Do you ever find the most beautiful pot you’ve ever seen, but to your dismay, it doesn’t have drainage?
Well, there is no need to get dismayed! Let me teach you how to plant and water succulents in containers without drainage!
Before we get into the Delicate Art of planting a succulent in non-draining pots, consider that planters and pots with drainage holes are still the better options.
Especially if you’re a beginner when it comes to growing succulents.
But why do Succulents Need A Hole In The Pot?
You should choose a pot that drains soil because it will be easier to know if you’ve already poured enough water into your pot.
If water is already pouring out from the hole, it means that the pot already has enough water.
However, I agree that it is hard not to let go of a pot that you probably will not see everywhere, even if it doesn’t have any drainage hole.
Double-check if the container is durable enough to drill into.
If it is too thick and it seems like it will crack if you drill a hole on it, here are the easy steps you can follow to use it still as is.
Read: How to Water Succulent Plants To Keep Them Alive And Thriving
Table of Contents
- 1 planting succulents in containers without drainage
- 2 how to water succulents without drainage?
- 3 how often to water succulents without drainage?
- 4 The Right Light for Your Succulent
- 5 Possible Watering Problems
planting succulents in containers without drainage
Materials to be used:
- Pebbles or stones
- Charcoal (optional)
- Well-draining potting soil
- Gardening Gloves
Right Pot or Container for Succulents
The first thing you’ve to consider is how big your pot is.
The size of your container should tell you how big the stones or pebbles are appropriate to use. Stones or pebbles will help with drainage.
If you’ve got a pot that is less than 10 inches, then stick with pebbles. For a 10-inch pot, fill it up with an inch and a half of pebbles.
Make sure you spread them evenly.
Well draining soil for succulent
The next thing I suggest is for you to use charcoal. Spread an inch and a half of this above the pebbles.
This is optional, but charcoal helps with drainage and can help absorb bad odor from the soil.
I like using this particular charcoal for plants.
It comes in a small pack since you don’t need a lot of it when planting, but you can use it for almost any indoor gardening project that requires a well-draining growing medium.
- Drainage Assistance- Horticulture charcoal is a great media to use for...
- Soil Amendment- Horticulture charcoal is 100% hardwood charcoal ground to a...
- Charcoal Orchid Soil Amendment- Horticulture charcoal is often used in...
If you don’t mind spending a bit extra on this, you can also use activated charcoal.
Once the pebbles and charcoal are settled, it’s time to put them in the soil. I highly recommend using well-draining soil like the gritty mix.
Succulents need soil that has large particles that dry off fast.
The regular potting soil is heavy and thick – it absorbs more water than what is needed.
Pour about two inches of the gritty soil mix into your pot.
C&M Solis is an excellent soil mix that I recommend.
You can add more charcoal or mixed soil layers, depending on how high you want the succulent to be.
If you’re already satisfied with the height of the soil mix, this is when you can position your succulent.
Now that your succulent is already sitting on your new pot, you may want to consider how often and how much watering you should be doing.
Don’t sweat it!
I can share real good techniques so that your plant won’t dry out or get overwatered.
how to water succulents without drainage?
Even if succulents do not need watering all the time, they still may dry out if you don’t water them enough.
If you water them too often and too much, they will get mushy.
The first thing I’ve to suggest about watering them is never to use a spray bottle. It does not promote healthy growth for your succulents.
It’s best to use a measuring cup (like this one) that can let you pour the water.
I’ve four options for you when it comes to watering your succulent.
I usually use a turkey baster to water my succulents.
I like how easy it is to measure the water I feed my succulents. It’s easy to control and read. Another device I use is a giant syringe.
Like the turkey baster, this also has a good way of measuring the water I take and pour.
It’s also easy to control!
Now, if you don’t have both turkey baster or a giant syringe, then a measuring cup will do.
That’s the easiest thing to find in supermarkets or even a baking supply shop.
Last but not least is using a squeeze bottle.
This is available in the gardening section of supermarkets or your favorite gardening shops.
It’s also a favorite because it is perfect for controlling the amount of water I feed the plants.
How much water?
For measuring how much water you should be giving your plant, the general rule is that it should at least be 1/2 of the amount of soil in your pot.
So if your pot has a cup of mixed soil in it, you may pour 1/2 a cup of water on it.
Do not worry if you leave water on the leaves.
It will eventually slide down its body.
When pouring the water, make sure that you evenly spread it on the soil.
Covering the entire soil area is essential to make sure that your succulent is well-fed.
how often to water succulents without drainage?
When it comes to how often you should be watering your succulents, I suggest that the moment you just finished potting it, lift it and feel its weight.
Now you’ve got an idea as to how it will feel if it needs watering.
The amount of water you should feed will depend on how much soil or mix is in your pot. Earlier, I had about 2 cups worth of mixture in my pot.
I should only get 1 cup of water to pour on it.
When pouring, make sure that you evenly pour water on the soil. Covering the entire soil area is essential.
After watering, grab and lift your pot to feel how differently it weighs when it’s watered sufficiently.
So after a couple of days, around five days, check how the pot weighs again.
If it seems to be back on how it weighed unwatered, then grab your watering device and feed it again.
Just make sure you always check the mixed soil in your pot.
If it seems dry and powdery, it’s time to water them again.
The Right Light for Your Succulent
When we think of succulents, we think of cacti as well.
It’s a common misconception that we have to put them under the sun all the time.
Succulents need protection from the sun if it is more than 90 degrees outside.
This doesn’t mean that you’ve to keep your succulents in the shade, though.
Doing that will cause your plant to die.
You’ve to do enough research about what type of succulent you could leave outside and exposed to the sun.
Small and green succulents are best kept indoors. Here are some of them:
- Jade Plant
- Aloe Vera
- Zebra Plant
- Panda Plant
- Crown of Thorns
Indoor succulents still need some light to survive.
If you plan on exposing them to direct sunlight, you can do that for 6 hours every 4-5 days.
If you don’t expose them to light, these plants will become leggy and extended towards the light.
Red, gray, blue, or succulents well-covered with spines can survive living outside your place.
Their color and feature help reflect the sun’s rays, so they should be fine outdoors. Here are a few of those plants:
- Arctic Ice
- Sedum Firestorm
- Graptoveria Opalina
- Calico Kitten
- Little Gem
- Anacampseros Sunrise
What’s cool to know is that these plants do not need sunlight alone.
You can use artificial lighting to keep them healthy and alive.
What these plants need is the light itself and not the sun.
That is very different for us humans since we do need the sun for natural vitamin D.
Possible Watering Problems
Remember that if you expose your succulents to direct light, their water may run out fast, so always check the soil using a Soil Water Monitor to see if it’s becoming dry and starchy.
If your succulents are overwatered, they will look mushy, and their leaves and stems will look watery.
This means that you should lessen the amount of water you put in them or the frequency of watering them.
On the other hand, if you’re not giving them enough water, they will look dry and withered.
So be quick to changing your watering habit before they completely dry out!
It takes time for you to understand what your plants need, but once you’re used to their needs, you’ll get to enjoy their beauty.
Nowadays, taking care of succulents has become quite a trend because of the aesthetic it gives your home or even your workplace.
But remember that they are living things and they need some love and care!
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.