How to Water Succulents and cactus | 10 Tips You Should Know

Time to read. 7 minutes

water succulents and cacti

Are you searching for how to water succulents plant in indoor or outdoor pots? This post will cover everything about it. Succulents and cacti natively grow in desert and semi-desert environments. Which means they love the dry growing medium. These arid plants are more susceptible to moisture levels in the ground. These environments have harsh climates and very little water the entire year.

Unlike other plants, succulents and cactus need very little water to survive. Therefore you have to more careful when you water succulents plants. These desert plants store water on leaves and stems. When the soil moisture level reduces, they use saved water. Succulents store water on their leaves and cacti store water on the stem. That is the main difference between these two varieties.

When we grow these two plant varieties in entirely different climates, we have to provide similar dry environmental conditions. If the succulent receives too much water (overwatering), its root and stem rot, and finally, it can kill your plant. When the plant receives too low water, it uses stored water, and it can die. Therefore, you can understand how crucial water to succulents and cacti.

After reading this post, you can become a succulent plant guru. When I am growing a succulent for the very first time, my plants rot within two weeks. The main reason is overwatering.


The best water for succulents and cacti is rainwater, which does not contain any chemicals. It is considered a source of pure water. Plants do not like contaminated water. Distilled water also better for plants. Regular tap water contains chlorine, which is why it is recommended at least option. However, it is not a big issue. If you are living in an apartment or condo, you cannot easily collect rainwater.

When you cannot find another water source, you can use regular tap water. While using the normal tap water, keep it exposed to air for few hours. Then if it has excessive chlorine, it evaporates quickly.


  • How often to water succulents.

This is a somewhat tuff question that everyone faces. How often and how much water need for succulents and cactus is depended on the climate conditions and soil drainage. These plants do not require regular watering, even in the hot summertime.

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There is no exact watering schedule for every succulent in every climate. In general, watering every 3-6 days in tropical climates and every 10 to 20 days in cool areas is recommended; But it should be decided on the soil’s dryness. However, these things depend on the climate conditions. Therefore, when watering the plant first, you have to check the following three environmental conditions deeply.

  • Check soil dryness: Check the surface and around 1 to 2 inches deeper soil dryness; if it has enough moisture no need to water. This is more critical. If the soil has wet, in the meantime other criteria fulfill do not water to succulent or cacti. To check the soil’s wetness, you can dig a chopstick or toothpick in potted plants’ soil and keep it for 3-5 minutes and check whether it has moist. Read more about how to check succulent soil moisture.
  • Check environment temperature: If the daily average temperature over 75°F (over 25°C) water every 3-6 days and between 68°F 74°F (20°C 24°C), water every 7-10 days. Temperature between 59°F to 68°F (15-20°C), water is every 15-20 days and between 50°F to 59°F (10°C to 15°C) every 20 to 25 days. Temperature below 50°F (10°C), water every 25-30 days. This refers to the temperature at which the plant is located. For instance, if the plant is in an indoor place, it is indoor temperature. When the temperature below 59°F (15°C) uses one or two tablespoons of an equivalent amount of water. Note: Depending on soil moisture level you have to apply this schedule.
  • Humidity level: When the humidity level high which means there is adequate moisture in the environment. This means there is relatively low water loss. In such a situation, water evaporation too slow. If the humidity low, water evaporation is high. Which means water loss is increased. In such a case need good watering. However, before water, check the soil dry up or not.


water dry soil succulents plant
Succulent pot soil dry
  • How often to water succulents outdoor.

When growing succulents and cacti outdoor, it needs more water than indoor planting. There are high temperatures and exposure to direct or indirect (partial) sunlight in an outdoor environment. Unlike indoor plants, watering should be done sooner than outdoor succulent plants.

In a high-temperature area 68°F (over 20°C), water is every 3-5 days and between 59°F – 68°F (15-20°C) water in every 10-15 days. Temperature between 50°F-59°F (10-15°C), water every 15 to 20 days. Below 50°F (10°C) water every 20-30 days. (If the plant exposes to direct sunlight, these schedules can change). However, before water, check the surface, and around 2 inches of soil completely dry up. If not, do not water. It will rot succulent root. You can read more about how to care for indoor succulents and cacti plants.

