Succulents are one of the wonders of nature that can store extra water in their leaves, stems, or roots. For that reason alone, watering them should be easy. Just give them a good soak of water every 10-14 days or until the soil has been completely dry before watering again. However, this isn't always the case, as some factors like their size or soil type can affect how often they’ll need to be watered.
But worry not! With the aid of the tips and techniques in this post, you’ll learn not only what factors affect your watering routine but also discover the perfect watering scheme for your plants.
Indoor or outdoor
Both indoor and outdoor succulents like a good soaking — to the point the water runs out the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, then letting the soil dry out completely before watering again. However, succulents placed outside might need more frequent watering as the water might evaporate faster due to better airflow, plus they get more exposed to the sun.
Although succulents as a whole are known to survive in dry conditions, they still need to be watered to flourish. But not all need the same amount of water as there are certain varieties like Kalanchoe and Aeonium ‘Kiwi' that require a bit more frequent watering as their thin or tiny leaves can't hold much of it and will begin to wilt after a week without a good drink.
On the other hand, succulents like Lithops and Echinopsis Domino can survive without water for the longest time as their plump leaves can store a lot of it.
Humidity is essentially the amount of water vapor in the air, and since succulents take in moisture from it, their watering schedule may differ from usual.
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For example, if you live in an area with very humid conditions, the soil will take more time to completely dry out, so watering your succulents once every other week or every 10 to 14 days is highly recommended to avoid the risk of root rot. However, in a very dry and warm condition, the soil of your succulent will dry out faster, therefore watering them once every 7 to 10 days is needed.
Although most succulents prefer humidity levels of 40 percent or higher, it is not necessary to exactly measure it, as your plants will likely tell you if they want more by looking limp and tired.
How often you water your succulents also depends on how big or small they are. Since bigger succulents have a strong root system that can store nutrients that helps them survive without water for a longer time, they have lower demands in water compared to smaller ones.
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So if you have a large succulent, consider giving them at least two cups of water every other week in the non-winter months, and 1 cup of water once a month in the winter. For smaller ones, 1/4 cup water every week in the non-winter months, and 1/4 cup water every other week during the winter will do the job.
Your watering routine for your succulents should also be based on the type of soil that you are using, as the span of time for it to completely dry out depends on its density. Why? The denser the soil you use for your succulents, the slower its capability to drain the water after giving it a good drink, leading its roots to stay moist longer, therefore watering should be lessened to avoid root rot.
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To make it simple, the soil's density is a mixture of 2 main ingredients — organic and inorganic compound. Now, if your soil is composed of more organic compounds than inorganic, the more it gets denser. So watering it should be lessened as it will hold more water than the well-drained soil.
Type of pot
Figuring out the perfect watering routine for your succulents can be somewhat tricky. But knowing the type of pot you have is one of the deciding factors of knowing how often they need to be watered. Why? As some materials used to make them have effects on their ability to drain or retain the water after a good soak. Terracotta pots, for example, are porous and the most breathable one, watering should be more habitual, especially if you are someone residing in a dry and hot location. Ceramic or plastic pots, on the contrary, are great in helping conserve water and less breathable compared to terracottas. As a result, watering should be reduced.
As part of the succulents lifecycle, every year, most of them undergo a dormant phase. In watering, knowing when your succulents will go through the dormancy period is fundamental as watering should be minimized during these times, or else, they'll suffer from overwatering and eventually die.
Keep in mind that not all succulents enter the dormancy period at the same time. So you might want to check our SUCCULENT DORMANCY 101 article to know when your succulents will go through this phase.
As you see, there are lots of aspects to ponder when it comes to watering succulents. So be observant and put in a bit of effort, as the situation they’re growing in, pot type, composition of soil mix, their kind, or whether they’re inside or out all play a big role.
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