Overwatering vs. Underwatering Succulents: Which is Worse?

by craftyclub

Hey there fellow plant enthusiasts!

Have you ever found yourself struggling to keep your succulents alive? Do you find it hard to strike the perfect balance between overwatering and underwatering them? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

As someone who has killed many a succulent in their time, I understand the frustration that comes with trying to figure out how much water these little beauties need.

There’s no denying that succulents are some of the most low-maintenance plants out there, but when it comes to watering them, things can get tricky.

That’s why today we’re going to explore whether it’s better to overwater or underwater your succulents – because let’s face it, none of us want our precious plants dying on us anytime soon.

So grab a cuppa and settle in as we delve into this age-old debate!

Understanding Succulent Watering Needs

Did you know that overwatering is the most common cause of succulent death? Yes, it’s true.

Many people believe that since succulents are desert plants, they require minimal watering. However, this is not always the case.

Each type of succulent has unique water requirements and understanding them can be the difference between thriving or dying plants.

To ensure your succulents flourish, it’s crucial to understand their specific needs. Factors such as soil type, sunlight exposure, and even humidity levels all play a role in determining how much water your plant should receive.

Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering results in dryness and dehydration. The key is finding the perfect balance for each individual plant by paying attention to its signals and adjusting accordingly.

Recognizing Signs Of Underwatering

Understanding the watering needs of succulents is vital to their survival. Overwatering or underwatering can cause various issues, from root rot to wilting leaves and stunted growth. However, when it comes to choosing between overwatering or underwatering your succulents, neither option is ideal.

Overwatering succulents can lead to several problems, including fungal infections that can kill the plant’s roots. The excess moisture in the soil creates an environment where bacteria thrive, leading to root rot. Additionally, overwatered succulents may develop yellow or brown leaves as a sign of stress caused by too much water. It’s essential to allow the soil to dry out completely before giving them more water and never leave standing water around the pot.

Underwatering your succulent plants isn’t any better than overwatering them since they need some amount of moisture for optimal growth. Succulent plants store water in their leaves; however, if there isn’t enough moisture available in their soil, this stored water will be used up quickly. As a result, you may notice wilted leaves and a shriveled appearance on your succulent plants due to dehydration.

To avoid these problems entirely while ensuring optimal growth for your succulent plants, always check whether the top inch of soil is dry before watering them again and provide adequate drainage for their pots. Remember that every type of succulent has different watering requirements based on its natural habitat and size – so do your research!

Identifying Signs Of Overwatering

Oh, the struggle of keeping succulents alive is all too real! Unfortunately, one of the biggest mistakes gardeners make with succulents is overwatering.

Let’s talk about the signs of overwatering, like wilting, yellowing, and rotting. Wilting is a telltale sign of overwatering – the leaves droop and become soft, just like a wilted flower.

Yellowing is another symptom, as the leaves may become yellow or translucent. And lastly, if the plant has been overwatered for too long, it may start to rot.

All of these signs point to one thing – overwatering. So, it’s better to underwater succulents than overwater them!


Hey there fellow garden enthusiasts! Today, let’s talk about identifying signs of overwatering in succulents.

One of the most common and obvious symptoms is wilting. Your succulent may appear limp or droopy despite being watered regularly. This is because too much moisture can cause the roots to rot, making it difficult for them to absorb nutrients from the soil.

If your plant appears wilted even though you’ve been watering it properly, then chances are it needs less water and more time to dry out. Wilting isn’t always a bad thing, but when it comes to succulents, it’s usually an indication that something is off balance.

Overwatering can lead to root rot which could ultimately kill your beloved plants if not addressed early on. So next time you notice your succulent looking a bit droopy, don’t panic! Instead, take some time to assess its environment and determine whether or not you need to adjust the amount of water it receives.

Remember: prevention is key when it comes to keeping your little green friends happy and healthy!


Now that we’ve talked about wilting, let’s move on to another sign of overwatering in succulents: yellowing.

If you notice your plant’s leaves turning yellow or even transparent, it could be a sign of too much water.

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When succulents receive more water than they need, the excess moisture can cause the roots to suffocate and rot.

As a result, the plant is unable to absorb essential nutrients from the soil which leads to discoloration and other problems.

If you see yellowing or transparency in your succulent’s leaves, try reducing its watering schedule and allowing the soil to dry out completely before watering again.

With some care and attention, your plants will recover from overwatering and thrive once again!


So, we’ve talked about wilting and yellowing as signs of overwatering in succulents. Now, let’s move on to another telltale sign: rotting.

When a succulent is being overwatered for an extended period of time, the excess moisture can lead to root rot. Root rot occurs when the roots are constantly exposed to water and unable to dry out properly. As a result, they begin to decay, turn black or brown, and become mushy. This makes it difficult for the plant to absorb essential nutrients from the soil that it needs to survive.

If you notice any signs of root rot in your succulent such as soft or discolored roots, a foul smell emanating from the soil, or if the plant becomes loose in its pot due to weak roots, it’s important to take action immediately before it’s too late. Remove the affected parts of the plant using sterilized tools and repot it into fresh soil with good drainage.

