How to Water Succulents

While all succulents have slightly different water requirements, this guide will serve as a starting point from which to establish your own environment-specific watering practices.   

When to Water Succulents

The watering schedule for your succulents will be largely determined by your location, growing environment, time of year, and individual plant requirements.  While there are a lot of contributing factors to consider, don't be intimidated; succulents are incredibly resilient and will adapt just fine as long as they are not over-watered.

First, succulents should only be watered when their soil is almost completely dry.  The dryness of your soil can be gauged by using a moisture meter, or by simply sticking a dry chopstick into the soil.  If wet dirt sticks to the chopstick, the succulents do not need to be watered.  Another option is to get dirty and use your finger.  If you don't feel much moisture down around the root ball, it's time to water. 

Second, there is no magic timeline to follow when it comes to watering succulents.  Waterings may be required as often as every few days or as far apart as every 3-4 weeks, but make sure to error on the side of under-watering.  More frequent waterings may be required during the Summer and Spring months when the weather is a bit warmer, whereas waterings should be more infrequent during the Fall and Winter.  Also, succulents kept indoors are likely to require less frequent watering as compared to those kept outdoors. Again, the easiest way to determine your plant's watering needs is simply to check the soil for moisture. 

Third, one of the most overlooked rules when it comes to watering succulents is the time of day.  Succulents should never be watered past 2pm in the Summer or 11am the rest of the year.  Don't ask us where this rule came from, but it really does seem to make a difference.

succulent soil perlite peat moss sand
Photo: Checking to make sure the soil is dry.
succulent pot drainage
Photo: No wet soil stuck to your finger? Time to water.

How to Water Succulents

There is no single way to water your succulents, but here are some suggestions to help achieve the best results.  

First, use a watering can or hose with a "rain" attachment.  Basically, you want to avoid spraying the plants and surrounding soil with high pressure streams of water.  Overly powerful streams of water can damage plants and displace soil around the roots, causing instability. 

Second, make sure to water your succulents throughly.  Succulents establish strong and expansive root systems through the alternation of wet and dry spells; just like what is experienced in nature.  By soaking the soil thoroughly, you are conditioning your plants to expect heavy waterings.  Of course, this must be followed by a period of "drought," which you can artificially create by allowing the soil to dry completely.  During this time, the plant will naturally begin to expand its root system in anticipation of the next "downpour."

You will know your plants roots are thoroughly soaked when water flows from the drainage hole in their pots.  Be sure to avoid allowing excess water to remain in drip trays, as this can cause the soil to remain wet for much longer which can lead to root rot.

succulent soil perlite peat moss sand
Photo: A rain attachment for a garden hose.
succulent pot drainage
Photo: A thoroughly watered pot draining excess water.

The Next Steps

Now that you've watered your succulents, it's time to learn about their light requirements so that they stay happy, healthy, and beautiful.

Check out our Succulent & Cacti Light Requirement Guide, or head back to The Ultimate Succulent Care Guide