How Long Can Plants Go Without Water

How Long Can Plants Go Without Water?

Generally, no plant will survive without water entirely. All plants require water for survival. What differs is the amount they need. Some plants will require a lot of it, while others require just a small amount.

If you plan to go on a vacation and there will be no one to attend to your plants, here is information on how different types of plants will tolerate dry conditions before dying. If you are starting on gardening, the guide will help you decide on which plants to grow. Maybe you want low maintenance plants that will not require frequent watering.


How long your succulents will survive without water depends on various factors such as temperature conditions of your area, and whether they are growing indoors or outdoors. Succulents store water in their leaves. When other plants are dying due to drought, succulents will mostly survive.


Over-watering them may lead to their death as too much water blocks the breathing pores in their roots and stems. Over-watering succulents will kill them faster than under-watering them. There is no specific schedule on how you should water them.

Still, there are several varieties of succulents, and they all have different water requirements, that is why it gets difficult to state how much water they should receive, and after how long. Most often, succulents with large leaves will require less water than those with smaller leaves. Succulents like cactus and echeverias can survive up to 6 months without water. Sedums and Rhipsalis have smaller leaves and will require frequent watering.

Climatic conditions will also affect how long a succulent will survive without water. In dry months, they tend to lose water faster than in cold months and will require frequent watering.

Only water succulents when the soil feels dry. Use the finger to test this. When growing them in pots, make sure they have functional drainage holes.

Growing them in pots without holes will cause their death, due to water retention. The age of the plant will also determine how long it can stay without water. Older plants have broader leaves, which store more water. They can live longer in drought conditions than younger plants with smaller leaves.

The type of potting soil for succulents will also matter. Add peat moss and compost to improve the drainage of soil and avoid water-logging.

Dormant Plants

In the cold seasons, some perennial plants will go into a stage of dormancy. In this stage, the leaves might start falling off or even die. They will start growing again at the onset of the warm season. However, don’t confuse dormancy with death. The roots of dormant plants still grow, unlike those of dying plants.

Dormant Plants

Reduce the amount of water you apply to the plants and the frequency of application when they get to this stage. Too much water will cause root rot, which eventually leads to the death of plants. Water them when the soil gets dry. Do not add fertilizer, too, as the plant will not absorb it.

Drought Resistant Plants

Drought resistant plants will survive for some days, even on neglect. Some have furry leaves that trap moisture from the atmosphere while others have hairy surfaces that prevent excessive moisture loss. Below are some drought-resistant plants that will remain green even after several days of drought.

1. Sage


Sage does well in sunny conditions and will survive without frequent watering. Sage is usually associated with spiritual matters and aromatherapy.

2. Lavender


Lavender is a herb that is widely used to add flavor to various dishes. It can also be used as an ornamental plant to make a garden attractive. It is also used in the treatment of various illnesses such as acne. Lavender will grow on its own, even without additional watering. In the cold months, you don’t need to water it.

Signs That your Plants Are Not Getting Sufficient Water

Sometimes, it can be challenging to determine whether your plants are getting sufficient water or not. Here are some of the signs that your plants are not getting adequate water.

1. Low Growth Rate

Plants require adequate water to grow normally. If they don’t get enough of it, they will grow slower than usual. They will take more time to mature, compared to those receiving adequate water.

2. Wilting

Under watered plants will lose their rigidity and wilt. Other factors such as attack by pests and diseases, too much salinity, and very high temperatures could also result in wilting. If the plant continues to wilt due to insufficient water, it might start losing its leaves and eventually die.

3. Leaf Discoloration

Leaf Discoloration

Plants require water for the process of photosynthesis. If they don’t get enough of it, the process is slowed down or stops altogether. Photosynthesis is responsible for the color pigmentation of plants. If it does not occur, the leaves will start losing their color, either fully or partially.

Signs That You Are Overwatering Your Plants

the same way under watering your plants is not right; over-watering is not suitable for them too. Below are some of the signs that your plants are getting more than enough water.


Over-watered plants will start wilting, just like under-watered ones. To avoid this, always water your plants when the soil surface feels dry.
How Can You Make Plants Survive For A While Without Water?

Don’t cancel that vacation due to fear that your plants will die of drought. Install an automatic drip system that will not require manual operation. The system usually has timers and sensors that help it run within a specified duration. You only need to program the system on when it will water your plants. Some systems can be operated using computers.

How to Water Plants Effectively

There are several ways to water plants. The most suitable method will be determined by the type of plants you are growing and your garden’s size. Here are some of the ways on how to water plants effectively:

1. Drip System

The drip system is suitable for plants growing directly in the soil. It saves on water consumption since it deposits it directly on the soil surface near the roots.

2. Garden Hose

If you don’t mind spending a little time watering your plants, water them using a garden hose by connecting it to a water supply. The method can be time-consuming and is suitable for small gardens.

3. Watering cans


Watering cans are suitable for watering potted plants. They are suitable if there is a water source near your garden, as getting water from far can be exhausting.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I stop my plants from wilting after drought?

Just add sufficient water to the plants to stop wilting, be careful not to over-water them, as it may make things worse.

Should I add water to my plants after adding fertilizer?

Watering plants after adding fertilizer does not cause any harm to them.

Is softened water suitable for plants?

Softened water may contain too many nutrients that are not good for plants. Distilled water is the best for plants.

What will I do to save my plants that have started wilting as a result of over-watering?

Let your plants stay for a while before adding more water. Water them again when the soil dries up.

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