Watering For Succulents Should Be Easy …

How Often Do You Water Succulents featured image

Everyone praises succulents as easy to care for, so it’s embarrassing when one dies on you. Don’t worry, you (probably) don’t have a brown thumb. There are a few misconceptions about how to care for succulents well. We know it 🙂 Let today’s post guide you through the most crucial things when it comes to watering succulents.

Here’s a little-known secret for succulent care – the amount you water succulents isn’t nearly as significant as how often to water succulents. It makes sense if you consider why succulents are so sensitive to water.

First Thing To Tackle … How Often Do You Water Succulents?

Since most succulents and cacti are native to desert conditions, they have adaptations to prevent water loss. That thick waxy sheen on the leaves is called a “cuticle,” and it prevents water from evaporating out of the leaves. Succulents even have a particular version of photosynthesis (CAM photosynthesis) where they only open their pores at night to minimize water loss.

These plants are good at retaining water. So good that they can accidentally drown themselves. Plants breathe primarily through their roots, believe it or not. If those roots are wet, they can’t breathe.

When you should water your succulents

Succulent roots have evolved to act like every drop of water might be the last. They cling jealously to all the water they can find in their soil. Unfortunately, if the soil is constantly wet, it leads to root rot – a deadly illness for most plants (succulents are particularly susceptible).

The number one killer of succulents is overwatering. But not because they get too much water – they get watered too often. The soil must be given time to dry out between waterings.

So, how often do you water a succulent or cactus? A good rule of thumb is to water once every 10-14 days. Before you water it again, you should still check to ensure the soil is dry (and has been for a couple of days). For you not to forget your watering schedule, as well as to avoid underwatering and overwatering, you can use a tool called Succulent Tracker App (on Apple Store & Google Play).

How Much To Water Succulents?

Now we know when to water succulents, but not how much. To figure this out, we return to the desert these plants came from. It does rain in the desert, contrary to common belief. However, that only happens a couple of times a year.

And in the desert, the saying “When it rains, it pours.” is accurate. The sky dumps buckets of water.

Succulents like to be watered this way, albeit a bit more often. Forget about the eyedroppers and spray bottles. Put those ‘succers’ under the faucet and drench them (like you can see in the TikTok video). You should water until the water begins running out of the pot’s bottom. That’s how you know you’ve soaked the soil through.

soak your succulents in full water
Soak your succulents in full water and let them dry. Image from u/Superunleadedgas
@succulentcity

Quick tip on how to water your succulents 💧 Watch them grow! 👍 Learn more tips and tricks here https://succulentcity.com/category/guides-care-tips/ via @monstrofarm at tiktok

♬ original sound –

And that part is essential – you want to ensure that all the soil is thoroughly wetted. Only a little water doesn’t penetrate more than the top couple of inches of soil. That forces the succulent to grow roots upwards instead of downwards. That leads to weak roots, poor stability, and an ineffective anchor for the succulent. A recipe for disaster.

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

A Few More Notes

While throwing your succulent in the sink is viable, you can practice more applied techniques for an even better effect. First, you need to check if the soil is dry. Bryce Lane, a North Carolina State University horticulturist, said we should check the soil after a week of watering to see if it is dry. If it is not, wait one or two more weeks.

Watering for succulents indoors and outdoors can be different. Succulents planted indoors need more water in the spring. You can reduce the amount of water during the summer and even more during the winter. Outdoor succulents require more water than indoor succulents because water will dry faster when exposed to sunlight and air. Squeeze bottles and spout watering cans are best for watering outdoor succulents.

We already mentioned that all the soil in the pot needs to be drenched. That’s still true. If possible, you should try to avoid getting water on the leaves for these reasons:

  1. Mold and mildew can form in the crevices of a plant (like where the leaves meet the stem). It also provides an excellent habitat for pests who prefer moist environments.
  2. Plants can’t drink through their leaves. That’s what roots are for. Any water on a leaf is being wasted.
  3. Occasionally, plants, even succulents, suffer from sunburn. When you leave liquid-like water on leaves while the succulent is exposed to bright sunlight, there’s a chance that the water will act like a magnifying glass and burn the leaf.
  4. Do your best to avoid underwatering/overwatering: Once you notice any wrinkles and wilted leaves, it signifies underwatered succulents. On the other hand, the first and most common sign of overwatering to take note of is discoloration. Then, you notice the leaves are becoming soft, translucent, and squishy, know that you have been overwatering the succulents. Avoid underwatering/overwatering succulents at all costs!

