Watering is the main challenge that novice succulent growers encounter while trying to keep their plants alive indoors. So much so that I’ve written a whole ebook and an entire post about watering succulents. You can read the two together here.
It’s significant! Surprisingly, succulents require a lot of water to survive. They require less watering than the majority of indoor plants do, though.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that succulents seldom ever require water, though. So, here’s the situation…
Succulents enjoy having their roots well wet, but they also dry out quickly. The soil was then irrigated once more after drying up for a few days.
Succulents can be kept alive temporarily by being lightly sprayed with water, but if you want them to thrive, you need to use the “soak and dry method.”
Additionally, be aware that during their dormant stage, succulents don’t require as much water. This typically occurs during the colder months of the year. They require less water because they aren’t actively growing.
People who think their succulents are dying because the leaves are drooping and shrivelling up frequently email me. Here’s a little secret: Succulent lower leaves will eventually shrivel up and die, just like all other plants.
Only if the topmost or most recent leaves on your succulent are shrivelling should you be concerned about dying leaves. You shouldn’t be concerned if it only affects the stems that are closest to the soil at the bottom.
How are succulents maintained indoors?
Succulents may not need much attention, but they do need a few essentials to survive:
- 1. Provide plenty sunlight. Succulents require adequate light—at least six hours each day of direct sunlight. Maintaining succulents outside can be quite simple. However, if you have a succulent indoors, you must keep it in direct sunlight near a window. A plant that is slanting toward the light is not receiving enough sunlight, yet a plant with burnt areas on its leaves is receiving too much direct sunshine.
- 2. Use proper water. Depending on the season, succulents might have different water needs. Succulents should be irrigated if their soil dries completely during the growing season, but excess water should be avoided. When a succulent’s roots have time to dry out in between waterings, its lifespan is increased. In the chilly winter months, succulent plants go dormant and require less water. Only water your succulent as often as necessary because overwatering the soil is one of the main reasons of most development problems.
- 3. Use the proper soil and pot combination. The appropriate container and potting soil can make all the difference, whether you’re growing your own succulents or purchasing one from a nursery. Your succulent planter needs to include a drainage hole if it is going to be an outdoor succulent. Proper drainage allows moisture to escape, allowing the soil and root systems to dry and prevent rot. Use well-draining soil instead of standard dirt if you have an indoor succulent. It is coarser than regular soil, enabling more air to pass through and encouraging evaporation rather than requiring to be drained. To increase aeration, perlite and pumice can be added to some potting mixtures.
- 4.Remember to fertilise. The periodic fertilising is beneficial for even low maintenance desert plants. To give your succulents a boost, use a diluted, water-soluble all-purpose fertiliser a couple times a year. Although it’s not entirely required, if you notice that your soil needs some help, add a little fertiliser.
- 5. Examine your plant life. Pest hazards are more likely to affect a succulent indoors than outside. Make sure your plants are periodically checked for gnats or mealy pests. These insects are a sign that your plants are receiving too much water or fertiliser. Mealy bugs can lay hundreds of eggs and consume the plant juices that serve as their host, gradually harming your plant. Rubbish alcohol can be sprayed on your succulent’s leaves or soil to effectively kill mealy bugs and their eggs. Check the leaves and soil of the succulent before bringing it home from the nursery to make sure no bugs are present.
How frequently should indoor succulents be watered?
Indoor succulent plants probably need to be watered once a week. They require ample time for the soil to dry out in between waterings so that the water may be stored in the leaves. Use the following methods and advice while watering succulent plants inside.
- Use an irrigation system with a little pour spout.
- Fill the succulent plant’s centre with water until it is completely submerged.
- Allow water to completely drain out of the pot through the perforations. Make careful to empty any water that seeps through the soil if there is a saucer underneath the plant.
- Since there won’t be enough heat and fresh airflow for the leaves to dry when planted indoors, avoid soaking the leaves to prevent rot from the top down.
- Dry the soil completely in between waterings.
Where should indoor succulents be placed?
It might be challenging for succulents to receive adequate sunlight inside. They typically require 6 hours each day of bright, indirect sunshine outside.
However, indoors, you should put your succulents close to a window that receives light throughout the day. Place your succulents close to the brightest window or area of your house or office if this is not an option.
Watch this video to learn more:
How frequently do I need to water my succulents?
During the months that are not winter, when the temperature is above 40 degrees, you should water your succulents every other week. You should only water your succulent once a month in the winter (when the temperature falls below 40 degrees), as it goes dormant at this period.
A few situations constitute an exception to this rule. Because their tiny leaves can’t hold as much water as other varieties with larger leaves, some varieties of succulents need to be watered more frequently. In the non-winter months, feel free to give these small leaf succulents a water if they appear to be thirsty. When they are thirsty, succulents generally exhibit a wrinkled appearance. But always keep in mind that being underwater is preferable to being overwater.
Succulents can they survive indoors without sunlight?
The most light is reflected from south-facing windows throughout the day in the northern hemisphere. The sun shines through windows facing east in the morning and west in the afternoon and evening. The least quantity of sunlight enters windows that face north.
A south-facing window is the best choice for the majority of sun-loving succulent plants in the northern hemisphere. However, all of the low-light succulents covered in this article happily flourish in windows that face west or east. Even in a dark, north-facing window, some of them will make it, but I don’t advise it because even there, they won’t thrive.
However, no succulent can live in a completely dark environment. Therefore, even if your succulent plants are varieties that thrive in low light, think about buying a tiny desktop grow light if you live in a basement flat, have only a north-facing window, or if your space has no windows at all. When a modest grow lamp is placed over low light succulents for 6 to 8 hours a day, you’ll be astounded at how well they grow. You won’t need to remember to turn the lights on and off every day if you have a reliable timer.
