Succulent plants have thick, fleshy tissue that stores water in their leaves, stems, or roots. They are drought-resistant and well-adapted to retaining and storing water for extended periods. Succulents come in various shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, making them a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor gardening.
Succulents are easy to grow both indoors and outdoors, but you’ll kill a succulent very quickly if you overwater it. There is no set schedule for watering succulents, but there are tried and tested guidelines that we’re going to share with you. In general, a good rule of thumb is to water succulents infrequently.
How often do you water indoor succulents?
When you grow succulents indoors, you need to ensure that you place containers in a suitable location. As the experts at the University of Florida Extension point out, most succulent species do well in partial sun, but some prefer full sun.
If you keep them indoors, it’s a good idea to position them on a windowsill and rotate the pot now and then. Of course, you also need to ensure that you grow your succulents in suitable soil. You can buy succulent soil blends or simply add perlite and sand to potting soil.
The question, of how often should you water succulents, depends on several factors. These include the type of succulent, the size of the pot, humidity levels, and the environment you keep them in.
Different types of succulents have varying water requirements. But, on average, it’s best to water every 1-3 weeks.
To be sure, check the moisture of the soil before watering. Do this by sticking your finger into the top one inch or more of soil. If it’s dry, it’s usually time to water.
How often do you water outdoor succulents?
Watering succulents outdoors also depends on various factors. These include the local climate, temperature, humidity, rainfall, soil type, and the specific type of succulent or succulents you are growing.
It’s a little more difficult deciding when to water succulent plants that are growing outside. The secret is to either keep your succulents together in their own beds or to plant them with species that have the same or similar water needs.
If your area receives regular rainfall or experiences high humidity levels, you aren’t going to need to water your succulents much at all. But, as with indoor succulents, you can check the moisture of the soil to be sure.
Also, be aware that during the active growing seasons (spring and summer), succulents generally require more water than when they are dormant. So, how often should you water your succulents that are growing in the garden?
Ultimately, you should water succulents outdoors even less frequently than those you grow indoors. Maybe only once a month unless it’s very dry.
What is the best way to water succulent plants?
Before you water your succulent plants, check soil moisture. Make sure the top couple of inches of soil are completely dry.
When it’s time to water, do so deeply and thoroughly. Water the soil until it’s saturated, and water starts to drain out of the drainage holes in pots.
For outdoor succulents that are planted directly in the ground, make sure the soil is moist around the root zone. But you don’t want the soil to sit around the roots otherwise you might be faced with root rot.
They need water, but not too much. This is why it’s so important to plant in soil that allows the water to drain well.
When watering potted succulent plants, let the soil dry out thoroughly. Then, as the University of Illinois Extension advises, soak the container thoroughly.
But be sure that the water drains through the pot. Again, you don’t want the roots to stand in water.
Another golden rule is to avoid overhead watering. Water soil directly and avoid getting water on the leaves of the succulents, especially those with delicate or furry leaves. Overhead watering can lead to rot and fungal diseases.
If you can, water in the morning. This will allow any excess moisture on the leaves to dry out during the day, reducing the risk of fungal issues that can occur in cooler and more humid conditions at night.
How do you know when a succulent needs water?
Assessing how much water to give your succulents is crucial. Keep a close eye on your succulents and observe their appearance regularly.
If the leaves become wrinkled or shriveled, it may indicate that they need more water. This is a natural response by the plant to conserve water during dry periods.
Since succulents commonly store water in their leaves, this makes them appear plump and thick when well-hydrated. If the leaves look flat or thin, it may indicate that the plant is dehydrated and needs watering.
Some succulents change color when they’re thirsty. For example, certain species have leaves that turn slightly lighter or duller when they need water.
Recognizing the natural color variations of your succulent plants can help you spot these changes, as well as how water affects their appearance.
What are the signs of overwatering succulents?
Overwatering is one of the most common problems with succulents. As the experts at the West Virginia University Extension warn, “Overwatering is a common way to kill a succulent.”
Generally, overwatered succulents often develop yellow or translucent leaves that feel soft to the touch. The leaves may appear swollen or puffy because they’ve been fed too much water, and they may lose their vibrant color.
Leaves may fall off the plant and roots may start to rot. If you notice that the soil in pots is soggy or smells foul, the roots are probably already decaying.
Overwatered succulents also tend to grow more slowly because excess moisture stresses the plant. Etiolation, which is when the stem stretches and gets longer, is another sign that the plant has had too much water.
If you notice any of these signs, stop watering and let the soil dry out completely.
Do succulents need to be in direct sunlight?
Many succulents thrive in bright, but indirect sunlight, but, as mentioned above, most prefer partial sun. Master gardeners at the University of California warned that too much sun can lead to some plants stretching for light. Others end up looking parched and sunburnt.
Remember that it’s better to underwater succulents and let the soil dry out between waterings. After all, these captivating plants are adapted to survive in arid conditions and can withstand short periods of drought. If you’d like to learn more about succulents, don’t miss our post, Best Easy-to-grow Succulents for Beginners – Garden Tips 2023.