Succulents are a joy to behold and a breeze to care for due to their resilience. They generally require very little water and tending to. As an added bonus succulents thrive in soils and conditions in which most other plants won’t even think of settling into. No weeding required.
But what if we throw you a curveball. Did you know that you can grow succulents in water entirely? Yep. Paradoxically the plants that are easiest to kill with overwatering can be trained to grow hydroponically. We explain how down below. But first.
Choose your succulents
Not every type of succulent can be grown in water. What you are looking for is ideally a member of the Sempervivum or Echeveria genera of the Crassulaceae family. The reason we recommend these is because they form beautiful rosettes in a variety of colours, and can easily be propagated from leaf cuttings or offsets. This allows you to have a bunch of plants from a single succulent, thus making it easy to try again if you don’t succeed in adapting them to grow in water from the first go. Our favourites are:
- Echeveria Runyonii – This succulent grows fast and reaches 10cm in height and diameter. It’s very suitable to propagation through leaf cuttings and like most echeverias – a very hardy plant.
- Echeveria Agavoides Romeo – We love this one for the colour. As all of the rosette-forming succulents, you have to take caution not to wet the leaves as that may cause rot.
- Hen and Chicks – This one is so easy to multiply it actually possess the risk of overwhelming the container you put it into. However, due to the nature of growing succulents in water, you will be safe on that front. What you will have though are many offsets to experiment with.
- Sempervivum Tectorum – This one is usually used as ground cover, but if left to grow can produce a rather tall stalk for a succulent.
How the magic works
First, you will have to choose how you will start your new plant. We find that using an offshoot generally works better than a cutting as it produces a stronger plant. The latter is also entirely doable, so in the end, it’s up to your preference. Now you are ready to grow a succulent in water.
The first and most important step is to let the cutting or offshoot callus. Leave it in an empty tray for a few days. If you skip this part it will absorb too much moisture and it may cause rotting.
Next rest the cutting or offshoot on the rim of a vessel of water in a well sunlit place. The callused end must be just above the water, without touching it. In a few days, you will see the roots starting to reach down into it.
And that’s really it! Once the roots form the succulent can continue living in the water as long as you provide it with a suitable container.
Just mind that water roots and soil roots are very different from each other and a succulent that has adapted to living in water will most probably die if transplanted into soil. Due to the easy propagation of succulents, you are free to experiment to your heart’s content and find what works best for you.