How to Water Succulents
Wondering how to water succulents? You’ve come to the right place.
Succulents are some of the most popular plants around, and for good reason. They're easy to care for, they come in a variety of colors and shapes, and they can survive drought conditions that would kill most other plants.
But even though succulents are hardy little guys on their own, there's no such thing as being too careful with them - especially when it comes time to water!
Here are some tips on how to water succulents so that you can get it right each and every time.
Keep Good Records
Succulents are finicky little creatures! While they have the reputation for being easy to care for, that’s only partially true in the fact that they are forgiving if you forget to water every now and then.
However, it’s important that you try not to forget, since succulents shouldn’t be drowned when you realize you’ve missed a watering. Keeping track of watering, either on a piece of paper, an Excel spreadsheet, or on your smartphone, will help you stay on top of things a bit better.
Whenever you water, make a note that you can refer to later. That way, poor memory won’t become your enemy in caring for your succulents.
Another mistake that many people make when watering succulents is in being a bit too stingy with the watering can. While you don’t want to drown your plants, you do want to soak the soil completely. Doing so will ensure that the plant’s roots have adequate amounts of moisture.
The key here is to soak the soil completely, then to let it dry out entirely before you water again.
While it can be challenging to get the moisture levels perfect, a good rule of thumb is to use a small-spout watering can. You can also use a squeeze bottle. That way, you can water just the base of the plant and avoid getting water on the leaves. This by itself is enough to cause the plant to rot.
When you water, just pour water on the soil around your succulents until the soil is totally soaked. Again, wait until the container has dried out from top to bottom. Don’t let your succulents sit in wet soil for more than a couple of days.
If you find that, for whatever reason, the water is not draining, you may need to transplant your succulent into another container with fresh soil.
This soaking method of watering works well for succulents because they are adapted to living in the desert. Here, soil drains quickly and the water comes quickly, heavily, but infrequently. Flash floods are common followed by many weeks of zero rain.
Therefore, the soak and dry method is the best option for mimicking these conditions and will provide your succulents with the opportunities they need to develop strong, healthy root systems.
Choose the Right Soil and Container
Make sure your succulents are planted in well-draining soil (ideally a soil mixture that is formulated specifically for succulents). They should also be grown in a container that has adequate drainage holes.
When making your soil mixture, choose one that looks more like grit than it does actual dirt. It should contain inorganic materials like rock along with organic materials like coconut coir and pine bark. You can use a bit of traditional soil but your mixture should be comprised primarily of the materials already described.
The reason why you should avoid typical soil is that it will stay wet for far too long. This can kill your succulent in a hurry!
Avoid Using a Spray Bottle
A common mistake that many people make when watering succulents is to use a tried-and-true method for other houseplants - watering with a spray bottle.
This method works just fine for those kinds of plants. However, for a succulent, a spray bottle will provide constant but small amounts of moisture that won’t lead to the development of a healthy root system. The roots will instead be weak and misshapen.
What’s more is that using a spray bottle can lead to fungal diseases, as the leaves become saturated and don’t ever have the opportunity to dry out.
Know How Often to Water
There’s no hard and fast rule on how often you should water your succulents. However, most indoor growers find a sweet spot in watering every 14 to 21 days. This will help keep your succulents alive and thriving in most cases - but you may need to make adjustments depending on your exact succulent species and the conditions in which you are growing.
Over time, you’ll figure out exactly how much water your succulents need to thrive. While you’re figuring it out, just keep an eye on the signs of under- and over-watering.
A succulent that is under watered will have leaves that appear to be wrinkly and shriveled up. An overwatered plant of course, will have leaves that appear soft, mushy, and almost completely see-through.
If you notice any of these signs, you’ll want to adjust your watering habits right away. If overwatering is the problem, transplanting your succulent into a separate container with dry soil might be the best option for you.
You might be wondering - what about succulent leaves or baby succulents that you are propagating? These can be watered every day so the soil stays somewhat damp. This will give the leaves access to water, which they’ll need while they’re first getting started, without oversaturating them. Again, though, you should follow the same tips for watering as described earlier.
Watering Succulents the Right Way
If you are looking for a low-maintenance plant, succulents may be the perfect option. Succulents do not need much water and they can handle full sun or even partial shade. Some varieties of succulent plants don't require any soil at all!
With so many options to choose from, it is easy to find one that suits your needs perfectly. Get some today - by following our guide on how to water succulents, you can make sure they stay healthy and thriving in your home garden.