Soilless Succulent Plants: Can Succulents Grow In Water

Four Succulent Plants Growing In Jars Of Water
succulent water growing
(Image credit: pcess609)

After hearing the warnings of how too much water is the #1 cause of succulent death, you may be surprised that someone would even ask “can succulents grow in water.” Not only has the question been asked, it seems some succulents can actually grow well in water – not always and not all succulents though.

Before you start unpotting your plants and dunking them in water, read on to learn about growing soilless succulent plants and why you might attempt such a chore.

Can Succulents Grow in Water?

Research indicates they can and that some do well. Some home growers use the option for revitalizing plants that aren’t doing well planted in soil.

Growing a Succulent in Water

Far-fetched as it might sound, some people have been successful with succulent water propagation. The best candidates for this unusual growth are Echeveria and Sempervivum, of the Crassulaceae family. These grow as attractive rosettes and multiply easily. Offsets of these plants may be planted into soil for rooting and growth.

Water roots and soil roots on succulent plants are not the same. Both may be equally viable on some plants, but they are not interchangeable. If you root your succulents in water, it is not guaranteed that those roots will survive if planted into soil. If you wish to experiment with growing some succulents in water, keep in mind it is best to continue growing them that way.

How to Grow Succulent Cuttings in Water

Choose the plants you wish to propagate in water and let the ends callous. This stops a rapid intake of water into the plant, which may create rot. All succulent specimens should be allowed to callous over before planting. The ends will callous in a few days of being put aside.

When growing a succulent in water, the end does not actually go into the water, but should hover just above. Choose a container, jar, or vase that will hold the plant in place. It is also helpful to see through the container to make sure the stem isn’t touching the water. Leave the container in a bright to medium lit area and wait for roots to form. This may take ten days to a few weeks.

Some suggest roots form more quickly when the end is shaded, so that is an option for experimentation as well. Others suggest adding hydrogen peroxide to the water. This can likely deter pests, such as fungus gnats, which are attracted to moisture. It adds oxygen to the water and possibly stimulates root growth too.

If you love growing succulents and enjoy a challenge, give it a try. Just remember that water roots are quite different from those grown in soil.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.