How to Use Water Therapy for Dehydrated Succulents

The practice of suculent water therapy is a method that is well-known and controversial at the same time.

In this article, you’ll be able to learn about water treatment for succulents, and how to make use of it. What is it and how to use it. In these situations the treatment with water for succulents could be utilized and obviously how to use it effectively.

What is Succulent Water Therapy?

Water therapy is a method which involves taking the substrate off of succulents and then immersing root systems in water over a prolonged time, which could range from a single or two days to several weeks.

On social media, this trend has gained quite a bit of popularity. You might have seen pictures of succulents’ roots in the water on web and thought about why they do this and how they do it. We’ll guide you through the entire process.

“Water therapy” is not associated by “water propagation,” a distinct and distinct word. Read our article about the propagation of succulents using water to gain a better understanding of the distinctions.

What is the Purpose of Succulent Water Therapy?

Succulents can be quickly hydrated by using water therapy. But, it’s not an effective method of watering, and should not be repeated often.

Water therapy, however, is utilized in a limited amount of situations that we’ll explore more in depth later.

In this method, the roots of the plant are put directly in water. This method therefore does not produce the same results as watering the plant.

Succulents might have trouble absorption of water when exposed to low or high temperatures for a long time. No matter how hard we do, they just don’t appear to be able to replenish their water.

In the end, you could end up overwatering your plants and creating root rot, instead of reaching the goal of the plant being hydrated naturally.

The most common belief is that the rotting of succulents is caused only by excessive water, however this isn’t always the case.

Instead the succulent roots are typically broken down by fungi and bacteria which thrive in excess moisture and not by water itself.

Without any bacteria or fungi as well as pathogens within the substrate it is apparent that succulents placed within the water (without substrate) are not susceptible to rotting.

This is why it is now possible to root and grow succulents more efficiently and quicker than with the traditional method.

The use of water therapy is only suggested in specific situations because it is a process of removing the substrate the transplanting of the succulents into water, and then the replanting of the succulents once more could be very stressful for the plant and cause damage to the roots.

green succulents

Water Therapy Applications for Succulents

The purpose of this therapy as stated previously is to rapidly replenish the hydration of the succulent. In the ideal scenario, you will not require this method.

The use of water therapy on succulents is not necessary if adequate irrigation and a good substrate are in the right place.

There are two scenarios where you might require the water treatment for succulents:

[1] For Plants Delivered Via Mail Or Parcel Post

The purchase of succulents on the internet and then having them delivered to your doorstep is a popular trend. However, international deliveries of plants can last up to a few weeks. In this period they could be transport without water or electricity.

In the process, succulents are stressed and dehydrated throughout the trip. The people who purchase plants in this manner, particularly those who purchase them “bare root” (meaning that the plants are not surrounded by a substrateand the roots are exposed) can apply water therapy prior to placing the succulents in their final homes.

[2] For Succulents That Are Severely Dehydrated

The most frequent symptoms of dehydration in succulents are dull and limp leaves dried-out leaves, wilted and pointed leaves; and branches and leaves that point downwards.

The most well-known methods to save succulents that are burned or dehydrated is by using water therapy.

There are many reasons for this to happen due to a lack of irrigation, sudden heat surges or being exposed to conditions for which the plant isn’t properly adjusted.

However, in the event that the marks result from sunburn, the treatment won’t help repair the wounds. It is better to allow the plant to heal or regenerate its leaves in time. Read my article to find out how to prevent sunburn.

I’ve found that water therapy can be extremely effective, but I only apply it in the most extreme situations. I can tell if a plant is stressed when it ceases to absorb water after a few waterings and starts to appear more and more swollen.

I’ll guide you step-by-step through the steps in the following paragraphs.

How to Carry Out Succulent Water Therapy

[1] Allow The Substrate Of Your Succulent To Dry Out

It is best to start with an “bare root” plant or an un-dry substrate to start this process.

[2] Remove The Substrate

Take the substrate off and your succulent from the container. The substrate could be completely removed in a perfect world, however, this isn’t always feasible in reality.

