Succulents are native to dry arid climates where there is little moisture and rain, so they’re used to being thirsty for extended periods of time. Succulents are superstars when it comes to absorbing water, their leaves retain water and help keep the plant healthy through periods of long drought. So in regards to your succulent sitting at home, a good watering schedule should consist of 2-3 weeks between watering. This schedule will help prevent overwatering and allows adequate time for the soil to dry out.
As mentioned above, it’s crucial that you allow plenty of time for succulent soil to dry out. If the soil is still damp and you decide to water, you place your plant at risk for root rot and make it more susceptible to pest infestations. Root rot happens when the soil is too moist and becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and fungal infections. These pathogens will cause the roots to suffocate. A good trick is to stick your finger into the soil, about up to your first knuckle-- if you feel any moisture, hold off on watering. Alternatively, once you get to know how heavy your plants are dry vs watered, you can tell just by picking them up if they’re ready for a drink.
Contrary to belief, misting your succulents is not good for your plant. When you mist your plant you create a humid environment and leave water sitting on the leaves. Since most succulents are native to dry, arid climates, humidity and residual water can cause a myriad of problems. Misting your succulent risks moldy leaves and brittle roots forming. This can cause some terrible health problems for your succulent, so it’s ideal to water the soil around the base of your plant.
We’re all guilty of overwatering sometimes, but this doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your succulent. If you find that you have overwatered, try these steps to save your plant. First, carefully remove the moist soil. Be sure to remove as much wet soil as you can without getting too crazy and damaging roots. Healthy roots are white and sometimes appear fluffy or fuzzy-- if you see any brown, black, or slimy roots, go ahead and cut them off with clean, sharp scissors. Next, leave your succulent to air dry for two to three days (or longer if you live in a really humid climate). Once the roots are nice and dry you can plant your succulent in fresh, dry soil. Let the roots get settled and start exploring their new environment for a few days before you water.
Proper drainage holes are a must! If your succulent pot does not have drainage holes you may need to switch pots or get out your drill to make some holes. Proper drainage holes allow for water to filter through the soil. If water sits in the pot for too long it can grow bacteria and fungi that can cause root rot and other infections.
Proper soil is a must for drainage and a happy succulent. You need a soil type that has medium porosity, so water doesn’t puddle or drain out too fast. Mineral bases such as sand, volcanic rocks, and perlite help a lot with drainage. Mixing soil with these minerals will help to create the perfect balance for your plants and help water disperse throughout the soil. Creating a balanced soil with ample drainage is key to the longevity of succulents. Alternatively, you can buy soil labeled as succulent and cacti soil, but sometimes that even needs some extra perlite mixed in.
Proper drainage is only helpful if you dispose of the excess water. Don’t let your succulents sit in saucers/plates full of water. Make sure to empty the extra water after watering so that your succulent doesn’t have to sit in a puddle.
Keeping these watering tips in mind can help your succulent stay happy and healthy. Remember succulents don’t like too much water, but they do need it, so make sure to be cautious as to how much, how often, and where you water.