How to Water Succulent Plants

How to Water Succulent Plants-SC
Watered Succulent Plant Image

Succulents can survive in arid regions because of their ability to store water in their roots, stems, and leaves. For this reason, many persons tend to overlook the fact that they need to water their succulents when planted in their homes. That said, to keep your succulents blooming, it is best to water them regularly.
In this article, you will get to know how to water succulents plants indoors or outdoors correctly, as well as how you can see if you are overwatering your succulents.

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Watering Succulent Image
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Watering Succulents Indoor Image: IG@sunnyplants_com

How to Water Succulents Indoors?

Instead of just spritzing your indoor succulents, soak them to the extent that water gushes out from the drainage holes beneath the pot. Before watering your succulents again, ensure that the soil is parched. According to Bryce Lane, a horticulturist from North Carolina State University, check the soil after a week of watering to see if it is dry. If it is not, wait one or two more weeks. When watering indoor succulents, ensure that water does not get on top of the leaves to prevent rot.
Another thing to note about watering succulents planted indoors is that they need the most water during the spring when they are still growing. You can reduce the amount of water during the summer and even more during the winter. It is because, during the winter, succulents are in dormancy and do not get plenty of light, and so, their water requirement reduces.

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Watering Can used: IG@sucstu

How to Water Succulents in Outdoor Containers?

During the summer, you can place your potted succulents outdoors. Give your succulents the chance to adjust to varying temperature levels by placing them in a shaded environment before moving to a brighter area. That said, ensure that your succulents are not exposed to direct sunlight, especially during midday.
Outdoor succulents require more water and indoor succulents. What’s more, the water will dry faster because it is exposed to more sunlight and air.

The best kits for watering outdoor succulents are squeeze bottles and spout watering cans. Use any of these kits to pour water onto the soil until it is adequately soaked—from the top of the pot to the bottom. After that, wait until the soil dries out completely before watering the succulents again.

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Watering Ground Succulents: IG@nedsinanoqui

How to Water Succulents in the Ground?


Succulents such as Opuntia, Sedum, and Agave can survive harsh weather conditions, especially the fully grown ones with stronger roots. Both hardy and annual succulents need to be planted in well-drained soil. According to Lane, planting succulents in stagnant water is an exercise in futility.

He recommends changing the existing soil or mounding the soil where the succulents are planted. Creating a 2-foot mound of organic-based compost with a mixture of PermaTill will allow your succulents to flourish even if they find themselves somewhere different from their native environment.
In essence, a good soaking, good soil, and adequate drainage are needed for growing healthy succulents.

How Often Should I Water My Succulents?


Now that you know how to water indoor and outdoor succulents, the next question on your mind will be how often you should water your succulents? Well, to answer your question, first, note that there is no rigid watering schedule for you to follow.

The watering frequency depends on the succulent, the size of your pot, and the weather conditions in your area. The smaller the pot, the less moisture it can accommodate. Hence, the more frequently it needs to be watered. While some persons may need to water their succulents as rarely as once a month, others need to do that weekly.

That said, the right watering frequency that most indoor succulent growers adopt is watering 14 – 21 days at the early stage and adjusting the timeline as time goes on. Ensure that you do not overwater your succulents to avoid rot.
For you not to forget your watering schedule, as well as to avoid under-watering and overwater, you can use a tool called Succulent Tracker App (only iOS version available currently).

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Wilting Leaves needs water: Reddit@u/hbangar99

Signs Your Succulent is Thirsty


Even though succulents are recommended to be dry before watering, ensure that you do not dehydrate them in the process. Once you notice any wrinkles and wilted leaves, it is a sign that you need to water your succulents.
As your succulent’s cells try to transfer their stored moisture to other parts, they also try to accumulate more water to make up for the amount they have lost. But then, if the water is not available to replace what was lost, the cells begin to contract gradually, making the leaves that used to flourish shrivel.

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Image of an Over-watered Plant: Reddit@u/darthlaurian

Signs Your Succulent Has Been Overwatered

The danger of overwatering succulents is that it damages the cell structure, roots, and leaves.
The first and most common sign of overwatering to take note of is discolouration. Once you notice the leaves are becoming soft, translucent, and squishy, know that you have been overwatering the succulents. Unlike under-watered succulents leaves that contract overwatered succulents leaves will be dropped.

