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February 25, 2019 2 min read

Succulents are tough little plants and fairly resistant to drought. They don’t need a whole lot of water to survive. But if you really want them to thrive, you’ve got to care for them properly. Without enough water, your beautiful succulents will struggle to grow and bloom, becoming withered and sickly. Here’s how to stop that from happening and give them just enough to be healthy and happy.

Seasons Change

Much like any other plant, succulents go through periods of growth and dormancy. During growing season, which usually occurs from early Spring to Fall, succulents will grow best when they are watered and fertilized regularly. They need less watering when they are dormant which tends to be from late fall to spring when the amount of sunlight is less and temperatures are lower. During dormancy, your succulent will not need to be fertilized.

Not too little, not too much

Figuring out how often you need to water your succulent requires a little experimenting to see what works best for your routine and for your plant’s health. Consider the environment you live in – is it particularly dry or hot? Cooler than average? Especially humid? These factors will influence how regularly your succulent needs watering.

The best way to water your succulent is to completely soak the soil until water is running out from the drainage holes in the planter, then to let it totally dry out before watering again. If your soil is very well-draining and your pot has lots of drainage holes, this could mean weekly watering. If after a week the soil is not 100% dry, leave it a few more days before watering again. By keeping a close eye on your succulent’s soil, you will soon learn how often your plant needs a thorough watering.

It is best to err on the side of caution when figuring out your schedule. Too much water will kill your succulent far more quickly than too little. Water that does not drain away from the roots can cause rot, which can be difficult to get rid of.

Signs of Over- and Under-watering

Your succulent will quickly let you know if it is getting too much or too little water. If you are watering your succulent too frequently, it will become soft and squishy, losing color in its leaves and collapsing. If your plant is thirsty, your succulent will stop growing and begin to drop leaves, take on a withered, droopy appearance, and may develop brown spots as a sign that it is stressed.

Top Tips for Proper Watering

  • Ensure your soil is properly draining – a succulent does not want to sit in wet soil for longer than it has to. Choose soil that allows water to drain away from the roots easily.
  • Make sure your pot has a drainage hole – it is easier to keep your succulent happy and healthy when it drains properly and you can monitor moisture levels.
  • Avoid using a misting bottle – Misting will not promote the healthy root growth that your plant needs, and can cause rot and fungal issues.

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