Can Succulents Grow in Water? {Succulent Expert Advice On this}

Cactus is known to be a plant that grows in drought areas and can suffer in case it gets a lot of water. But, wait – have you ever given a thought to the fact that succulents can be grown in water? A unique and somewhat unbelievable concept, but, yes, you can grow succulents in water.

Growing succulents in water can be an easier option than growing them in soil. In fact, growing succulents in water is more practical than growing them in soil if you tend to forget watering them.  Succulents can grow in water and in fact, more rapidly and effectively than growing them in soil.

Can Succulents Grow In Water?

Growing succulents in water is easy and while overwatering a succulent grown in soil can kill the plant, you can grow the same succulent in water hydroponically and will be awestruck with the outcome. Let’s first find the types of succulents that can be grown in water.

succulent in water
Photo: Pinterest

Types of Succulents To Try Growing In Water

Although it is not possible to grow every succulent in water, there are various types of succulents that can be grown in water.

Ideally, a succulent belonging to the Sempervivum or Echeveria genera of the Crassulaceae family should be considered to grow in water as they form beautiful rosettes in different colours and are easy to propagate from leaf cuttings or offsets. So you can have many plants from a single succulent and even if your first attempt of growing it in water is unsuccessful, you can try again. Some of the best choices to grow in water are:

Echeveria Runyonii:

Echeveria Runyonii grows fast and can reach 10cm in height and diameter. It is propagated through leaf cuttings and like most Echeverias, it is a very resilient plant. The plant is native to Mexico and belongs to the genre of flowering cacti. 

It can be grown quite efficiently in ground coverage, rock gardens, and containers. They  may grow to up to 10″ long. These cacti plants have star-shaped yellow or orange flowers. The shape of the leave is mesmerising and you would find them offering an alluring look.

Echeveria Agavoides Romeo:

Echeveria agavoides Romeo is a succulent forming a bunch of rosettes, gray-purple leaves with red edges and a spine. The rosettes can be 6 inches (15 cm) tall and about 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. Be cautious to keep the leaves above water as wetting the leaves may cause rot.

These cacti are native to Mexico. It may be noted that these plants can’t take too much humidity. They are beautiful and one of our favourites

Hen and Chicks  (Sempervivum tectorum):

Hens and Chicks multiply so fast that it readily fills the pot in which you grow it. However, when you grow your succulents in water, this can be easily avoided.  Sempervivum tectorum has thick, green and plump pads arranged in rosettes. It has pointed leaves with purple tips. 

These plants come with a rosette structure just like Echeveria Agavoides Romeo. They generally grow in the rocky and dry terrains. These plants do produce beautiful looking flowers.

Echeveria Macrophylla

Yet another cactus with the rosette look, the Echeveria Macrophylla has been known to grow to up to 10″ in diameter. The leaves have green interior color and red edges, and thus called Lipstick. The flowers have yellow tip and red in color.

The plant most likely flowers in the summers. It can grow to a height of about one foot and two feet in width. You can easily propagate it with  offsets, leaves and stem cuttings.

How To Grow Succulents In Water?


Step 1

  • Take a stem cutting from a succulent plant. Stem cuttings can be taken from plants that are leggy and stem should be bare about two inches or more.
  • Or leaves can also be used instead of stem, or both stems and leaves can be used to propagate in water.
  • It is best to select healthy leaves to succeed in growing succulents in water. 
  • Select the leaves that are not deformed, flat, dehydrated, torn or damaged and are bright and plump.

Step 2

  • Pluck the leaves gently from the stem with your fingers, twisting off the leaves from the stem using your thumb and forefinger. 
  • Some leaves separate easily, whereas others can be firmly attached to the stem.
  • Gently jerk the leaf back and forth till the whole leaf is separated. The whole leaf along with the base that is attached to the stem should be taken.
  •  If the base of the leaf is not taken or the leaf gets damaged, it will not sustain.

Step 3

  • Allow the cuttings to dry for some days till the cut end is calloused or dried.

Step 4

  • Keeping the cuttings in water. Take a jar, bottle or any container that is of the right size for the cutting and add water. 
  • Place the cutting in such a way that the end of the stem or leaf is just above the surface of the water.
  • Place the leaves in bottles with a small, narrow neck filled with water. Make sure that their ends are just above the water surface. 
  • Try to cover the top of the bottle with a plastic wrap, if the leaves keep falling. Make a hole in it and stick the leaf in it.
  • Some people allow the end of the cuttings to touch the water. Or some keep the end of the cuttings or leaves just above water. 
  • Both methods can work well but the second method gives better results.

