Succulents are plants and plants need water to survive. It doesn’t mean that you should water succulents the same way you would your other plants. If you did, you will end up killing your succulents instead of growing them.
We may have made it seem that growing succulents is more complicated than growing other types of plants. That is not the case! On the contrary, succulents require fewer watering sessions than other plant varieties.
Succulents are a variety of plants with the ability to store a lot of water in their leaves and stems. You will notice succulent types such as Sedums, Sempervivums, and Echeverias that have thick, fleshy leaves. These plants are fully stocked with water.
For this reason, succulents are highly-tolerant of drought conditions. In fact, succulent varieties that originate from subtropical and tropical regions can survive for a month without water.
When watering succulents, keep this guideline in mind: It is better to under-water succulents than it is to overwater them.
Overwatering is the leading cause of death of succulent plants!
How Overwatering Kills Succulents
Even a little bit of moisture can be dangerous for your succulent. This means the plant’s roots are still immersed in a moist environment.
Moisture indicates that the soil still has water. Giving the succulent more water while the soil is still moist will cause the roots’ cells to expand and eventually, explode.
The roots become damaged and are now at risk of developing an infection that leads to rotting. It starts at the roots, then the infection can spread rapidly throughout the plant.
A succulent that is in the early stages of rotting will exhibit color changes in its leaves. Bright-colored succulents turn pale while dark-green colored varieties begin to show a yellowish or brownish discoloration.
The Soak And Dry Method Of Watering Succulents
The best approach to watering succulents is the soak and dry method. Before giving the succulent water, you have to make sure that the soil is completely dry.
There are 3 ways you can use to check the soil’s level of dryness.
First, simply lay your hand on the topsoil. If it is dry to the touch, then you can proceed to water the succulent.
The second technique is by inserting one end of a stick at least an inch into the topsoil. If the end of the stick is dry, then you can give the succulent water.
You may also want to use a hygrometer to measure the moisture level in the air. Succulents extract water from the moisture available in the air. A hygrometer will give you a more definitive reading if its time to give the plant some water.
Once you are 100% convinced that the soil is completely dry, give it a thorough watering. The soil must be thoroughly soaked through.
For indoor succulent plants, you can stop watering when you see the drip tray that is located under the pot filling up.
5 Factors That Affect The Frequency Of Watering Of Succulents
As we have discussed, there is no singular watering schedule for succulent plants. You should only give the succulent water when the soil has dried out completely. Watering the soil when it is still moist will lead to overwatering and the eventual demise of your lovely succulent.
In some cases, the succulents are given water every seven to 10 days. Other succulents will grow better when provided water every 14 to 21 days.
Still, there are situations where a succulent will grow best when it receives water only once-a-month.
Thus, the watering schedule of your succulents will depend on these 5 factors:
Temperature In Your Region – If the temperature is warmer, the soil will dry out faster and require more water.
In colder climates, especially in regions where the temperature can drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or -6 degrees Celsius, the soil will remain moist for a longer period of time and will not need as much water.
Change in Season – Succulents grow very quickly in the spring and summer seasons and they will draw more water from the soil at a faster rate.
In contrast, succulents stop growing in the water. You might find that watering the succulent only once or twice during the season will be enough.
The Type of Soil – The best type of soil to use for your succulent plant is a well-draining one such as cactus.
Adding ingredients like perlite, pumice, pebbles, pine bark, and coconut coir will improve the soil’s draining capacity but will mean a more frequent watering schedule.
The Type of Pot – A pot made of terra cotta or unglazed clay will encourage the evaporation of moisture from the soil. It should also have a drain hole with a mesh covering.
Also, the size of the pot will make a difference in the rate by which the soil dries out. Larger pots will hold more soil and will maintain moisture longer than shallower pots.
The Amount of Sunlight – Succulents that are planted outdoors will receive more sunlight than varieties that are grown indoors.
On average, garden succulent plants get 6 hours of morning sunlight every day. In comparison, indoor succulent plants probably get 3 to 6 hours of indirect sunlight every day.
The greater the amount of sunlight that a succulent plant receives, the more frequent the watering schedule it will need.
You have to perform emergency first-aid treatment on your succulent. Please read these procedures carefully.
Step 1: Cut out the parts of the succulent that are rotting or showing discoloration such as the leaves and parts of the stem with a sterilized and sharpened knife or a pair of garden shears.
Step 2: Remove the succulent from the soil. Shake off the excess soil and cut out the roots that are rotting.
Step 3: Re-plant the succulent in a new terra cotta pot that is filled with fresh, well-draining soil.
Never water the succulent from the top. Once the leaves get wet, it will take longer for the plant to dry out. Always water directly unto the soil – and give it a good soaking. Use a container with a gooseneck-type spout.
Yes, once the leaves, cuttings, or offsets are laid down on well-draining soil, lightly water them by using a spray bottle.
Pay attention to the dryness level of the soil. During propagation, you want the roots to get firmly entrenched in the soil. Too little water will dry out and weaken the roots.
As you have just read, it’s not difficult to water succulent plants because you don’t – rather – you shouldn’t water them every day. You only give the succulent plant water whenever its soil has become completely dry.
If you forgot to water your succulent, don’t worry! They can survive without water for 3-4 weeks.
Last Updated on June 27, 2022 by Sofia Lara