How to Water Succulent Plants

Have you ever wondered how much to water succulents? This post will teach you how to properly water succulents to keep them looking great!

If you haven’t already, please read my post about the ideal soil for succulent container gardens along with this post on how to water succulent plants. The reason being, soil plays a very important part in watering. I get a lot of questions about watering so I wanted to address some of the more general questions. Watering succulents is probably one of the trickiest parts of growing succulents, but if you know what to do and what to look for it’s not too bad!

Learn how to water your succulents so they stay healthy and beautiful!

What do you use to water your succulents?

I primarily use a small watering can to water my succulents. I like that it has a rather long spout so I can water in between my plants rather than on top of them. It holds just enough water for me to soak 2-3 pots indoors. I have a larger watering can that I use outside, or I’ll just use a hose with a soft sprayer attachment.

Use a simple watering can to properly water succulents

How often and how much should I water the succulent leaves I’m propagating?

For the most part if you are propagating succulent leaves indoors you can water them every day. I just get the top of the soil wet. Like the roots of large plants, the leaves will absorb water from the air around them, so spraying the soil with a spray bottle has been enough in my experience. If you are using a well draining succulent soil you can water a little bit more than if you are using normal potting soil (which won’t dry out very quickly). You may notice the roots of your plants drying out if they aren’t being watered enough. Normally the roots will be white or pink and a little bit plump and shiny.

How to Water Succulents You are Propagating

How often and how much should I water the succulent plants I’m growing indoors?

It depends. As a general rule, if I’m using the gritty mix I water my indoor plants every 3-4 days in a pot that has a drainage hole. There isn’t a lot of humidity inside my house so I find my plants dry out pretty quickly. The thing is, your location plays a big role in how much you have to water. Debra Lee Baldwin has plants that she hasn’t watered for months and they still keep growing. She is also in southern California which is more humid than here in Utah. Since the succulents have access to water in the air, this humidity prevents them from losing water as quickly, so keep that in mind. Also, a plant with thicker leaves like a Pachyveria is going to need more water than a succulent with thin leaves like Aeonium Zwartkop.

You have to experiment and see what works for you. When dealing with full sized plants it’s good to err on the side of underwatering since too much water tends to kill succulents more quickly than too little. Succulents need a short drought in order to encourage new roots to grow. That said, if the roots aren’t getting enough water they’ll dry up and stop growing. If they are too wet they’ll rot and die. You really just have to experiment and see what sort of schedule seems to work.

I like to give my large succulents a deep soak when I water as I think this provides the most value to the plants. This way it takes at least two or three days for the soil to totally dry out. A light spray isn’t going to promote very good growth for succulents. They’ll survive for a while this way, but they’ll be healthier with a good soak every few days.

How to Water Indoor Succulent Plants

How often and how much should I water the succulent plants I’m growing outdoors?

Again, the amount you water your plants outdoors will also depend on your location and the humidity where you live. The hotter it is the more you’ll need to water and the more humid it is, the less you’ll need to water. I generally water my plants every 2-3 days during the heat of the summer. I’m not able to leave my plants outside during the winter as it gets too cold and they’ll freeze. But when it does start cooling off I cut back to watering once a week and sometimes every other week.

Since it tends to be warmer outside than inside the water will evaporate faster so the plants will need to be watered a little more often. It is still important for the plants to dry out before you water again, so make sure you’re paying attention to how your plants are growing.

How to Water Succulent Plants Outdoors

What does an overwatered succulent plant look like?

If you aren’t paying close attention to your plants it can be difficult to determine whether you are over or underwatering. I’ll try to impart as much knowledge as I can, but realize you’ll need to see what is working for you and what your plants are doing. Here are a couple things about overwatering that will hopefully be helpful to you.

The easiest way to identify overwatering is the stem of the plant will start to constrict and turn black. If this happens, the best thing to do is cut off the top, let the cutting dry out and then put it in some well draining soil and water every few days. Eventually it will start to root and keep growing. You need to make sure you cut off all the rot though or you’ll have problems. Echeverias are especially sensitive to over watering.

Black and constricting on the stem is a result of overwatering.

Another symptom of an overwatered succulent is translucent leaves. Some of the plants I have overwatered start to look see through. This obviously doesn’t work to identify overwatering on a plant that is already transparent, but it can help you identify a problem with others. Click here to see some examples of succulents that have been over and under watered.

The other symptom I’ve seen, and this one is tricky, is shriveling leaves. The reason it is tricky is an underwatered succulent will also sometimes get shriveled leaves. If you look at the image above, you’ll see the green leaves are shriveled. To know whether these leaves are telling the plant needs less water you’ll have to consider your watering schedule and whether or not you are letting the soil completely dry out between waterings. Think of these overwatered wrinkled leaves like your fingers after you’ve been in the pool for a while. They get all wrinkly and soft. The same thing happens with succulents. The leaves will feel really soft and mushy.

What does an underwatered plant look like?

I have noticed two symptoms of an underwatered succulent. The first is shriveled leaves from your plants drying out. These tend to look a little drier than overwatered wrinkled leaves although it can be hard to tell. Generally though, these leaves look like they are really dying and about ready to dry up. Keep in mind, this will happen to the bottom leaves of all plants even if you are watering them properly. So, when you are using leaves to determine if you are watering well, make sure you are looking at newer leaves. Portulacaria afra leave quickly shrivel when they don’t get enough water.

