Succulents are one of the fascinating and unique plants that you can add to your collection. These exquisite, lush beauties are versatile and low maintenance. They can be garden plants, houseplants, or living interior decor. Succulents thrive excellently, without taking too much of your time.
These wonder plants may not require elaborate care, but they still need some tender loving and watering. You need to figure out when and how much water they need. Inadequate water or too much water can cause them to perish or shrivel up. When watering, always start by applying water to their base. Do not wet the top of the leaves because the minimal airflow inside can cause them to rot. Rotted leaves or roots would cause them to perish. Mastering the basics will make your succulents healthy, lively, and happy.
Why Don’t Succulents Need Much Water to Thrive
Unlike the other flora species, succulents have an unusual ability to store water when exposed to moisture or water. They draw in water and store it in the special cells of their roots, stems, and leaves. When needed, the cells gradually release moisture to different parts. This enables the plant to flourish and survive in scorching areas like deserts or intense drought conditions.
Benefits of Growing Succulents
Planting your own rare succulents is exciting, especially if you are not one of the “green thumbs’ people.” There is a certain kind of fulfillment whenever you see your tiny plants growing and glowing with health.
Here are some benefits you get when you grow succulents:
Brightens Your Home and Mood
Having a touch of nature inside your home enhances the ambiance. Indoor greenery enhances the ambiance of any room. Succulents in pretty, little pots bring vibrance in the indoor surroundings, providing a refreshing sight. Taking care of them brings a satisfying feeling that boosts your mood positively.
Purifies the Indoor Air
NASA researched the ability of the succulents to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the room. They emit a lot of water vapor that can generate pumping action. This results in pulling down contaminated air to their roots and converting them into plant food.
And because they release water vapor, the humidity level in your home is enhanced. It helps eliminate common health issues like sore throat, colds, dry cough, or dry skin. Succulents also give off oxygen continuously, providing fresh bursts of oxygen 24/7 in your indoor environment.
Improves Focus and Memory
Numerous studies revealed that communing with nature regularly brings many cognitive benefits. Spending at least an hour in nature significantly improves your memory. Whether it is walking in the nearby park, gardening, or growing succulents indoors, the interaction helps you focus better. So, place your pretty, little succulents in your home office or study area. Artificial succulents offer the aesthetic of the flora they mimic if you prefer to use them instead.
Factors that Affect Succulents’ Watering Schedule
Before buying your first batch of succulents or growing beautiful succulent from seed, there are vital factors you need to know.
Many succulents thrive best during the spring and summer seasons. They need a lot of water during the active growing period. Water the cactus weekly during the growing season if you have a cacti collection. They need it for growing new leaves, stems, flowers, and roots. Depending on their light exposure and indoor temperature, thrice a week, watering enhances their growth.
During winter, succulents tend to go dormant and stop growing. They only need one or two watering sessions during the whole season. Watering them more than the recommended schedule would kill the succulents. Allow them to thrive peacefully.
Indoor or Outdoor
Both outdoor and indoor succulents want good soaking when the soil dries out completely. Avoid watering them when the soil is still damp or moist. Outdoor succulents may need more frequent watering because the soil dries up quickly, especially when it is windy and the temperature is high. A maximum of three times per week is recommended. Follow the ‘soak and dry method’ before your next schedule. For indoor succulents placed in a cool and humid area, watering is the best once a week.
Generally, succulents survive in dry conditions and require minimal care. However, it is essential to become familiar with the variety of succulent you like in your home or garden and know how they are watered.
Here are 5 of the most popular varieties that need to check out:
They are called “money trees” and regarded as a good luck symbol. They need proper watering. Too much water can cause their roots to rot, but never let this succulent dry out. They love bright, sunny spots. Keep the soil of your Jade Plant moist during summer; however, make sure to allow the soil to dry out completely before your next watering.
The snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue is a wonderful indoor plant. It is believed to be one of the best air purifying plants because it can remove air toxins like benzene and formaldehyde.
Watering this succulent requires utmost care. You need to make sure that the soil drains properly to avoid root rotting. When the roots of snake plants are wet, it leads to a certain kind of disease that can kill them and your other potted indoor plants. Finger-test the soil for moisture before watering them. You need to let their roots dry out first. Use room-temperature water to prevent scarring the leaves.
Aloe vera plants possess healing properties. They are easy to grow, thriving best in areas that enjoy indirect sunlight. They only require semi-frequent watering, allowing the soil to dry thoroughly before the next schedule. A deep once every other week is ideal. Do not let these succulents sit in water to prevent root rotting.
One of the most beautiful succulents, Echeveria Elegans or Mexican Snowball, is a must-have. They love the full sun. Find a place indoors that receives sunlight during the morning and late afternoon, but not in early or mid-afternoon. These succulents do not thrive well when exposed to much water and dislike being dry for a prolonged period. Water them when their leaves start to shrivel and the soil is dry.
