How to Water Succulents Without Drainage Holes

Develop a green thumb and learn how to water plants without drainage holes.

Most planters come with holes in them to help drain out excess water. Otherwise, they will rot. But some cute pots and containers for succulents don’t have a drainage hole, and it shouldn’t stop you from using them.

This kind of planter is ideal for keeping the plant indoors. You don’t need to worry about water seeping out from the bottom when you put it on the table.

It is challenging to figure out the amount of water and how often to do it for succulents in planters without drainage, but it’s doable.

How to Water Succulents Without Drainage Holes

Solution

Choose the Right Pot

If you are using non-draining pots, it’s critical to choose the right size of planter depending on your plants. If your cactus is small, then you don’t need a large planter. Otherwise, more water will stay in that large amount of soil, causing your plant to rot.

When you re-pot your succulent, a good rule is to use no more than one to two inches bigger in the previous container.

Use Good Draining Soil

Well-draining soil provides the much-needed airflow in the root system for succulents planted in containers without drainage.

Even if the water doesn’t have anywhere to flow out, well-draining soil can help the water evaporate faster so the plant won’t rot.

For this, use soil that has large particles of about a quarter inch.

Get Rid of Excess Water

If you accidentally watered the succulents more than you should, don’t let the water stay in the pot too long.

Get rid of excess water by gently tipping the container on the side so the water will flow out and tapping the soil with a paper towel.

Use Light Fertilizer

Succulents still need fertilizer, but only in light amounts. It can help them grow better when planted in nondraining containers.

If you are using fertilizer solutions with water in it, you can use it in place of your regular watering habit.

Remove the Succulents Under the Rain

If you keep your plants outdoors, make sure you move them away where they will get rained on. If you forgot to do so, pour out excess water in the container as soon as you can.

How to Water Succulents Without Drainage Holes

Water Strategy

One of the common issues with succulents in planters without drainage holes is figuring out how much water to use. Here are some practical tips.

Use Measure Cup

The easiest way to know how much water you’ve already poured in is by using a measuring cup. You can also use a measuring spoon. Whatever tool you use, the key is to only put in the specified amount of water for the plant.

How Much Water

The tricky part is to figure out how much water the plant needs. The standard rule of thumb is to put in water that is equal to ½ of the volume of the planter.

Carefully watch your plant for a couple of weeks and adjust the amount of water as needed.

How Much Light

It is a common misconception that succulents need a lot of time under the sun. The truth is, they need protection when it’s too hot outside.

However, sunlight is still necessary even for indoor succulents. Otherwise, they can die.

Succulents need at least 6 hours under direct sunlight for 4 to 5 days a week. When plants start to extend towards the light source, like a window, it’s a sign that they need more light.

The light source for succulents doesn’t have to be the sun, and you can also use artificial lighting if you want to keep them indoors.

Possible Problems

Mushy and Watery Leaves

It is a sign that you’ve overwatered it. You can either decrease the amount of water you are using or how often you do the watering.

Withered Leaves

It is a sign that they need more water. Change your watering scheme by adding more water or watering them more frequently before the succulent completely dry out and die.

Conclusion

Growing succulents have become a huge trend these days. They add to the aesthetics of a room or a table, and they can be in various kinds of cute planters. But make sure you know how to water succulents without drainage if you are using nondraining pots.

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Jill Sandy

Jill Sandy

Jill is a sustainable focus gardener. She loves decorating her home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques she develops herself. You can reach her at jill@constantdelights.org

Chanh Ho (MD, MPH)

Chanh Ho (MD, MPH)

Chanh is our Head of Medical Review. He is a research physician at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit. After accomplishing the program of level 1 sub-specialty in Pediatrics, he was awarded the Chevening Scholarship for his Master’s degree of Public Health in the University of Edinburgh in 2019

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