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What is a Succulent?
“Succulent” is a term used to describe a plant that can hold excess water for use during a drought.
Some of the most popular succulents store water in fleshy leaves.
Because of this ability, they don’t have to be watered as often as other types of plants.
This has made them extremely popular as indoor plants.
When to Water Indoor Succulents
Overwatering is the main cause of health problems for succulents.
One of the keys to having beautiful, healthy succulents as indoor plants is to allow the soil to become dry between watering, but not hard and compacted.
As you become familiar with your succulent, you will be able to tell by the weight of the plant that the soil is dry and it is time to water.
If you notice that leaves are becoming wrinkled, the plant is becoming dehydrated.
Although it is generally better to underwater than overwater, try to avoid allowing a succulent to become this dry.
How to Water Indoor Succulents
Use a small watering can with a long, narrow spout to focus the water on the soil surface.
It won’t hurt the leaves to get slightly wet, but the water needs to be focused on the soil and absorbed through the root system.
If the succulent has a “crown” with a collection of leaves that meet in the center of the plant, make sure that water hasn’t collected there.
It could cause rot. Simply tip the plant to allow the water to move away from the base.
Continue adding water to the soil until it drips out of the drain holes.
Allow the plant to sit a few minutes and drain completely.
Water again and allow all the excess water to drain.
This will allow the roots to absorb plenty of water, but keep them from “sitting” in excess moisture.
This method of watering promotes deep, strong root growth.
For containers without drain holes, it is important to be more precise in the amount of water used.
If the container appears to have about 2 cups of soil, then add 1 cup of water.
This ratio is important because if too much water is added, there is no way for it to drain.
Also, look to see if there is any standing water in the container.
If so, gently tip the container to pour-off as much excess water as possible.
How Often to Water Succulents?
There is no standard guideline for watering frequency.
It is more art than science.
However, it is better to err on the side of under watering than overwatering.
It is much easier to hydrate a wilted or shriveled succulent than to save one from rot.
One of the best ways to determine when to water is to gauge the weight of the container after watering so that you can feel when it becomes significantly lighter.
Succulents generally don’t grow much in the winter months, so they won’t need to be watered as often as in the summer.
Another consideration is your home’s environment.
If you live in a dry, warm climate you may need to water every 7-14 days.
However, succulents grown in a humid environment may only need to be watered once a month.
Succulents can be so easy to care for that they can be easy to neglect.
With all of the technology at our fingertips, I recommend setting a notification on your phone to remind you to check succulents for water!
To learn about watering tropical houseplants, click here.