It may also be helpful to reduce watering frequency and adjust your care routine accordingly so that your plants don’t experience this problem again in the future. With proper care and attention, even an overwatered succulent can recover from root rot and thrive once more!

Finding The Right Soil Mix

Have you ever wondered why your succulents are not thriving despite giving them proper care? One of the factors that may be affecting their growth is the soil mix.

Using the right type of soil is crucial in ensuring that your succulents thrive, as they have unique watering and nutrient needs.

When it comes to selecting a soil mix for succulents, it’s important to choose one with good drainage properties. A well-draining soil allows excess water to escape quickly from the roots, preventing root rot and fungal diseases.

A recommended mix includes 50% gritty material like perlite or sand, mixed with 50% organic matter such as peat moss or coconut coir. This combination provides enough air circulation while retaining some moisture for long-term plant health.

Finding the perfect soil mix for your succulent can feel intimidating at first, but once you get used to the process, it becomes easier over time. Experimenting with different types of mixes will help you find what works best for your plants’ specific needs.

Remember, a healthy soil mix combined with proper watering techniques is key to keeping your succulents thriving!

Choosing The Right Container

When it comes to choosing the right container for succulents, there’re a few key factors to consider.

Firstly, the container size – you don’t wanna go too small, as the roots need enough room to spread.

Secondly, drainage is essential – make sure there are holes in the bottom to allow water to escape.

Lastly, soil type – succulents prefer loose, well-draining soil, so don’t skimp on quality.

All this combined will ensure your succulents thrive!

Container Size

When it comes to choosing the right container for your succulents, size is a crucial factor that should not be overlooked. As a garden blogger and plant enthusiast, I have learned that selecting an appropriate container size can make all the difference in keeping your succulents healthy and thriving.

One common mistake many beginners make is opting for containers that are too small. While this might seem like a good idea at first, it can actually lead to problems down the line. Succulents grow best when they have enough space to spread their roots, so choosing a larger pot will give them room to expand and develop properly.

On the other hand, if you choose a container that is too large, your soil may not dry out quickly enough between waterings which could cause root rot or fungal growth. Therefore, it’s important to find the ideal balance by picking a pot that is just big enough for your plant’s needs.


Now that we’ve talked about the importance of selecting the right size for your container, let’s move on to another crucial factor: drainage.

Adequate drainage is key in keeping succulents healthy and thriving.

Succulent roots are prone to rot if left sitting in water for too long, so it’s essential that excess moisture can escape through drainage holes at the bottom of your pot.

When choosing a container, be sure to opt for one with sufficient drainage holes or create them yourself using a drill.

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Additionally, consider adding a layer of rocks or gravel at the bottom of your pot before filling it with soil.

This will help prevent soil from blocking drainage holes and allow water to flow freely out of the container.

Remember, proper drainage is critical when it comes to succulent care!

Soil Type

Now that we’ve covered the importance of container size and drainage for your succulent, it’s time to talk about another crucial factor: soil type.

The right soil can make all the difference in ensuring your plants thrive. When choosing a potting mix for succulents, you’ll want to look for one that is well-draining and formulated specifically for cacti and other desert plants.

Avoid using heavy or overly rich soils as they can hold onto moisture and lead to root rot. A good succulent soil should contain materials like sand, perlite, gravel, or pumice which will help promote adequate drainage and airflow around the roots.

You may also consider adding some extra coarse grit into your mix if you live in a particularly humid area where excess moisture could be an issue.

It’s important to note that different species of succulents have varying needs when it comes to soil composition, so do a little research on what types of soil work best for your specific plant varieties.

With the right container, proper drainage, and appropriate soil type, you’re well on your way to cultivating healthy and thriving succulents!

Understanding Drainage Needs

Understanding Drainage Needs:

When it comes to succulents, understanding their drainage needs is crucial. These plants are adapted to dry environments and have the ability to store water in their leaves and stems. However, this does not mean that they can go without water for extended periods of time. In fact, overwatering can be just as harmful as underwatering.

To ensure proper drainage for your succulent, start with a well-draining soil mix that contains sand or perlite. This will allow excess water to drain away from the roots and prevent them from sitting in soggy soil. Additionally, make sure your pot has drainage holes at the bottom so that any excess water can easily escape.

Some key tips for ensuring proper drainage include:

  • Use a well-draining soil mix
  • Choose a pot with drainage holes
  • Water only when the top inch of soil feels dry

By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to provide optimal growing conditions for your succulent while avoiding common mistakes like overwatering or underwatering. Remember: understanding your plant’s unique needs is essential for success!

Watering Frequency

Now that we understand the importance of drainage for succulents, let’s delve into watering frequency.

As with most plants, it is important to not overwater or underwater your succulents. However, unlike other houseplants, succulents are adapted to arid environments and can go longer periods without water.

The key to successful watering is finding a balance between too much and too little water. Generally speaking, you should wait until the soil has completely dried out before watering again.

This can also depend on the type of succulent you have as some varieties prefer drier conditions than others. It’s better to err on the side of underwatering rather than overwatering as this can lead to root rot which is difficult to recover from.

