How and when to water your succulent plants

1 comment by Amber Miner

Succulents need water! Even though succulents hold water in their leaves and are exceptionally drought-tolerant, they do still need to be watered.

But not over-watered because that could kill them. Quickly. But no worries, we're here to make it easy for you to understand when and how to water your succulent babies. 

Here are our succulent watering tips for you:

Zensability tips on how to water succulents rosettes colorful rainbow plants

In general, you should only water your succulents when the soil is dry to the touch. But there's more to it than that. 

The first rule of thumb when it comes to watering a new plant is to err on the side of underwatering


1. Let the leaves do the talking
Start by checking out your plant's leaves. If the leaves are fat or chubby, your plant is definitely NOT hurting for water. In fact, the fatter the leaves your succulent has, the less water it needs. Think of a cactus, they can live in the desert because they are made mostly of water. They hold lots of water in their leaves exactly for the purpose of surviving drought-like conditions. They can go a long, long, long, long, long long time without water. 

Shriveled leaves on the other hand, are the most obvious sign that your succulent plant needs water. If they start to look like raisens at all, they want a drink. Which means now you are going to water your plant, so let's check on the soil before we do that.

2. Use a well-draining succulent soil
All succulents like a well-draining soil. They like to soak up a good amount of water and then have the roots get almost-dry where they are free to breathe. They do not like dense soggy soil. The best soil is a succulent, or cactus-specific, soil with a perlite, pumice, or vermiculate additive. If you don't have one of those additives, it's still fine. Just make sure that your soil is dry to the touch before watering again. This will ensure that you are not overwatering your succulent.

3. Use a pot with a drainage hole
This is very important because if the pot your succulent plant lives in does not have proper drainage, the roots will basicaly drown. Succulent roots like to breathe. 
Likewise, you don't want to add a layer of rocks to the bottom of your pots. Even though it seems like it will help drainage, they actually can clog up the drainage hole and cause water to pool at the bottom of the pot. Another way succulent roots drown. 

Instead, cut a small square piece of screen to cover the drainage hole and fill the pot with succulent soil as discussed above. 

4. Water from the bottom up when possible
Set your succulent pot in a shallow dish of water until the top soil is slightly damp to the touch. Then let it drain properly. This method of water helps in two ways:

  1. Ensures the soil is thoroughly and evenly soaked, you will be able to go longer between waterings than if you pour water top-down onto your plant. 
  2. Keeps water spots off your pretty rosettes and big leafed succulents so they stay ooo-la-la pristine. 

1 comment

  • Marianne Burns

    It’s summertime, even in Minnesota. Is it okay to put my Hoya outside in a sunny location?

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