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 entirely possible and quite 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 their growth pace.
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.
If you choose semi-hydroculture to grow your succulent, you can select 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 essential 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 it more often. Please dilute the fertilizer to half its strength when feeding, or choose a hydroponic fertilizer that meets your succulent’s requirement.
Even though you can try to grow almost every succulent in water, some can better adapt or 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.
There are two families that I recommend the most to grow in water: Echeveria and Sempervivum. As I mentioned before, these are rosettes; you can get many plants from one single mother plant, which makes it more likely to have one that will bloom.
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 vital to avoid the spread of bacteria and fungus from plant to plant.
The containers I rather use are the glass ones because I can see if the cutting is correct. To help in the placement of the succulent cutting, I recommend using plastic wrap.
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 considering 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.
You’re all set and 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 are similar to growing them in soil when propagating and sun exposition. However, water plants and soil plants do have different roots, watering needs, and growing pace.
Growing succulent in water is 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 in this blog post!
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 process could take from 10 days to a few weeks.
You can also try placing it 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 have to change the water when you see that it’s dirty and keep it nurturing.
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.
It doesn’t get root rot when growing in water because the plant isn’t exposed to the fungus in soil 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 at regular intervals.
It’s crucial to change the water regularly 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 happens because the succulent doesn’t need to look for the nutrients in the soil. They’re readily 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.
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!
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!
You may also like: