4 Tips How to Water Succulents without Drainage

Succulents are one of the loveliest plans to surround yourself with. They are not only beautiful but also easy to care for. Their nurturing needs are restricted to doing the bare minimum and that makes them ideal for both novices and seasoned gardeners. But is there more to it? How to water succulents without drainage? Let us find out!

Can Succulents Live in Pots Without Holes?

can succulents live in pots without holes

It is a myth that succulents can only grow and thrive in pots with holes. Though that is true for some variants, you can certainly have succulents in pots without holes. This is particularly true of those succulents that are placed indoors.

The mistake that most people do when they have succulents in pots without holes is that they tend to overwater them. This is usually detrimental to the health of the succulents as excess water leads to root rot, thereby killing the succulents.

Hence, you ought to be very sure of the optimum watering needs of the succulent in case you have it in a pot without holes. In fact, even when you plant succulents in containers with holes, you cannot go wrong with watering because that would be the end of your lovely houseplant.

Here is how to care for your succulent that is planted in a pot with no holes.

  • Create a layer of rocks in the container to provide room for drainage. Pebbles, stones and pumice stones work fine and also add beauty to the succulent, especially if you have placed it at a spot that attracts the eyes of people.
  • Sometimes, activated charcoal may also help you manage the drainage woes if you have succulents planted in pots without drainage holes.
  • Make sure you choose the right size of the container for housing your succulent. A container too big or too small is going to increase your woes.

If you are just starting, you should also get in touch with a seasoned gardener to understand how and when to water the succulents. When you are buying the plant, ask the nursery owner all about it and make sure you follow what they say.

How to Water Succulents Without Drainage

how to water succulents without drainage

Watering succulents right is the key to a long and healthy life for your succulents. This becomes even more important when your succulents are planted in a pot that does not have holes.

Here are a few tips that can be of help:

1. Use Spray Bottles

When you have succulents planted in pots without holes, using a spray bottle for watering purposes may be a good idea. This is because it would prevent you from overwatering the succulent and also make the process easy for you.

You ought to ensure that you spray water on the soil and not just the leaves of the succulent. The idea is to get the water into the soil and not on the surface.

You don’t have to go overboard and when you see the top layer of the soil wet and moist, take it as an indication that your job is done.

2. Stick to a Watering Schedule

You can’t wake up and water your succulents randomly or on a whim. Being a plant parent is a huge responsibility and you should only get succulents home when you can care for them however little care they need.

When the topsoil layer of the succulent shows signs of dryness and cracking, it is time for you to water the plant.

Ideally, you must water the succulents once every week. However, this schedule may change depending on the seasons because winter months usually do not require once a week watering and can do with much less, given most succulents are into dormancy at that time.

3. Tend to the Repotting Needs of Your Succulent

When you have succulents in containers without pots, you need to be extra vigilant about their repotting needs. Make sure to look out for visible signs that scream succulents need repotting.

This is particularly important if you see your succulent is not doing as well as it should. Rectify the situation immediately and repot the succulent in a new container with a good succulent potting mix.

You will be surprised by the generosity of the succulent that will immediately adapt to its new environment, forgiving you for not caring enough in the first instance.

4. Remove Excess Water Immediately

If you have accidentally poured more water than you should have, make sure you drain the container of the excess water immediately and do not let the water sit. This may lead to rot in the roots of the succulent.

Should You Put Rocks in the Bottom of a Planter?

should you put rocks in the bottom of a planter

It is a hugely contested topic with a lot of opinions floating around. However, as a general rule of thumb, if your planter has drainage holes, you do not need to put a layer of rocks in it.

This is because instead of improving the drainage of the plant, rocks and stones will increase the water saturation levels, leading to root rot in the succulents.

There are a few situations when you can indeed have rocks and stones at the bottom of the planter.

When you want to add some extra weight to the container to prevent it from tipping away in the wind. Since succulents are small plants and if you place them outdoors in a very light container, chances are weather conditions may get the better off of them.

Adding a layer of rocks and stones can help you avoid such situations by providing stability to the planter. Furthermore, if your pot does not have holes, adding a layer of rocks may provide better drainage and prevent overwatering, pests and disease.

Read also:
How to Plant in Pots Without Drainage Holes

What Kind of Rocks Can You Put in Your Succulents’ Planters?

There is a wide range of rocks that you can choose to put in the planter housing your succulents. Some of the most commonly used rocks include beach pebbles, red lava rock, Cresta rubble and gold crushed stone.

They are fairly utilitarian and also make the container look dramatic given their innate beauty and charm. Just make sure you choose these in proportion to the size of the container.

How Dry Should Soil Be before Watering Succulents?

Succulents should be watered only when the soil holding them is completely dry. You can check the moisture of the soil by putting your finger on it. If you feel that the soil is moist and wet, you do not need to water your succulents.

This is because overwatering will lead to rot in the root and may make the succulents susceptible to fungal diseases.

Ideally, succulents kept indoor do not require watering more than 3-4 times a month. This is because the light that they receive is lesser than that received by outdoor succulents.

How Do You Keep Succulents Alive without Drainage Holes?

how do you keep succulents alive without drainage holes

Keeping succulents alive is not a very tough ask. These are gentle and forgiving plants that thrive even when you do the bare minimum. This perhaps explains their immense popularity across the world.

If you have a succulent potted in a planet without drainage holes, here are a few ways to care for it:


The soil is the key source of nutrition for your succulents. Hence, you need to ensure that you opt for well-draining soil with all the required nutrients and vitamins. Loam, sand and perlite together work well for succulents. You can also get a ready-made garden mix for succulents if that is your preference.


Watering succulents is one of the most essential parts of caring for them. Overwatering is strictly prohibited and you should only water succulents sporadically, reading signs that tell they need to be watered. This is because overwatering will shorten the life of your succulent.

Check out our article on how often to water indoor succulents.


Most succulents do not have heavy fertilizing needs. This makes caring for them easier especially for those who lead busy lives. However, depending on the type of succulents you have, you may need to fertilize it lightly once or twice or even three times a year. So, make sure you know all about your succulent’s fertilizing needs.


The right amount of exposure to sunlight is crucial to keep succulents healthy. Indoor succulents can be kept near a window that receives bright, indirect sunlight and outdoor succulents also need to be exposed to the right amount of sunlight for their survival.