fill it with water. Allow the water to stay there for about half an hour. After 30 minutes, if the soil has drained properly, you can plant succulents. But if the water stills remain there even after more than half an hour, this soil is not suitable for growing succulents.

To fix the soil-drainage problem, you can add some sand or gravel to the soil and see if it works. Moreover, avoid adding organic mulch to the ground soil as it damages the succulents. As a replacement, add inorganic mulch for healthy succulent growth.

When to water succulents in the ground

For watering ground succulents, keep the following things in mind:

  1. Do not water ground succulents frequently.
  2. Water them only once a month.
  3. Water ground succulents only when the soil is dry several inches below.

How to water succulents in a terrarium

Terrarium succulents are in trend as they are aesthetically appealing. But on the other side, taking care of terrarium succulent can be a hard task. The main thing that you have to remain concerned about is the light they are receiving. Make sure to place the plants in a bright area, but check them regularly if they are not getting sunburns. Another important thing is to water terrarium succulents at their base only.

When to water terrarium plants

For watering terrarium plants, keep these things in mind:

  1. Water your succulents when the soil is completely dry.
  2. Water them less during winter.
  3. Shriveled leaves are a must indicator that your succulents need water.
  4. Stop watering your succulents when they start turning black.

To wrap it up!

Keep this information in mind whenever you plan to grow succulents. Also, make sure to follow the tips according to the type of succulents for the best succulent growth. The key to growing healthy succulents is to provide them enough sunlight and avoid over watering them.

See also:

Best Soil for Succulents

Best Pots for Succulents