How to Water Succulents

April 26, 2018

How to Water Succulents

Succulents need less water than most plants - that doesn't tell you how much to water or when. To really enjoy succulents, you need to know how to water them to keep them healthy, right?

Succulents are a vast collection of plants that have evolved to survive extreme drought by storing water in specialized cells in their leaves, stems and roots. In times of drought, these cells slowly release their moisture to be used by the rest of the plant, enabling it to survive in periods of drought This adaptation of storing water for later use enables succulent plants to thrive even when water is scarce

Water is essential for the plant's health, just like any other.  Wrinkled, shriveled leaves indicate the succulent needs more water. As those water balloon-like cells release their stored moisture to the rest of the plant, they try to bring in more water to replace what they have lost. When they cannot get more water, and the plant continues to rely on the stores being depleted, the cells contract to smaller size, the "balloon" deflates, leaving the once plump and firm leaves collapsing and shriveling. This is a clear sign that your succulent needs more water.

Image source : Thesucculentelectic

To promote healthy roots and to work with the plant's natural design, water deeply and then give the soil time to dry out.  When the soil is dry, water deeply. If the succulent is in a container with good drainage, set the container in a tray of water, and let the soil wick up the water for about five minutes.  Then remove the pot from the water and let it drain. Do not water again until the soil is dry. If the succulent is in the ground or in a container too large to move, water at the soil line, rather than from over head. Be sure not to let the succulent sit in waterlogged soil. 

Overwatering basically causes those water balloons to over fill and burst, resulting in deeply damaged cell structures and rotting leaves and roots. The first signs of this happening are a discoloration of the leaves as they begin to become translucent. Rather than feeling firm, they look and feel soft and squishy. Unlike plant leaves being stressed by too little water - something the leaves can recover from - these leaves will be dropped by the plant. While it is possible for a succulent to recover from this condition, it will be difficult, and it must be rescued from the wet conditions. An alternative to trying to save the overwatered succulent is to take leaves and cuttings to root and form brand new plants.

Image source : Thesucculentelectic

 

Succulents are no exception. Shrunken, shriveled leaves indicate a need for water. Soft, squishy leaves losing color show damage caused by too much water. But some succulents routinely shut down older leaves as they grow.

This is a familiar pattern with many of the "hens-and-chicks style succulents like echeveria. Lower, older leaves dry out, turn brown and eventually are sloughed off by the plant. When this is a natural part of the plant's growth, you will note that these leaves do not shrivel up, they just thin out to a very dry, raspy feel.  They do not lose coloring, it changes to brown. These leaves no longer store water, and they feel papery.  These leaves can be left on the plant to be dropped at a later date, or you can remove them to keep the plant looking its best.  

No discussion of how to water your succulents is complete without discussion of the right soil.  Succulents need a soil that will provide fast draining for water.  Not well-drained soil like most garden plants, but fast draining. There are many cactus and succulent potting mixes on the market, or you can make your own.  There is no one recipe that is best. You can use a 1:1 ratio of potting mix and perlite, The key is to have fast drainage so the plant never sits in waterlogged soil.  

If you are feeling confident, you can grab your favourite succulents from here.

You can also look out for some nice decorative pots to along with succulents to make them feel special. You can get a beautiful range of ceramic pots from here and cute decorative pots from here.




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