Recently bought some succulents? Keeping plants and cultivating your green thumb has several health benefits.
Indoor plants can help reduce your stress levels. They can also help you focus and boost your productivity.
Keeping plants in your room or office can improve the air quality. If you’re ill, injured, or recently undergone surgery, they can help you recover faster. Working with plants is also therapeutic.
Succulents are one of the trendy plants to keep. They come in different forms and colors. They’re low maintenance and can be grown indoors, outdoors, or in containers.
However, knowing how to water succulents is still important. They may need little care, yet this doesn’t mean you can neglect them completely. Read on to know some tips about caring for succulents.
What Are Succulents?
Before going into succulent care, it’s important to have a basic understanding of these elegant plants. You can find succulents in almost all types of habitats around the world. Yet, they often grow in arid or semi-arid environments.
They’re well-adapted to survive in dry, desert-like conditions. They store any amount of water they’re exposed to in one of their organs. This could be their leaves, stems, or roots.
These water-storing organs have specialized cells, making them fleshy and enlarged. These features allow succulents to survive for long periods with little or no water.
In the areas where succulents like cacti are native, the soil is quick to drain. There are infrequent yet heavy bouts of water.
They get flash floods from 24-28 hour-storms followed by weeks without any water. We follow this natural pattern when watering succulents.
Caring for Succulents
Because of succulent’s unique way of holding water, it’s safer to leave them too dry than too wet. Yet, they do get thirsty. Knowing how to read the signs is an important first step in knowing how to water succulents.
Signs Your Succulent Is Thirsty
A clear sign that your succulent needs water is leaves that look wrinkled and shriveled. Succulents’ cells release their stored moisture to the rest of their body. As they do, they’ll try to bring in water to replace what they lost.
When succulents don’t get more water, they’ll try to conserve their depleted stores. The cells contract and become smaller. This continues until the once firm and plump leaves collapse and shrivel.
Signs of an Overwatered Succulent
On the other end of improper succulent care is thinking they need regular watering. When succulents get overwatered, their water-storing cells can overfill and burst. This damages their cell structure and results in rotting roots and leaves.
One of the first signs of an overwatered succulent is discoloration of the leaves. They’ll also have changes in their form.
The leaves may become translucent, tender, and squishy. Unlike when it’s underwatered, succulents will drop overwatered leaves.
Succulents can recover overwatered leaves, but they may remain hard. One way to save overwatered succulents is by taking leaves and cutting them and plant them anew.
How to Water Succulents
When watering succulent plants, the “soak and dry” method works best. This involves soaking the soil completely then letting it dry out before watering again. Succulents need to be in well-draining soil in a pot with a drainage hole.
As for the frequency, there’s no universal watering schedule that fits every succulent. Remember that you should only water succulents when the soil has completely dried.
Many growers of indoor succulents find that watering every 14-21 days is good. You can use this as a starting point and adjust as necessary. Make sure to track when you water your succulent.
The safest way to go is by waiting for signs from your succulent. If the leaves are showing signs of underwatering, then give it water. If there are no signs, don’t water again until the soil is completely dry.
For indoor succulents, give them a good soak until the excess water runs out of the pot’s drainage holes. Don’t forget to empty the excess water in the saucer beneath the pot. Too much moisture will rot the roots of the succulent.
One of the important succulent watering tips is making sure the water doesn’t get on top of the leaves. This can also cause them to rot. Pour the water onto the surrounding soil around the succulent.
Succulents will need more water in the early spring. This is when their growth is active. Their need may decrease in the summer and especially during winter.
Succulents in Outdoor Containers
It can be good to move potted succulents outdoors in the summer. However, allow them to acclimate to the outdoors first.
Place the succulents in areas with a partial shade before placing them under direct sunlight. Keep them away from intense sunlight from late morning until midafternoon.
In general, outdoor plants need more water than those indoors. Still, your conditions will determine the frequency of watering your succulents.
You can start by checking on them every week. Pay attention to the soil if it’s bone dry or still has a bit of moisture. Succulents in shallow pots may need watering every few days.
Succulents in the Ground
Some succulents like sedums can thrive in the ground. Depending on your region’s climate, they may need watering every week.
Established succulent plants will have a stronger root system. This allows them to tolerate dry conditions better than new plants.
Remember that they still need well-draining soil. You can use a raised bed if your soil stays too moist. You can also try mounding up the soil in the places in your garden where you plant your succulents.
Keep Your Succulents Healthy With These Tips
Succulents are exquisite plants that need little care. This is because they’re well-adapted to dry environments with little and infrequent water. Yet they still need water and knowing how to water succulents is important if you’re keeping one.
It’s safer to keep them dry than water them too much. Remember the signs of an underwatered or overwatered succulent. Give them a good soak and only water them again when the soil is completely dry.
Want to know more about caring for succulents? Check out our other guides here.