Under watered succulents also stop growing because they aren’t getting the nourishment they need. If your succulent is in it’s growing season and you aren’t seeing new leaves start to form you may be underwatering. The other symptom of under watered succulents that I’ve noticed is black spots. These look similar to a sunburn and honestly, it could actually be sunburned and dried out. I’ve only had this happen on plants I’m growing outdoors.

Underwatered Succulent and How to Water Succulent Plants

Now that you know what problems you may encounter with watering, hopefully you’ll know how to treat the succulents you have that may be looking a little unhealthy. A healthy succulent will have nice firm leaves. Just remember that your environment will have a major impact on how much and how often you’ll need to water so don’t be afraid to experiment!

If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email!

How to water succulents indoor and out

168 Responses to How to Water Succulent Plants

  1. As you have pointed out, there’s no substitute for paying attention, but having a description of the things to look for is a big help. I especially liked the comparison to wrinkly fingers after too much time in the tub.

  2. I love this post. I am having a hard time keeping my leaf cuttings alive and growing roots, so this is helpful. I’m not very garden-savvy, so even “testing” or finding out what works for me has been difficult. I am definitely over-watering, so I will try to lightly mist daily and see what happens. IG @succulent_succotash

    • I use a tablespoon of Epsom salt in a gallon of water every month during the growing season. I’m looking into fertilizing more but I don’t have any sound findings yet :)

        • Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate which provides nutrients for plants (including succulents) that promotes strong cell wall development in the leaves and assists with photosynthesis in creating more chlorophyll which the plant needs to survive. It also helps the succulent absorb phosphorous and nitrogen better, two crucial elements needed for healthy plant growth.

  3. I’m new to succulents… my husband got me a couple as a gift. Couple of the leaves accidentally broke… will they grow back? Also, the leaves started to turn white. Is that good or bad?

    • Ana – Your plant should recover from the broken leaves. If you pull the leaves off sometimes new growth will form on the stem where the leaf was. Without seeing a photo of the leaves it’s hard for me to say what is causing them to turn white. If it’s just the lower leaves you are probably fine (they just die off eventually), otherwise you may have a problem with watering or sunlight.

  4. I have been killing succulents lately :( … Where I am the summers are too hot and dry (110 deg F) with low humidity, so the leaves burn up at the ends.. if i water then the roots rot … :( ..Thanks for the awesome post! definitely some pointers… :D

    • Cassidy’s right, sounds like it needs some shade to avoid getting burned. However, if your roots are rotting in such extreme heat and low humidity, that sounds like a problem of drainage. What kind of soil and container are you using? I use a soil for cacti, and I put the soil and the succulents in a coconut fiber planter liner, and the water drains right out while still hydrating the roots. My succulents only get 4 hours of sun in the morning, but the high temps and low humidity here, plus the awesome draining soil and liner, keep my succulents dry. Have yours survived since June?

      • I live in phx and i wanted to address that same issue. It seems every summer i lose a handful of outdoor (container) plants if i water in extreme heat. They ARE in the shade and i use really good draining soil. I use a soil that is FOR succulents and then I add several things to it to make it drain even better. Works great in the house or in cooler months, so really don’t think that is the issue. I don’t understand how they get rot in the hot, dry, desert. I go as long as I can to not water them in the 3 hottest months because of this, would it be better to water a small amount of water every other day? I really can’t find anything on this problem, so I’m glad to see this comment! Was starting to think i was alone ;-)

        • I wonder if it might be a bug issue. A friend of mine found that some of her succulents were dying from grubs in the soil.

          The other thing could be that they are getting damaged from the heat. It can be really hard to diagnose a problem like this because there are so many little things that could cause a problem. If you can, I’d recommend trying an experiment with the same type of plant in a similar area. Water one or two like you were thinking, a little more often. Then let one or two go longer without water. See which do better and then you’ll know what to do for the next year. It may be a little more work and you could lose some plants, but then you’ll know for sure.

          I would imagine that the succulents will need more water, not less, during those hot months. I’ve lost several to what I’ve termed “heat exhaustion” and they’ve turned black. Once I started watering more frequently I didn’t have that problem again. A lot of people think that succulents don’t need much water. Especially when it’s hot the do need quite a bit to keep their leaves plump and full. If you have a good draining soil (which you said you did) I would try watering more frequently.

    • Yes! I have some on the mend right now. They are pretty ugly at the moment but they will start to grow again (provided they didn’t totally die).

  5. New to succulents and trying to learn quick so I don’t kill them! Thank you for your site, very helpful so far. How much humidity are you talking about? Mine is 50% inside, way more than than outside — I now have some inside and many more outside. And when is the growing season? from when to when? Thank you! LI

    • I haven’t actually measured the humidity, but I know here in Utah it’s generally around 50%. For most succulents the growing season is late spring to early fall. For some plants like Aeoniums, the growing season is actually late fall through early spring as they like cooler temperatures.