While succulents can recover from overwatering, it is not all that easy. A great way to save overwatered succulents is to plant a new one with the cuttings to root and leaves.

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Healthy Succulent: IG@thecurlyplantlady

Do you want a definite guide on the accurate way to water succulents (like a very easy, step-by-step guide, you just need to follow)? Here comes our new eBook The Correct Way to Water Succulents that will offload your concern. Check it out!

Signs of a Healthy Succulent

First off, plants will always tell you when they need something. But sadly, not everyone knows how to read the signs. While squishy leaves’ discoloration tells you that you are overwatering your succulents, shriveled leaves show that you are under-watering your succulents.

Hens and Chicks plants tend to shut down older, lower leaves as they grow. While this is a natural phenomenon that is part of the growth process, the leaves do not wither. They just become skinny, papery, and brownish. Prone these leaves to keep your succulents looking fresh. All in all, when watering your succulents, you have to consider the soil and the environment. Follow the watering guidelines we mentioned in this article. Your succulents will keep blooming even under the most adverse conditions.

Full Guide to Watering Succulents – When, How & Why

how to water succulents
How to water succulents images Succulents Box

Succulents can survive in arid regions because of their ability to store water in their roots, stems, and leaves.

For this reason, many persons tend to overlook the fact that they need to water their succulents when planted in their homes. That said, to keep your succulents blooming, it is best to water them regularly.

In this article, you will learn how to water succulents plants indoors or outdoors, as well as how you can see if you are overwatering your succulents.

How to Water Succulents Indoors

Instead of just spritzing your indoor succulents, soak them to the extent that water gushes out from the drainage holes beneath the pot. Before watering your succulents again, ensure that the soil is parched.

According to Bryce Lane, a horticulturist from North Carolina State University, check the soil after a week of watering to see if it is dry. If it is not, wait one or two more weeks. When watering indoor succulents, ensure that water does not get on top of the leaves to prevent rot.

Another thing to note about watering succulents planted indoors is that they need the most amount of water during the spring when they are still growing. You can reduce the amount of water during the summer and even more during the winter. During the winter, succulents are in dormancy and do not get plenty of light, and so, their water requirement reduces.

How to Water Succulents in Outdoor Containers

During the summer, you can place your potted succulents outdoors. Give your succulents the chance to adjust to varying temperature levels by placing them in a shaded environment before moving to a brighter area, this required to ensure your succulents are not exposed to direct sunlight.

The best kits for watering outdoor succulents are squeeze bottles and spout watering cans. Use any of these kits to pour water onto the soil until it is properly soaked—from the top of the pot to the bottom. After that, wait until the soil dries out completely before watering the succulents again.

How to Water Succulents in the Ground

Succulents such as Opuntia, Sedum, and Agave can survive harsh weather conditions, especially the fully grown ones with stronger roots. Both hardy and annual succulents need to be planted in well-drained soil. According to Lane, planting succulents in stagnant water is an exercise in futility.

Creating a 2-foot mound of organic-based compost with a mixture of PermaTill will allow your succulents to flourish even if they find themselves somewhere different from their native environment. A good soaking, good soil, and good drainage are essential for growing healthy succulents.

How Often Should I Water My Succulents?

Now that you know how to water indoor and outdoor succulents, the next question on your mind will be how often you should water your succulents? Well, to answer your question, first, note that there is no rigid watering schedule for you to follow.

The watering frequency depends on the type of succulent, the size of your pot, and the weather conditions in your area. The smaller the pot, the less moisture it can accommodate. Hence, the more frequently it needs to be watered.

A good watering frequency that most indoor succulent growers adopt is watering 14 – 21 days at the early stage. Ensure that you do not overwater your succulents to avoid rot.

You can use a tool called Succulent Tracker App (only iOS version available currently). This app are useful to remind your watering schedule, as well as to avoid under-watering and overwatering, .

Signs Your Succulent is Thirsty

Even though succulents are recommended to be dry before watering, ensure that you do not dehydrate them in the process. Once you notice any wrinkles and shriveled leaves, it is a sign that you need to water your succulents.

As the cells of your succulents try to transfer their stored moisture to other parts, they also try to accumulate more water to make up for the amount they have lost. But then, if the water is not available to replace what was lost, the cells begin to contract gradually, making the leaves that used to flourish shrivel.

