Lets talk Succulents!
Succulents are considered low maintenance because they need very little attention … and water. But they still are tricky plants. So how do you properly care for a succulent?
The word Succulent comes from the Latin word “sucus” meaning juice or sap. Succulents store water in their leaves or thick stems. Because of this they are drought tolerant and require less water than most common house plants. Often times people send me photos of their plants for troubleshooting and about 90% of the time it is due to overwatering. I often here “I only water it once a week.” But how often you water your succulents is just as important as the amount of water given to your succulents during each watering.
To water your succulent properly you first need to look at your soil. You want a soil that will drain very quickly. Slow draining soil leads to root rot, the inevitable death of a succulent. For our Terroriums we make our own succulent soil mixture:
5 parts perlite
4 parts potting soil
1 part lava rocks
I also drill holes in all of our glass containers and layer the bottom with 2 inches of charcoal. If you have a container without a hole, use a layer of gravel, sand and then charcoal for proper drainage.
You ALWAYS want the soil to be bone dry before watering. Often times the top of the soil will dry out first, but the bottom will still be wet. I recommend sticking your finger about knuckle deep into your succulent container to test if the soil is dry further down and then water.
When watering you want the soil to appear wet but not drenched. If your succulent container has a drainage hole water until it runs out of that drainage hole. It is always better to error on the less water side.
How often you should be watering depends on the time of year, the humidity in your space, and the size of your container. Succulents are generally going to need to be watered less in Winter and more in Spring. Larger containers hold more moisture so they will need to be watered less often and smaller containers just the opposite. I recommend checking your succulent a week after watering with the finger method mentioned above and go from there.
OVERWATERING VS. UNDERWATERING
Overwatered succulents leaves will fall off very easy, their body will feel limp and leaves will become mushy. Underwatered succulents will appear shriveled and some of the leaves will become crispy. See pictures below