Succulents make a fantastic addition to your home and garden, but they can also be tricky to maintain if you…
Succulents make a fantastic addition to your home and garden, but they can also be tricky to maintain if you aren’t aware of the proper care required.
Succulents are versatile, hardy plants that tend to store water in their roots, leaves and stems. They excel when growing in arid conditions, but require regular watering when brought inside. But how do you go about watering your succulents to give them the best chance of flourishing?
Generally, the best thing to do when watering a succulent is to completely drench the soil through with water; the plant will then slowly absorb the water. Different types of plants will have different ways to retain this water, including waxy coatings on leaves and hairs.
Outdoor succulents tend to require more water than indoor succulents to thrive, but to make sure you’re not overwatering them and keep checking the soil for moisture. Once the soil is completely dry, you can water again. During the summer when your outdoor succulents are more exposed to heat you may need to water them every couple of days, whereas in the winter you may only need to water them once every week.
Generally succulents need more water in the early spring when the plant is still growing, but how much water you give your plant depends on many factors, including the size of the plant pot, the growing conditions and – most importantly – the type of succulent.
Agave, for example, is a drought-tolerant perennial which only requires intermittent watering after the first week or two, while echeveria will need a lot more water in the summer months than it will during the cooler winter period.
As we’ve identified, how to water your succulents can depend on a number of factors, but there are a few key things to avoid. These include:
• Overwatering – succulents can recover from being under-watered, but if you water them too much they could die. Yellow, mushy leaves are a key indicator of an over-watered succulent.
• Using a pot without a drainage hole – succulents don’t like sitting in wet soil for long periods of time, so you need to ensure the water has somewhere to go once the plant has taken the key nutrients from it.
• Not having the right soil – regular potting soil tends to be too dense for succulents to survive, so ensure you use a gritty mix containing bark fines and granite.
During the winter months, succulents enter a dormant period and their water requirements decrease. You should still water your succulents when the soil is dry, but the need to do this may reduce from once a week to once a month.
Occasionally, a succulent will need repotting if it outgrows its pot or the soil starts to decline in quality. Refrain from watering your succulents immediately after repotting, as the plant will need a week or so to adjust to its new soil.
Do you have any further tips about watering your succulents? If so, let us know in the comments section below.
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