How to Water Succulents Without Drainage

Do you know how to water succulents without drainage?

Succulents are pretty much the tough cookie of the plant species. Yet, something as little as overwatering can cause their roots to rot. That’s why drainage is essential for watering them, but you can still water them without drainage if you know what you’re doing.

All you have to do is improve the soil’s drainage by adding perlite, pebbles, or sand. And, you’d have to leave the plant until its soil dries before you water it again, so the water gets enough time to evaporate.

Here’s everything you need to know about the matter.

How to Water Your Succulent Without Drainage


Here’s how to water your succulent in a pot without drainage holes:

Let the Soil Do the Draining

It’s not a major problem if your succulent pot has no drainage holes, as long as the soil itself is well-draining. That way, the water will be able to evaporate easier. Whether you’re buying a ready-made soil mix or making your own, make sure to choose loose soil with chunky particles to let the water through.

Generally, grainy soil with lots of sand is a good option for succulents. You may improve the soil’s draining by adding some perlite.

It’s also worth noting that it’s better to maintain the same particle size in the entire pot. If you add chunky particles to the pot’s bottom only, the water will get trapped inside.

Be Accurate With Watering

When you have a pot with drainage holes, it doesn’t hurt to water without measuring the amount. As long as you don’t go over the top with watering, the plant will be okay. However, the case is different if you have a pot with no holes because any excess water will collect inside.

You’ll need to be mindful of the water amount, so you leave the plant with no excess moisture. The best way to control your watering is to use a squeeze tube, especially for small plants. Or, you can use a syringe with measurements written on it.

Generally, it’s better not to water the plant with more than half of the soil’s volume. Meaning, if the pot contains a cup of soil, you should water the plant with half a cup of water using the same measurement.

Related: Simple and Effective Ways to Treat and Prevent Fungus on Succulents

Don’t Set a Watering Schedule

Weekly or biweekly watering schedules don’t always work. Because the water in non-draining pots doesn’t evaporate as quickly as it would in a pot with holes, it’s vital to water only when the soil is dry (rather than on a regular timetable). Your succulent will be able to go longer between waterings since it will have more time to use the water it has already absorbed.

Things You Need to Keep in Mind Before Watering Succulents

To water a succulent in a pot with no holes, you need to make sure you’re fulfilling all the plant’s other requirements. Any change in its routine may cause stress, and if the pot keeps collecting water and stressing, it’ll soon start looking shriveled and fragile.

Here are a few pointers to be mindful of when watering your succulents:

 1- Make Sure Your Succulent Pot Is Suitable

Succulent gardening

Succulents can grow in all kinds of pots, but some types are better than others. For example, glass is one of the most popular options for succulents because it serves as an elegant piece of house decor.

Yet, it may not be the best option when living in hot areas because glass absorbs the heat. So, you’d have to keep it out of direct sunlight for most of the day.

Terracotta and clay pots are ideal for succulents because they offer breathability, allowing the water to evaporate fast.

 2- Remember That Pot Size Is Crucial

When it comes to containers for succulents, smaller is better when the plant is still young. When your succulent starts to outgrow its pot, it’s time to move it up a size, but don’t go for a pot that’s too large.

If the pot is much larger than the plant needs, the water will pool at the bottom instead of evaporating, eventually leading to root rot.

3- Add Pebbles/Rocks to the Soil

Plants grown in containers without drainage holes are more likely to succumb to root rot and disease. To prevent this, you can improve your plant’s chances of life by placing rocks, marbles, or stones in the soil. The soil’s water will then have somewhere to go instead of collecting in the roots.

Before you fill the pot with rocks and pebbles, make sure you know how big it is. Keep in mind that if you have a small pot, you’ll need to add smaller materials, such as pebbles and pumice ..etc.

4- Know When to Water Your Succulent

The soil in the succulent container should be completely dry before you consider watering it again. Do not water the soil until it has totally dried out between waterings; it should be dry up to the point that it looks crumbly.

If this is your first time keeping a succulent in a pot with no holes, don’t expect its watering needs to be consistent. It may need watering after a week, then stay two weeks afterward until the soil dries. So, don’t act fast; it’s harder to keep a routine with no proper drainage because the water takes a long time to evaporate.

Users Also Read: Best Pots for Succulents: Useful Tips

5- Be Mindful of the Season

Water your succulents more frequently during the spring and summer because they’ll be actively growing, causing them to go through the water faster.

As they rapidly proliferate in stems, leaves, roots, and flowers, they need more water than usual. In some cases, you may have to water your succulent up to two times a week if it’s growing rapidly.

The case goes completely different in the winter.

Succulents are seasonal plants, meaning they go dormant over the winter, so you won’t have to water them at all.

Generally, try to be as adaptable as possible with the watering amounts and check the soil first. The plant will let you know when it needs water.

Helpful Tools for Watering Your Succulents

Succulents in rocks

If you’re a beginner with succulents, you may need some tools to help you. Here are a couple of tools that may be useful:

Succulent Tracker app

Try to use the Succulent Tracker app, which is available for iOS and Android devices, to keep track of your succulent’s watering schedule. You can log the watering times and the amount of water you’re using, and the app will adjust the watering schedule and send you reminders for it.

Household Tools that Can Help You

You can get smart with your household tools to monitor the plant’s watering schedule. For example, you can use chopsticks to determine if the soil is dry enough yet. All you have to do is to insert them into the soil and leave them inside for a few minutes.

When you take them out, watch if there are soil bits clinging to them. If that’s the case, the soil isn’t dry yet. If they come out clean, it’s your cue to water the plant.

That’s at least more pleasant than dipping your own fingers inside!

To Sum Up

Now that you know how to water succulents without drainage, you can try planting your new offsets in a pot with no drainage holes. We’ll be honest; it’s a bit more challenging to control the watering amounts when there are no drainage holes, but it’s still doable if you’re mindful of how frequently you water the plant.