  6. From the center of some of my succulents there is a new growth sprouting up can this be cut off to make new plants..?

    • It depends… if it is a “bloom” or a stalk with a flower on the end (with petals) then you can’t use that to propagate. If it is actually a new rosette you can definitely cut it off and plant it for a new plant (more on that in the eBook)

  7. Hi Cassidy! Only very recently have I found your blog and within a week, I’m pretty sure I’ve read all of the great info you’ve provided. I very much enjoy it! And love that you are crazy about succulents!

    Last week I received my clippings from Daniel’s Specialty Nursery. I was delighted! They are absolutely beautiful! This is my “second” time working with succulents. First time was 2 weeks ago when I bought 2 small plants to include as part of a Fairy Garden – so I am a total rookie with succulents. While most of my clippings seem to be doing good… there are a few that are not looking so great. I put them in little pots with miracle grow for cactus mix potting soil. I have been watering them about every other day and they are in a bright room, but no direct sunlight.

    I have a few with shriveled bottom leaves. I can’t really tell if it’s due to over or under watering since it seems like the soil dries out quickly. Another handful that have soft, mushy, yellowish bottom leaves. And then, there are two that have some of the leaves turn brown/yellow. What am I doing wrong? I would hate for these little beauties to die because of something that I am overlooking or just doing wrong!  It’s so sad. Like I said, most of them are still looking good but I would like to figure out what I’m doing so that this doesn’t spread to the others. Do you have any advice for me? Should I put them outside in direct sun for a couple of hours? Water less? Water more? Note: I put a few of the clippings on a moss wreath (thanks for the tutorial!) and those seem to be doing great!

    I have pix of the plants with problems in case you wanted to take a look…I’m just not sure how to attach them here.



    • I’m glad you’ve had fun with the cuttings! It’s really normal for the lower leaves to die. It just happens no matter what. Usually shrivelled leaves means the plant isn’t getting enough water and mushy leaves means they are getting too much. If it’s just the bottom leaves you don’t really have much to worry about but you can change your watering a little bit based on what they look like. If you want to send me some pictures that would be great. I can probably provide more help that way. Just email me at info @

      • Pictures sent, fingers crossed … Let me know what you think. Although I feel better about them already! Thanks for your help!

      • Hello Cassidy … well, I’m almost to wk 2 of having my new little plants. I am so excited! For some reason, I have it in my head that if they make it to wk 3 – they will all be fine.

        I have cut back my watering to every 3rd day for the most part but there are a few of them that seem to dry out way faster. I am also using a spray bottle to water them, not a watering can. I’m just happy that they all seem to be doing fine. Of course I am already thinking of the pots I will be putting these little guys in and what combinations I can use to make them look nice. While I know that I am getting ahead of myself, I can’t wait to propagate them so that I can put them in topiaries (do you have any tutorials?) and wreaths!

        Thank you for all the info! Your site is very helpful! If you don’t mind too much, I will keep you posted on my new little plants. I don’t have any succulent aficionados around me…l :(

  8. just wondering, here in Northern NV it is usually low humidity, so watering can be tricky. Would ground oyster shell be ok to substitute for ground granite? My chicken raising friends tell me they often use it in feed for the chickens. Will the calcium hurt the succulents?

  9. So if I’m under watering the succulents, what should I do? I can’t really tell if mine are under watered or over watered because the leaves on the bottom are crispy, but some of the leaves on top are soggy. Help please!

    • I may be more help if you send me a picture (, but if you are underwatering just water slightly more frequently. It sounds like if the top leaves are soggy you may be over watering though (in which case you should cut back on watering). How often are you watering?

  10. Succulents are fast becoming a favorite of mine. Especially with our ever common drought conditions. I have much to learn so thank you for imparting your personal knowledge.

  11. I bought a moisture meter through ebay for $5.00. It take’s all the guess work out of “do I water or don’t I”. It also tells if the plant’s are getting enough sun or too much sun, it also tell’s you the PH of the soil (although I don’t have any clue what the should be for succulent’s) I’m not loosing anymore plant’s now due to overwatering, and the plant’s seem much healthier. Also I put a heating pad under my propagation tray set on medium at all time’s and the little babie’s seem to love it. I have had so much success after doing these 2 simple thing’s that my extra bedroom is getting quit full of card table’s holding succulent’s. Now my problem is I need more room and more heating pad’s to grow more babie’s. I LOVE this new hobby!

    • A moisture meter is a great idea! I’ll have to look at that. I’ve been told succulents tend to like a slightly acidic soil, but I think neutral is overall best. I’ve had several people tell me the heating pad under their propagating plants has really helped so that is good to know! Good luck finding room for all the new plants! That is definitely a struggle I’m facing :)

      • I’m a novice at gardening, but I’m having good luck with succulents. I tend to overwater, so I’ve had great luck using a moisture meter. I don’t water unless the meter reads the plant is dry. Works great!

    • Hello! Thanks so much for all your wonderful tips and sharing the wealth of your knowledge!!

      I recently purchased a planter with a few different succulent varieties in it. I noticed that the leaves were starting to fall off some so I kept those to propagate and made sure to water my plant. Some of the leaves had the black spots, which I gather were from them being in the outdoor section of the store I bought them from. Everyone in my planter has perked up brilliantly…. except my tall succulent which reminds me of a pine tree in a way, it is completely limp and almost lifeless. I’ve considered replanting but am afraid it may have too much of a shock? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advanced to anyone who may have a few pointers!

