Can You Grow Succulents in Water?

Succulents are magical plants. They can go from looking haggard to beautiful in a matter of weeks, and while some succulents thrive in sandy, arid environments, others practically sprout like weeds in moist settings.

Because of their relative drought tolerance, succulents are a perfect option for indoor gardens—especially in dry climates.

But whether you’re planting succulents in the ground or in containers, you’ll need a way to water them.

Watering pots or containers can be a bit of a chore since they’re often filled with soil and rocks that need some moving around in order to find the drain holes at the bottom. Luckily, you don’t need a shovel to water your succulents.

Succulents are some of the most common plants you will see in homes. Succulents have become trendy in the past few years.

Succulents are generally easy to take care of and grow. They don’t require a lot of attention. So, succulents are an excellent option for busy people who still want to have plants in their homes.

Succulents are also aesthetically pleasing and can fit into all the spaces in your home. They are suitable for your home’s air quality when they are indoors and have a lot more benefits than we would know.

Once you get a succulent, you may want to get one for the rest of your family. Succulents can act as great gifts for your family and anyone who enjoys plants.

Thus, you’re likely to ask yourself, can you grow succulents? How to grow them? Can you grow them in water?

We’ll tell you about all we know regarding growing succulents and the kind of medium you can use in the article below.

How to Grow Succulents in Water?

Growing succulents is a long-drawn way of propagating them. You can grow succulents in soil or grow them in water. The way to grow them involves many steps. However, perhaps the most fundamental step is to pick the right kind of cutting.

Firstly, choose a cutting. You should pick a part of the succulent that’s healthy and upstanding. Once you’ve chosen that part, you have to cut it and then let it form a callus.

The way to do this is to wait for a couple of days between cutting the stem and then growing. The period of dryness allows for the cutting to heal over. If you place the cutting into the water without healing, the plant will take too much water and eventually rot.

Secondly, place the cutting into a jar with water. You will have to make up some structure to hold the cutting a little up ways from the water.

Some gardeners recommend you dip the cutting a little bit into the water. However, the best recommendation would be to ensure that the tip is right above the water and is not touching the water.

If all your cuttings don’t seem to have healed over properly, you should allow the tip to just dangle above the water.

Thirdly, you should wait! The root system can take a lot of time to develop. You shouldn’t be discouraged if the tips don’t create a root system.

You might fail many times before getting it right. You have to constantly ensure that the water level stays just below the tip of the stem.

We advise you not to transplant these plants to roots. However, if you must, make sure that the soil is the kind meant for succulents and cactus. Otherwise, all your hard work will go to waste.

Types of Succulents That can be Grown in Water

Some succulents are more likely to grow in water. There are some species of succulents that you can have more success with than others.

Thus, you must make sure that you have the right plant before you try to grow succulents in water. Some of the plants that you have more success with are listed below:

1.    Crassula Ovata “Jade plant”

The Latin name for this plant is called crassula Ovata, which is sometimes called the Jade plant or the money tree plant. The money tree plant is a prevalent plant found in most nurseries.

The money-tree plant is elementary for you to take care of. They can also store a lot of water, so they are perfect succulents to grow in water.

These are also some of the most beautiful succulents as they give rise to small white flowers that only bloom for a day. These plants don’t need a lot of light.

So, you can grow them in several places. You can grow them inside or outside. You can even grow them during winter, and they will thrive. These plants are a great way to have some nature around you for people who live in colder areas as they can still thrive in the cold.

2.    Cotyledon Orbiculata “Pig’s Ear.”

This plant is a very popular succulent that many people grow in water. It has long, thin leaves and can grow up to eight inches.

The Pig’s Ear is a popular choice since it can survive in drought conditions. If you live in an area where it doesn’t rain too often, you can easily plant this outdoors, and it will survive.

It can also handle extreme temperatures with relative ease, like a cactus plant. Thus, if it gets sweltering in your area, the Pig’s Ear is quite a good choice.

The reason behind its name is that the tips of the plant will turn gold or yellow when exposed to sunlight.

3.    Echeveria Metallica

This plant is also known as The Mexican Snowball or the patio plant. This succulent is ubiquitous since it can grow in water.

These plants are native to Mexico or Guatemala, where a semi-arid climate persists. Rainfall is mainly present and concentrated in the winter months.

The leaves mainly occur in the form of rosettes, and the colors can range from light green to purple, depending on the amount of light the leaves receive.

The leaf margins also show a fair bit of variation. Some can be jagged, others can be serrated, or they might have a saw-tooth texture. The flowers are also small but beautiful.

4.    Sempervivum Tectorum

They are great plants for you to grow in water. They can grow horizontally with relative ease. You don’t have to worry about the roots being submerged in water or rotting due to the greater water intake.

The plant is also highly resistant to any change in soil or environmental conditions. Hence, it’s so great for growing in water. It can grow well both indoors and outdoors.

