How often should you water succulents? The golden rules you must stick to for thriving plants

Succulents may be low maintenance, but they still need some TLC. We’re here to help you keep them hydrated

Succulents in stones inset into decking edging
(Image credit: Future PLC/Heather Young)

Plants may be beautiful, but they’re also incredibly dramatic. They will literally die if they don’t get what they want, which sounds a little like something a hormone-fuelled teenager would say. But you’ll be happy to know that succulents are a little less dramatic than their other plant brothers and sisters. However, it is still important to know how often you should water succulents to help them thrive.

They might be known for being extremely easy to care for, but like all living plants they're not indestructible. Whether you have opted for succulent garden ideas as low-maintenance landscaping or looking for some guidance on how often to water your succulents indoors, we've got the full low-down from the experts for you. 

Stone shelving on garden wall with pots of succulents

(Image credit: Future PLC/Heather Young)

How often should you water succulents?

Since succulents thrive in hot climates, they don’t need as much water as native plants. They’re great for growing in pots as part of your patio ideas or in your DIY greenhouse, but it’s still important to water them.

Your succulent care starter kit

How often should you water outdoor succulents in pots

The general rule of (green) thumb is that these plants need to be watered every week or so, especially if they’re still young plants that have yet to mature. But if the soil is wet, there’s no need to water them.

Gardening expert Harry Bodell at Price Your Job says, 'Keep a wooden ice-lolly stick pushed down into the succulent’s pot. If you pull it out and it’s completely dry with no soil sticking to it, then you should be safe to water your succulent. If the stick’s damp with soil clinging to it, then there’s still plenty of moisture in your pot.'

As succulents prefer to have dry roots, make sure your pot has at least one drainage hole before watering your succulents. Wet roots could cause root rot, which is incredibly difficult to treat.  

Various succulents in pots in garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Nicola Stocken)

How often to water planted outdoor succulents

Whether you plant succulents in your flower borders or prefer the aesthetic of a rock garden idea, succulents can easily be planted in the ground. However, how often you water your outdoor succulents largely depends on the weather and the time of year.

During the spring and summer months, they need to be watered every one to two weeks. Many succulents become dormant in the autumn and winter months, which means that they can last two to three weeks without needing to be watered. But in both cases, it’s best to check the soil around your succulents. If the soil is dry, it needs water. 

However, if you're at the start of your gardening journey and need a little more guidance you can invest in a moisture probe available on Amazon which will take out all the guesswork out of checking the moisture of the soil.

Garden paving with succulent planting

(Image credit: Future PLC/Heather Young)

How often to water indoor succulents?

When it comes to indoor succulents, less is more. Houseplant expert Alex Tinsman from How to Houseplant says, 'I like to water the succulents I have indoors roughly every two weeks. They can cope well with long periods without water. They can store plenty inside their cells, allowing them to keep reserves for when needed.'

When watering your indoor succulents, it’s best to avoid using a watering can or jug. 'Filling a container or saucer with water and standing the post in it for around 30 minutes will allow them to take up the water they need. Bottom water feeding them avoids water getting splashed on their leaves which could lead to sunburn or pests attacking them,' Tinsman explains.

If you have a collection of succulents consider investing in one long trough saucer that they can all stand on. You can pick some pretty ones up on Amazon such as this Elho version for £11.

three houseplants in small pink pots arranged on a hexagonal tray

(Image credit: Future PLC / Dominic Blackmore)


How do you know when a succulent needs water?

If the soil surrounding your succulent is bone dry and crumbly, this is a good indicator that your succulent is in need of some all-important H20. This will happen quicker if you have a south-facing garden and your succulents are in direct sunlight all day, so it’s best to keep an eye on the soil.

Looking at the leaves can also tell you if your succulent needs water. If they start to look brown or burnt, you’ll need to water the plant and keep it out of the sun for a couple of days to rehydrate it. 

Do succulents need sunlight?

Yes! Succulents are native to desert areas, which means that they thrive in hot and sunny environments. In fact, most succulent varieties need around four to six hours of sunlight per day. 

But garden expert Steve Chilton from Leisure Bench states, 'Different types of succulents thrive in different conditions. It is therefore important to check the conditions of your specific succulent before deciding on a spot for them.'

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.