      • It’s hard to say for sure what is wrong with that one in particular. My guess is it needs slightly different care/watering than the rest. I’m wondering if maybe it’s over or under watered even though the rest are ok?

  12. I have used the “wick” system for my African violets and Xmas cacti with good results, My luck with succulents is not very good .Would the wick system work for the succulents?

  13. You have my respect, this article is what i’m looking for, so i think it’s very helpful for people as my level. Thank you for sharing too many important and valuable infos. As a succulent enthusiasm, I appreciate your work very much.
    Best regards.

  14. I group my succulents according to where they do best – inside or outside, and according to how much water they need. For example, kalanchoe needs very little water, and I noticed that some crassulas like a lot. Even in the same box, I group them and water one side less and the other more. I usually water once a week in summer, but in winter it depends on the rain. the surprising thing is that all the plants thrive on lots of rain and grow a lot during winter time, whether they are water lovers or not!

  15. Hi Cassidy! I have finally managed to get my watering technique down thanks to your great advice!
    Now I’m wondering about the types of pots you use for your succulents. A lot of the dishes I see for succulents don’t look like they have drainage holes in the bottom of them. I got a little ambitious and bought a ceramic dish that didn’t have holes and immediately killed the succulents, presumably due to overwatering. Do you drill holes in your pots? Do you just not use the ones without good drainage built in? Do you water those ones less?

    • Great question! I prefer pots with drainage for sure, but you are right that a lot of cute pots don’t fit this category. I have used a diamond tipped drill bit to create drainage in some. Others I just carefully water, bordering on the side of totally negligent to avoid overwatering. It is do-able but you just have to be really careful!

    • You could also double pot- ie get a smaller plastic pot with drainage holes and put it inside the cute pot. That way you don’t have a saucer to worry about- and a much cleaner look. Some people also say the layer of air between the pots insulates the plant from being baked in the hot sun as it might be in a single ceramic pot. To me it seems like more trouble, but it looks nice, and makes it easy to change around your decorative pots to different plants. It also scares me think of drilling ceramics :/

      • Great idea! There aren’t a lot of ways to work around a pot without a drainage hole, but that is a good one. I will admit my first time drilling a hole in a pot was a little scary, but it’s actually pretty easy!

  16. Thank you for the precious info.I would feel better if I have got the info from you, then may be my succulent would be over watering and rot. Can the root grow again?

  17. First off, I love the way you do photos, and the way your blog is set up. Very iformative and useful stuff. I love your site.

    In the article you say that California is Humid (when referring to debra lee baldwin in sand diego).
    But Southern California is anything but humid. It’s really dry here and is not referred to as being Mediterranian climate which is really dry, but great for succulents. Not humid at all. Just wanted to clarify that.

    But great blog besides that!

  18. Hi!! :)
    I have had my succulent since last summer now and untill I came across your site I thought they need watering very rarely… It started to look unhealthy, but I didn’t want to drench it, i was unsure as to whether it was the lack of watering or keeping it on my windowsill in direct sunlight. I have started watering it more regularly and it seems to be getting healthy again.. phew. But I have also removed it from the windowsill so im not sure what caused it to perk up.
    Im wondering is there any way to identify your succulent.. i bought mine in a knick knack shop haha!
    But i really want to know what the lil fella is! Every time i try to I.D it online I cannot find my succulent!

    • I usually post a picture of mine on the Garden Web Forum. The people there are super helpful and I’ve been able to get an ID every time. You could also look into getting some books, but I’ve found it’s easier to just have someone tell you than to try and match to a photo in a book.

  19. I absolutely love your blog. I have been wanting to grow succulents for a while and finally purchase a couple about 2 months ago and it seems to be doing well because I’ve followed your instructions. I do have a question though. Am I supposed to cut off the other buds that are growing underneath the largest one? Because there’s about four other little “flowers” growing and I just want it to be crowded. Not sure what to do.

    • Thank you for stopping by! You can leave the new rosettes attached to the larger one or cut them off. It’s up to you! There isn’t really a right or wrong, it just depends on what look you want or if you want to expand your collection by planting those new rosettes elsewhere.

  20. All your tips and information for succulent care is truly amazing! I’m so happy that I found this website. I would love if you were to give me a few tips and advice to help me with my own. One of the two succulents that I have are dying and soggy and a couple leaves have already died, so I took them out. I used to water all my plants every day but I stopped a long time ago because I learned that you aren’t supposed to water them often. I have 5 succulents but two of them have been dying (i think). Any tips on how to restore these succulents to become healthy again? And also i’d really love if you could give me some advice on how to help the plants get rid of some sunburns :-( Any advice?

