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How to Water Succulents Correctly

how to water succulents correctly
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / sweetlouise

Succulents can be a confusing plant to maintain if you don’t know how to care for them properly. Learn how to water succulents to help your plants thrive.

How to Properly Care For and Water Your Succulents

Succulents need proper drainage, light, and water in order to thrive. Here are some tips for maintaining proper care.
Succulents need proper drainage, light, and water in order to thrive. Here are some tips for maintaining proper care.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / dendoktoor)

Succulents are a bit more complicated to water than your ordinary houseplants. But most of them will stay healthy if you follow these basic tips:

  • Water: Succulents can die if they get too much water, so make sure you test the soil first. If it’s fully dry up to one inch below the surface, water the succulent from below. If you have a pot with a drainage hole, you can place a plate of water beneath it and allow the plant to soak up the water until the top of the soil is moist. Do not mist your succulents, as this can lead to mold and rotted roots.
  • Drainage: Succulents need better draining soil than your average potting soil. Make sure there is airflow around the roots, by using a specific potting soil for succulents, or one with pebbles or pumice inside the mix. Improper drainage can also lead to gnats or other bugs.

Apart from watering, you should also follow these guidelines:

  • Light: Succulents need about 6 hours of sunlight a day to properly grow, but it’s better to gradually introduce them to full sun, especially newly potted plants. Some indirect light will go a long way for your succulents in the beginning. After a few weeks, you can transfer them to direct sunshine.
  • Rotate: The plants should be rotated often, so all parts receive an equal amount of sunlight.
  • Repot: Succulents may outgrow their pot, so make sure you get a larger one as they start to grow. Choose a pot that has a drainage hole so that the roots can have adequate airflow. Avoid glass containers. When repotting, be gentle with the roots, as they are fragile.
  • Fertilize: Succulents only need to be fertilized about once a year, but make sure you use the proper fertilizer for this type of plant. 
  • Protect during winter: Succulents do not do well in cold temperatures. If you have outdoor succulents, they will need to be moved indoors in the winter or wrapped to protect from frost. 

Proper Care for Different Types of Succulents

Succulents and cacti have many variations. Here are a few examples of how to care for some of them.
Succulents and cacti have many variations. Here are a few examples of how to care for some of them.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / tylost)

Here are some examples of how to care for common types of succulents.

  • Aloe Vera: Aloe plants are considered a type of cacti/succulent. They like indirect sunlight and thrive best in west- or south-facing windows, at between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You should water these succulents only when the soil is dry – about every 3 weeks. Make sure the soil has good drainage and that the pot has a drainage hole at the bottom so that the roots do not become smothered.
  • Aeonium/house leeks: This type of succulent has variations with specific needs so make sure you know which type you are planting. Most Aeonium types need more sun in the colder months and only like temperatures between 50 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But others cannot withstand such high temperatures and prefer to have it cooler than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Only water once a month in winter, otherwise make sure the soil is dry before watering the rest of the year.
  • Crassula: Crassula generally likes about 4 hours of sunlight a day. The temperature should be between 65 and 75 degrees during the day, and around 55 degrees at night. Only water these succulents if the soil is dry – so about every 2-3 weeks. 
  • Ice plant: This type of succulent needs cacti soil with lots of drainage. They love full sunlight and should only be watered when the soil is completely dry. 
  • Echervia: Echervia plants need a lot of full sun, excellent drainage throughout the soil, and should only be watered if the soil is completely dry to the touch.
  • Faucaria: These succulents need proper drainage and can grow in regular potting soil. They require about 3 hours of direct sunlight in cooler months, but shade in warmer months. Soak their soil thoroughly, but only once completely dried. They prefer milder temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit in winter and between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit in spring and fall.
  • Graptopetulum: These succulents often look like rosettes. They need full sunlight, with temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Water them thoroughly when the soil is dry.
  • Haworthia: These plants need at least 10 hours of direct sunlight, and between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to thrive. These succulents can be watered a bit more than other succulents, even when the soil is not completely dry yet. 
  • Optunia: These succulents are of the cacti variety and generally need wider pots to grow. They thrive best in indirect sunlight, between 70 and 100 degrees. Try to keep their soil moist in their first season of growth. Once they reach their second, you can water them less often – they should not be watered at all during winter. 
  • Schlumbergera: These succulents flower in winter, from November to January. Schlumbergera like indirect sunlight for 10 to 12 hours a day, and need a more humid environment to thrive. Place a plate of water near it to give it the proper humidity. Only water when the soil is completely dry.

Tip: If your type of succulent is not on this list or if you own a specific variety, we recommend looking up care tips for that specific plant. 

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