How Much and How Often to Water Succulents

How much do I water my succulent?

This is probably the number one question we get at the shop. And for good reason. Your succulent's life hinges on how much water you give it. Though the answer to this question varies depending on several variables (which we will go into later on!), the general rule of thumb is that you never want your succulent to stand in water. When your succulent stands in water, it dies. A succulent can come back from under-watering, but over-watering leads to a succulent's demise. You may think we are being dramatic, but c'mon, succulent death is kind of a big deal. So the short answer to the question of how much to water a succulent is: water it, but not so much that it's left standing in water.

What things affect how much I water my succulent?

Some of the variables that may affect the amount of water to give a succulent include:

  • Container type- If your container has a drain hole, you can give the succulent more water because excess water will drain out. If the container doesn't have a hole, you need to be extra careful not to fill the container with water up to the roots. Also, succulents in smaller clay pots dry out faster and can take a bit more water.
  • How it was planted- putting pea gravel in the bottom of your planter boosts the succulent's roots up off the bottom of the planter leaving room for excess water. Plus, pea gravel allows air to get down into the pot more easily and dry it out more quickly. If your succulent isn't planted with pea gravel, go ahead and replant it! Here's how.
  • Succulent location- If your succulent is outside in the heat and wind, it can take more water than if it is indoors.
  • Succulent size- larger plants take more water than smaller plants.

How often should I water my succulent?

You should water your succulents every other week during non-winter months when temperatures are above 40 degrees. During the winter time (when temperatures are below 40 degrees) you should only water your succulent once a month because it is dormant during this time.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. Certain types of succulents require more frequent watering because their leaves are teeny tiny and can't hold as much water compared to other varieties with plump leaves. For these tiny leaf succulents, feel free to give them a drink up to once a week in the non-winter months if they look thirsty. Succulents typically look a little wrinkly when they are thirsty. Remember though, it's always better to under-water than to over-water.

Examples of how to water a succulent correctly


Scenario #1: This succulent is about five inches wide and a foot tall. It's planted in pea gravel in a clay planter with a drain hole and lives outside on a patio (except during the winter).

Answer: This succulent would like about two cups of water every other week in the non-winter months and 1-1.5 cups of water once a month in the winter.


Scenario #2: This succulent is about three inches wide and three inches tall. It is planted in pea gravel, but it is a shallow container that doesn't have a drain hole. This succulent is living indoors near a west window.

Answer: This succulent would like about 1/8- 1/4 cup water every other week in non-winter months and 1/8 cup water once a month in the winter.

tiny leaf succulent.JPG

Scenario #3: This succulent is about 2 inches wide and 4 inches tall. It has tiny leaves, is planted with pea gravel and in a container with a drain hole. It lives inside.

Answer: This succulent would like about 1/4 cup water every week to week and a half in the non-winter months and 1/4 water every other week during the winter.

Have a succulent watering question? Leave a comment below! Or if you'd like to learn more about succulent care, please read on! We love to talk about plants.


Succulent Care Agenda & Calendar

Become an expert in 12 months!