    • It’s hard to say for sure. If you want to send me a picture of the plants and a little bit about how often you are watering now I’ll be able to provide more help. info @ succulentsandsunshine . com

  21. Hello! I absolutely loooove your blog. I recently started growing succulents in April. I have been completely obsessed since then. I have done a ton of research (most with your blog. It’s got fantastic info) but no where have I found the solution to my problems. I have 7 small plants and have successfully propagated 4 petal cuttings.
    However, I had two more plants that died. The first one died a month ago from an unknown cause- I suspect it was over watering? But within 2 hours all it’s petals turned to gelatin. Literally. When you touched a petal it lost it’s form and turned to goo. It was nasty. So, I took it out and threw it away and replaced all the soil for the other succulents in the planter (which was small and stone, with a drainage whole). It really freaked me out.
    The next died today. I suspect also from over watering. You actually addressed this problem in a post. It had root rot, but all the petals just fell off. They looked perfectly healthy and normal and the plant was sprouting in two places, but all of the sudden I checked them and the petals were all fallen off.
    I am really worried I am doing something wrong. Is any of this normal? I figured I should ask and expert. Please Help!

    • It does sound like over watering and pretty normal. A lot of times the damage won’t show up until later and it may seem like it happens all of the sudden, sadly. I would say to cut off the two new sprouts and try propagating those and then salvage anything you can from the rest of the plant. Be sure to let them dry for at least a day before putting them back in soil. For propagating you’ll want to give them a little more water than normal but then cut back once they have fairly established roots. Good luck! Hopefully that helps!

  22. Hello! I have recently acquired a mini terrarium as a gift about a month ago and I am so happy to find your delightful blog after scrambling around the internet for help! I suppose I have a few questions.. The first is that the mini terrarium comes in a small glass open globe and does not seem to have any drainage (most likely for aesthetic purposes) and so I am afraid to over water because I have ruined past succulents that way. The lady from the kiosk I bought it from says to spray with a spray bottle once a week 7 times, or when the soil gets dry (which is within a day of spritzing). I have been watering it 2-3 times every week because I’ve just been getting the top layer of moss (which always looks dry) soaked. Would it be okay to thoroughly soak the plants/moss if its once a week or is that too much for this little globe with no drainage?
    Next, if I did not find this post I wouldn’t have realized that one of my plants (and possibly the others) have been suffering from underwatering with a “sunburnt” leaf. The plant itself has been growing well out of the sphere and I was wondering if I should remove this leaf or leave it there? I cant tell if the other bigger leaves are starting to darken at the tips if they are also becoming sunburnt as well. And unrelated, this same plant also seems to have been eaten by some sort of bug as two of its upper leaves seemed to be gnawed at, should I leave them be or also remove them?
    Also, a neighboring plant of the crassula type, that has a big pretty top that lays close to the moss has actually also been shriveled and wrinkly underneath and very weak but not dry/crisp. Is this too late to save as the top looks healthy but today I decided to check under it and to my horror it was like a limp head! I’m afraid that my spritzing has only watered the top head but not to the moss/soil underneath it.
    Lastly, I heard that moss and succulents actually don’t go well together, as moss requires lots of water and succulents do not, so should I remove the moss or keep them?
    I am a complete beginner at raising succulents but after finding your blog I’ve been inspired to not give up! Thanks for your time!

    • I would say to soak the soil that is there, but don’t get so much that the water pools. If it has a large opening it should still dry out enough to prevent the succulents from rotting. Succulents don’t tend to do well if they are lightly spritzed frequently. They tend to like a good soak and then allowed to dry out for a couple days (think desert rain storm). If you do that, I definitely wouldn’t water more than once a week.

      It’s up to you whether you want to remove the damaged plants. I would be sure to try and remedy the problem so it doesn’t happen to others, but it won’t hurt the plant to leave the damaged leaves (assuming you don’t have a bug infestation in the leaf).

      If the top of the plant still looks good I’d say to cut it off and any rot you might see. Let it dry out for a couple days before you replant it.

      It’s up to you on the moss. I have used moss and been successful with it. The trick is not to over water. Moss tends to be pretty airy so even if its wet the succulent roots in it may not rot as long as they aren’t touching it too much. The wreaths I’ve made use sphagnum moss but I’m not trying to keep the moss alive, so it’s a little different.

      Hopefully that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. Feel free to email me at info @ succulentsandsunshine . com

    • Some succulents can be in direct sun, but a lot will get sunburned because the light is too intense and hot. Generally though if you can ease the plant into that direct sunlight (add an hour every few days) most will do just fine. Also, direct sun in the morning usually isn’t a problem. It’s the afternoon sun that is really hot and tends to be problematic.

      They should do just fine in rocks with moss. I’ve heard they actually grow on trees in some places! They really don’t need much for the roots to grow in, just enough to protect them from drying out in the sun.

  23. I love cactus n specially succulents. Sadly many have died. I have probem knowing if I’ve underwatered or overwatered. I guess I must pay more attention to the plants.

  24. What is happening with my succulent leaves keep falling off? They look fine and they just drop off. It’s inside and was a gift in a beautiful planter that’s isn’t really meant for outdoors.

    Also, do you have info on which succulents are “perennials” and which ones are not? I thought they all were but I had a employee at a nursery tell me no, they are not all perennials.


    • To my knowledge all succulents are perennials. However, if you are growing non-frost tolerant succulents in an area that gets below freezing they will die, thus they would seem like annuals. As long as they are grown in the right environment though they are all perennials.

