Succulent Watering Tips

6 Comments

Succulent Watering Tips

Make sure to use a pot with drainage hole

If you’re a beginner, we highly recommend using pots with drainage holes. Though it is possible to grow succulents in pots without drainage holes, the risk of rot is much higher as water may sit at the bottom of the pot and keep the soil wet for an extended amount of time. It also takes more effort and expertise as you have to carefully monitor the watering schedule and the amount of water needed to keep the succulents in their best shape and health. Luckily, you can add drainage holes to most containers with a diamond tip drill bit. For glass containers, you can add a layer of pebble and charcoal to encourage good drainage.

pot for succulents
The material of the pots is also important in keeping your succulents happy. Pots made of porous materials such as terracotta and ceramic allow water to evaporate faster than plastic or glass pots. Make sure you know the pros and cons of different pot materials before choosing one for your plants.

Use fast draining soil

Succulents rot easily if they sit in water for too long. It is extremely important to provide fast draining soil that doesn’t retain water to allow the roots to breathe. Using fast draining soil + pot with drainage holes allows you to be more carefree when watering your succulents. Fast draining soil designed specifically for succulents and cacti can be easily found in local garden centers or home improvement stores at an affordable price. You can also create your own soil mix by simply mixing light, porous potting soil + fluffy materials such as perlite or pumice.
  

soil mix for succulents

<image source: Succulents and More>

Always check the soil before watering

Some succulent species need more water than others. Most will have wrinkles and dropping leaves when they need more water. But you should not water your succulents too often. Generally, simply check the top of the soil, if it’s completely dry, it’s time to water. Make sure to thoroughly soak the soil and then give it some time to dry out. Don't water it again until the soil becomes completely dry.

It’s always better to underwater than overwater. Therefore, for beginners, we recommend that you water once every 2 weeks at first, then observe your succulents’ reactions and adjust the watering schedule accordingly. Learning to tell if your succulents are overwatered or underwatered might seem daunting but it can be done. 

Water at the roots. Don’t spray or water on the leaves

Succulent Watering Tips

  • Don’t use spray bottles. A common watering mistake is that you can water your succulents by simply spraying water on their leaves. In fact, that only works for propagating leaves and baby plants. In adult plants, it’s the root that absorbs water and nutrition. Use watering bottles or cans that have a long small spout to water gently and directly at the root ball. Watering bottles are lightweight and have scale marks that allow you to control the amount of water you want to give your plants. 
  • Don’t water on the leaves or on top of the plant. Water that stays on the leaves for too long can cause the leaves to rot. 
  • Don’t water when it’s humid/raining or extremely hot.
  • Don’t water at noon or in the afternoon. The best time to water is in the morning.
  • Use rainwater, distilled water, or filtered water if possible to avoid mineral deposit. If you use tap water, leave it out overnight to allow some of the treated chemicals to dissipate into the air.

Don't hesitate to comment below if you have any questions for us on watering techniques. We would also love to learn effective ways you use to keep your succulents happy and healthy.






6 Responses

Justin
Justin

August 26, 2018

As a follow up to my last comment regarding the “breathing tube” in my wooden window planter it’s Patent Pending btw =P

Justin
Justin

August 26, 2018

I would consider myself an “advanced beginner” to succulents, going from ignorantly spraying them to now trying out something new that seems to be working well. I bought a 24” wooden window planter and drilled an approximately 2” hole in one of the ends. I took some chicken wire (the metal fencing stuff with varying sizes of the squares which make it up) with 1/4” squares and rolled it into a 2” cylinder and then wrapped that in perforated plastic garden liner/weed preventer. I ran it into the drilled hole, sealed it with silicone so now there is essentially a “breathing tube” running the length of the container under the soil with the intention to not only aireate the roots once they reach its depth (approx 3”) but to prevent any water from lingering too long in the soil. It’s been about two weeks now and everybody seems happy, I may create another planter that has this tube running all the way end to end with holes on both sides.

Sandra Smith
Sandra Smith

August 26, 2018

I don’t think you can set a watering schedule like every 2 weeks or ect. Weather has a lot to do with when to water. I live in North Texas and it is hot and humid. I use a moisture meter and water only when dry on the meter.

Christel Colla
Christel Colla

July 30, 2018

Every 2 weeks, or seldom every week, I full a vessel with enough water to submerge the plant pot, and I let it sit there until it stops bubbling. Then I let the plant sit on an old oven rack to drain.

Whitney hostetter
Whitney hostetter

June 14, 2018

So i have a type Echeveria succulent an i can’t tell if it needs more water, less water or sunlight. I’ve asked a lot of groups that i follow but can seem to figure out what’s wrong with it. Could i send you a picture of it?!

Samantha
Samantha

May 02, 2018

I’ve also noticed that sand or sand mixtures work well for succents and well drained plants.

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