How to Grow Succulents in Water: A Complete Guide

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Are you interested in growing succulents but tired of the hassle of traditional soil-based methods? Have you considered growing succulents in water?

Not only is it a unique and fascinating way to cultivate these popular plants, but it can also be a lifesaver for those who struggle with soil-based methods.

In this article, we’ll show you the secrets to growing thriving succulents in water, step-by-step.

How to grow Succulents in Water

So, let’s get started!

Why Grow Succulents In Water?

Growing succulents in water can be a fun and rewarding experience. It is an excellent way to propagate new plants and allows you to witness the growth process up close.

Water propagation is particularly beneficial for beginners because it’s a simple and low-maintenance method compared to traditional soil propagation.

Additionally, seeing the roots and new shoots develop in the clear water can be a fascinating and educational experience for kids and adults alike.

What Types Of Succulents Grow In Water?

While not all succulents can be propagated in water, many popular varieties can thrive through water propagation. Here are some common succulents that can be grown in water.

  • Echeveria: This popular rosette-forming succulent is well-suited for water propagation due to its ability to develop roots quickly.
  • Sedum: These hardy succulents, with their thick, fleshy leaves, adapt well to water propagation.
  • Graptopetalum: Known for its unique rosette shape and pastel-colored leaves, this succulent is a great candidate for water propagation.
  • Crassula: With its diverse species, many crassulas can be propagated in water, making them a popular choice for water propagation.
  • Pachyphytum: These charming succulents with plump, rounded leaves can thrive when propagated in water.
  • Senecio: Also known as “String of Pearls,” this trailing succulent can be easily propagated in water.
  • Haworthia: These small, low-growing succulents are suitable for water propagation, especially the offsets that form around the base of the plant.

How to Grow Succulents in Water?

Growing succulents in water is a simple and fascinating process that allows you to witness the growth of new roots and shoots up close.

Water propagation is widespread for beginners due to its ease and low-maintenance nature.

The following are the steps to successfully grow Succulents in Water, from selecting a healthy cutting to transplanting it into the soil.

Prepare to embark on a rewarding journey of propagating and caring for these beautiful and resilient plants.

Select a Healthy Cutting

  • To start the water propagation process, you’ll need to select a healthy succulent cutting. Look for a stem about 3-5 inches long; longer stems tend to root more successfully.
  • Ensure the cutting is free from any signs of damage, pests, or disease. A clean and healthy cutting will have a better chance of thriving in water.
  • Use a sharp knife or scissors to make a clean cut just below a leaf node. A leaf node is a small bump or raised area on the stem where leaves emerge. This is where the new roots will form.

Callus Formation

  • After taking the cutting, it’s essential to let it sit in a dry place for a day or two to allow the cut end to callus over. Callusing forms a dry, protective layer over the cut end, which helps prevent rotting when the cutting is placed in water.
  • During this time, avoid submerging the cutting in water or planting it in the soil. Allowing the cutting to callus is a crucial step in water propagation.

Choose a Suitable Container

  • Select a clear glass or jar for water propagation. Clear containers allow you to observe roots’ growth and monitor the cutting’s overall health.
  • Ensure the container is clean and free from any residues or contaminants. Rinse the container thoroughly before using it for propagation.
  • The chosen container should have enough space to accommodate the cutting without its leaves touching the water. Submerging the leaves can lead to rotting and may hinder the propagation process.

Add Water

  • Once the cutting has formed a callus, it’s time to prepare the container for water propagation. Fill the container with water, ensuring that the cut end of the succulent cutting is submerged.
  • The water level should be just below the lowest leaves of the cutting. It’s essential to avoid submerging the leaves to prevent rot and maintain the overall health of the cutting.

Place in Indirect Light

  • Find a suitable location with bright, indirect light for your water-propagated succulents. Indirect light provides the right amount of sunlight without subjecting the cutting to harsh rays, which can cause sunburn.
  • Avoid placing the container in direct sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day. Direct sunlight can lead to excessive evaporation and overheating of the water.

Change Water Regularly

  • Regularly changing the water is crucial to maintaining a healthy environment for succulent cutting. Change the water every few days to prevent the growth of algae and the accumulation of bacteria.
  • When changing the water, use room temperature to avoid shocking the succulent’s system. Cold or hot water can stress the cutting and impede its growth.

Monitor Root Growth

  • After a few weeks of being in the water, you should start to see roots forming at the cut end of the succulent cutting. This is a positive sign that the propagation process is successful.
  • The roots may start as tiny white or translucent structures and gradually grow longer and thicker as the cutting establishes itself.


  • Once the roots have grown to a few inches long, your succulent is ready to be transplanted into soil. Transplanting the cutting into the soil allows it to continue its growth and development as a mature plant.
  • Choose a well-draining potting mix suitable for succulents. Avoid using regular garden soil, as it can retain too much moisture, leading to root rot.
  • Gently plant the rooted cutting in the soil, ensuring the roots are well-covered and supported. Water the newly transplanted succulent sparingly and provide it with the same care as you would for an established succulent.

