Last updated on November 30th, 2023 at 12:16 pm
There are many ways you can tell if you have underwatered succulents, and we’ll go over a few of them.
In order to keep your succulents healthy and flourishing, it’s important to pay attention to the moisture levels in their soil at all times. If you don’t water them enough, they’ll wilt and their leaves will die or fall off.
On the other hand, overwatering can be just as detrimental to your succulents, which means your goal is to find that happy medium of watering that allows them to thrive.
When it comes to succulents, the most important thing to know is that they require very little water to grow happily. So when you’re growing succulents in your home, it’s easy to over-water them, which can lead to some not-so-happy-looking plants.
Succulents are one of the most popular houseplants today, and many people keep them as decoration in their kitchens or bathrooms due to their ability to survive in less-than-ideal conditions. Unfortunately, you can still have underwatered succulents even if they’re kept in ideal conditions, so how do you know if your plant is being underwatered or how do you save an underwatered succulent?
Luckily, there are some telltale signs of underwatered succulents, so you can tell if your plants need a drink before they wilt away in front of your eyes!
How to identify underwatered succulents
Identifying underwatered succulents can be tricky, below are 8 major signs of underwatered succulents.
- There is a shriveling and wrinkled appearance on the leaves
- Brown and dried leaves
- There will be a softening and flattening of the leaves
- Dropping of leaves is expected
- No flowers
- Weak aerial roots
- Curling of leaf tips
- Dying roots
- There will come a time when the succulent will die
Shriveling and wrinkled appearance to leaves
Some people confuse a lack of water with low light levels. In fact, if succulents are lacking in water, their leaves will shrivel and curl up. Shriveled leaves might also be a sign that your plant is sunburned or that it’s not getting enough water.
When exposed to full sunlight, succulent leaves will naturally turn toward it, allowing them to absorb more of the sunlight’s energy. The leaf’s colors change depending on how much exposure they get; they darken when they don’t get enough sunlight.
Brown and dried leaves
If your succulent leaves are turning brown and dried out, it’s possible that you aren’t watering them enough. Often, people water their succulents too frequently or not frequently enough.
The key is to pay attention to how much moisture is in your soil and don’t let it dry out entirely, which can lead to rot. For example, if you notice the top inch of your potting mix feels mostly dry when you touch it with your finger, then give the plant a little drink of water from a cup.
Don’t be tempted to overwater though: soaking wet soil will only mean more frequent watering needs.
Softening and flattening of the leaves
The leaves of your succulent may look a little like they’ve been run over by a truck or squished. It’s almost like they have gone limp. You will be able to tell that it is under-watered because you can see gaps between the leaves and petals of your plant, and it appears as though everything is just laying on top of each other rather than standing up and holding its own.
If your succulent has roots sticking out all over the place, you are overwatering them. The roots need air in order to grow and breathe.
Dropping of leaves
The easiest way to tell if you have underwatered succulents is by examining its leaves. Look for them to be dropping off.
When you water, give it enough water to soak through, but not so much that it spills out of the drainage holes and puddles on top of the soil. If a plant’s center is yellow but its edges are green, it’s probably just getting enough light and needs more water.
Also, check to see if the dirt has dried down an inch or two in the pot; if it hasn’t, wait until next time. You can also dig down into the dirt with your finger and feel how wet it is; when there’s no moisture left at all, add some water. Feel around the outside of the container for dryness as well.
Remember that many plants have thicker leaves and their dead leaf parts may stick to plants longer than others, meaning you might need to look carefully at what’s happening with those plants as well!
The first sign of under-watering is a lack of flowers. Succulent plants with healthy roots should be flowering in most seasons; they also often flower when they’re planted or moved to a new location. A succulent that doesn’t flower may need more water or less sun.
If you see brown, dying leaves on top of your soil and your plant isn’t flowering, check to make sure it hasn’t been too dry for too long. Remember, the rosette of leaves will stay green even if the outside edges are starting to brown because it’s still getting moisture from inside the plant.
Your succulent needs more than just an occasional misting and some gardeners have reported seeing small bubbles coming out of their pots when they’re watered correctly–an indication that their plants’ roots are absorbing the moisture as they should be.
