How To Water Succulent Plants

The Do's and Don'ts

When they tell you that succulent plants are easy to grow, and will take any kind of abuse and laugh at it, don't believe it.

How to Water Succulents - rain barrel

There are a few ways to kill off succulents. 

One is to keep them in a dim room and not give it enough light. 

The other common way is by the wrong watering regime - meaning at the wrong time. 

The other way is to water them incorrectly. 

There's a theme here.  Succulent plants are not as care free as they're made out to be, but with some guidance,  you can grow them successfully.

Succulent plants originate in dry climates and have evolved to deal with drought, but with the ability, and need, for some periodic flooding.

If you can copy this by the way you water them, they'll be happy and healthy, all other things being equal.

It goes against all of our nature as good plant moms to deprive plants of water, but when you remember their origins, you can feel better about being cruel to be kind.

Watering Succulents

Do This;

  • Use warm (room temperature, 'tempered') water
  • Use rain water, water from an air conditioning unit, or distilled/filtered water
  • Water only when the soil is dry

How do you know the soil is dry?  There are several ways, and only you will know which one is right for you. 

You can poke a finger into the top inch or so of the soil and feel the moisture level, use a water sensing meter to tell you the exact amount of water in the soil, or use my method; pick up the pot and heft it, to test the weight. 

This only works if you consistently use the same kinds of pots (like terracotta clay pots, for instance).  Over time, you'll get a good handle on whichever method you choose.

Don't Do This;

  • Water with cold well water, directly from the tap
  • Water from overhead, onto the leaves, unless the leaves are dusty
  • Water when the plants are in full sun
  • Water when the plant is dormant. Let it completely dry out until the next time you water it.

Other things to remember; don't let pots of succulents sit in a saucer of water. They have extremely fleshy roots in some cases, so excess moisture in the soil will cause them to rot.

Use a potting soil that has water holding polymer crystals - this way, even when the soil is bone dry, it will be easier to re-wet it. More on soil for succulents here.




Want your succulents to survive the winter?  Learn how to bring them indoors and be happy and healthy with this free e-course;  Fill in your name and email address on the form below to enroll!

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