In your quest to keep your houseplants alive for as long as possible, have you decided to give succulents a try? These hardy little plants are not only sweet to look at, but most are also refreshingly low-maintenance.
That said, there are certain rules you'll need to follow to help yours look and feel their best! One of the most important elements is keeping yours properly hydrated.
Are you wondering how often to water succulents? Today, we're breaking it all down so you can get it right and help yours thrive!
How Often to Water Succulents
As long as you take care of them properly, your succulents can add beautiful color, texture, and visual interest to your home. They aren't fussy and require very little care, especially in the way of watering.
For most succulents, you only need to add water when the soil in the container feels 90% to 100% dry. It's important to let the soil dry out thoroughly between waterings, even if you're watering your other plants more frequently. You'll know if your succulent is thirsty when its leaves start to look a little wrinkled.
If you water them when the soil is still damp, you run the risk of root rot. That's when the roots of your plant sit in water for too long. Not only do they become oxygen-deprived, but they could also develop a bacterial or fungal infection that kills them.
This is why our first tip is to check before you water succulent plants! If their soil isn't dry and crumbly, you might not need to touch them just yet. Remember that it's typically best to under-water your succulents than fill them up too much.
Adjusting for the Seasons
All year, you can focus on watering your succulents when the top 90% of the soil feels dry. Allowing the bottom 10% to stay wet can encourage growth and help your plant develop.
In the winter, you can use even more restraint. The sun isn't as full, the air isn't as humid, and your succulents aren't as thirsty during this time of year. Go ahead and let them dry out 100%, but don't neglect them altogether.
Keep a close eye on their leaves, and wait for them to become a little wilted. Once they do, you can water them. Without full sun, succulents can grow long and leggy in the winter, and this controlled approach keeps them in great shape.
Why Don't Succulents Need as Much Water?
Succulents are drought-tolerant. That means that once they're established, they only need a little water to survive.
While this might be the case, they do need consistent, steady soil moisture to look and feel their best. To help yours grow and develop, pay close attention to the variety you have.
Factors that can affect your level of soil moisture include:
- The type of container the succulent is in (ceramic, terracotta, plastic, etc.)
- The size of the container
- The time of year
Adjusting Per Variety
While there are some succulents that will flourish just fine on their own without much care, others need a little more attention. In general, stocky varieties that have thick and fleshy leaves and stems are more self-sufficient than ones with smaller, thinner leaves.
This is because stocky succulents can store up water, allowing them to survive for long periods of time in between waterings. These succulents grow natively in hot, dry climates and are used to their soil staying dry.
Looking for a succulent that you don't need to water hardly at all? If so, check out Lithops. The thick bodies on this plant store a ton of water in between sessions, so it's nearly impossible to under-water them.
How to Water Your Succulents
Now that you know when to water your succulents, let's briefly discuss the method to use.
Instead of trickling water into the container frequently, most succulents prefer a good dousing, but not as often. Remember: Most of these species trace their roots back to the desert or savannah. While it might not rain much there, it's usually a downpour when it does.
To replicate that experience, add water to your container slowly and consistently. Don't stop until it comes out of the drain hole. The majority of them do better with infrequent, deep waterings that go all the way to the bottom than short-lived ones that only dampen the top two inches of soil.
If you notice that water beading or pooling off the top rather than sinking down into the plant when you water it, this means that the soil has become hydrophobic. In short, hydrophobic soil has a closed cellular structure, allowing water to run right through it.
The good news is that this problem is usually fixable.
To combat hydrophobicity, soak the soil in water for a few minutes. You can simply immerse the soil itself, water the succulent from the bottom, or water and then re-water the plant. Once the cellular structure has opened up, water should run through to the bottom without issue.
Help Your Succulents Thrive
Now that you know how often to water succulents, you'll be on the way to helping yours grow beautifully! While there is a little more to consider with these plants, the basic process is simple and easy to remember.
At Terracotta, we're here to help you fill your home with plants, accessories, and home goods that bring you joy. If it's succulents you love, take a look at our full desert collection! Here, you'll find everything from Jade Bonsai to Burro's Tail, just waiting to beautify your space.