5 Simple Ways To Determine Soil Dryness in Succulents

Soil dryness in succulents is definitely a thing to worry about. Because if you don’t identify it quickly, your plant will surely die. 

So, how to check succulent soil dryness moisture?

Firstly, you can do that by observing the outlook of the plant and soil. Feeling the texture of the succulent will tell you about the soil dryness too. Plus the potting mix can determine the dryness as well. Next, you can even lift the plant up the pot to find if the soil is dry. Lastly, a moisture meter is a great help. 

Now, these aren’t all. To know if your succulent is suffering, you need more info. That’s why we tried explaining all the ways that help you determine soil dryness. 

Therefore, spare some time and stick with us until the end! 

How to Know if Succulent Soil Is Dry?

how to tell if soil is dry

Succulents are great plants to grow indoors. However, you might face few problems while growing them. And this includes the plant seeming dehydrated. 

This type of situation mainly happens if the soil of your succulent is dry. Therefore, here are 5 options that can help you to figure out the problem-

Observe the Physical Appearance of Soil & Plant

Now, the first way to detect soil dryness is by checking how the soil and the plant look. 

Therefore, begin with the soil of the succulent-

If the plant’s soil is dry, you’ll see a few signs visually. For example, the soil will look light-colored, compact, and obviously dry. 

Then observing the plant will lead you to some common signs as well- 

The skin of the plant will turn dry. Plus the thick leaves will also start shrinking. 

The leaves can also get discolored. For example, you’ll see the succulent leaves turning yellow at the bottom or top part. You can even come across brown leaves. 

Furthermore, sometimes you might not encounter a completely discolored plant. Instead, you’ll see yellow or brown spots on the plant. 

The succulent will start wilting or even curling. The poor plant will begin losing its leaves. This will lead it towards its death. 

These are the physical changes your plant will go through if the soil is dry. 

But fear not, my friend! 

You can save the plant by providing enough water. Keep watering it till the water comes out of the drainage holes. You should definitely prioritize doing this. Because underwatering is the reason why your succulent is dying

Touch Your Succulent to Feel It

moisture meter for succulents

Then another way to determine soil dryness is by touching your precious plant. Because if you didn’t know- 

A succulent has thick, firm, and hard leaves which hold moisture. Thus, if you want to find out whether the soil is dry or not, look at the plant. 

Because a well-watered succulent will have firmer and harder leaves. Now, if you want to know if the soil is dry-

You have to wear protective and thick gloves. Then squeeze the leaves of the plant a little. While doing so, a healthy plant’s leaves will spring back. 

On the other hand, the leaves of a succulent plant with dry soil will never bounce back. Instead, it’ll feel weak and fragile. Sometimes it can even break too. 

This way you can understand that your plant’s soil is dry and thirsty. 

Check the Soil of the Succulent

dry succulents

Now, the third way is to test the soil itself. Because the problem relies on the soil or the potting mix you used for the succulent. 

The easiest way to check the soil is to get a handful of it. But make sure you’re wearing protective gloves. Then squeeze it to test the moisture. 

Now, if the soil sticks together after squeezing, it means it’s moist. Other than this, you’ll see the soil staying in a loose pile or just crumbling. If that happens, the soil is dry and your plant needs water. 

The other option is to use a hand trowel and dig into your soil. While doing that, you have to slice in a specific way, which is straight down. Then dig 2 feet deep down with the trowel. 

Next, create another slice and this should be 1 inch in front of the first one you made. Then use your hands to grab the slice of the soil you made. Get a piece of white fabric or paper and lay the slice on it.

Now, if the slice on the paper is light in color. For example, yellow or light brown. It means the soil is dry. In reverse, a darker color means you have moist soil. 

Lift the Pot up to Know How Much It Weighs 

The weight of your plant can tell you about the condition of the soil. How? 

Well, just follow our lead- 

Firstly, wear some gloves and grab the pot your succulent is planted in. Lift it and feel the weight. Why you may ask?

Because a pot will be heavy if the plant is well-watered. But it’ll be quite light in case you didn’t water it. More specifically, if the soil of the plant is dry. 

So, this method is typically used to check soil moisture in potted plants. However, you must remember, this method is suitable for small succulent plants. Because big ones are quite heavy to lift up. 

Use a Moisture Meter to Test the Soil

Last but not least-

Using a moisture meter can easily tell you the moisture level of your soil. For example, whether the soil is dry or not and how dry or wet it is. This gardening equipment is a must if you’re an indoor or outdoor gardener.

To check your succulent soil moisture content you’ve to insert the meter into the soil. The soil moisture meter has a reading of 0 to 10 on it. Now, you might think about what the readings mean.

Well, we’ve provided that for you-

Moisture Reading (Number) Soil Condition
0-1 Completely dry
2-4 Dry
5-9 Normal 
10 Completely wet


So, if the reading of the soil is between 0-4, you’ve to start watering right away. However, this is just a common range. 

For different types of succulent plants, the reading for dryness can be different. Because some succulents can stay without water till the meter reads 6,7, and 8. Therefore, you have to know what kind of succulents you have. 

By the way, if you have a moisture meter that calculates in percentage. Then you should know the normal range is 45-60% for a succulent. If it’s anything less than that, you have to proceed to water it. Because the soil is dry. 

Now, you might wonder where you can get a good moisture meter. Well, no worries! We have your back! 

Thus, here are the best soil moisture meters for succulents-

So, grab the meter and keep your plant safe! Also, you can use the meter to know if you’ve provided too much water. Which is quite important. Because overwatering can kill the succulent as well. 

But there’s another catch- 

The reading of the meter can be inaccurate sometimes. It can due to the meter being bad or broken. So, to double-check-

We advise determining the soil dryness moisture by taking help from another way we’ve mentioned above. 

Some Tips to Prevent Succulent Soil Dryness

Now, it’s always wise to avoid soil dryness for every type of plant. Because we don’t want our plants to suffer. 

Therefore, to grow your plant healthily you have to follow some rules-

  • The very first thing is to water the succulent properly. Just provide water every 7-10 days and the plant will thrive.
  • Make sure you discard excess water after watering. Otherwise, there’s a chance of it getting sick with the root rot disease. 
  • Remember too much heat isn’t good for your succulent. Thus, provide them indirect sunlight or light all day. And direct light or sunlight for 4-6 hours a day.

So, these were some basic rules you should definitely follow to keep the plant healthy!


Question: What to do if succulent soil is too dry? 

Answer: Well, it’s pretty easy. You have to water the plant. However, you need to be careful while watering the plant. Always keep watering a dry plant till the water leaks from the pot’s drainage holes. And after that, remember to discard the excess water from the saucer under the pot.

Question: Why are my succulent leaves drying up? 

Answer: Your succulent leaves can dry up because of underwatering. Because this affects the soil of the plant and it becomes dry. Moreover, dry soil isn’t the best for a succulent. Therefore, your plant will start getting sick. And leaves drying up is a clear sign of it. 

Question: Why is my succulent wrinkly and soft? 

Answer: Well, these two conditions are different. And they have different reasons. For starters, if the leaves of your succulent are wrinkly, it means the plant is underwatered. On the contrary, soft leaves indicate that you have watered the succulent too much. 

Final Words

These are all we had regarding succulent soil dryness moisture. Hopefully, your questions are all answered. 

By the way, you can insert a wooden skewer to check the soil too. If it comes out clean, it means the soil is dry. 

Lastly, do let us know your thoughts and good luck with your succulents!! 

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