Over the years talking to many people about succulent care, I have found one question that is asked more than any. Funny thing I have found is it is also an area in the care of succulents with the most conflicting info.
That question is How often do I water succulents and cactus. Or how do I water cactus and succulents. This is a very broad and generalized question that honestly has no exact answer. Sorry but I can not tell you exactly how often each of your plants will need water, but I can explain to you how to discover that yourself.
Watering of succulents is such a dynamic and ever changing area of succulent care. For example in the heat of summer here in Phoenix Arizona some of the smaller two inch plants need water daily, but not all of them. Now that it is in the cooler months we haven't watered in almost 2 months. If we stuck by a schedule instead of letting the plants talk to us we surely would lose most of our collection!! Beware of any grower that tells you "water once a week" "water once a month" because they are setting you up for failure. Don't get me wrong because once you are able to talk with your plants and know their needs you will definitely get into a schedule but it will be a dynamic schedule based on your plants needs.
Watering your succulent or cacti is pretty basic and easy once you get the basic foundation, there really should not be so much confusion in it. That basic foundation is..... Let your plants completely dry out then thoroughly water them so that water is pouring out of the drainage holes, Let them go bone dry again, then rinse and repeat!!!
That my friends is the answer to the almighty question!
It seems so simple right?
Now for the asterisk and fine print! Like I said this is a foundation and there are so many growing conditions and environmental factors out there whole books can and have been dedicated to this subject.
There are so many environmental variables that can effect watering you really have to watch your soil moisture content and plants behavior to find your perfect. Type and size of succulent, Relative humidity in the air, Temperature of the air, Type of heating/cooling if indoors, etc......
What if the soil stays wet for weeks on end between watering?
Well then while we are still following the basic watering foundation an environment that is ripe to grow rot has formed. So we will need to change the soil to include much more mineral content so it dries out faster and/or move it to an area with better air flow.
What if my planting container doesn't have drainage holes?
We don't recommend using any container without drainage for long term growth of any succulent or cactus. There is way to much risk of rot and salt build up over time. With that being said though, they can make for amazing temporary displays! Just make sure that you use activated charcoal at the very bottom of the planting mix and when watering only use the tiniest amount (just under a thimbleful) of water sparingly.
If you do something wrong and overwater/underwater remember it is not the end of the world and you are not a horrible succulent grower! We have all killed plants over the years. I'll tell you a secret, lol I still do sometimes. What matters is you figure out where you went wrong and learn from it for the future.
Well I hope this little tidbit of knowledge helps you on your journey through succulent parenthood just a little. I know there are so many other things I could cover on this post so as always if you have ANY questions do not be afraid to reach out to us.