How Often Do Succulents Need To Be Watered?

So you went to the store and bought a lovely succulent plant and now you’re asking yourself the same question that many succulent beginners do: how often should I water my plant? You’ll be happy to know that caring for succulents is not hard at all!

green houseplants cactus succulent aloe vera

The first thing to know about such plants is that they require a different amount of water than other outdoor or indoor plants. This article will serve as a guide to help you figure out how often succulents should be watered, whether they’re in the ground, in pots, or growing as a cactus, so let’s get started!

Do succulent plants need water?

They need water to survive. Many people believe that succulents just require a small amount every now and then.

While such plants are resilient and can usually withstand drought, the majority of them will not grow in such conditions. They prefer to be watered on a regular basis while they are growing.

Summer and winter growers are the two main types of succulents. Those that grow aggressively in the summer months from May to August and go dormant in the winter months from November to February are known as summer type. Winter ones, on the other hand, are succulents that grow actively from November to February and then become dormant in the summer. To better understand the watering plan for succulents, you must first know whether your succulent is a summer or winter type.

Winter growers

Here are some of the most popular plants of this type:

1. Aeonium “Kiwi”

It is a must-have winter plant. They are easy to cultivate and multiply swiftly during their growing season, with beautiful, brilliant pink and yellow rosettes.

2. Graptoveria “Opalina”

It is easy to grow with hefty, opalescent, powdery leaves that will reward you with a large number of offspring if properly cared for.

3. Sedum Morganianum “Donkey Tail”

They are vital for everyone’s garden and are arguably one of the most popular succulents on the planet. They resemble long, chunky hair, can grow best in fast-draining soils and are very easy to reproduce.

Donkey's Tail plant

Summer growers

Have a look!

1. Echeveria Lola

Lola’s a beautiful, easy-to-grow succulent that will provide you with brilliant colours all year round. It’s a beautiful addition to gardens, with a compact rosette, vivid pink tips, and pastel pink on the underside of its leaves.

2. Agave Attenuata “Variegata”

The Agave attenuate “Variegata” goes wonderfully in all gardens. This is one of those succulents that, especially in warmer regions, you can fully let nature take care of. They produce gigantic, towering blooms that look more like the terrain of an extraterrestrial planet than a succulent flower.

3. Euphorbia Trigona

Euphorbia can withstand a lot of direct sunlight and heat and will grow best in well-draining soil. When repotting or propagating, be careful because the white sap they exude when damaged can cause skin irritation. That’s why the whole process should be done with gloves and proper eyewear.

Euphorbia trigona plant in a store

How often do succulents need to be watered?

During their growing phase, you should water your succulents at least once a week as a general rule of thumb. Some people water their plants more frequently than this. When watering succulents, soak the soil completely until the water drains out of the bottom of the pot through the drainage holes.

However, before you water it again, make sure the soil is fully dry. The “soak and dry” method is the name for this thing. Place a bamboo stick all the way through the soil to make sure it’s absolutely dry. Pull the stick out after a few minutes. If it is still moist, then you know that the watering session has to wait.

If the stick comes out fully dry, this means you can water your succulents. When the plants are in their dormant phase, however, increase the time between waterings. The general consensus is that succulents should be given just enough water to avoid shrivelling and this is when common sense comes into play.

If you keep your indoor succulents on a windowsill in a heated area for long periods of time, they will have more water requirements than if you keep them outside.

How much water do succulents need?

We all make mistakes and occasionally, we may overwater our succulents. That is why it is important for you to know two things: overwatering and underwatering and know how to solve each:

1. Overwatering

When you have overwatered succulents, you’re not letting the soil dry completely between waterings. The soil is continually moist, which causes a variety of issues such as stem rot and root rot. Excess water will also cause succulents to suffer from leaf crack.

To solve the problem of excess water, the first step is to do the obvious thing and stop the frequent watering immediately. 

Next, take the succulents out of the container, including the roots and everything. Gently remove all soil from the plant, dusting away any extra soil mix that may cling to the roots.

Look for signs of rot in the plant after all of the potting soil has been removed. Break off or detach the succulent’s healthy portion from the rotten part, sacrificing parts of the root system if necessary. Only keep the healthy remaining bits and air-dry the plant for a few days.

gardeners hand watering cacti and succulents in clay pots on the wooden table

2. Underwatering

When you’re not giving them enough water to grow, then they will start wondering why. Your houseplants may withstand a lack of water for some time, but they may not grow well in that environment.

If you find your succulent leaves drying up and becoming wrinkled, it’s most likely because you’re not giving them what they need. To resuscitate an underwatered succulent, simply increase the frequency with which you water it.

But don’t make the mistake of overwatering your plants to compensate for the lack of water.  Instead, use the “soak and dry” method that we described earlier to ensure that your plants receive only the amount of water they require.

How to tell if a succulent needs water

There are two basic methods for doing so:

  1. Spot the water amount stored in the leaves. Gently press the leaves between your fingers. If there is still enough water in there, that means that your succulent plant is somehow durable. If the leaves are limp and withered, the succulent will most likely need some water. 
  2. Remove the succulent from the terracotta pot with care. You will see if the soil around the plant has dried up or is still damp and darker in colour this way. By doing so, you will know then whether you should water it or not. 

Is it better to water succulents from the top or from the bottom?

They should be irrigated exclusively from the bottom; that is, directly on the soil. There are basically three reasons for this:

  1. The leaves of some varieties will change colour if they become wet while being watered.
  2. Wet succulent leaves, especially in rosette succulents, increase the danger of rot.
  3. When the sun shines directly on leaves with water droplets on them, it will increase the risk of leaf burns.

Woman watering flower

Succulent care tips 

Whether you have a winter or summer type you should take care of it the right way. Here’s what you need to keep in mind: 

  1. Summer ones, such as Echeveria, prefer a lot more water during the summer and very little throughout the winter.
  2. On the other hand, Sedums, a favourite succulent and winter type, will require significantly more water during the colder months and less water during the summer. 
  3. Mixing and pairing winter and summer types in succulent arrangements can yield a year-long psychedelic show of hues and blooms, especially when “cacti” are thrown in the mix. How can you maintain summer and winter types together and alive, as they require different watering schedules? Well, it’s important to know how to water them. Do you spray them down and completely soak them? Why not use a pipette, a spray bottle or a small watering can to water at the base of each succulent? 
  4. It’s always better to water at the base of each succulent rather than soaking the entire plant when it comes to succulent arrangements, whether they have good drainage or not. You’ll be able to better fulfil the demands of each individual plant this way.
  5. It’s generally easier to segregate summer and winter types in a single arrangement, giving you the opportunity to water one side during the summer and the other side during the winter. This will also make fertilising easier because you can simply inoculate one side with nutrients while leaving the other side largely unfertilised until the growing season begins.

woman transplanting cacti plants succulents

Growing succulents is much like a puzzle, except for the fact that most people only have one or two pieces. We hope we did fill the “water piece” for you now so that you can do it right the first time! Our guide will be by your side every step of the way. No need to be a pro in gardening. All you need is the right guidance!

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