1. Home
  2. Home & Garden

How Often Should You Water Succulents to Avoid Killing Them?

Love growing succulents but can’t get the hang of taking care of them? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Today’s guide covers the topic of how often to water succulents so that you don’t kill them, along with a few seasonal tips to turn your black thumb green.

How Often To Water Succulents

Even though succulent plants have a reputation for being tough plants, keeping succulents alive can be tricky. But, before you give up your gardening dreams, we’re here to help you with advice on how often to water succulents.

For folks that are new to growing succulents and cacti, these quirky plants are most definitely tough. And they have to be in order to survive in the arid climate they’re native to.

Succulent plants can withstand the dry heat of desert days, and the chilly nights that follow. Although they can hold their own against fluctuating temperatures, add excess water, and you can really do some damage.

You know how deserts go long period of time without rain? But once it does rain, it’s a heavy downpour? Because of these drought conditions, cacti and other succulents do best with a thorough soaking of water. But only as needed.

Since succulents hold water in their leaves and thick stems, you can go weeks without watering some types of succulents. However, the environment of your plants will make all the difference in how often you end up watering succulents.

If you want to see your succulents thrive then you need to make sure they’re adequately hydrated. So, keep reading for tips on how often to water succulents.

How Often to Water Indoor Succulents

Can succulents survive indoors?

With indoor succulents, how much water they need will change depending on where you keep them. Generally speaking, the more light indoor plants get, the more often they need to be watered. So, the succulent on your window sill will need more water than the succulent tucked away on your desk.

If you’ll be keeping your succulents in pots, you’ll need to ensure that they have adequate drainage holes. When you water indoor succulents, good drainage is key. If there isn’t a proper drainage hole, the pot will store water. And that can lead to root rot.

Another important factor in your setup is proper potting mix. Having a mixture of potting mix, sand, and pumice or volcanic rock will do wonders for your succulents.

When you water succulents indoors, most succulents will be able to go a couple weeks at a time between watering. Of course, this ultimately depends on your indoor environment. Higher humidity indoors will lead to watering succulents less frequently.

When you water your succulents, check to make sure they’re thriving. If you’ve gone an extended period of time with damp soil, then you need to rethink your garden and watering process.

However, succulents with adequate drain holes, soil mix, and living happily in the sunlight should have dry soil every 10-14 days.

How Often to Water Outdoor Succulents

Can succulents stay outside in rain?

In the outdoors, succulents are found throughout arid desert regions. So, if you’re going to plant succulents outdoors, you need to make sure they’re getting enough sun, and just enough water.

Before you worry about how often to water succulents outdoors, take note of the climate, and container you’re keeping your plant in. If you live in an arid climate, you’re in good shape to just let your plants vibe.

However, if you’re in a more humid climate, you need to let the soil dry out completely before watering. And that can leave you watering your plants every few weeks to once a month.

But how much sun your plant gets is a major factor. High sun means more evaporation. Which means watering more often.

Moreover, if you live in an area that receives a lot of rain, you would probably do well NOT to let your succulents stay outside during the wet season.

Keep in mind that once you start an outdoor garden you’re at the mercy of the elements. And these conditions vary by the month. So, how much does the current season influence how often you need to water succulents?

How Often Should You Water Succulents in Winter Months vs Warmer Months?

Do succulents need to be covered in winter?

As the seasons change, the needs of your plants change as well. Therefore, what works for you in warm months won’t cut it in the cooler parts of the year.

But how do you work with these seasonal changes?

Keep reading for tips on how often to water succulents throughout the year, in the winter and summer.

Winter Months

When the temperature begins to drop, you’re going to need to switch up your watering process. Because in cold weather, succulents go into a dormant state. Which means they won’t need as much water.

Is my succulent overwatered?

Although their needs change, you can still follow the routine of watering your plant when the soil is dry. But that will occur less often once winter comes around.

Instead of watering every couple of weeks, you could end up going over a month between watering.

For indoor succulents, you’ll want to be mindful of how often you water. Typically, indoor plants need less water throughout the winter. When succulents are in a dormant state, they aren’t using energy grow. Therefore, they don’t need water. You have to trust the process and let them do their thing.

Either way, check your outdoor plants often to make sure they’re not thirsty. Do you have dry soil? Are the leaves drying out? Then it’s time to add some water.