Signs Your Succulent Has Been Overwatered

The danger of overwatering succulents is that it damages the cell structure, roots, and leaves.

The first and most common sign of overwatering to take note of is discoloration. Once you notice the leaves are becoming soft, translucent, and squishy, know that you have been overwatering the succulents. Unlike under-watered succulents, leaves that contract overwatered succulents leaves will be dropped.

While succulents can recover from overwatering, it is not all that easy. A great way to save overwatered succulents is to plant a new one with the cuttings to root and leaves.

1 moment for promotion: Our new eBook The Correct Way to Water Succulents is out for sale 🙂 If you want a really simple guide with many useful tips for watering succulents, this eBook is right there for you. See it now!

Signs of a Healthy Succulent

First off, plants will always tell you when they are in need of something. But sadly, not everyone knows how to read the signs.

While squishy leaves discoloration tells you that you are overwatering your succulents, shriveled leaves show that you are under-watering your succulents.

Hens and Chicks plants tend to shut down older, lower leaves as they grow. While this is a natural phenomenon that is part of the growth process, the leaves do not wither. They just become very thin, papery, and brownish. Prone these leaves to keep your succulents looking fresh.

All in all, when watering your succulents, you have to consider the soil and the environment. Follow the watering guidelines we mentioned in this article, and your succulents will keep blooming even under the most adverse conditions.

When Should You Really Water Your Succulents

When you should water you succulents?

Everyone praises succulents as being really easy to care for, so it’s kind of 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. You really only have to straighten out one thing to become a succulent maven – watering.

How often to water succulents?

Here’s a little-known secret for succulent care – the amount that you water succulents isn’t nearly as important as how often you water them.

It makes sense if you consider why succulents are so sensitive to water.

Since most succulents and cacti are native to dry, desert-y 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 special version of photosynthesis (called CAM photosynthesis) where they only open their pores at night to minimize water loss.

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

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 (and succulents are particularly susceptible).

The number one killer of succulents is overwatering. But not in the sense that they get too much water – rather, they get watered too often. It’s absolutely crucial that the soil is given time to dry out between waterings.

So how often do you actually water a succulent or cactus? A good rule of thumb is to water once every 10 days. You should still check to be sure that the soil is dry (and has been for a couple days) before you water again.

How much to water succulents?

Now we know when to water our succulents and cacti, but not how much.

To figure this out, we go back to the desert these plants came from. It does actually rain in the desert, contrary to common belief. However, that only happens a couple times a year. And in the desert the saying “When it rains, it pours.” is very accurate. The sky just dumps buckets of water. Succulents like to be watered this way too, albeit a bit more often. Forget about the eyedroppers and spray bottles. Put those ‘succers’ under the faucet and drench them. You should water until the water begins to run out of the bottom of the pot. That’s how you know you’ve soaked the soil all the way through.

And that part is important – you want to ensure that all of the soil is completely wetted. If you use only a little water, it 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.

Proper succulent watering technique

When you should water your succulents

While throwing your succulent in the sink is certainly a viable method, you can practice some more applied techniques for an even better effect.

We already mentioned that all the soil in the pot needs to be drenched. That’s still true. If possible, though, you should try to avoid getting water on the leaves. This opens the door to a few problems:

Mold and mildew can form in the crevices of a plant (like where the leaves meet the stem). It also provides a nice habitat for pests, who generally prefer moist environments. We recommend using a succulent watering bottle with bend watering mouth for easy control during the watering process! We really like this one by Mkono

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 a 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.

So, if you have few enough plants (or just really enjoy watering), you should water each succulent individually by pouring water at the base of the stem. Make sure to get the rest of the pot as well. If you are new to plants, we highly recommend this planting & watering tool kit.

Avoid overwatering

Water isn’t the only factor in the watering equation, actually. Soil plays a big part.

One of the qualities of soil is how much water it retains. Soil mixtures that have a lot of organic matter (stuff like peat moss, coconut coir, etc.) tend to hold a lot of water. Mixtures that mostly have 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 in the same day. That’s why watering in the morning is ideal – it has the whole day to evaporate.

So, grab some soil specific to succulents and cacti next time you’re out. Your plants will thank you. A quick DIY solution is to just buy a bag of perlite and mix it half and half with any other kind of soil. It’s not perfect, but it will dramatically increase drainage.

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.

