How often do you water succulents? That is probably one of the most common questions we gardeners get asked and for good reason. Many plant lovers are unknowingly overwatering their plants.
To best answer that question we need to understand the plant itself. Once we have a little understanding, we will be better prepared to answer the question.
So let’s begin…
What is a succulent?
If you’re new at this whole ‘gardening’ thing you may wonder what succulents actually are. Perhaps you’ve heard the word before, seen it on a sign at Home Depot or thought it was something totally unrelated to gardening either way, I’m here to tell you a little more about this plant craze popping up in gardens, one leaf at a time.
Succulents are uniquely shaped plants that are known for their ability to store water in their leaves. This distinguishes them from many other plants because unlike the typical delicate leaves you expect to see in most gardens, succulents have thick, flesh-like leaves. They come in all shapes and sizes so don’t be fooled into thinking they all look-alike. The word ‘succulent’ is just a way of describing a group of plants with the same features or characteristics.
So, now that we’re a bit more familiar with what succulents actually are, let’s answer that question:
How often do you water succulents?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions because we all have that fear of killing our precious plants due to a lack of knowledge. Well, have no fear! I’m here to give you the low-down on how-to when it comes to succulents. So how often should you water succulents? The easy answer: not as often as you think.
The truth is, you can’t put an exact date or an exact amount of time on it. Why? Well first off, succulents like any other plant are living beings, thus they each have their own cycle for processing food. That being said, it is best to get to know your plants as best as you can to see what ‘cycle’ they are on. This isn’t necessary of course, but will only help you give them the best care possible.
Succulents typically thrive in warmer weather conditions, so they, like any plant, do need water, but frequent watering is not necessary. Instead, you should water your succulent ONLY when it is completely dry at the root. Yes, I said completely dry.
Also, be sure to water deep into the soil to make sure they are taking full advantage of the fresh liquid. Depending on where you live, weather conditions, plant location, sun exposure and other elements, you may have to water certain plants more frequently than others.
However, due to their hardy nature, succulents rarely need water and when they do, not much is required.
Remember, they use those thick leaves as storage spots, pulling from them when needed. Thus, it is very important not to over water your succulents! This will only cause damage to the plant and possible root death.
Not sure if the soil is wet or dry deep down? Try using a moisture meter. They are great tools to use for any plant, but especially helpful when caring for succulents. All you do is stick the meter into the soil, read the meter and adjust the water intake according to each plant’s needs.
How to know when your succulent needs watering
Besides knowing a little bit about the plant itself. There are some physical signs that can help to tell you if the plant needs more water or not.
Physical Touch. One thing you can do if you are not sure if your plant needs more water is to touch it. Remember succulents have hard flesh like leaves. When you touch it the leaves should obviously be hard. If they are not hard it could be a sign that you need to water them. However, a word of caution, this is not the time to panic. Follow the steps we mentioned earlier. Give them a nice dose of water and let them dry out completely. Check back in a few days to see if they leaves have changed.
Visual Changes. Another indicator that your succulents may need water is if you see any changes in the leaves or the plant itself. For example, if you see the leaves drooping or sagging it could me your plant is thirsty. If this is the case feel the soil or use a moisture meter to measure the amount of water in the soil. If they soil is dry, give them some water.
Signs you are over watering your succulent.
Physical touch. As we mentioned earlier succulents are hard to the touch. So if you touch your plant and it appears to be soggy or mushy that is a good sign that you are giving them too much water and they are beginning to rot. However, don’t be sad, there may still be time to save your plant. Simple, remove the plant from this soil and put it in a different soil. Check back in a few days to see if the plant has improved.
Visual Changes. Just like visual changes can be an indicator to identify if you are under watering your plant they also can tell if you if you are over watering them. What to look for? One of the first signs of over watering is that the leaves will begin to fall off very easily.
Another sign is any kind of color change in the leaves. The leaves may begin to turn yellow or you will see black spots forming on the leaves. Be careful, this can also be an indicator of too much sun. If the leaves begin to change colors, before doing anything feel the soil to see if it is overly wet and check to make sure the drainage hole is draining.
If the soil is really wet, replant the plant into a different pot.
How often do you water succulents?
The answer: it depends.
I know how frustrating that answer can be, but each plant and each situation is different. The important thing to remember is to observe your plant. Look for signs that you are over watering or under watering your plant.
Also, when watering your succulent don’t be afraid to use a moisture meter and stick to a consistent schedule. After a few months of doing this you will be able to tell when your plants need water.
By being attentive, getting to know your plants and sticking to a consistent schedule or practice, your succulents will not only be happy and healthy, but you will reap the benefits as well.
How often do you water succulents? Share your comments in the comment section below.
Learn more about succulents in the links below: