It’s a common belief among fans of succulents that succulents and cacti can endure for long periods without water. They thrive in conditions that most plants would not endure. How long, then, can they survive without water? It depends on various elements, but before that is to know how long can succulents go without water.
How long can succulents go without water
If you’re an avid lover of succulents, you’ve probably realized how succulents, cacti and succulents require only a tiny amount of water and can last for long periods without water. Because of this incredible ability, plants can rapidly adapt to changing conditions and thrive in situations that most plants can’t. This is because their roots and leaves can retain water for the duration of extreme weather conditions. This gives their leaves a more swollen and fleshy appearance than other species, which is a characteristic called succulence.
Knowing how long can succulents go without water is a challenge. It depends on many aspects like
- Types of succulent
- Outdoors or indoors, it is expanding
- Pot material and size
- Sort of soil
- The season that is the most popular
As a guideline, succulents can be indefinite without drinking any water for a few months or even weeks. Let’s take a look and learn more about the importance of each of these aspects.
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Types of succulent
Every type of succulents is unique and is characterized by specific characteristics and particular needs regarding the watering schedule. Certain varieties of succulents can store more water than other types and may be more persistent without water. As a rule of thumb, plants with larger leaves and stems can hold greater water. The water stored in swelling parts will gradually become available to the plant. Once it’s used by the plant, it will begin shrinking. When the plant loses more water, it could also lose some lower leaves, but this is normal and shouldn’t bother you. It’s actually a sign that the plant is in good health, and you’ll see bigger and more compact leaves.
Succulents such Graptopetalumand Crassula can store water for up to three months. Certain desert cactus species such as Prickly Pear or Saguaro can last for up to two decades without water. Indoor varieties, however, require more frequent watering, dependent on the species. However, succulents with thinner and smaller leaves, such as Epiphyllums and Echeveria Glauca, will not be able for longer than a month or two months without water. They can’t hold sufficient water to keep them healthy in their thin leaves.
Outdoors Or Indoors growing
How long they can survive without water is contingent upon where you store them. Evidently, succulents established outside with full sunlight need regular irrigation instead of those planted inside in light that is filtered. While outdoors succulents possess the capacity to adjust to the environment’s temperature and humidity, warmer temperatures will result in more loss of water. The more extreme a situation is, the faster the succulent will lose water. What is the length of time that the succulents survive without water?
Suppose you live in a hot outdoor climate. In that case, it is possible to water your plant each one to three weeks, while in cooler climates, you may be able to skip watering for a month or longer. Succulents typically thrive in an outdoor space with afternoon and morning sun access. If you don’t have an alternative, then place your succulents in a spot with full sun the majority of the time. It’s a good idea to block out the sun with an umbrella or shade cloth to prevent burns from the sun. On the other hand, when you live in a more temperate climate, succulents stand an increased chance of surviving for longer without water as the sun’s rays aren’t as threatening.
If you plant your plants inside, you can let them go longer without water since they aren’t in the sun’s rays. However, it is important to place them in a space full of sunlight. Succulents that are grown indoors can hold more water and can be able to survive without water for long periods. However, it is good to water every 14 to 21 days.
Materials for pots and sizes
If you are growing succulents in pots, the ability of your succulents to thrive without water will be contingent on the specifics of your container, the container itself. If you’re asking yourself what length of time succulents can go without water, here’s my answer, generally speaking, in comparison to succulents planted directly into the ground, succulents planted in pots will not last for prolonged periods without water. The water inside smaller or shallow pots can dry out quicker than in bigger, deeper containers. At the same time, succulents planted in the ground are more able to absorb the soil’s moisture.
Whatever the material or colour of your containers will impact the speed of water loss. Colours that are dark containers draw the sun’s radiations, causing your water to run off quicker than lighter-coloured ones. Terracotta and clay containers create a safe environment for the majority of plants. The porosity of clay permits humidity and air to get through into the clay’s sides.
However, terracotta pots release moisture more quickly when temperatures are hot. This means that you’ll have to water the plants more often to stop the soil from drying.