This plant also occurs in the form of rosettes that can vary in color depending on the amount of sunlight they receive.

Factors to Consider While Growing Succulents in Water

Like any other plant, there are certain things you must consider while growing succulents in water. Some of the most necessary things you must take care of are mentioned below:

1.    Container

The container you pick to grow your succulent has a big impact on the successful propagation of your succulent.

If you pick the wrong kind of container, the water may be too much or too little, leading to root rot.

The container that you pick must be in the form of a beaker so your shoots can get water with ease in a way that fosters their growth. If you transfer the succulent into the soil, the container should allow easy drainage.

2.    Water Level

The water level is one of the most critical aspects in allowing your plant to grow. If the water level is too less, the water won’t be able to reach the plants in a way that can allow them to grow.

If the water level is too great, we find that it would overwhelm the plant and lead to root rot. You should also try to change the water every month to not stagnate and cause leaves to rot.

3.    Have Faith

You have to keep trying until one of your cuttings starts growing its roots. Don’t lose hope if your first few tries don’t give the correct results. It’s a process, and you learn by failing.

4.    Don’t Remove the Original Leaf Immediately.

A time after, the root network of your new succulent starts growing, and it will also start to grow its leaves.

The leaf or cutting you start with will still be present, and you may be tempted to remove this or allow the other leaves to grow.

However, you shouldn’t do so until this leaf is dehydrated. The original leaf provides nutrition to the other leaves. Thus, you don’t want to remove it until it’s scorched. Doing so may stunt the succulent’s growth.

Steps to Grow Succulents in Water

Propagation of succulents requires some detailed steps. We have listed the most critical steps are written below:

Step 1

  • Take a stem cutting from a succulent that you wish to propagate. You can even take stem cuttings from plants that have a lot more length, and they should be at least two inches long so they can sit in the water.
  • You can also use leaves. Both leaves and stems can be used to propagate in water.
  • You should use healthy leaves and stems as water can flush out many nutrients. Thus, to be successful, the plants need to be healthy to grow their own roots.
  • You should select leaves that have no damage done to them. They have to be plump instead of being flat and dehydrated.

Step 2

  • You have to pluck the leaves of the succulents extremely gently so that you don’t accidentally rupture the plants. The easiest way to do this is to twist off the leaves using your thumb and forefinger slowly.
  • Some leaves tend to stay on the plant more closely, whereas others will get removed with ease.
  • For leaves attached with more ferocity, you have to jerk the leaves back and forth until the leaf is separated. You have to ensure that the separated leaf is firmly attached to the base so that it can callus with ease.
  • If you don’t take the base of the leaf or the leaf is ruined in the extraction, it’s unlikely that it will sustain for a long while.

Step 3

  • You should leave the stem cuttings in a dry place so that they can heal.

Step 4

  • You have to place the cuttings in the water then. The jar has to be filled with water. You can also use a bottle or any other container to handle a deep water level.
  • You have to keep the cutting so that it doesn’t touch the water but instead is hoisted a few centimeters above the water level.
  • Some experts suggest you use a bottle with a narrow neck to keep the leaf in the narrow space.
  • You can also cover the bottle with plastic wrap and make a hole in it so you can place the leaf in that hole.
  • Some experts suggest that you should allow the end to dip in the water. At the same time, other people think that you should allow it to float just above.
  • Both methods could be successful. However, people claim that the latter worked before.

Step 5

  • You have to take care of the plant once the cuttings are placed in the water. Keep the container in a well-lit place.
  • Make sure you maintain the water level of the jar or the plant.
  • In a few weeks, you’ll see the plants sprouting out new leaves, and soon they’ll grow succulents all on their own.
  • The original leaves will eventually wither and fall off. If they seem dry, you can remove them on your own
  • Water is all these plants need, so make sure there’s plenty of it.

Can You Transplant a Succulent from Water to Soil or Vice versa?

You can transplant a succulent from water to soil and vice versa. However, you have to ensure that the conditions are perfect for you to do this.

Many gardeners believe that it just gets all the more difficult for you to shift a succulent from water to soil and vice versa as the adaptations of the roots are different.

If you’re transplanting the plants from water to soil, you have to ensure that the pot you’re transferring your plant into has many drainage holes.

The soil you chose to place the plant in also has to be appropriate for cactus plants and succulents. If you don’t take care of this, the plants you transfer will rot in the soil setting and eventually die.

Shifting plants from the soil to water is possible, but it’s more tricky. Succulent plants that are more used to the limited amount of water they get in their soils might get overwhelmed with the tremendous amount of water available to them when you shift them into water.

They may not take it well and may die. For this, it’s suggested to start with a low water level to see how the plant responds.

How to Add Fertilizer in Succulents Growing in Water

One of the significant ways to ensure that your plants are growing as they are supposed to be is to ensure they get the required nutrients.

