Watering succulent plants
It seems impossible, but a trivial mistake like over-watering is the most common cause of death of these precious plants. In this article, we would like to give you some information that will allow you to water the succulent plants in the right way so that they stay in your homes and gardens for a long time.
BECAUSE SUCCULENTS ARE AFRAID OF OVER-WATERING
The answer is simple and probably known by all: these plants have developed over the centuries a great capacity to adapt to arid and inhospitable habitats and are structured to retain within them every single drop of water they manage to capture.
The leaves, or in some cases the stems, are nothing more than reservoirs made of a spongy tissue – hence the characteristic swollen shape typical of this type of plant.
The outer covering of the trunk and leaves, thick and waxed, also helps to minimize the dispersion of moisture in the environment.
In their natural habitat, the climate is dry and rainfall is rare: the ability to store water is the only chance of survival.
For this same structure, succulent plants are not able to get rid of excess water. If they are over-watered or simply over-moistened, they risk rotting very quickly.
We will, therefore, need to take all the necessary measures to ensure that the soil never stays wet for long periods of time – for example, by preparing a draining layer at the bottom of the pots.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SEASONS
If too much water can kill the plant, too light watering can inhibit growth and block flowering. Therefore, to ensure both the health of the plant and its rapid development, it is useful to understand that the same plant will need to be watered differently depending on factors such as season and sun exposure.
The spring and summer months correspond to the growth period: during these months you can water the succulent plants more regularly, especially if they are exposed to the sun. To avoid the risk of exaggeration, try to touch the soil: if it is dry, you can proceed without risk – otherwise, avoid pouring more water.
Autumn and winter, on the other hand, correspond to the resting phase of the plant. It is during this phase that you will realize their extraordinary resistance: the need for water is almost zero and watering should be rare and light. Also, in this case, hearing the state of the soil directly remains the simplest and most immediate advice.
The succulent plants grow mainly in arid environments, where the possibility of receiving water is rather reduced. This environmental characteristic has given the plant great adaptability that allows it to survive.
Fat plants, or succulent plants, have developed with the peculiarity of being able to retain the little water available in inhospitable environments. With the few drops of water they receive, they are able to make the most of their nutritional properties. In fact, the classic evaporation of water is almost completely absent.
If you look at succulent plants, you will notice that their growth is very slow; even slowness is a strategy of the plant that allows it not to need much nourishment.
Apartment grown succulents follow roughly the same rules as in the natural state.
This happens if certain parameters are met; the soil must be well-drained and the plant should be placed in a fairly large and deep pot.
Cactaceae are among the succulent plants that resist better the lack of water, although those in the apartment could still have problems.
How to proceed with watering:
Before watering the succulent plants, it is important to assess the condition of the soil and the size of the pot. Based on the dryness of the potting soil, we will proceed. If the pot is small and shallow, the plant will certainly need to be watered more frequently; it may also need to be watered almost every day.
The water must be supplied evenly over the entire soil of the pot, waiting a few minutes until you notice a leak in the saucer. The saucer must then be emptied.
In this way, you can be sure that the roots of the succulent plant also grow strong and deep. A good watering allows a replacement of mineral salts that can be deposited in excessive quantities.
It often happens that the roots tend to grow upwards; this is due to superficial watering.
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When to water:
Fat plants need little water and mainly in the growing season.
Plants of delicate varieties should be watered sparingly, especially those that are easily attacked by pests and fungi. In fact, water could accelerate these attacks.
For watering, the soil of the plant must be dry for at least a couple of days.
During the summer season, it is necessary to water the plant not more than 5 or 6 times in a month; we must pay much attention to the humidity conditions of the soil. When the soil is dry, this is where we proceed with watering. If the soil is porous, wait a couple of days before giving more water; in this way you are sure that even inside the pot there is not an unexpected accumulation of water.
In the winter season, the plant enters the vegetative rest period and consequently does not need much water. If they were in their natural habitat, they would not need to be watered at all. An excess of water in a cold season would quickly freeze the plant.
In an apartment, however, the temperature and humidity vary depending on the type of heating. Temperatures are often above 15 degrees and the plant does not recognise that it has entered the resting period. You should, therefore, keep an eye on the condition of the plant and the soil in which it rests.
The choice of water:
The best choice is to use the collected rainwater, but of course, it is not always applicable.
For watering succulent plants you can use normal tap water, although it can be problematic if it consists of some mineral salts. Tap water is often rich in chlorine and calcium and once the water has evaporated, calcium is deposited in the soil. Both are not good for succulent plants.
To avoid growth problems, it is advisable to use distilled water or water without mineral salts.
Instead, use normal water for all those fluffy succulent plants.
Watering succulent plants: Other elements to consider
The succulent plants are usually placed in pots provided with saucers; it happens frequently that here under the water it settles, especially if the soil is very draining. From time to time, check the saucer and, if necessary, empty it from the drained water. This procedure helps not to determine the rot.
TRICKS FOR WATERING SUCCULENT PLANTS:
When it comes time to water the succulent plants, it may be useful to put in place a couple of tricks that will make the operation easier and safer.
Evenly water all the soil in the pot
Running the water through the entire soil substrate will promote air exchange, so that excess mineral salts can also be disposed of. This is advice to follow especially during the summer when watering is more frequent.
Limiting limescale in the water
Excessive limescale damages succulents in various ways. Some simple tricks to limit its presence are to use rainwater or demineralized water (as far as possible), or to choose water that is not rich in limescale.
Spray instead of watering
Use a special sprayer or vaporizer on the fat plant every now and then to both water it and clean it from dust or parasites.
Watering by immersion
In the case of potted plants, a simple method of gently watering is to dip the pot directly into a basin with water and leave it for a few hours.
In this way, the soil will become moist again and the plant will absorb a controlled amount of water, without moving the surface of the soil.
Since the water is absorbed in-depth, it is a useful method especially when you want to dilute fertilizers, insecticides, and fungicides in water.
Remember to always check the condition of the soil before watering your succulent plants, never over water (they are certain plants that do not die of thirst!), and remember to use as much water as possible that contains little limescale.
Every once in awhile use a sprayer to clean the leaves – or the bowl method when you want to use fertilizers or fungicides.
Add all your attention and love and the results will pay off.