See also  How To Repot Succulents, Cactus | Everything You Should Know


  • How often to water succulents indoors.

Growing succulents indoors is entirely different than growing outdoor. When watering succulents indoor plants, you have to use a more controllable pattern. Indoor places, there is low water evaporation; therefore, pots water does not waste rapidly. Always check the potting mix moisture level before watering.

On high-temperature (indoor) days, 68°F (over 20°C), water every 4-6 days. Between 59°F – 68°F (15-20°C) temperature, water every 15-20 days. Below 50°F (10°C) temperature, water in 25-30 days.


  • How to water succulents after repotting.

Watering repotted succulent depends on how you repotted the plant. When you repotted succulent removing soil on the root bowl, you have to water thoroughly. Because while removing soil can break up the root. Hence plants need to re-establish immediately. Therefore it requires enough water. Water until it flows out the pot drain holes or uses the soak and dry method. Suppose you repotted with existing soil no need to water until its root bowl soil dried up. Therefore, before repotting, check the soil dryness. Before repotting, let the soil dry. You can read my DIY homemade succulent soil recipe.


  • How to water succulents in winter.

Almost all succulents cannot survive extreme cold weather. Therefore you have to move these plants indoor. Water succulents in the winter season are more critical. In the winter season, water succulents and cacti every 25-30 days, depending on the soil dryness. In cold weather, water does not evaporate quickly.

If you water frequently, then excess moisture is kept on the soil, and it can cause root rot. You can use a succulent water bottle/squeezing bottle for this.

succulent water bottle
succulent water bottle


  • How often to water succulents in summer.

Watering frequency in summer depends on the temperature. Water evaporates rapidly in hot summer, which means water on soil wastes rapidly than on cool days. Therefore you have to follow frequent watering but not regular. It is better to water succulents and cacti every 3-5 days in summer. Like I mentioned earlier before, water checks the soil dry up.


  • How much do you have to water succulents?

How much water succulents need depends on the climate condition and soil type. When you use the soak and dry succulent watering method, you have to use 1/2 of the pot size water. When you direct water to the soil, water until it runs out the drain holes; before water, empty the source tray. Once excess water is collected, empty the tray. When you use to soak and dry method, make sure that you use enough moisture absorb materials, loose potting soil mixture, and well drain pot. If not, excess moisture can rot the plant.

See also  Why Is My Succulent Growing Aerial Roots? | Is It Normal?
Soak and Dry Succulent watering
Soak and Dry watering


  • How can I tell if my Succulent and Cactus is over or Underwatered?

We can quickly identify overwater and underwater succulents and cactus by closely checking the leaves’ appearances. Generally, succulents family leaves are fleshy. Because they store water on leaves, though some varieties don’t have leaves like cacti, these plants store water on the stem.

Identify overwater succulents and cacti. Overwatered succulents leaves are soft, and their color turns yellow or lighter. Moreover, its leaves falling off and can have black spots on leaves. When the lower leaves of the plant turn black, it indicates that it has begun to rot. However, in high-temperature seasons these plants dropping leaves to minimize stress. Therefore succulents leave falling off, not just for excess water.

Identify underwater succulent and cacti: When the succulent and cacti receive less water, their leaves and stem easily bend, wrinkly. While the succulents are dehydrating, it is using stored water on leaves or stems. Further, you can verify the plant suffering underwater by check around 3 inches of soil dry. You can test it by digging a chopstick or toothpick on the soil and let it 3-5 minutes closely check it has moisture. Read more about testing succulent soil moisture levels.


  • Best time of day to water succulents.

These plants do not like to keep moisture for a longer time on the root system. The perfect time to water succulents and cacti is moring or early morning. In the summertime, the best time of the day to water succulent plants is early morning, before sunrise. Because at that time environment temperature low and water evaporation low. Then it has enough time to take the water from the roots.

Never water noon or evening. When watered these times, it kept moisture on the soil overnight. It can cause root rot. Holding water on soil for a longer time not good. Moreover, when the soil temperature rises, never water. It can kill the root system. Even if you use perlite or pumice for your potting mix, it is not recommended to water after the sunset.

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