By following these steps with care and patience, you can successfully grow and propagate succulents in water, allowing you to enjoy the rewarding experience of nurturing these beautiful and resilient plants. Happy propagating.

How long can Succulents Live in water?

Succulents are plants that are known for their ability to store water in their leaves, stems, and roots. While they are typically grown in soil, some people choose to grow them in water instead.

While succulents can survive for a short period of time in water, they are not designed to live in it long-term. In fact, growing succulents in water can actually be harmful to plants.

When succulents are grown in water, their roots do not have access to the oxygen that they need to survive. Over time, this lack of oxygen can cause the roots to deteriorate, which can ultimately impact the plant’s health. Additionally, succulents that are grown in water are more prone to disease and pests, which can also harm the plant.

If you are interested in growing succulents, it is best to grow them in soil rather than water. This will provide the plant with the nutrients and oxygen that it needs to thrive. If you do choose to grow succulents in water, it is important to monitor the plant closely and be prepared to transfer it to the soil if you notice any signs of distress.

How To Care For Succulents When We Grow Them In Water?

Water propagation can be a rewarding way to propagate succulents, but proper care is essential to ensure their healthy growth and success.

Follow these tips to keep your water-propagated succulents thriving:

  1. Light: Place the water container in a location with bright, indirect sunlight. A sunny windowsill or a well-lit room works well. Avoid direct sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day, as it may cause sunburn on the succulent leaves.
  2. Watering: Water propagation relies on keeping the cutting or the base of the succulent submerged in water. Ensure that the water level remains consistent, just enough to cover the base of the plant. However, avoid overfilling the container, as excess water can lead to rotting and fungal issues.
  3. Temperature: Maintaining the right temperature is crucial for the well-being of your water-propagated succulents. Succulents prefer moderate temperatures, typically between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C). Protect them from extreme cold or heat, as sudden temperature fluctuations can be harmful.
  4. Water Quality: The quality of water used for water propagation can impact the health of your succulents. It is best to use filtered or distilled water to avoid harmful chemicals, such as chlorine, which can be present in tap water. These chemicals may hinder the rooting process or damage the delicate roots of the succulent.
  5. Cleaning: Regularly clean the water container to prevent the growth of algae and harmful bacteria. Algae can compete with the succulent for nutrients and oxygen, while bacteria can lead to rotting and other health issues. Before refilling the container with fresh water, make sure to rinse it thoroughly to remove any residues.
  6. Change the water periodically: While succulents can survive in water for a while, it is essential to eventually transition them to the soil for long-term health. Once the succulent has developed strong roots, carefully transplant it into a well-draining potting mix suitable for succulents.
  7. Patience and observation: Water propagation takes time, and each succulent may root and grow at its own pace. Be patient and observant during the process. If you notice any signs of stress, like wilting or discoloration, take immediate action to address the issue.

Succulent Propagation in Water

Water propagation is an effective method of propagating succulents from cuttings. To do this:

  • Take a healthy cutting from a mature succulent, preferably with a clean break at the stem.
  • Allow the cutting to callus over for a day or two before placing it in water.
  • Place the cutting in a clear glass or jar filled with water, ensuring the cut end is submerged, not the leaves.
  • Keep the container in a location with bright, indirect light, and change the water every few days to prevent algae growth.
  • After a few weeks, roots should start to form, indicating successful propagation.
  • Once the roots are a few inches long, transplant the cutting into well-draining potting soil, and care for it like an established succulent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you grow succulents in just water?

Succulents can grow in water for a limited time and only a few of them can grow only in water like Echeveria, Crassula, Kalanchoe, and Sedum. Most succulents cannot grow in just water as they need well-draining soil to prevent root rot and allow the roots to absorb what they need while still drying out quickly.

How do you start succulents in water?

To start succulents in water, choose a cutting and let the end callous over for a few days before placing it in a container with water. Keep it in bright spot in indirect sunlight.

How long can succulents sit in water?

Succulents should not sit in water for an extended period of time as it can cause root rot. It is recommended to water them thoroughly and then wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again.

How long does it take for succulents to root in water?

The time it takes for succulent cuttings to root in water varies, but most of the time it is within two to three weeks. Stem tips root the fastest, followed by leaf tips.

Can Succulents live in water forever?

No, succulents cannot live in water forever as they need nutrients that are found in soil to grow and thrive. They can survive for a short period of time in the water, but eventually, they will die without access to soil as soil provides nutrients, oxygen, and stability to them.

Can all types of succulents grow in water?

No, all types of succulents do not grow in water. Most of them grow well in well-drained soil. For e.g: Succulents such as cacti, aloes, and lithops does not grow in water.

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