Succulents & Cacti Light Requirements
While all succulents have slightly different water requirements, this guide will serve as a starting point from which to establish your own environment-specific watering practices.
Things to Consider Before Watering Succulents
The first and most important thing to consider before watering your succulents, is what kind of container they should be planted in. Of course, if your succulents are planted in the ground, this information does not apply.
Any container you decide to plant your succulents in should have a drainage hole. A drainage hole is a small hole in the bottom of the pot that allows excess water to drain from the soil and out of the pot. This opening also allows oxygen to circulate through the soil more freely, decreasing drying time and improving root health.
Without a drainage hole, the soil will remain wet for much longer, increasing the likelihood of rot and irreversible damage to your plant's root system. When it comes to succulents and their health, excess water is public enemy numero uno.
When to Water Succulents
The watering schedule for your succulents will be largely determined by your location, growing environment, time of year, and individual plant requirements. While there are a lot of contributing factors to consider, don't be intimidated; succulents are incredibly resilient and will adapt just fine as long as they are not over-watered.
First, succulents should only be watered when their soil is almost completely dry. The dryness of your soil can be gauged by using a moisture meter, or by simply sticking a dry chopstick into the soil. If wet dirt sticks to the chopstick, the succulents do not need to be watered. A third option is to get dirty and use your finger. If you don't feel much moisture down around the root ball, it's time to water.
Second, there is no magic timeline to follow when it comes to watering succulents. Waterings may be required as often as every few days or as far apart as every 3-4 weeks, but make sure to error on the side of under-watering. More frequent waterings may be required during the Summer and Spring months when the weather is a bit warmer, whereas waterings should be more infrequent during the Fall and Winter. Again, the easiest way to determine watering needs is to simply check the soil.
Third, one of the most overlooked rules when it comes to watering succulents is the time of day. Succulents should never be watered past 2pm in the Summer or 11am the rest of the year.
How to Water Succulents
There is no single way to water your succulents, but here are some suggestions to help achieve the best results.
First, use a watering can or hose with a "rain" attachment. Basically, you want to avoid spraying the plants and surrounding soil with high pressure streams of water. Overly powerful streams of water can damage plants and displace soil around the roots, causing instability.
Second, make sure to water your succulents throughly. Succulents establish strong and expansive root systems through the alternation of wet and dry spells; just like what is experienced in nature. By soaking the soil thoroughly, you are conditioning your plants to expect heavy waterings. Of course, this must be followed by a period of "drought," which you can artificially create by allowing the soil to dry completely. During this time, the plant will naturally begin to expand its root system in anticipation of the next "downpour."
The Next Steps
Now that you've watered your succulents, it's time to learn about their light requirements so that they stay happy, healthy, and beautiful.