      It’s hard to say why the leaves are falling off for sure without knowing more about your watering schedule, the planter it’s in, etc. If you want to send me an email (info @ succulentsandsunshine . com) with a photo and more details I’d love to help you out further!

  25. Hi,
    I have a new succulent landscape and trying to figure out if I am under or over watering. we water for 3 minutes with a low sprinkler on DG ground cover. Some are dying, some are not. I’ve pulled up some dead ones and the roots are dry, so I do not think the water is getting to the root. But the plant is turning gooey and dark, so it looks like I am over watering. I’m not sure if I should water less often for a longer period of time. The bigger succulents are doing well, its the ground cover succulents that are dying.
    Any advise?

    • It does sound to me like you are under watering. I would recommend giving the succulents a good soak (10 – 15 minutes of watering maybe). The DG is going to drain pretty quickly. This way the roots will get a nice helping of water, stock up, and then you can let them go several days without watering depending on how hot it gets. The warmer it is the more water they’ll need. The black and gooey you are seeing is probably extreme sunburn. I’ve seen sun burn that gets white as well as black, but when it’s extreme it tends to be black. Hopefully that helps!

  26. Hi! I have searched and explored and researched. This is by far the most thorough, complete informative page on info about succulents. Thank you! I’m in NY and over watered by just a little when starting… which wasn’t great, especially now in fall…. the over watering with these is like that last drink that you SHOULDN’T HAVE. That lil drink it didn’t need starts something detrimental, and the plant can’t escape it’s pot! I’ve learned now though and I’m doing great! Looking frwd to adding to my collection and trying propagation with the varieties whose leaves do not pop off. (I know I’m late, I noticed it’s an older page, by the way! ) but thanks, again!

  27. […] As far as watering goes you can be the judge. Many of my succulent babies live outside. These guys pretty much get watered naturally and love it. The inside plants get a full drenching around once a week. I live in a humid environment and this schedule seems to suit them well. There are some excellent tips on how to work out the right watering regime for your succulents here. […]

  28. hi Cassidy,
    I live in rockhampton Australia, we are situated on the Tropic of Capricorn. Our weather changes a lot sometimes daily. We go from hot to hot & very humid. I have my succulents in wire hanging baskets with the liner, cactus & succulent mix with pebbles on top. I have 2 baskets hanging 1 metre under the other 2. Could you give some advise on a watering guide for here, I think I’m under watering. My other problem is the 2 lower baskets don’t seem to be doing so well as the top ones, do I need to move them? I water 2-3 times a week or when I remember, they are outside. Thanks :)

    • I would say to make sure you are watering both planters (not just using the run off from the top basket to water the bottom one) to make sure they are getting all the water they need. If they are in direct sunlight they might be ok with watering several times a week, but if not they should be ok to go about a week between watering if you are really soaking them each time you water. Pay attention to the soil and make sure it is dried out between waterings. If the roots are still in wet soil after 2-3 days and you water again, the plants will begin to rot from too much water. If the whole basket is completely dry after a day you might be ok to water every other day. Usually though several days between watering is idea. I hope that helps!

  29. I live in Mesquite, NV and loved the tutorial on the succulent garden. I have an area in my yard where this would be perfect. The only things that concern me are 1. ground squirrels in the area seem to love to eat succulents and 2. the temps get to 110+ in the summer and sometimes as low as 34 degrees fahrenheit in the winter. Would it still be possible to make a succulent garden? Do you have any remedies for keeping ground squirrels away. They are cute as a button but I don’t want them to eat my work.

  30. If succulents have gotten dried out (mine were kept indoors through the winter here in Colorado), should they be repotted? I bought the soil mix at a specialty succulent nursery in Southern California, so it’s a great mix. Can they be revitalized if they are dry and crispy looking? :-(

  31. I just bought some little succulent plants to keep in my room. I live in Southern Nevada, and it’s pretty dry here, so I was wondering if just the spray bottle would be enough. None of the succulents I bought are cacti. I’m pretty sure they’re mini as well. :)

    • I would probably still soak them and let them dry out between waterings. This encourages strong root development whereas a spray bottle, unless it’s completely soaking through the soil, is going to encourage short thin roots as the soil isn’t getting wet enough for the succulent to absorb what it needs.

  32. I got married recently and had succulents in my bouquet, I believe they are Echeveria. I took the succulents out of the bouquet after my honeymoon (about 2-3 weeks later), took the wiring out and put in dirt. A couple of them don’t look too healthy, so I re-planted with the correct soil and watered with succulent plant food. One of them looks stiff, shriveled and a lot of the leaves fell off when I re-planted. Do you think I waited too long to re-plant? Is it possible to bring them back to life? I can send a picture if you’d like.

    Thank you in advance for your help! :)

  33. Thank you for this post!! I bought a rose cabbage two months ago and now it has 2 babies!! the only problem is i cant make them grow indoors. any tips? thank you!

  34. I live in PA where the sun is not-so-much and temperatures are cool even in the summer sometimes. I also am in love with succulents. I understand about cold intolerance and do not plan on planting any outside except for containers. How can I provide them with the proper lighting requirements when I bring them indoors?

    • You could try some cold hardy succulents like sempervivums outdoors. But, for indoor plants try to give them as much light as you can. A south facing window is ideal. You can also add a grow light if they start to stretch too much.