The Importance Of Having The Right Soil Mix

Water isn’t the only factor in the watering equation. Soil plays a big part. One of the qualities of soil is how much water it retains. Soil mixtures with much organic matter (peat moss, coconut coir, etc.) hold much water. On the other hand, mixtures with mostly minerals or inorganic matter (such as perlite or sand) don’t absorb water.

Succulents and cacti require quick-draining soil. You want the soil to dry out as quickly as possible after it’s watered, ideally on the same day. That’s why watering in the morning is ideal – it has the whole day to evaporate. If you do not have any local places to pick up some quick-draining soil, we highly recommend this quick-draining soil from Superfly Bonsai on Amazon. Otherwise, you can do it yourself using this guide.

When you should water your succulents and how often

Note: Many succulents you buy (especially from big box stores) have a poor soil mix when sold.

And speaking of pots – the second most crucial factor in preventing overwatering is adequate drainage. That means using pots with a drainage hole. That means teacups and terrariums aren’t optimal containers for succulents and cacti.

We’re not saying you can never put them in those cutesy containers. (By the way, if you’re having trouble finding inspiration for planting succulents check out these minimalistic ways to plant succulents). Just know that they might not survive it for long or be very happy for the duration.

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

Succulent City chief editor

ABOUT ME

Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

15 thoughts on “Watering For Succulents Should Be Easy …

  1. Your ” water until it flows out of the bottom” advice may be true in some circumstances but running water rapidly on my potted plants in porous soil quickly runs out of the bottom. The soil is not wet through. In my 40 years of gardening including 3 years exclusively with succulents, how much water at once and for how long the water should flow are major factors in watering.

    1. It’s great to hear this wonderful tip from you! I think the density & characteristics of soil layers are different to some extent. However, the amount of water and the time for water to flow are important, like you say. I hope all the readers who read this article will scroll down here to see this valuable opinion.

  2. Very informative post. A good guideline is to water when the soil is dry. How often that is, depends on the climate you live in.

  3. It’s crazy how many people think proper succulent watering means spraying with a spray bottle…that is SO not the case and it drives me crazy! Great article!

  4. I water my succulents with 2-3 spoons of water near the roots, every week. They seem to thrive very well. kl

  5. Thank you so much for these wonderful tips that will definitely help me take care of my cactus & succulents. My planters are mud pots that will absorb the water pretty quickly. Will that kill my plants?

  6. So far,so good,haven’t had any of my many cactus die, yet. Love the article and I’m doing the right thing,for them so far. One question,how cold is to cold outside at night. I live in Georgia. I plan on putting a Green house cover on them, this winter.

    Thanks

  7. Loved this article! Great advice! I have killed a lot of my succulents due to over watering! I am new to this hobby and this information will help me greatly! Thank you!

  8. I am much thankful for well said reccomendations and friendly advice especially to newly engage hobby or business on succulents and cactus. I engaged for almost 3 years as my hobby and as my partime backyard business. Now, I am happy with this article of yours to widen my ideas on proper caring and watering CnS.. I’m Looking for updates more articles on CnS or any related plants best for interior and exposed to sunlight plants. Thank you & God bless!

  9. Awsome advice ???
    All I have are cactus and succulents ! I’m obsessed ? I just lost a 17 year old…:( i usually skip that one between watering,,it’s in a porcine bowl.. I’m devestated ? Lol
    Great article ♥️?

  10. Your article doesn’t mention one thing about sunlight. Is the above for growing plants outdoors only? Sunlight is a huge factor when it comes to succulents taking up water. A drainage hole does no good if a succulent is hanging out indoors in low light.

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