Note also that many succulents you buy (especially from big box stores) actually have a poor soil mix when they’re sold to you. You’ll probably want to repot them as soon as you’re able.

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

Without proper drainage at the bottom of a pot, water tends to pool and the roots stay wet for longer. That’s dangerous. And, no, gravel in the bottom of a pot does not constitute drainage. The water is still there. It doesn’t go anywhere.

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 our 12 minimalistic ways to plant succulents). Just know that they might not survive it for very long or be very happy for the duration. So much for that Pinterest photo shoot you had planned, eh?

ALSO READ:

When you should water your succulents and how often

Tips for succulent watering

  • Different plants have different needs. Sometimes wildly so. Kalanchoe, for example, are pretty thirsty succulents. They begin to wilt after a week without water. The famous “butt plants”, Lithops, can only be watered three or four times a year or they promptly die. (psst: if you are looking for Lithops Seeds, we recommend these by Micro Landscape Design)
  • Always err on the side of underwatering. Succulents and cacti are literally designed to be thirsty sometimes. They can almost always bounce back from lack of water… but recovering from too much water is a dicey prospect at best.
  • If you have a community pot (a pot with multiple species of plants), water to the lowest common denominator. That means that you should water only when the “driest” plants start to get thirsty. We are following the same advice as above – it’s better for succulents to be thirsty for a while rather than overwatering.

Thanks for reading!

We hope you got some pointers on how to keep your succulent family healthy! Also, don’t forget you can receive 2 FREE Audio books of your choice from our sponsor at Audible.com. We’ve got 2 books we listen to about propagation and watering succulents, what are you thinking of listening too?

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If you enjoyed reading our blog about When You Should Water Your Succulents, be sure to check out our other blogs. Personally I think you’ll enjoy this one: 6 Best Indoor Succulents.

If you learned something, please consider buying us a succulent for our office.

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Enjoyed learning about When You Should Water Your Succulents? If so, you’ll really enjoy the ebook about The Correct Way to Water Succulents. With this ebook, you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

How Often To Water a Cactus: Essential Guide

How Often To Water Cactus

If you were to ask anyone to describe the cacti plants in the simplest way, they will most possibly include the words; thick, spiked, dry and desert. And in that simple definition, you will conclude that these plants are sturdy plants that can survive unrelenting climatic conditions. Nothing here is disputable. As a matter of fact, every character mentioned so far is correct. However, it’s not the only description these lovely plants deserve.

Most people actually fail to realize that cactus plants are a very vast and broad family of plants with more than 100 differing species under its belt. One kind is unique to the next, but all share a similarity of having thick, plump, fleshy stems. And another awesome thing about cacti is that they can survive almost all environments making suitable for household planting. As long as all their needs are met, they could add sparkle to your house window sill or your office desktop. Check out “9 Types of Cacti” to see more kinds of cacti out there.

How Often To Water Cactus
Spiral Cactus @ohiotropics

Why Cacti Love Water So Much!

Just like other plants, cacti need water for their survival. Their characteristic, fleshy appearance is as a result of the presence of h20 within its cells. The mere factor that they are hardy plants and are quite low-maintenance presents itself as both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that, for one with not so much time for plant care in their hands, they can still keep the little beauties. And a curse in that there is a thin line between under and overwatering them. Take a look at “When You Should Water Your Succulents” for more tips on watering your cactus. And many are the times we face the predicament on how often to water them. Well, we assure you that it is not as mindbending as you presume, but more straightforward than you could ever imagine!

Be sure to check out our Ebook “The Correct Way to Water Succulents” for a full guide to watering your succulents.

Factors That Influence The Watering Schedule Of Your Cactus

The Soil Composition

These plants flourish in a well-draining, sufficiently ventilated coarse, gritty, loose, sandy soil. The soil must be light-weight with a minimal composition of organic matter. And we all know that mixing water and decomposing matter is a bad idea. It promotes root rot, eventually killing your cactus crop. The porous nature of your soil mix encourages fast water flowing such that the soil dries faster, allowing proper aeration. This means the more granular your soil mix is, the more frequent the watering.

Don’t know what root rot is? Well take a look at “What is Root Rot & How Do You Fix It?” for more info to protecting your succulents from rotting.

