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You May Be Overwatering Your Succulents

Person repotting a succulent on a workbench.

Succulents are hardy plants that are easy to take care of—but it’s easy to kill them with kindness. Here’s how to ensure you don’t love your succulents to death.

Make Sure You’re Watering Them The Right Way

It doesn’t only matter how often you water your succulents, but also how you water them. You need to soak the soil. Basically, you’re going from one extreme to the other. You want the succulent’s soil to be completely dried out; then, you want to thoroughly soak the soil. (Make sure it’s in a pot with good drainage.)

How Often Succulents Need Watering Depends on a Few Factors

It’s easy to water your succulent too often if you’re not paying attention to the soil. Succulents need water to survive, just like any other plant, but they don’t need as much as others. They come from arid climates, so they’re naturally equipped to hold onto water inside those fleshy leaves.

Some people will tell you to water your succulents once a week; others will tell you to do it every other week. Both are right, and both are wrong. You should only water your succulents when the soil they’re in has completely dried out if you want them to thrive. You don’t even want the soil to stay lightly moist, as too much moisture will rot the roots and kill your plant.

How often the soil completely dries out will depend on a few factors. Here are the extra factors that will determine how often to grab the watering can.

Water More During Active Growing Season

Succulents go into a bit of a dormant state in the colder months. You may find that your plants need less watering than usual. When these hardy plants start growing again in the spring and summer, you might find the soil drying out faster than usual (but only water when the soil is completely dry).

Humidity Matters, Too

Humidity is adding moisture to the plant’s soil even when you aren’t watering them. If you live in an area with high humidity (at least some months out of the year), you won’t have to water your succulents as often as you need to if you live in a dry and arid climate year-round.

Succulents Getting More Sunlight Need More Water

Four succulent plants in small pots.
Abo Photography/Shutterstock

Succulents that get a lot of direct sunlight will experience dried out soil faster than those in low sunlight. The sun dries the dirt out, making it so you need to water them a little more often.

The Size of the Container also Matters

Lastly, the size of the container your succulents are in will be a determining factor of how often they need a good drenching. Larger pots with excess soil will hold moisture longer than smaller pots with less depth.

Ultimately, when it comes to succulents, less is more. Monitor your plants and water them only when the soil is dry and they look a hair less plump and hydrated than usual. They’d rather drink deeply and infrequently than sit in damp soil all day.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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