Remember that less is more when it comes to watering your beloved succulents!

Watering Techniques

Are you struggling to find the right watering technique for your succulents? You’re not alone. Many gardeners are unaware of how much water their plants need, leading to over or underwatering.

However, with a little bit of guidance and experimentation, you can develop an effective watering routine that will keep your succulent thriving.

To get started, consider these four tips:

  1. Check the soil: Before watering your succulent, stick your finger into the soil to determine if it’s dry or moist.

  2. Water deeply: When it is time to water, give your plant enough water so that it drains out through the bottom of the pot.

  3. Don’t overdo it: Succulents don’t require as much water as other plants because they store moisture in their leaves.

  4. Look for signs of dehydration: If you notice your succulent’s leaves thinning or shriveling up, this could be a sign of dehydration.

Remember that finding the perfect watering routine takes time and patience. Observe your succulent regularly and adjust accordingly until you find what works best for both you and your plant.

With some practice and attention to detail, you’ll soon become a master at caring for succulents!

Humidity And Temperature Considerations

When it comes to caring for succulents, watering is a crucial factor. However, humidity and temperature levels also play an important role in ensuring the health of your plants.

Succulents thrive in dry environments with low humidity levels. Therefore, if you live in a humid area or during rainy seasons, it’s essential to keep your plants well-ventilated. Opting for porous pots that allow air circulation can be helpful.

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Additionally, make sure not to place your succulents near vents or heating systems as they prefer temperatures ranging from 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C). Neglecting these factors could lead to rotting roots and other issues resulting in loss of plant growth.

It’s clear that overwatering and underwatering are both harmful to succulent care. But by taking into consideration the environmental factors such as humidity and temperature levels, we can better understand how often our plants should be watered while keeping them healthy and thriving.

Keep monitoring these environmental conditions regularly along with soil moisture level observations when deciding on watering frequency for optimal success!

Using A Moisture Meter

One of the best tools that you can use to determine whether your succulents need watering is a moisture meter. This device measures how much water is in the soil and gives you an accurate reading so that you know when it’s time to water your plants.

Here are some tips on using a moisture meter for your succulent garden:

  1. Insert the probe into the soil near the roots of your plant.
  2. Wait for the reading to appear on the display.
  3. If the reading shows that the soil is dry, then it’s time to water your plant.
  4. If the reading shows that there is still moisture in the soil, wait a few more days before checking again.

By using a moisture meter, you’ll be able to avoid overwatering or underwatering your succulent plants. With practice, you’ll develop an intuition for when your plants need watering and will feel confident in providing them with just enough moisture to thrive.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Now that we’ve talked about the importance of proper watering for succulents, let’s address some common problems that may arise.

One issue that many gardeners face is overwatering their plants. While it may seem counterintuitive, overwatering can actually be more detrimental to a succulent’s health than underwatering. When you water your plant too frequently or give it too much water at once, the soil becomes overly saturated and can drown the roots. This lack of oxygen can lead to root rot, which is often fatal.

Another problem that can occur with succulents is sunburn. Although these plants thrive in sunny conditions, they are still susceptible to being burned by intense sunlight. If you notice brown spots on your leaves or discoloration, this could be a sign of sun damage.

To prevent this from happening, make sure your plant is getting enough shade during the hottest parts of the day or consider moving it to a location with less direct sunlight. With a little trial and error, you’ll soon become an expert in caring for your succulents!

Conclusion: Striking The Right Balance

Finding the right balance between overwatering and underwatering your succulents can be challenging, as it is easy to fall into either extreme. While some gardeners believe that it’s better to underwater than overwater, others argue that a little extra hydration won’t hurt. However, neither approach is ideal for keeping your succulent healthy in the long run.

To strike the perfect balance, here are four tips you should keep in mind:

  • Observe your succulent closely: Different species of succulents have different water requirements. So before watering yours, take note of its size, color, texture, and overall health.

  • Water deeply but infrequently: When you do decide to water your succulent, make sure to give it enough so that the soil is soaked through but not drowning in excess moisture.

  • Use well-draining soil: Succulents thrive in soils with good drainage because they don’t like having their roots sitting in water for too long.

  • Adjust watering frequency based on season: During summer months when temperatures are hotter and drier, you’ll likely need to water more frequently than during winter.

By following these simple rules of thumb, you can ensure that your succulent stays hydrated without risking root rot or other issues associated with too much or too little water.

Remember that finding the right balance takes time and practice – but once you get there, your plants will thank you!

Conclusion: striking the right balance


So there you have it, folks. The age-old question of whether to overwater or underwater succulents has been put to rest – the answer is neither!

As ironic as it may seem, striking a balance between the two extremes is key in keeping your succulent babies happy and healthy.

Sure, it may be tempting to shower them with water every day or forget about them for weeks on end, but trust me when I say that finding that sweet spot will do wonders for their growth and overall well-being.

So go forth and experiment with different soil mixes, containers, and moisture levels until you find what works best for you and your little green friends.

Happy gardening!

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