To expose the roots of the plant completely, gently and slowly take away as much substrate as you can.

[3] Let The Roots come into contact with Water

Maintain the succulent’s roots submerged in water, while allowing the remainder of it to dry out. I suggest using glass or a transparent container that allows you to see your plant.

Since roots like dark, you might want to choose dark pots to house your plant. Glass containers with a brown color appear to be a good choice according to my experiences.

Be sure that the container is of the correct size for your plant. By arranging the plant in this way, you can be sure that your succulent is getting water through its roots and stems instead of its stem or leaves.

[4] Allow The Water Therapy To Take Effect And Monitor Its Progress

During the treatment it is necessary to be aware of the level of water to make sure that the roots are in contact with it , and that the water is clear and that it is able to be changed the water regularly.

It is recommended to remove the succulent out of the water if the treatment appears to have impacted the plant. What can you tell? It should be moist and shiny, as well as full and healthy looking.

New growth and the development of roots may also start to appear under water.

The time it takes for to complete this process is contingent on how dehydrated your succulent was at the time you began. The amount of time that people leave them for ranges from 24 to 72 hours, or even a full week.

A succulent I have has survived for up to 2 weeks by itself. The appearance of your plant will determine if it is advisable to keep it in therapy for an prolonged time or is time to get it out.

When the plant goes through this transformation, it’s not typical for it to turn brown or yellow; shed leaves, or appear transparent.

All of these signs indicate that the plant is overwatered and could have started to turn brown. Take your succulent out of the water if you observe any of these signs.

[5] Replant your Succulent

It’s time to place your plant back into the soil after it has received the benefits of water treatment. To plant, take the plant from the water and let the roots drain all the water.

It is recommended to wait for at least three days prior to irrigation. This is due to the fact that root damage can be caused by soil that is not sufficiently moist, leading to decay.

Take a couple of days following the plant before you can resume the watering. Actually the succulent will be well-hydrated following the treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions About Succulent Water Therapy

Which kind of water should I make use of to water succulents?

If you aren’t able to find alternatives. In this case you could use rainwater, drinking water that has an even pH level, distillation water, and tap water.

Drink as much water as you can.

Succulents don’t get rotten in water So what’s the problem?

Succulents can be susceptible to root rot when they are not properly watered. This is why many people are concerned when they observe these plants in the water.

However, the root rot does not occur by water alone. The fungi and bacteria within the substrate grow in a moist and sloppy situation for a prolonged period of period of time.

Clean water will not cause rot in succulents.

Are propagation and water therapy exactly the identical?

They’re not the identical. Water propagation and water therapy serve different functions.

In the field of therapy, the aim is to rapidly rehydrate the succulent. When it comes to propagation, the aim is to spread a species by the process of rooting.

Is It Possible To Use Water Therapy As Irrigation For Succulents?


The therapy isn’t a method of irrigation, and should not be used in a way that is harmful.

Each plant is handled and removed from their substrates and submerged in water and then returned to their substrate, their roots get damaged.

This could make them more susceptible to decay, especially if it happens frequently.

Is It Possible For Succulents To Live Forever In Water?

No. Apart from water, succulents require nutrients that are found in the substrate. Moreover, the substrate supplies these nutrients. So, succulents that are kept in water eventually die because of a deficiency in nutrients.

In actuality the nutrients present in the substrate deplete in time and it is essential to replenish them through changing the substrate or fertilizing the substrate. Our posts about how to utilize eggshells to fertilize are a great starting point.

Succulents can be grown hydroponically by adding nutrients solutions in water.

Could all of the plant’s submerged?

Yes and No.

Some people plant their plants by submerging the plants into water over a brief time, but I don’t recommend this.

Succulents absorb water via their roots, and it is sensible to expose their roots the water.

In addition, long periods of stagnant water between the leaves may cause localized decay.

It could take several weeks for succulents to get hydrated and to hydrate, so even a “dip” of just a couple of minutes isn’t enough time for them to achieve this. Since it has worked for me I would only suggest placing your roots into contact.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)