  35. Hi! If the edges of the leaves are starting to turn yellow, what do you think is wrong with them? It’s not just the outer leaves but also the ones in the middle.
    Please help.

  36. Hi Cassidy

    Thanks for sharing all your knowledge about succulents.
    I am new to this succulent project of mine which I have just started recently. Having a succulent garden makes me relaxing and fascinating and I am always looking to your website. I also learned on how to propagate, and it’s interesting to see each morning that the leaves are now having roots. But my question is when can I re-pot those leaves that have roots, shall i wait until it grows bigger?
    Thanks. :)

    • I usually wait until the new rosette or plant has roots of its own and is about the size of a dime. It’s really up to you though. You can experiment with a few and see what works!

  37. Thanks so much for sharing this! I think one of my succulents is dying- the leaves look wrinkly as you mentioned and the bottom leaves are completely dried out. Another one is constantly losing its leaves. I don’t know how to revive either. Any tips?

  38. I have recently planted succulents in my drought resistant front yard but two seem to have problems. I have just emailed two pictures of the plants in question and would appreciate your expert opinion.

    I feel more educated just from reading your blog. Thanks a million.

  39. Hello.
    This is my first visit in your blog and I love the way of your thinking and the way of your blog writing. I absolutely love your blog. I think now i can make my home beautiful with help of you.


  40. Hey! I just found your website as I am taking care of a friend’s plants this summer and am doing horribly with the succulent and trying to figure out what I am doing wrong. I think I have been over watering it or that it is not getting enough sun or both.. but it is confusing because the leaves look very healthy and there is new green growth at the top… the leaves are just loose and are all falling off! I believe the plant is some sort of echevaria by looking at photos. What’s going on? How can I save it? Would it help for you to see a photo? Also, I think I saw a little critter running in the soil but I only saw it quickly so I didn’t see what it was. This is a small little desk plant. Thanks so much for your posts, they have at least help me start to understand a few things! I am just not sure why the leaves on this one are so loose and are falling off…

  41. Hi I have and echeveria small lil guy and some of the leaves shriveled and as soon as I touched one of the shriveled leaves that was underneath I guess I knocked up above and all of the ones attached broke off so basically I’m left with a stalk with one bloom at the top… I feel terrible it looks like Jack and the Beanstalk I’m wondering will other leaves grow or is this over with for this little guy. Right now it’s bent sideways I’m fearful I’m over water but apparently it needs water I thought it was pretty impossible to kill a cactus or succulent but I’m living proof any suggestions to try and help this guy along thank you!

    • If you keep caring for it will grow more leaves, although all the new growth is at the top (so the plant will get taller). This post may help you decide if you’ve been over watering. I’ve killed my fair share of succulents and it’s easier than most people lead on :)

      Hopefully that helps! If you’re still unsure, send me a photo and I’ll see if I can give you any more insight:

  42. I love your post thank you. I recently went out and bought a few succulents and cacti and planted them in my garden. It hasn’t been a month yet and I’m noticing that the succulents are dying. Based on your post I think I’m over watering, I wonder of it’s too late to save them.

  43. Thank you for this article!!! I’m researching succulents so I can convince my Mom that I can take care of a succulent.

  44. Oh and I’m 10. Do u think a then year-old is responsible enough to take care of a succulent? If not is an air plant easier to take care of?

  45. I have a frame of indoor succulents and just removed about half as they had bleached out/yellowed and gotten mushy with what I assume was overwatering. Now the other half have large black patches. From underwatering?? I did put them in the direct sun for one day ,the only time they’ve been outside. Are they sunburnt maybe?

    • Bleaching definitely sounds like sunburn and blackening could go either way. Here are two posts about succulent sunburn and heat tolerance. If the black spots are really wet and mushy and originate in the stem or inside of the leaves it could be rot. If the black is dry and crispy and starts on the outside of the leaves, it’s more likely sunburn.

  46. Hi there…..I was so thrilled to read all your info regarding succulents! Although a keen gardener I never really took to succulents as they reminded me of the desert! Some time back I was given a few echiverias and became so fascinated by them that I have now collected quite a few species and am addicted! I just love propagating them and watching out for the little babies! When I see all the beautiful ones you get in the State I am quite envious! What are the chances of having any sent to South Africa?

  47. It’s is much useful information given about watering to succulents. Thank you so much great information !!!

  48. I am wanting to plant succulents in a planter with sprinklers. Is this a good idea or will they die from being sprinkled on? Currently the sprinkler heads are raised. Will that harm the succulents?

    • They should be fine. Usually succulents outside will dry out much faster than indoor succulents, so any water on top of the plants should evaporate before it causes any problems.

  49. I have a lot of succulents,I bought a shelf ,2 ft. x 5ft, to go in front of double windows, but not a lot of straight light. will I need a growing light, and will one harm the plants.TIA

    • It’s hard to say if you’ll need a light, but it definitely wouldn’t hurt! There are a lot of grow light options available. The biggest thing is to keep it at least 2 feet from the plants to prevent burning. You could start without one and if you notice the succulents stretching add it later.

