Succulents hold water in their leaves. The smaller the leaf the more often you need to water.
• The more porous the container, the more often you will need to water. If planted directly in moss, you will need to water more frequently.
• Succulents need well-drained soil that goes nearly dry between waterings and protection from excessive rain, humidity, damp cold and scorching sun (especially if leaves are variegated).
• Most are frost tender and winter dormant.
o Primary growth period is spring, slow down in the heat of summer and spurt again in fall. No new growth during winter.
• Prefer outdoors, weather permitting, but can do well indoors if they receive adequate light and air circulation.
• Grow more slowly in pots than when in ground. Many cease growing when they reach the capacity of their containers.
o As the plant naturally bonsais, its leaves may become proportionally smaller.
• Succulent container gardens can be either formal or whimsical.
• For gardeners new to succulents, when in doubt, don’t water! But, if roots completely dry out, the plant may die.
• Root rot is not immediately apparent because it damages roots first. The plant may be salvageable.
o Using a sharp knife, remove soft tissue, making sure to get every bit; sterilize the blade with rubbing alcohol. Make the final cut through firm, healthy tissue.
o Allow this to callous, or heal and then root the salvaged plant as you would any cutting in fresh soil.
• Elevate pots so that air can circulate beneath the container. Ants and slugs cannot then enter via drain holes.
• The coloring of succulents becomes more intense when slightly stressed during seasonal changes.
• Try to mimic the light and water conditions of the plant’s native environment.
• If planting succulents in containers without drainage, carefully limit the amount of water you provide and only dampen the growing medium using filtered water free of salts.
Watering Basics During Growth Season
• Keep plants slightly moist when they’re actively growing. Soil should be as damp as a well wrung-out sponge. This keeps the leaves looking plump and pretty.
• If necessary, use a chopstick to test for soil dryness. If it is dry or nearly so, it’s time to water.
• Plants need watering if the leaves lose their shine and start to shrivel, or if the soil is pulling away from the sides of the container.
• Actively growing succulents should be watered anywhere from once a week to once a month – depending on the type of plant, the size of the container, the type of pot, the soil mixture used and the weather.
o In high humidity, succulents need less water.
o Water plants thoroughly, or they will need watering more often.
• Rainwater is acidic and therefore excellent for potted succulents. Move your container gardens where they occasionally will receive rain, or collect it in buckets and use it when watering.
Watering Basics During Dormancy
• Gradually reduce the amount of water your succulents receive as their growth slows and their dormant period approaches, unless you keep the plants in temperatures of 60 degrees or higher; the warmer they are, the more water they will need.
• If your succulents are outdoors during their winter dormancy and your area experiences a week or tow of unseasonably warm weather, water them lightly.