Lithops are unique succulents. These popular plants require a minimal amount of water to grow. They cannot tolerate too much moisture, so make sure to plant them in containers with drainage. As indoor plants, place them in a location that receives full sunlight. Follow the ‘soak and dry method’ for Lithops.
The frequency of watering depends on the size of your succulents. Smaller ones may need frequent watering compared to bigger succulents. The larger the size, the stronger their root system that stores water and nutrients. They can thrive without water for a longer period. Succulents with thicker leaves and stems also hoard more water that they use to stay alive.
The type of soil you use to grow your succulents is another factor to consider when planning your watering schedule. Succulents need different soil to thrive well. The soil’s density influences how long it completely dries out. Denser soil has a slow capability to drain water and keep the roots moist longer. To know the density of your soil, check the organic and inorganic compound composition. If the soil has more organic compounds than inorganic, it is denser. The watering routine should be lessened when the soil is denser. If you are going to transfer the plants indoors, use well-draining potting soil to repot your succulents.
Amount of Light
If your succulents are exposed to full sun for 10 or more hours, they require more soaking than plants that receive a lesser amount of light. Outdoor succulents also need more water than indoor plants because of their exposure to tougher weather conditions and sunlight.
In general, most varieties of succulent prefer 40% or higher levels of humidity. Your watering routine also depends on the humidity or amount of vapor in your outdoor or indoor environment. In a very humid condition, the soil takes more time to dry out completely. You can water your succulents once every 10 to 14 days. On the contrary, if your area or indoor temperature is hot, the soil will dry out quicker. You need to water the succulents every 7 to 10 days.
Size and Type of the Pot
Another deciding factor of your watering routine is the size and type of pot you use for the succulents. Ceramic and plastic pots are less breathable and conserve water better, reducing the need for frequent watering. Porous pots like terracottas are breathable, necessitating more watering sessions if you live in a warm location. Small and shallow pots need frequent watering because the soil dries out fast, while large pots have more soil that stores the water and keeps your succulents hydrated for a longer period.
Every year, succulents go through a dormant phase. During this period, it is important to minimize water and allow them to thrive on their own. To know the dormancy period of your succulents, you need to research about them.
Things to Know About Watering Different Succulent Types
Your indoor plants need a good soaking when the soil is totally dried out. Allow the water to run out the pot’s drainage holes. Wait until the soil is dry again before your next watering schedule. Water your plants frequently during the early spring and less during winter.
Low-light tolerant succulents like snake plants are one of the best indoor plants. If you prefer to hang your plants, the best hanging succulents are:
Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)
This trailing foliage can grow up 2 or 3 feet long. Avoid overwatering this plant.
The String of Hearts (Ceropegia Linearis)
It is one of the most popular trailing succulents and comes in charming blue-green, purple, and silver colors.
Little Missy (Sedum ‘Little Missy)
This lovely hanging succulent has variegated green leaves that come with pale green and pink borders. Its shallow root system makes it a perfect plant for small containers and hanging baskets inside your home. Little Missy needs moderate watering.
If you are moving your potted succulents outdoors, allow them to acclimate to the conditions by first putting them in a slightly shaded spot. After some time, you can move them to a sunnier area. Succulent flowers love sunlight. Remember to keep the succulents away from intense sunlight in the morning to midafternoon. Your watering routine depends on how often the succulents need water by paying attention to the potting soil. It is also important to remember that succulents like cacti thrive in shallow pots and may need watering every few days.
Succulents in the Ground
Some succulents like sedums thrive nicely on the ground. They require well-drained soil, so you need to water them weekly, depending on conditions. Make sure that there is no standing water and the subsoil drains well. A great option is to mound the soil or raise the bed to grow your succulents.
Succulents are wonderful ground covers due to their drought-tolerant nature and vibrant beauty. Some of the best succulent ground covers are Echeveria, Moss Rose, Creeping Sedum, Ghost Plant, Parry’s Agave, and Caucasian Stonecrop.
Soak vs Dry Succulent Watering Method
This method involves watering the succulents until the soil is completely soaked and then wait for it to dry out before you water them again.
The system is the same as how succulents receive water when they are in their natural habitat. It allows them to withstand long periods of drought and develop a healthy and strong root system.
It is important to avoid watering your succulents frequently using small amounts of water. The practice will weaken their root system, making them more vulnerable during drought periods or extremely arid conditions.
How to Water Young Succulents
Step 1 – Misting
Mist the succulents every 2 to 4 days, depending on the variety.
Step 2 – Wait until the soil dries
Don’t forget! The soil of your succulent has to be completely dry before the next watering session.
Step 3 – Regularly water your succulents
Create your watering schedule and follow it. It is important to stick to the misting when your succulents are young.
How to Water Mature Succulents
Step 1 – Soak the soil
Use a watering can and soak the soil of your succulents completely. It will make the root system healthy.