How Often To Water Cactus
Flowering Cactus @amazing__plants

The Season

Of the four seasons, cacti plants thrive in the warmer ones: summer and spring when the watering is mostly done. This is because, during these seasons, the atmosphere is hotter. Consequently, the evaporation of water from the soil and the plant itself is at its highest making the soil dry. The colder seasons, however, the air is cooler, and evaporation is on the lower side; hence, the soil will lose less water. Undespitudedly, the watering is more frequent during the warmer seasons as compared to the colder seasons.

Check out how some succulents are able to survive in desert conditions like parts of Mexico in “5 Most Popular Succulents From Mexico“.

The Cactus Growing Cycle

Every plant has a time in their life cycle that the growth is most active and durations when they go into dormancy. The productive seasons is when the plant grows upwards, blooms and even produces seeds giving rise to new offsprings. On the other hand, during their dormancy, the plants’ growth slows down and preserves its energy getting ready for the active periods. And this influences how often one should water the cactus. This, consequently, goes without saying that irrigation is more frequent during its production cycle.

Additionally, younger cacti plants require more water because of their faster growth rate. Thinking of growing those succulent plants at home? Check out “How to Successfully Grow Indoor Succulents” for more.

Location Of The Cactus Plant

This simply entails where the plant has been cultivated; indoors, outdoors, in a planter, or the ground. A cactus plant grown outside will be watered more regularly because of moving air which carries moisture from the soil. As compared to its counterpart grown indoors, where the wind does not move more freely in the confinements of walls. Cacti plants borne in containers and the ground are both watered when the soil becomes dry. But the rate at which the dirt dries will be determined by other weather conditions. Notwithstanding, watering must be done to bypass the drying off of your plant. Take a look at “5 Succulents You can Grow in a Coffee Mug” for techniques in growing your succulent in different places.

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How Often To Water Cactus
Echeveria Setosa Deminuta @nurcan.srbs

Exposure To Light

It has been known that light goes hand in hand with the production of heat energy. This means that the more the exposure, the more radiation is produced, and the faster the transpiration and evaporation. A cactus plant and the soil exposed longer will, therefore, lose more water. And that dictates that the irrigation will be done more often since the soil will dry faster. Plants bred under grow lights will go by the same principle. The more the exposure, the more the watering. Do you grow your cactus under a grow light? Check out “Best Grow Lights Reviewed by Succulent Lovers”.

Be sure to check out our Ebook “Best Lighting Practices for Succulent Growth” for a full tutorial in lighting for your plants.

Humidity

The higher the humidity, the lower the rate of evaporation. And the lower the humidity, the higher the dissipation. Humid air contains a large amount of moisture within itself, which simply means there will be no space for evaporated water to occupy. And the vice-versa is so in a dry humid atmosphere.

Size Of Cacti Plant

A bigger cactus plant has a smaller surface area to volume ratio, which decreases the amount of water that is evaporated. More miniature cactus, on the other hand, lose much water, meaning they will require more watering. Want to know more about larger sized cactus, go to “3 Popular Large Succulents You Don’t Have” for more.

Type and Size Of Pot

The size of the pot will determine the number of times you will water your cactus in a week. Bigger containers with more soil mix will obviously need a higher water volume to wet the entire cactus pot. Although one should make sure the soil is porous not to harbor any extra water.

What the container will also influence is the rate at which you will water your crops. For instance, terracotta pots have porous walls that seep up water, which is evaporated through their walls. This dramatically reduces the time the potting mix takes to dry out completely.

Plastic containers, on the other hand, trap moisture, increasing the time duration between watering.

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How Often To Water Cactus
Indoor Garden @tiendafloralia

Just like other succulents, a cactus plant should never be misted using spray bottles. Instead, they are watered in two ways. First, the pot is put inside a saucer with water and let to soak water up. The second method, and most common is watering the crop by soaking the soil surface. You should never water the plant overhead. Water contact with the plant should be at a minimum to avoid the onset of mold.

Thank you for reading! Let us know in the comments below how you care for your cactus during the summer or spring season. Be sure to also check out related content for your gardening needs in “Repotting Succulents— the Right Way“, “6 Best Fertilizers for Succulents”, or “Best Gardening Tools for Succulents“.

Did this article on how often to water cacti help answer your succulent-care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulent lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor & Outdoor” or even “6 Most Important Tips to Grow Succulents”  today! 

Happy planting! ?