Step 5

  • Keep the jar in a well lit area.
  • Roots will start growing in a few weeks. Add water when required. 
  • After some time, the leaves will sprout roots that reach for the water. They might also already start to grow baby succulents.
  • When the original leaves are withered up, you can remove them gently. Or they will fall off naturally.
  • The cuttings will live and survive in water. Change the water every few weeks or as needed.

Succulents growing in water hydroponically {they care called Aerogarden} are liked by some people. They look beautiful and can be kept outdoors or indoors with lots of light. Or you can shift your cuttings to the soil as the roots have developed

Why Should You Grow Indoor Succulents in Water?

There are many reasons to grow indoor succulents in water like to keep the succulents disease and pest free, they need less attention than the succulents that are grown in soil, and over-watering a succulents grown in soil can kill your plant.

Let’s see in detail why should you grow indoor succulents in water.

Over-watering succulents can kill them

Succulents are quite easily affected by over-watering. Succulents rot when they are watered excessively as they are in wet soil for a long time and come in contact with pathogens present in the soil.

When the succulents are grown in water, exposure to pathogens is avoided as they are absent in water, thereby preventing the root rot.

Keeping Succulents diseases and pest free

In winters, succulents are more prone to getting infected with

diseases and pests. Growing them in water will give them a soil-free environment and they are less susceptible to the soil-borne pests and diseases.

 As we grow the succulents in glass jars or bottles, we can easily find if any disease or pest infestation has started. It can be taken care of initially, thus lowering the chances of any harm.

They need less attention. 

Succulents need less attention comparatively when they are grown in water than when grown in soil. All you need is to take a glass vessel filled with water and put your plant in it, change the water once in a month and then observe their growth. 

Succulents can also be grown in a flower pot. They will make your home look more elegant. 

Factors To Consider While Growing The Succulents In Water

You should keep some points in mind while growing the succulents in water.

  • Trying, again and again, is what you have to remember when you are growing succulents in water. Don’t lose heart if you are not successful initially as it may take time to give the desired results.
  • Keep checking the water level. It should be just below the plant’s stem and change it on a monthly basis.
  • Avoid removing the original leaf till it is dry. Before it completely dries, it provides nutrients and energy to the baby succulent.
  • Remember that water roots and soil roots differ from each other and a succulent that has accustomed to living in water can die if transferred into the soil. If you are considering shifting your plant into the soil, it is best to use succulents and cacti mix and moist the soil initially. 
  • The pot in which you are growing your succulents should have proper drainage and don’t forget to throw the excess water from the tray.


 When you are growing succulents in water hydroponically, it is a more rapid process with a better success rate in comparison to when you are growing them in soil. So, keep trying even if you are unsuccessful as you will be amazed to see the beauty of your attempts at succeeding.


Is it better to grow succulents in water or soil?

It is better to grow succulents in water as roots develop much faster and some leaves start to grow little baby succulents.

Growing the succulent leaves in the soil also develops roots and babies without much effort.

Won’t Succulents Rot in Water?

No, succulents won’t rot in water as they are vulnerable to root rot due to the presence of bacteria and fungus in the soil. If the plant remains in the wet soil for a longer time period, root rot can develop. In short, succulents growing in water alone are not susceptible to root rot as the bacterial pathogens present in the soil don’t exist in water. 

Is it Safe to Use Tap Water for Succulents?

Tap water is totally safe to be used for succulents. You can grow your succulents in tap water without any worries. Tap water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium that can build up in the soil creating some problems. Chlorinated water can also be used for plants. Rainwater is considered best for all succulents and plants.

Can Succulents be Grown in Dirty Water?

No, succulents cannot be grown in dirty water as water is transported into the stems, leaves, and all other parts of the plant. If the water is dirty, it will spread throughout the plant and can lead to the discolored parts, stunted and irregular growth of the succulent or even the plant can die.

Can We Grow Cacti in Water?

Yes, we can grow cacti in water, but the procedure is quite longer and different as compared to other houseplants as you have to keep the cactus(to be grown in water) as such for at least a week or more so that the cut part dries completely, before following the further steps.


Nikita is a Succulent lover. She really enjoys planting and nourishing them. She loves to share information about various Succulents on this blog to aware people more about these awesome plants.

Recent Posts