Step 2 – Wait for the soil to dries
You need to wait to dry out totally before the next soaking session. If it is summer, you need to water them more.
Step 3 – Observe the soil dryness
Encourage a more robust root system by periodically skipping to water your succulents. Wait for at least 1 to 2 days after you observe that the soil has dried.
Step 4 – Establish a watering schedule
Create a flexible schedule for watering mature succulents.
How to Revive an Under-Watered Succulent
Under-watered succulents have dry and crispy upper leaves. The leaves feel rubbery and bend easily. Some leaves have wrinkled and shriveled tips. The extreme condition is when the whole plant becomes shriveled, which can be difficult to revive. Additionally, you will see the growth of aerial roots. They appear on the stems as clear pink or white tendrils. This is the succulents’ way to collect water from the surrounding air.
To save an under-watered succulent:
Step 1 – Regular misting
Gently mist the succulents for up to 5 days. It helps in transitioning them to your regular watering routine. Avoid giving them a full soaking experience during this period.
Step 2 – Gradually increase water intake
Using a watering can or squeeze bottle, pour a generous amount of water into the base. Allow the water to drain completely.
Step 3 – Carefully observe your plant
When you observe that your succulents look firm and hydrated, you can resume your regular watering routine.
Do’s and Don’ts When Watering Succulents
Succulents thrive well when they are properly watered. Over-watering and under-watering will make them hard to grow or survive.
Here are the basic dos and don’ts:
- Do follow the standard watering technique. Soak up your succulents until the water comes out of the drainage holes of their pots. Allow them to soak up the moisture and hydrate themselves.
- Do use room temperature water. You can use distilled, filtered, or rainwater.
- Do use a watering can or cup with a long, tiny spout for direct and gentle base watering.
- Do water your succulents in the morning.
- Do follow a bottom water technique if the soil is compacted. The bottom watering method allows your succulents to absorb the water slowly. It works by pouring an inch of water from the bottom of the container. The roots will sense the presence of water below and absorb it. It helps them grow stronger and healthier. After some time, throw the remaining water to prevent overwatering.
- Do wait for the soil to dry out before watering the succulents completely.
- Don’t use a spray bottle when watering mature succulents. It works for baby plants and propagating leaves. Adult succulents absorb nutrients and water through their roots.
- Don’t water the top of the succulents or their upper leaves. Water may stay on the leaves and cause premature rotting.
- Don’t water your succulents at noon or in the afternoon.
- Don’t water succulents when it is extremely hot, raining, or humid.
- Don’t use tap water to prevent mineral deposits. If you have no other option, leave the water overnight to allow the dissipation of treated chemicals before using it to water your plants.
- Don’t use cold water.
- Don’t water when the succulents are dormant.
- Don’t leave them sitting in a tray or saucer of water to prevent the fleshy roots from absorbing too much moisture. It may lead to rotting.
FAQ About Watering Succulents
How much water do you give your succulents?
Succulents need more water during their growth period. During the dormant period (winter or cold months), they require less water. Soaking the soil until the water gets out of the pot’s drainage holes is a definition of “enough.” Allow the soil to dry out before the next watering session.
Should you mist succulents?
Full-grown or adult succulents do not like misting. When you mist them, you are changing the natural humidity around them. They thrive well in arid environments. Moreover, misting the leaves and stems can cause them to rot as well. Misting is ideal for propagating leaves as it allows water into the delicate tiny roots.
Can you water succulents with ice cubes?
This popular watering technique prevents overwatering the succulents. The trick is to place two pieces of big ice cubes or several small pieces at the base once a week. The gradual release of liquid promotes proper hydration by allowing the roots to absorb the water and hydrate the entire plant. It is perfect for hanging and hard-to-reach succulents.
Should you use tap water to water succulents?
As much as possible, do not use tap water because it is treated with chemicals that can build up in the soil or impact leaves’ growth. Rainwater and distilled water are the best types to use.
How long can succulents go without water?
Succulents can survive up to 3 months of no watering in their natural habitat. They thrive in humid climates and use their stored water to hydrate themselves. Indoor succulents can go without water for 2 to 4 weeks, depending on their ability to store water.
What time of the day should you water succulents?
The best time is early morning, especially during summer. Avoid watering the succulents in the afternoon when the temperature is high. It prevents leaving hot water in the leaves or crowns that can cause burning.
Can succulents leaves get wet?
Yes. Getting them wet also means that leaves can rot. So, try to avoid getting water on them if they are not waterproof. Some varieties of succulents have waterproof leaves and do not absorb moisture.
How often should I water my succulents?
The rule of thumb is to water your succulents when the soil has dried completely. It means that the roots have absorbed all the water and need hydrating nutrients. The watering frequency can be between 10 to 12 days.
Good watering is essential to the growth and health of your succulents. It makes the root system strong and promotes excellent absorption. Once you mastered the watering technique for your baby and mature succulents, you get to enjoy the perks and benefits of having them around your home.
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