It’s common to get worried about the watering schedule of a succulent. Because they tend to stay a long time without water than other plants. However, it’s essential for you to know how long they can survive without it.
So, is it possible to grow succulent without water?
Well, no, it isn’t possible. Succulents might not need much water. Because they tend to absorb water with their leaves and roots. They can stay without water for a couple of weeks or even 6 months. But it’s still important to water them. Otherwise, they’ll die an untimely death.
Now, taking care of your plant should be your number one priority when gardening. That’s why you should know and learn more. To help you, we’ve discussed how long your succulent can live without water.
Therefore, don’t just wait and go through them!
Factors That Affect How Long Succulents Can Survive Without Water
Now, as you know succulents are pretty unique. Because they don’t require frequent watering. Why?
Well, they can hold water through their leaves. They also keep themselves well-watered for quite a bit of time. But it’s difficult to provide an exact number regarding how long they can live without water.
Because you see, the amount of time depends on some factors. Therefore, the time can vary. So, what are these factors?
What Type of Succulent Do You Have?
The first factor concerns what variety of succulent you’re growing. Because there are many types of succulents out there.
Now, succulents that can go without water longer will be more compact. Furthermore, they’ll have much thicker and firmer leaves. Also, these types of succulent will have less surface area. So, less amount of water will evaporate.
Most of the cacti species fall under this category. That’s why they can hold water longer. For example, they can go without water for 2 to 3 months.
Then there are succulents that have thinner and smaller leaves. They also have more stomata or surface area. Thus, more water will be lost than retained.
Mostly non-cacti succulent plants belong to this variety of succulent. They can survive without water for only 1 month.
Lastly, some succulents are known as living stones. These types of succulents can stay the longest without water, for example, 6 months.
To make things easier-
We have provided names of some common types of succulent. And we’ve also mentioned their water holding capacity-
|Succulent Name or Genus||Ability to Live without Water (Time)|
|Aloe vera, Kalanchoe, Pancake plant, or Chinese money plant, Elephant bush, Wax plant, Snake plant, String of pearls||1 month|
|Crown of thorns, Devil’s backbone, Easter lily cactus, Horse’s teeth, Mistletoe cactus, Pencil cactus, Ruby glow peperomia||2 months|
|Graptopetalum, Crassula, Sempervivum, Sempervivum, Sedum, Echeveria, Pachyphytum, Mammillaria, Aporocactus, Stapelia, Aeonium, Haworthiopsis||3 months|
|Lithops or living stones||6 months|
Now, just figure out which succulent you own. You should also note down how long they can stay without water.
Are You Growing the Plant Indoors or Outdoors?
Now, another factor is where you’re growing the succulent. Are you growing it indoors or outdoors?
Because the watering amount differs from outdoors to indoors. The reasons behind this difference are some environmental parameters.
When growing the plant outdoors, you have no control over the humidity and temperature. That’s why you have to change and adapt your watering schedule accordingly.
On the other hand, while gardening indoors, you have somewhat control over the two. You can maintain both temperature and humidity in a stable way.
This makes the growing conditions better for your succulent. Therefore, they can stay without water more if they’re grown indoors.
Then evaporation and light intensity are some important parameters too. These two are more extreme outdoors than indoors. As a result-
You have to provide water more frequently if you’re growing the plant outdoors. To be specific, outdoor succulents in extreme heat can only live 2-3 weeks without water.
However, it’s best to keep an eye on them. Because sometimes they can dry out even before 2 weeks. In reverse, indoor plants can stay hydrated for at least a month. Because they stay protected from extreme sunlight and heat.
What Kind of Soil Are You Using?
Now, succulents love well-aerated soil. This type of soil doesn’t have much capacity to hold moisture. And the soil also drains water fast.
Therefore, it’s the best type of soil to avoid root rot. Furthermore, using the soil will prevent you from watering the plant frequently.
If you’re using silty clay loam as soil, you’ll face trouble when it’s wet. Because of this, the roots of the plant won’t be able to absorb water. Instead, it’ll get infected by fungus and suffer from root rot.
By the way, you can use cactus potting mix for your succulents too. Because they drain really fast. It keeps the succulent hydrated and fresh for a long time. This way, the succulent can thrive without water for at least 1-2 months.
Does Season Have an Impact?
Yes, the season can determine your succulent’s ability to live without water. Because during warmer seasons, the plant loses more moisture. The water evaporates quicker than you expect during warmer climates.
This evaporation takes place in both the soil and the plant. That’s why your succulent plants get thirstier during hot seasons than cooler seasons. In winter, the plant will be able to hold onto the moisture. The rate of evaporation will be also low.
Then you might be familiar with the term “ Period of dormancy”. You aren’t?
Well, no worries! We’re here to explain. The period of dormancy is a temporary period of time when the succulent has slower growth than usual.
Normally, dormancy takes place in winter for most succulents. However, some species of succulents like Aeonium go through dormancy during summer.
Now, during the period of dormancy, your succulent isn’t growing that much. Thus, it won’t need much water. The plant can survive for about 1-3 months without water.
However, if the dormancy occurs in summer, you’ll have water more frequently. As the plants can only go a couple of weeks (2-4 weeks) without water.
Which Type of Container Is Your Succulent In?
Nope, we aren’t lying! The container you use while planting your succulents is important too.
For example, small and shallow containers aren’t the best for holding water. Because they dry out faster than large and deep ones.
Furthermore, the color of your pot is also another factor. Darker containers get hotter pretty quickly. This makes the evaporation rate of the plant and soil much faster. Therefore, you’ll have to water sooner than you had expected. For example, your plant might need water within a week or two.
Lastly, the material of your container also creates an impact on the water loss rate. For example, terracotta pots have the ability to absorb water from the soil. This is a good sign if you want to prevent overwatering.
But during summer, it absorbs more water. Thus, you’ll have to provide water more frequently (every 7-14 days).
On the other hand, plastic pots don’t have water-absorbing capability. However, darker-colored plastic pots can evaporate moisture through heating up. Thus, the plant will lose water.
Now, terracotta and plastic pots are the most popular options for a succulent. But you have to be careful while growing your succulent plant in these two. Otherwise, your plant will just suffer.
For example, buy a terracotta pot with medium-sized drainage holes. Here are some of our suggestions-
After the pot, you should keep an eye on the succulent. For that, you have to use a moisture meter.
Because by using the meter you’ll know when your succulent soil is dry. And when the plant needs water. Keeping a moisture meter is a must for both terracotta and plastic pots.
Therefore, here are some of our top picks regarding moisture meters-
Now, observe the moisture of the soil with the meter. This way your succulent will be hydrated and healthy!
Question: How long can succulents go without water in winter?
Answer: Well, in winter succulents don’t need much water. Because during this time, the water loss rate is low. Plus most succulents go through dormancy during winter. Therefore, in this season, succulents can go without water for at least 3 months. However, for succulents with thinner leaves, it can live for 2 months.
Question: How long can an indoor cactus go without water?
Answer: Cactus can survive without water for a longer time than other succulents. An indoor cactus can live without water for at least 3-6 months. However, some species of cactus can live longer. But they’re mostly grown outdoors.
Question: How long can aloe go without water?
Answer: Well, aloe vera can go without water for one month. Because aloe vera has thinner leaves and more surface area. That’s why their water evaporation or loss rate is much faster and higher.
So, that’s everything on succulent without water issue. Hopefully, you understood how often you have to water your succulent.
Also, it’s best to plant a succulent where the climate is mild. That way the succulent can survive for more than 3-4 weeks without water.
Now, do let us know your queries. Good luck with taking care of your succulent!