How Long Can Succulents Go Without Soil? | You Should Know This !!

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how long can succulents go without soil

How long can succulents go without soil? This is the question I get asked many times. People get this question by looking at the attractive arrangements of terrariums, where the succulents are either planted in just rocks, sand, pebbles, etc. These arrangements are a delight to look at. They are beautiful and fancy, but the main question is how long does the plant survive in it? 

Let’s quickly answer this: How long can succulents go without water?  

Succulents can live for a couple of days without soil, but if they are taken care of properly, they can thrive for a week or two without soil. Soil provides essential nutrients to the succulents and the plant can’t thrive without soil for long.

Succulents are not epiphytes, it’s just that their appearance resembles them. Epiphytes are the type of plants that grow on the surface and they get their nutrients from the surroundings that can be air, rainwater, etc. 

Therefore, succulents need a source of nutrients and so the soil is important to grow them healthy. Succulents are desert plants that naturally can thrive in extreme conditions, which makes them more adaptive, and hence they can go without soil for short time. 

They do great with less water and have the ability to store water in their leaves, also they are very low maintenance plants. Now let’s get to know more about the requirement of soil to grow healthy succulents.

Can Succulents Survive Without soil?

Well, succulents can survive without soil but as I said earlier they cannot thrive for long without soil. Soil is an integral part of succulent’s healthy growth. 

They need fast-draining soil to thrive longer, sometimes succulents can be seen planted in the rocks or in a glass terrarium that has no soil. These types of arrangements look beautiful but are not appropriate in long run. 

Succulents end up dried and start to rot if they are kept for a long duration without soil. Eventually, they need to be potted in fast-draining soil to grow healthy.

What does soil do to the succulents?

Soil provides all the essential nutrients that are needed for the healthy growth of succulents. Soil is an important ingredient for growing healthy and beautiful succulents that can thrive for a very long time. 

Having good soil is just like having a good home for succulents. Therefore, it is essential that you have good quality fast-draining soil for the plant. This soil flushes away all the excess water from the pot by retaining the required amount of water to the plant. 

Also, soil helps the roots by providing air to breathe. Soil nutrition is a must for succulents, although they do not need nutrient-rich soil but need a few nutrients that enhance their growth.

How Do Succulents Survive Without Soil?

Succulents survive without soil but it needs good care and attention from your side. You might have seen a lot of terrarium arrangements, succulent in glass containers with just pebbles and sand. 

These arrangements are fascinating and you might want to have one. Here are a few of the things to take care of to make the succulents survive without soil.

1. By giving them extra nutrients

Succulents need soil to get the nutrients for their growth, when you are planning to grow them without soil you must provide those extra nutrients by giving them fertilizers. 

When you fertilize them, plants tend to get all the nutrition well. When they are planted without soil, fertilize them by diluting the fertilizers with water and gently spray them on the plants. 

Do this when you are watering them and do not water the plants separately after the diluted fertilization. You must prepare this dilution by adding fertilizer  ½ or ¼ in proportion with the water. Just mist the plants with this dilution. Use this diluted fertilizer once a month, do not overuse it. 

As the succulents have no soil, it needs something to hold on for their growth. For that, you can attach the coir or moss with the succulents. This will ensure that the roots are held together when the succulents grow big. 

2. By watering them correctly

Watering succulents are very important when they are planted in no soil. If you are growing the succulents in terrariums or in any type of arrangement that has no soil, you must take care that you do not overwater them. 

Most of these arrangements do not have drainage holes and if you water excessively that causes overwatering issues. So, to avoid overwatering, the appropriate way to water them is to mist them. You can use spray bottles or a syringe to mist the plants and that will do wonders. 

With this, you should also understand the water requirements of the plants, when they lack water succulent leaves get dry and shriveled. When they are overwatered they tend to get soggy and soft. 

3. By giving them adequate light

Succulents love sunlight, they like to get exposed to the light daily. When they are not in the soil you must keep them in bright light, that can be partial sunlight or under grow lights. 

I prefer to keep my succulents near the window, where they get partial sunlight throughout the day. It is important to have good air circulation as well so that the mist plants do not catch any infections or rot. When there is no soil and you mist them they are more likely to get rot.

What kind of soil is perfect for succulents?

succulents potting soil

Succulents do not like to sit in the water around them for too long, which causes overwatering. Therefore they need to be potted in the fast-draining soil. When you use fast-draining soil that flushes away all the excess water from the soil and retains the required amount of water. It is important to buy good quality potting soil, you can buy it from Amazon, there are a few good sellers on Amazon.


I am not an affiliate to Amazon just sharing my personal experience.  

You can also make your potting soil at home. For that, you just need to have three things, coarse sand, perlite or coir, and potting mix. Take ⅓ of a portion of each ingredient and mix them properly and then you can use this homemade potting mix to plant your succulents.

How long can succulents be left bare root?

bare root succulent

When you are repotting the succulents or want to keep them in different arrangements then you get this question that how long can you leave them bare root? 

Well, Succulents can be left bare root for a week maximum, not more than that. By keeping them bare-root for more than a week, plants start to die. However, if you notice the damage, they can be planted and can be treated, so that they can come back to life. 

Final Thoughts

To conclude, succulents can go without soil for short period after that they should be planted in soil. They lack soil nutrition when they are without soil, so you can add fertilizer with water and mist them. 

It is also essential to expose them to bright light. By taking care of these things succulents can survive but will not thrive eventually they should be potted in soil.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any queries make sure to leave a comment below. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Happy Planting!!

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