Succulents require a different watering style and schedule from other types of houseplants. Though you can experiment with your own succulents to find out what suits yours the most, this guide will give you some quick watering tips to help you jump start your succulent care journey the right way.
CHECK THE SOIL BEFORE WATERING
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 until water drains out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the container. Then give the soil some time to dry out. Don't water it again until the soil becomes completely dry. Succulents are used to the alternation between drought and heavy rain in their natural habitats. Therefore, leaving the soil completely dry for an extended amount of time resembles that drought period in arid desert areas. On the other hand, these succulents are also conditioned to expect occasional heavy rain, which we imitate by soaking the soil thoroughly every now and then.
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.
IS MY SUCCULENT OVERWATERED OR UNDERWATERED?
When the plant is overwatered, the leaves would start to look translucent, discolor (yellow), feel soggy to the touch, and fall off easily. There will also be black spots on the leaves or stem. On Echeverias, which is one of the most sensitive succulents, the color of the center would get much lighter.
Dry leaves are often caused by underwatering. They are softer to the touch than when fully hydrated, but don’t look translucent and soggy like overwatered leaves. As the moisture pressure inside the tissue of the leaves and stems reduces, there will be wrinkles on the skin, and the leaves will look droopy with sagging tips.
THE CORRECT WAY TO WATER SUCCULENTS
- Don’t use spray bottles. A common watering mistake is that you can water your succulents by simply spraying water on their leaves like with other plants. In fact, this method only works for propagating leaves and baby plants. In mature 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. Watering bottles are lightweight and have scale marks that allow you to control the amount of water you want to give your succulents.
- Eliminate any water that accidentally gets on the leaves. 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.