  50. I have a succulent I received as a gift. It is in a pot with no drain hole and the top of the soil has a layer of packed rocks (little decorative ones). I’ve never seen one like this and would like it to survive. Any suggestions on it’s care? It’s called a Coral Cactus. Can I remove the layer of rocks?

    • That is a beautiful plant! You should be fine to leave the decorative rocks (although removing them is fine too). Watering without a drainage hole is tricky. You’ll want to measure out water before pouring it on so you don’t get too much in the pot. If possible, wait to water again until all the soil is dry to prevent root rot. Shallow pots tend to dry out better and more quickly, whereas tall pots may never dry out all the way so you’d need to water even if the lower soil is wet. Cactus tend to do well with very little water, so I’d start by watering every other week or so and see how that goes.

  51. Hi
    My succulent is in a terrarium, i noticed today the stem is turning brown but the leaves look okay. Am I under watering?

    • My guess is it’s rotting from too much water, but it’s hard to say for sure without seeing it. If you want to email me a picture I can hopefully give you a more definite answer. Terrariums usually hold too much water for succulents which is why I’m guessing it’s over watered.

  52. Succulent

    So I got this hens and chicks plant about 2 weeks ago, and these brown spots on the leaves showed up after I planted it. They are mostly on the outer tips of the leaves, and they are stiff/crunchy. Is it overwatering, or a sunburn?
    Where I live, the water table is too high to even have a basement, and the soil doesn’t drain all that well. Thanks for any help!!

  53. Hi Cassidy, I follow your blog and find it very helpful! Thanks so much for all the insights and great tips. I have a *naive* question… is there a way to save an overwatered (yellow and translucent) echeveria? Aside from stopping watering? I’ll be grateful for any advice you could give me ;)

  54. Hi Casssidy,

    As my succulents are growing bigger each day, I noticed that the soil level also getting lower at the same time. Is that normal?

    Because one of furry ear succulent literally came off the soil, not rotted at all.

    Looking forward to your reply.

    • It’s not uncommon. The longer you have succulents the more settled the soil gets. Each time you water it breaks down some of the soil. Eventually you will notice that the soil is lower. If your succulent comes out of the soil without roots though it likely hasn’t been getting enough water. Even if the soil level drops the succulents should drop with it and have lots of strong roots.

  55. I have been trying to propagate succulents. I have had some success with getting some leafs to root, but have not been able to move them to another pot.
    Thank you for any help. I just found your blog, and you have great information.

  56. Hi Cassidy,

    I’m not sure if you know anything about lithops. Mine all of sudden has a large white patch on it and I can’t work out if it’s because it’s been attacked by bugs or over water or not enough sun (it’s currently in greenhouse). Will i be able to send you a picture and have you have a look at it for me?

    thank you!

  57. Hi Cassidy!
    Thank you so much for taking the time to create this blog and have so many helpful images! I have always been terrible at keeping plants alive, but my boyfriend got me a collection of succulents for my birthday thinking that I couldn’t kill them. Well… it turns out I’ve already killed one of them. I have no clue what I was doing wrong – I had the box by the window in non-direct sunlight (they are indoor succulents), watered them every 12-15days. Most of the succulents seem to be doing okay, but one of them just completely shriveled up and turned black. I’m so sad about it! How can I prevent that from happening? Should I pull it out of the pot? Or is there a chance it will regrow on it’s own? (I’m such a newbie here, sorry!) I’d be happy to email you some photos if that helps! Thank you so much!!

  58. Hello!

    I’m writing because I’m concerned about a succulent leaf I am trying to propagate. I’m new to the succulent world and I am absolutely in love with them. I got it from my cousin to help start out my garden. I live in Hawaii, on the wetter side of the Big Island. I am propagating them inside the house. I use a rocky soil that I can find easy outside my house and I water them once a week with a small spray bottle. this leaf in particular was growing very well. It was sprouting nice and long white roots and the mother leaf itself was very firm. However, I noticed about a few days ago that the roots were turning brown and shriveling. The mother leaf also is looking a little deflated towards the middle and was turning slightly clear. I don’t know what to do so if you have any idea what I should to save it before it dies would be great!

    Thank You!

    • It’s hard to say for sure without seeing it (although you can email me a picture if you’d like), but I’m guessing it may need more water. I have not yet over watered a succulent leaf although I’m sure it’s possible. If the roots are still above soil it can be very easy for them to dry out. Eventually the mother leaf will die, so that doesn’t concern me too much.

  59. Hey!

    I just accidentaly dropped my echaveria on the ground (the plastic inner pot broke when I held it) and now two leaves (almost) broke off. One of them tore open the stem quite a bit. I do not know what to do, is he gonna be alright? Should I take the leaves off entirely, or just leave it like this?
    I feel like I’m in some kind of crisis here, and I also do not know if I’m asking this question in the right place. I was wondering if you could help me? Thank you very much.

    • It should be fine, just make sure you keep the ripped area dry until it has a chance to scab over. You can choose whether you want to remove the leaves or not. You can likely propagate them for new plants if you do remove them.

      Fortunately succulents are pretty tough so the plant should recover without a problem.

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I'm Cassidy, a professional photographer turned succulent addict and the author and photographer here at Succulents and Sunshine. This is me with my wonderful husband and super cute baby!

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