Now that you are aware of how much sunlight low light succulents require, allow me to introduce you to some of the greatest low light succulents.
Do cacti require sunlight?
Depending on the type, succulents need six hours of sunlight each day because they are light-loving plants. You might need to gradually expose newly planted succulents to full sun exposure or give shade with a translucent screen because they can burn in direct sunshine.
Is misting or watering succulents preferable?
When I first learned about succulents, I was fascinated by the notion that they couldn’t die. They were frequently referred to as very low maintenance plants that adored being neglected. That sounds fairly simple, hmm.
To add to my bewilderment, I frequently heard the word “succulent” used in the same sentence as the word “cactus.” We won’t get into it here because there is a really fantastic essay on this site that explains the link between cacti and succulents, but a widespread misconception regarding cacti is that they never require water. Because I believed succulents required little to no water, I occasionally misted them rather than watering them. They love to be ignored, right? They require little upkeep, right? Well, I hate to ruin the surprise, but my succulents barely made it through this abuse.
The scoop about misting and watering is as follows:
*Water: After the dirt has dried, drown your succulents in water. Put them in water until the bottom of the pot is filled with water. If you have a catch pan, remove any water that has accumulated there. The best kind of pots are unglazed, porous ones with drainage holes (think terracotta pots). Your succulents will appreciate that they allow them to breathe.
*Low Maintenance: Succulents grow in nature with shallow roots that quickly absorb water and store it in their leaves, stems, and roots for periods of drought. Succulents are considered low maintenance because of this. They are designed to hold water for extended periods of time, so you don’t need to water them as frequently as some plants, like every other day. They won’t wither and die while you’re away, so you may travel with confidence. Just remember to give them a good drink when you do water them!
*Water Type: Rainwater or distilled water are the ideal water types to utilise. Numerous minerals in tap water can accumulate in the soil and even appear on plant leaves.
*Watering Frequency: A number of factors determine how frequently you water (climate, season, humidity, pot size, pot type, drainage etc). The best general rule is to wait until the soil has dried before watering it again. The roots may decay if the soil isn’t given a chance to dry up or if water is left in the catch pan. You can stick your finger into the ground and feel around to determine the amount of moisture in the soil, or you can use a moisture metre (commonly sold in gardening centres or online and relatively inexpensive).
Leave the misting to the babies, please! Actually, fully developed succulents dislike being misted. Because they prefer dry environments, misting them will alter the humidity in the area around the plant. Additionally, this might cause decay. To gently hydrate your propagation babies’ tiny, sensitive roots, spray them.
If my succulent lacks water, how can I tell?
Succulents are better off dry than wet, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore the need to water them. In fact, the plant needs water to survive, and much like people, it will exhibit dehydration symptoms. Your succulent clearly needs extra water if its leaves are wrinkled and shrivelled.
The cells attempt to bring in more water to make up for the water that has been lost as they release their stored moisture to the rest of the plant. The cells shrink as they run out of water and the plant is forced to rely on its limited reserves, which causes the once-firm and full leaves to collapse and shrivel.
Why keep dying my indoor succulent plants?
Overwatering and poorly draining soils are the main causes of succulent deaths. Succulents need the soil to dry out between waterings because they are drought-tolerant plants. Succulents get root rot in wet soil, which turns their leaves brown, black, or yellow and gives them a withering appearance.
While overwatering is the most frequent cause of dying succulents, there are several other potential causes as well:
Succulent plants typically die back when they are kept in environments that are drastically different from their native habitat.
Replicating some of the minimal rainfall, full or partial sun exposure, and stony, well-draining soil conditions will help revive dying succulents.
Why do leaves on succulents fall off?
Sometimes a plant’s natural defence against prolonged periods of extreme heat or drought is to shed its leaves.
Even if managing with fallen leaves is a common strategy, you don’t want it in a lovely decorative plant.
When kept outdoors in hot weather, you should place your succulents in the light shade to avoid them from becoming stressed by the intense heat.
Keep your succulents a little bit away from windows when you’re indoors so they can get lots of brilliant indirect light without getting burned by direct, enlarged sunshine.
Conversely, when affected by frost, succulents may also shed their leaves and exhibit other signs of stress.
The majority of succulents cannot endure freezing temperatures; they may burn black and lose their leaves.
A plant that has been harmed by frost but not killed will typically produce some new leaves to replace the ones that were damaged.
Instead than pulling or pruning away the damaged leaves, it is preferable to let them fall off naturally. NOTE: Consider using the leaves to create some new plants.
Succulents that need protection from the cold should be planted outdoors in protected areas and covered or mulched as necessary in the winter.
Keep indoor succulents away from places where they might get chilly air blasts during the winter (like as close to exterior doors).
Do my succulents need to be sprayed?
- Utilize no spray bottles. It’s a frequent misconception that watering succulents is nothing more complicated than misting the leaves with water. In actuality, that is only effective for growing new leaves and plants. The root of adult plants is where nutrients and water are absorbed. To water softly and directly at the root ball, use watering bottles or cans with a long, narrow spout. You can control how much water you give your plants by using watering bottles that are lightweight and feature scale marks.
- Don’t water the plant or the leaves directly. If water is left on leaves for an excessive amount of time, the leaves may decay.
- When it’s hot, humid, or pouring, don’t water.
- Don’t water throughout the afternoon or at midday. The morning is the ideal time to water.
- To prevent mineral deposits, if at all feasible, use rainwater, distilled water, or filtered water. If you use tap water, let it out overnight so that some of the chemicals that have been treated can escape into the atmosphere.
Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about watering practises in the comments section below. We’d also like to know the efficient techniques you employ to maintain the health and happiness of your succulents.