What to Do When You Underwater Succulents?

Succulents don’t need a lot of water to survive, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need any! If you’ve been going weeks and weeks without watering your succulents, they’re probably looking brown, dry, and wrinkled—far from their usual healthy, plump appearance.

If you want to save your succulents, you’re going to have to change the way you water them right away. So keep reading to learn the right way to water your succulents. And what to do to revive them when you’ve been underwatering them for a while! 

What to Do When You Underwater Succulents
Watering Your Succulents @jobesorganics

Water Your Succulents Immediately

As soon as you notice symptoms of underwatering in your succulents, like brown, shriveled up leaves, you should give your plants a deep soak. Grab a watering can and fill it up to the top. Then water your plants until you see water coming out of the drainage holes of the pots.

If you’ve been habitually underwatering your succulents, that probably sounds like a lot of water! But succulents actually prefer to be watered this way. Succulents like to get a large amount of water about once every one or two weeks. Soak it all up, and then sit in dry soil for a while. The other houseplants you own would probably wilt and die on that kind of watering schedule. But it works for succulents and cacti! For a more detailed look at watering your succulent, check out “When You Should Water Your Succulents” for more.

After one or two of these deep soaks, your succulents should be looking healthy and plump again. If you keep your succulents on a consistent watering schedule from now on, they’ll prosper and thrive! 

But what should you do if your succulents are so severely underwatered that they still look dry and wrinkled after a few goods soak? The answer is water therapy.

What to Do When You Underwater Succulents
Water Therapy for Your Succulents @liketrylove

Water Therapy for Severely Underwatered Succulents 

If your succulents are severely underwatered and on the brink of death, they probably won’t respond to traditional watering methods. That’s when you know it’s time to try water therapy. 

Water therapy replenishes the water supply of underwatered succulents better than watering because it involves soaking your succulent’s roots in water. This isn’t something you should try as a first intervention, though. It’s definitely a last resort because it’s a little risky. Your plant’s roots might get damaged or start to rot, especially if you don’t get all the soil out of them. So don’t try this if you’re an inexperienced gardener or if your plant is just starting to show signs of underwatering. 

To perform water therapy on your severely shriveled succulent, fill up a container with water. Shake all of the soil out of your succulent roots, then lower them into the water. Make sure that you position your plant carefully! Only the roots should be submerged, not the leaves or any other part of your plant. Be sure to also check out “5 Tips on Saving Dying Succulents” for more tips to caring for your succulent.

A Good Care

After your succulent is all situated in the water, you should leave it to soak for 24 to 72 hours. When it’s time to remove your plant from the water, make sure you handle it with extra care. Your succulent’s roots will be especially sensitive to damage and bruising after getting out of the water bath, so be really gentle with them! 

We like to set our succulents out to dry for a few days to lower the chances that their sensitive roots will get damaged during the replanting process. Then we plant them in a succulent soil and go back to a regular, routine watering schedule. Find out the best possible soil to plant your succulents in, check out “Best Soil for Succulents” for more.

Unfortunately, water therapy doesn’t always work. Sometimes succulents are too far gone to be saved, or the plant’s roots get damaged during the water therapy process. That’s why it’s important to prevent underwatering in the first place so you don’t lose any of your beloved succulents!

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What to Do When You Underwater Succulents
Save Your Succulents @theplantstudent

Prevent Underwatering in the Future

The best way to save an underwatered succulent is to prevent it from becoming underwatered in the first place! 

We know that it can be hard to remember to water your plants. You have a busy life with so much going on, so sometimes your plants and their needs slip under the radar. This is especially true if you own lots of houseplants that require special care or different watering schedules from each other. But it’s super important to water your succulents consistently so they don’t shrivel up and die again! 

Personally, we use apps like Waterbug and Planty to remind us to water our plants. They give us a notification on our phone whenever it’s time for us to water one of our plants. These apps allow us to set different watering schedules for each one of our houseplants, so we don’t have to keep all those watering requirements straight in our heads.

We’ve found apps to be a big help, but if you’re not technologically savvy, you could write down a watering schedule for your plants on a Post It and put it in a place where you’ll see it every day. That way you’re less likely to forget to give your plants a drink! 

Another thing you can do to keep your succulents healthy between waterings is to increase the humidity around them. Believe it or not, the air in your home is actually too dry for your succulents and cacti! Most homes have a humidity level of 30 percent or lower, and the ideal humidity level for succulents is 40 percent or higher. So your succulents are losing moisture pretty quickly just by sitting in your living room! 

Be sure to also read “Dangers of an Underwatered Succulent” for info on what could happen if you don’t keep up with your succulents.

What to Do When You Underwater Succulents
The Ideal Level of Humidity @thisismamabritt

If you have some succulents in your collection that are looking dry and shriveled, we hope this article helps you nurse them back to health! If you have any more questions about underwatered succulents, leave them in the comments section below or head to the Succulent City Plant Lounge to get some advice from other succulent gardeners. 

Enjoyed learning about “What to Do When You Underwater Succulents?”? If so, you’ll really enjoy our ebook about “The Correct Way to Water Succulents“. With this ebook you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

Happy planting! 🌵

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