How long can succulent go without water? I receive this question over and over again from my readers. In this post, I will answer this question and also give tips on how to care succulents successfully.
The mortality rate of succulents depends on many factors. One of the biggest factors is the environment.
Are your succulents planted inside or outside? If planted outdoor, are the plants planted in the ground or in pots? Are they getting enough sunlight or not?
In short, the environment, the pots the succulents are planted in, and the amount of sunlight they are getting all determine how long can succulents go without water.
Because I don’t know the exact environment your succulents located, I cannot also give you the exact answer. What I know though is that succulents need water and they cannot live for long without it.
Depending on the climate and other determining factors, what I learned is that succulents can live for a couple of weeks without water. But again, this estimate may not be applicable to all situations.
For succulents exposed under direct sunlight, their ability to thrive will be a lot shorter than those under a shade.
Succulents do need a lesser amount of water compared to other plants. But it does not mean that they don’t need water at all.
Succulents are native to semi-desert areas making them drought resistant. However, in the same environment, they get occasional watering when the rain pours.
The best thing about these plants, however, is that they can survive with very little water when other plants die.
Succulents are perfect in outdoor areas where the rain rarely happens. As long as you give them enough shade during hotter months they will be just fine.
Succulents are versatile plants that need almost no care from you. They can thrive virtually on their own. So it is a little embarrassing when one of your succulents dies.
If you don’t know how long your succulents can go without water, giving them regular and enough water can ensure that the plants will thrive healthily.
How Often to Water Succulents?
Well, there are many practices in terms of succulents watering. Some are simpler than the other. But I want to share here is one of the truths about succulent watering.
The truth is that succulents can live with very little water. The reason for this is that succulents store water in their leaves and stems. This is also the main reason why succulents are sensitive to water.
These plants can breathe through their roots. Wet soil and roots can hinder the plants from breathing. So never overwater your succulents before they could rot and die.
Overwatering is one of the worst enemies of succulents. The simple but most effective strategy to keep your plant safe from overwatering is by using pots with drainage holes.
The drainage holes allow the excess water to drain leaving nothing but moisture in the soil. If you have planted your succulents in pots without holes, you need to regulate the amount of water.
In most cases, it is hard to determine the exact amount of water that will not result in root rotting. So I recommend that you use pots with drainage holes.
Because succulents are sensitive to water, many people think that these plants don’t like to be soaked in water. But it is a misconception. The truth is that succulents love to be soaked in water. But make sure that after watering, the excess water is drained totally.
Root rotting will only start if the excess water is not drained making the soil steadily wet. This is the reason why I always recommend using pots with drainage holes.
How Much to Water Succulents?
Because succulents are sensitive to water and prone to root rot, you might be wondering how much is enough water for your plants.
Well, I cannot give you the exact quantity. But I can give you the best watering technique for your succulents.
What I am talking about here is the soak and dry watering method. This strategy involves soaking the soil until the water runs through the holes at the bottom of the pot. The next watering schedule will commence when the soil is completely dry.
How to Avoid Overwatering?
Water is not the only cause of root rotting. Soil also is one contributor. So when selecting your soil mix, make sure that it is fast-draining.
Fast-draining soil mix usually is a mixture of organic and inorganic matters. Some of the organic materials for succulent soil mix are peat moss and coconut coir. These materials hold just enough water that succulents love.
While the great inorganic materials that should be present in the soil mix are perlite and coarse sand. These materials provide drainage and help the excess water to pass through the soil mix.
You can make your own soil mix for your succulents. But if you want to be sure that your plants receive the perfect soil mix, you check the material from local stores or from online.
For my fast-drainage soil, I ordered them from Amazon (click here to see a quick-draining soil on Amazon).
If you buy your succulents from the local store, it is more likely that they come with poorly draining soil. If so, I suggest that you replant them in the new pot with fast-draining soil.
The next thing you may want to do is to choose the right pot for your succulents. The reason for this is that pots also play a very important role in the health of the plants.
As mentioned, use pots with drainage holes. Avoid experimenting with pots without holes to keep your succulents safe from root rotting.
When I was just started my journey as a succulent grower, I made a lot of mistakes. I used pots without holes. It was the main reason why many of my succulents died before I learned the hard truth.
Tips for Proper Succulent Watering
What I learned from my years of experience growing succulents is that these plants special needs. They seemed to be okay with minimal care but giving them something they hate could detriment their growth.
In this post, I will be sharing some of the tips you need to know when watering succulents:
- Know your plants well. Although generally, succulents need a lesser amount of water compared to other plants, not all varieties are equal. What I mean by this is that there are some types of succulents that do not need frequent watering as others. An example of this is Lithops. This succulent variety can survive with only a few watering within a year. However, if you are growing Kalanchoe, you need to give water at least once a week (of course this may vary depending on several influencing factors).
- It is better to underwater succulents than to overwater them. The reason for this is that underwater succulents can be easily revived or fix. On the other hand, if the succulents are overwatered, in most cases, they are difficult if not impossible to revive. So it is very important to be mindful of the amount of water you are giving to your plants.
- If you have a pot of different varieties of succulents, I suggest that you water them as soon as the plants get dried. But again, give them just enough water not so much to keep the plants safe from root rotting.
- Lastly, use the soak and dry method. This watering strategy (discussed above) is a great way to give what the plants need while protecting them from overwatering.
On How Long Can Succulents Go Without Water
Succulents come with different varieties. Each one of them may have specific water needs. This is the main reason why I couldn’t give you the exact length of time.
However, if you want to keep your plants safe, give them what they need. Provide enough water, perfect soil mix, and sunlight. These are important ingredients for healthy growth.
For more information on how to grow succulents, check out my complete guide here.