Can Succulents Successfully Grow in Water?
Learn the Truths and Myths

Growing succulents in water is possible. This can be done when propagating the succulent by cutting or offset. The new roots will be adequate to water.

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Jimena Bolívar

April 25, 2021


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Introduction

Succulents are known for growing in an arid environment and don’t like too much water, so the idea of having them growing in water may seem counterintuitive. But the truth is that it’s completely possible and fairly easy.

Growing in water is a possibility for succulents like it’s for other plants. They can be transferred from soil to water or be planted directly in water by cutting or offset propagation. The needs of a hydroponic succulent are different and so is the growth pace.

succulent in a glass of water

Hydroponic succulents vs Semi-hydroponics succulents

Hydroponic succulents are those that grow only in the water, semi-hydroponics are those that have some kind of inert material – not soil – and water as a means of growing.

In case you choose semi-hydroculture to grow your succulent, you can choose inert material between pebbles, leca, or glass beads. Place them in the bottom and the succulent on it. Add the water just to the point of reaching the succulent.

It’s important to change the water periodically and wash the inert material so there’s no mineral deposit from the nutrients.

Another difference between growing succulents in the soil is that you’ll need to fertilize more often. When you fertilize dilute the fertilizer to half its strength or you can choose a hydroponic fertilizer that meets your succulent’s requirement.

Which are the Best Succulents to Grow in Water

Even though you can try to grow almost every succulent in water, there are some that are easier to adapt to water or to propagate into water.

The succulents with a rosette format are the best ones to grow in water. They are easier to propagate by cutting or offset, which are the most recommended methods to have a plant growing in water and since a bunch of plants can come from one single mother there’s more chance the propagation works.

echeveria succulents

There are two families that I recommend the most to grow in water: Echeveria and Sempervivum. These are rosettes and, as I mentioned before, you can get a lot of plants from one single mother and this makes it more likely to having one that will bloom.

Tools you Need to Grow Succulents in Water

Now that you’re familiar with the idea of growing your succulents in water, you may be wondering what do you need to do so. The tools are almost the same as propagating succulents and plant them in soil.

The tools needed to plant a succulent in water are a container, water, a cutting from other succulents, a sterile scissor to do the cutting.

My recommendation is to always sterile the scissor before cutting. For this, you’ll need 1 part of bleach water to 9 or 10 parts of tap water. Sterilizing your cutting tool is important to avoid the spread of bacteria and fungus from plant to plant.

The containers I rather use are the glass ones because then I can see if the cutting is right placed. To help to place the succulent cutting I recommend plastic wrap.

PRO TIP

If the succulent cutting is very small, you can cover the jar or glass with plastic wrap and poke holes in the surface, and stick the tiny stems through it to hold them in place.

When getting the water the best options are distilled water or rainwater because of some additives tap water can have such as fluoride and other chemicals and salts. Water from local ponds or steams should also be avoided since it can contain bacterias or fungus that could infect your cuttings.

How to Grow a Succulent in Water

You’re all set and really excited to grow succulents in the water now you know it’s possible. Just follow this step-by-step guide and you’ll have beautiful succulents growing in the water.

Growing succulents in water is similar to growing them in soil when it comes to propagation and sun exposition. However, water plants and soil plants do have different roots, watering needs, and growing pace.

Growing a succulent in water is basically one step. Choose the mother plant and carefully do the cutting or take the offset using a sterile scissor.

The stem cutting method is recommended if the plant has become etiolated (changed the original shape due to poor lighting), has suffered sunburn, or pest damage. In my experience using offsets results in stronger plants. If you’d like to learn more about the perfect time to cut your succulent read about it this blog post!

PRO TIP

Spring and summer are the best times to take cuttings from succulent plants. This is when plants are growing. Taking a cutting at this time gives the mother plant the best chances to recover

Once you have the cuttings or the offsets lay it over an empty tray for a few days to the cut or offset to callus. If you skip this step it’s a lot likely your succulents will get root rot because the plant will get too moist.

Place the cutting right above the water – you can use the plastic wrap to help you with this. Place the container in a medium bright area and wait for the roots to grow, this could take from 10 days to a few weeks.

You can also try placing in the shade, some people say that they have better results this way but like everything in growing succulents, it’s all about testing. What I can assure you is that direct sunlight will damage your succulent.

When you have roots emerging you can move your plant to a place with more light. And you’re done! Now you just have to change the water when you see that it’s dirty and keep it nurturing.

Conclusion

Growing succulents in water can be a lot of fun! These super adaptable plants will keep amazing you as long as you keep taking care of them.

The reason why it doesn’t get root rots when growing in water is that the plant isn’t exposed to the fungus that causes rotting, this is the reason why you should be extra careful about the water you’re using by keeping it clean and changing it in regular intervals.

It’s crucial to change the water in regular intervals because if you don’t, it’ll grow algae and the water will get cloudy.

Be sure that the water level is appropriate, don’t let the water touch the leaves, leave it below the plant stem. You may notice that growing in water is faster than growing in soil, that’s because the succulent doesn’t need to look for the nutrients in the soil since they’re already available in the water.

Other pros of growing in water are that you won’t need re-potting, will need to water a lot less and you can’t overwater it, they look good, and don’t require a lot of attention like other succulents.

Keep Reading

If you’re into succulents like me, don’t stop here. I love to share my journey with fellow succulent lovers! There’s a lot more on this blog that might interest you, so pick one of the links below and let’s dive together into this awesome succulents’ world!

Which are the most exotic succulents in the world? You will love each one of them

Some of the most exotic succulents are Othonna Capensis, Pachyphytum Compactum, Sedum Mocinianum, Haworthia Truncata v. Maughai, Adromischus Maculatus, Echeveria x. Imbricate, Gymnocalycium Mihanovinchi, Haworthia Cuspidata Variegate, Aeonium, Crassula Umbella, Pleiospilos Nelii, Sempervivum, Euphoria Obese, Adromischus Cristatus, and Faucaria Tigrina

8 most popular succulents that will lift your mood!

Succulents are the proven mood-boosters. But have you ever got confused in picking one for your room? If you did, it's time to pick one that suits you the best.

Jimena Bolívar Picture

By Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Jimena Bolívar Picture

Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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