Pots made of plastic, On the contrary, are light, sturdy and flexible. They don’t take in excessive moisture from the soil and hold in moisture for more than twice the amount of time as clay planters. If you are prone to forgetting that you should water the plants frequently, plastic is likely to be a better choice than clay.
Type of soil
It’s crucial to place your succulents in the correct type of soil since it directly connects to the amount of water stored within the container. This can determine how long succulents can be without water. In contrast to other species, succulents are a bit different. They prefer soil that drains well to drain the water as fast as it soaks it up. This kind of soil mix has the proper organic and inorganic substances. It is designed with bigger particles than typical potting soils.
This will result in improved drainage and less retention of water. This will also help avoid soil compaction, allowing more airflow around the succulents’ roots. A well-drained soil mix is vital to keep the roots from becoming saturated with moisture, eventually resulting in root mould.
The season of the year
The time of the year is an additional crucial aspect that determines how long succulents can survive without water. It can additionally decide the amount of when you’ll be required to water your succulents. In the summer months, succulents require more water compared to cooler months. With higher temperatures, moisture evaporates quicker, and this means you’ll need to regularly water your succulents. During the season of growth (spring and summer, autumn), You will have to keep watering the succulents more frequently.
In general, during the winter, most species go through a dormancy phase, which is a short period that causes the plant to experience slower growth. Similar to trees. Every winter, they lose their leaves and grow them back when active growth starts again in the spring. When succulents are dormant in the winter months, they are not growing rapidly and therefore do not require more water and can live for a couple of weeks (depending on the weather) without the need for water.
However, suppose you have succulents that lie dormant in the summer like, say, one like Aeonium. In that case, It is a good idea to keep it watered regularly to guard it against extreme heat and the faster loss rate.
The risks of overwatering
One of the biggest risks you run into when overwatering the succulents you love can be root rot. Although root rot may have various reasons, it typically results from overwatering. Simply, your succulent roots begin to decay if they’re not allowed to dry between the watering. Root decay isn’t curable; therefore, if you don’t catch the disease in its initial stages, it is likely that your plant won’t make it through the season. However, it’s hard to recognize root rot early since the initial signs appear only on the roots beneath the soil surface. When symptoms start to show on the stems as well as the leaves rot can become more dangerous for the plant. Remember that succulents are accustomed to surviving in dry desert environments, and the saline surroundings of an overwatered pot can cause problems. They also require oxygen.
So even if your plants do not begin to rot in the first place, they’ll never breathe. Although root rot can be subtle, your succulent will warn you if you provide it with excessive water. The lower leaves begin to fade and eventually drop off. The leaves can develop an unpleasant mushy feel if excessive watering continues. In most cases, it’s better to be in the direction of dryness rather than in excess watering for your plant. If you’re not certain the plant needs additional water, it’s best to wait a few days before water.
Tips for watering
The most efficient method for indoors and outside would be to use the ” soak and dry” method, and it’s very simple to implement. It is important to keep the soil moist until it’s completely soaked and then waits until it is completely dried before you can water it again (this could depend on the area and the container). It is also essential to ensure that the succulents are kept in a drainage-friendly soil pot with drainage holes.
I’d also like to point out another method of watering known as “bottom water,” meaning watering the pot from the bottom instead of pouring water onto the top of the surface. Pour approximately 1 inch of water into an empty saucer from the terracotta, and then put the pot on the top. With this method, your roots will notice it is their water at the bottom, and it will take extra effort to reach it. Your succulents will grow bigger and more robust roots in the next few days!
The length of time that succulents can live without water depends on various variables. We all know that succulents can last more time without water than other plants. Generally, succulents exposed to dry, hot conditions outside will have to be watered each to three weeks, except for agaves and cacti that don’t require hand watering. However, most succulents indoors in medium-sized pots could comfortably survive by being regularly watered every 2 to three weeks. Be aware that this depends on the size of the plant and the temperature of the room. Remember, as far as it is about succulents, submerging is superior to overwatering. More succulents die due to being overwatered than they do from neglect when it comes to watering.
We hope you learn details about how long succulents can go without water.