Summer Months

During the summer when the sun is beating down, your succulents need to be watered more often. Because with all that extra heat, the soil will dry out faster.

When you water your succulents in warmer months, it’s important that you water them in the morning. Then the soil has all day to dry out in the hot sunlight. If you water succulents at night, they could be sitting in a pool of water for hours. And that can lead to issues like root rot and mold growth.

Do succulents need direct sunlight?

Ultimately, your best bet for watering succulents is to keep an eye out for dry soil. And when that soil is bone dry, water them at the roots until they’re soaked through. About every 14 days will do for the summer season.

Related Reading: Different Types of Grass that Make Hardy Lawns

Does Size Matter When Watering Succulents?

When it comes to succulents and water, size definitely matters. Whether it’s the size of the pots, or the size of the plants you have planted in those pots.

For large succulents, you’ll need a larger pot. Which means more water. Because of the excess water, your succulent can go as long as 14 days without water. And possibly longer, depending on how dry the environment is.

What size pots should succulents be in?

Once you move down in size, medium succulents can go roughly a week without watering.

Lately, the most popular types of succulents are incredibly small. Some in pots that are only an inch or two big. Due to their small size, the water absorbs faster. Which means more frequent watering. After about a week you’ll notice the soil is dry, and will need to water your succulents.

Of course, even with frequent watering, small succulents only need a small amount of water to thrive.

Because you don’t need to care for your succulents everyday, it can be easy to lose track of when you last watered them. And if you grow many different sizes of succulents, having a watering schedule is going to make your life a lot easier.

How to Make a Watering Schedule

Because there are so many different types of succulents, you can’t always water them on the same schedule. To ensure that your succulent plants are happy and healthy, you should make a schedule for them.

But how should you go about creating your watering schedule?

How do I know if my succulent needs water?

Keep a record

If the watering technique you use isn’t cutting it, then it’s time to track what works and what doesn’t.

Unfortunately there’s no set in stone schedule that we can give you for succulent care. Instead, coming up with the best watering schedule for your plants requires trial and error.

One of the most popular ways to water succulents is with the soak and dry method. For this watering method, water the soil mix until it is entirely wet. And remember, don’t use a spray bottle. Other plants might enjoy the added moisture, but succulent leaves don’t. Then monitor the moisture level each day.

What you’re looking for is completely dry soil. Only water succulent plants when the soil dries.

Also, remember to look closely at the leaves. If they’re swelling or breaking off at the stem, you’re using too much water. However, if you have dry, shriveling leaves, don’t stress. Your succulent is still alive, it’s just time for more water.

Eventually, you’ll find the right balance of what works for your plants and what doesn’t. But if your succulent’s environment changes throughout the year, the rate of water evaporation could change too. Which can lead to keeping more records.

However, once you establish what works best, how do you keep up with it all?

Succulent watering schedule

Set Reminders and Alarms

With so much going on in your day to day life, it can be easy to forget about your plants at times. If that’s the case for you, it’s wise to set alarms or add a reminder in your calendar.

Generally speaking, you’ll be able to go days before you have a totally dry succulent. Even so, you’re going to want to find the routine that works for you and keeps your succulents alive. Although don’t forget, regular watering means something different for each plant. But constant watering is most definitely going to drown your succulent.

Don’t Overwater Succulents

How to Tell if Your Succulent is Over or Under Watered

Even when you look at your plant’s soil and it appears dry on the top, it could still have too much water below the surface. One way you can check is to stick your finger in to feel for moisture. But with smaller succulents, that might not be an option. Another technique you can use to ensure you only water as often as necessary is the toothpick method.

Have you ever used a toothpick to check if a cake is done baking? Well, this is the same process, only not as tasty.

What you do is take a toothpick and stick it in the soil. If it comes up clean, go ahead and add water. But if you pull out the toothpick and there’s wet soil stuck to it, don’t water it!

Making sure you don’t leave your succulent sitting in water is crucial to keeping them alive. So, only water as often as necessary. And for best results, plant your succulents in a pot that has a drain hole, and use room temperature water.

How to Water Succulents – Happy Gardening

While succulents can be low effort plants, they’re also dramatic. And it’s important to know how often to water your succulents. Because water too often and you’ll drown them. But not often enough and they’ll shrivel up.

Hopefully our advice helps you come up with a water schedule that’s the right balance for your plants.

Have a budding succulent garden? What works best for your succulents? Let us know in the comments.