With succulents growing in water, nutrients can get a little complicated. However, there are ways to do this still.

Many people think that there’s no need to add fertilizer to succulents growing in water. This fact makes sense since most of the nutrients can just come from the water present all around the plant.

In some cases, extra nutrition is necessary. Adding this extra nutrition is by ensuring the plant gets some soluble fertilizer. You can use kelp, as is suggested by many succulent enthusiasts.

If kelp seems like too big of a leap, you can always opt for chaos, a more watered-down version of kelp.

Some people think that compost tea might help. Compost tea is liquid; therefore, adding a few drops into the mix could benefit the plants.

Having these nutrients is essential, and thus, it allows for the successive growth of plants. These plants need nutrients to grow, and water makes it more difficult for them to access them.

You should also ensure that you keep changing the plants’ water every month so that the nutrients in the water are replenished.

Water Propagation vs. Soil Propagation: Which Is Better?

There is much debate in the succulent community about which propagation method is better. Both are easy and don’t require a significant amount of effort.

Below, we will discuss which of the two methods you should opt for so you have a better chance at growth.

Water Propagation


  • Succulents Grow Faster

The growth is very fast in the water. Growth can occur in a matter of days. However, in soil, it can take up to weeks for any roots.

  • They Will Not Dry Out

Since the succulents are constantly surrounded by water, they are unlikely to dry out. A succulent grown in soil has a greater chance of drying out.

The moisture levels are much easier to maintain in water,

  • You Can’t Overwater the Plants

One of the significant ways to destroy a succulent is by overwatering them. Since the plants are always present in the water, there’s no risk of you accidentally overwatering them as you do in plants that you keep in the soil.

  • They Are Less Work

You won’t have to pay quite as much attention to them, and you will have less to do. You won’t have to worry about water too often or soil or nutrition, which thus makes all of these things much easier to handle.


  • All Succulents Cannot Thrive

Some succulents require much less water. They may not have the adaptations necessary for the plant to thrive, so water propagation can’t be used for all the plants.

  • They Can’t Last Long in Water

Over time, succulents need to be shifted to the soil as they won’t survive in water for six months.

  • It Can Lead to Stunted Growth.

When you grow succulent plants in water, they don’t allow much oxygen supplementation. Since there’s not a lot of water, the plants are unlikely to grow to their full height.

  • They Don’t Have Enough Nutrients.

Water may serve as a good source of nutrients but only for a little while. Plants need a valuable source of nutrients to grow, and it’s necessary to have fertilizers or other compost so they can get the nutrients they require.

Soil Propagation


  • You Can Grow Plants Outdoors

With soil propagation, you aren’t just restricted to one container. Instead, you can grow the plants in open ground with suitable soil and nutrients.

  • They Thrive Easily

You have to take care of the soil and the amount of water going. Otherwise, they thrive with ease.

  • Plants Can Have All the Nutrition

Soil is generally a better medium for fertilizers, and they allow for compost to settle into it as well. Thus, when you’re growing a succulent in soil, the succulent is likelier to grow to its full height.

  • All Succulents Can Thrive

Soil as a medium is better because it doesn’t matter what kind or species of succulent you have. With the right soil, any succulent can grow.


  • Growth Is Slower

Plants in the soil take longer to form roots, slowing down the overall growth process. It can take weeks for the roots to grow.

  • Overwatering Can Kill Plants

Water is one of the ways that succulents can die quickly. If you overwater the plants, most of them can’t handle it. Succulents are more prone to overwatering when the medium is soil.

  • Plants Require More Effort

You will have to take care of water, soil, and nutrients. It’s necessary for you to do these in moderation, so you will have to put in more effort.

Things to Take Care of For Easy Water Propagation

  1. Keep checking the water level
  2. Provide some nutrition
  3. Choose the right type of leaves
  4. Leave the container in a slightly bright place

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Well yes, you can, but it’s tricky. The succulent roots need oxygen in the water to grow, so you’ll need to use a special container with holes in the bottom.

Put in a plant, put some rocks or gravel on the bottom, and make sure the holes don’t touch the plant.

Then pour water through the container, and in a couple of days, water will begin draining through the holes in the bottom. Your plant will grow beautifully, and a few months down the road you’ll have a triomonium.

While water propagation may seem easy, there are many factors that you have to take care of. You can grow succulents in water; however, they also require a level of care that soil propagation does.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can succulents grow in water without soil?

Yes, succulents can grow in water without soil. You can place them in a glass container with rock salt, which will act as an alternative to planting soil.

Can you plant succulents in just rocks?

Yes. When planting succulents, the roots need a place to hold on. So, first, you have to have a pot and then you have to put some rocks in the bottom of the pot and then you need to put the succulent in. After that, you have to water it every time it looks dry.

Can you water succulents with ice cubes?

Ice cubes are a bad way to water succulents, as the melting water will not hold much moisture. Use a spray bottle to mist succulents instead.