Weak aerial roots
If there are little holes in your plant’s leaves or if they don’t look right, it could be due to under-watering. Under-watering is usually caused by a lack of aeration, or by keeping soil or water that is too hot, resulting in root damage and even rotting of roots at their ends.
The other way you can tell if you have underwatered succulents is the leaf tips. If they start to curl upwards or turn brown, it might mean that your plants need more water.
Curling of leaf tips
Leaves that are curling up in your succulents might be dehydrated. Gently squeeze a leaf and see if it comes back to its original form after you let go. Be sure not to use any pressure with your fingers, as too much force could damage or even kill your plant.
Remember: succulents live on sunshine, so they don’t need watering as often as other plants. Make sure to give them at least one inch of water every week, preferably during the morning hours when the sun is lower in the sky.
When checking for overwatering make sure there is no standing water inside the pot and that soil is moist but not wet (check by gently pressing soil)
A lack of water is not just about droopy leaves. Dying or dead roots can be an indicator that there is something wrong with your plant, too. Unlike leaves, which are connected to many other plants by their veins, roots have only one endpoint and are therefore more vulnerable to damage if you don’t keep them hydrated.
When a root dies, it will start to turn brown and become brittle. Some succulent varieties will send out tiny offshoots from the dying root instead of just letting it die off completely.
If you have underwatered succulents, there will be a time that they will wilt and die off. It’s not uncommon for succulents to wilt. In fact, it can be difficult to avoid, especially during hot summer months when plants are particularly susceptible to heat and moisture stress.
But not all succulent wilting is irreversible, so if you feel like your plant is turning brown or is just generally unhappy, try these tips first before throwing it away Start by misting the soil with water until you see water coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
How to save underwatered succulents
The key to knowing if you’ve underwatered succulents is to examine their leaves. Over time, their leaves will start to look droopy and dull; they’ll begin losing their vibrant green color as well. But there are also visual cues that indicate overwatering: too much water can lead to yellowed or spotted leaves, as well as a mushy texture that sags easily when pinched between your fingers.
Avoid this by watering less often but more deeply. You should use 1/4-1/2 cups of water per plant per week, which amounts to about 8-16 cups for 4 plants over the course of a month.
When watering them, give them a good soaking until the soil is thoroughly wet with no dry patches left. Wait for the soil to dry out before watering again–you may have to wait up to 2 weeks in hotter climates.
One final word of advice: don’t fertilize your succulents while they’re still indoors because it might encourage mold growth. Instead, let them get acclimated outside first.
Tips to avoid under-watering
Over-watering can cause root rot and other health problems, but succulents can dry out if you’re not careful, too. Try these strategies to prevent your succulent from becoming under-watered It is better to err on the side of over-watering than under-watering. Be sure that when you water the soil, it feels like a damp sponge before watering again
If your plant starts showing signs of wilting or drooping leaves, it might be time for a drink
To tell if your succulent needs water, lift the pot up gently by holding onto the sides of the pot so as not to disturb the roots. If the bottom feels light, then it’s been watered enough; if there’s still some weight to the pot, then they need more water.
It’s best to wait until the soil has dried out somewhat before giving your succulent another drink because overwatering can lead to root rot. Make sure the water isn’t pooling at the top of the soil–if it does, remove any excess. When in doubt, go ahead and give them some more water!
It’s important to keep an eye on your plants and pay attention to their needs. You may notice changes in the color of their leaves–signs that something may be wrong.
And don’t forget about the sunlight requirements for each type of succulent: Some require full sun, while others prefer filtered sunlight or low light levels.
Difference Between Overwatered & Underwatered Succulents
Discoloration and a change in leaf form are the first signs of overwatering. Underwatered plants’ leaves become translucent, soft, and squishy, and they drop rather than recover, unlike those that are overwatered.
You can also tell whether your succulent is overwatered or underwatered by the appearance of its leaves. Overwatered plants have soft, mushy, almost translucent leaves, whereas underwatered plants have wrinkled, shriveled-up leaves.