Beginners Guide to Watering Succulents

Watering succulents correctly is critical for their health, and appearance. Watering, or more specifically over watering is one of the most common ways to kill your succulents. If the leaves start to get mushy, dark, and sometimes transparent, you have over watered your succulent! Unfortunately once this rotting process starts, its almost impossible to stop it. The good news is, once you have the watering process down keeping these guys alive is very easy! This guide is all about how to water your succulents with and without drainage to ensure success! To see a guide to watering succulents during succulent propagation click here! 

#1 Drainage

First things first! For succulent beginners i recommend using pots that have drainage holes or using clear glass planters with pebbles at the bottom. This is the best way to prevent over watering or root rot. With a container that drains, you don’t risk having too much water in the bottom of your pot, and only have to worry about the frequency of your watering. 

I personally prefer to have no drainage in my indoor pots! i don’t want them to ruin by surfaces. The best way to start out with pots without drainage, is using a clear container. In the clear container put about an inch or 2 of fish tank pebbles before adding the dirt or succulent. This allows the water to drain inside the container. By using a clear container you will be able to see exactly how much water has drained. Make sure you never fill up above the rocks! as long as there is space between the water and the soil there shouldn’t be any issues!

Also by using a clear container you can see how dry the soil is before watering again!

#2 Frequency

Succulents are desert plants, and are equipped for drought and flood watering schedules. What this means is when the succulent is given water, it sucks up as much as possible and stores it in its leaves. This is what can cause the rotting as well! It’s preparing for a drought, which is why you need to wait until the soil is completely dried out before watering again. And I mean COMPLETELY DRY, it should be dry to the touch. There really is no perfect schedule for this, however typically I water my succulents once a week in the summer months and bi-weekly in the winter. However if I see that the soil isn’t dry, I will wait another week before watering. By using this watering cycle, the leaf will get much larger and plumper! 

Various succulents pictured directly after being watered

#3 Fertilizer

Succulents do need nutrients to grow! This is best done by adding a fertilizer to the water before watering. I only do this monthly in the summer or bimonthly in the winter. Over fertilizing can also kill your succulents or attract pests, I highly recommend reading the instructions on the specific fertilize you bought. I personally use the Schultz Cactus Plus 2-7-7 liquid Plant Food  It works great and is super easy to use in small quantities. 

#4 Soil

Using a cactus soil will help ensure the soil drains properly and dries out quickly! This is another easy trick to give your new plant babies their best chance! See below for a few recommendations! 

Thank you so much for reading my beginners guide to watering succulents! Please comment below any questions you may have, or share any personal experiences and tips! Thank you!

Also check out these awesome succulent pots below!!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.


  • Esther

    Great tips here – I didn’t realize that the soil had to be completely dry before re-watering! I’ve definitely overwatered my succulents before 🙁 Thank you!

    • skyssucculents

      I used to do this all the time! It takes a while to get it perfect, with succulents tho, less is more! Thank you for reading! Let me know if you have any specific questions!

    • skyssucculents

      Soak it well! Thats a great question:) if you have drainage in your pot soak it till water leaks out the bottom. And if not measure out about 1/4 of the volume of the pot (give or take) so that there isn’t too much water sitting in the bottom of the pot. Id start with less, and if the soil dries out in less than a week add more until you get the right amount of water where you are watering once a week!

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