How Often Should You Water Succulents?

Squishy, discolored leaves mean trouble.
Squishy, discolored leaves mean trouble. / Linda Raymond/iStock via Getty Images

Many struggling plant owners would disagree that succulents are hard to kill. The desert flora may require less water than other houseplants, but without proper care, they will wither and die just as easily as an orchid. If you worry about watering your succulents too often or not often enough, here's a good rule of thumb to follow.

According to HGTV, succulents need water when the dirt in their container gets to be as dry as Death Valley. Some plants' soil should be kept relatively damp at all times, but that's not the case with succulents. Their plump leaves are built to retain extra moisture, so unless the dirt they're planted in is dry and crumbly, they're in good shape for the time being.

How often your planter becomes bone-dry depends on numerous factors. Succulents go through growth spurts during the spring and summer, which means they require more water to sprout new leaves. During these months, your plant may need to be watered up to three times a week. Growth slows down significantly during the winter. When it's cold and dark outside, your succulent can go months without a drink.

Variables like container size and the humidity of your home also affect soil moisture levels, so don't count on a one-size-fits-all schedule when caring for plants. Instead, check the pot every few days by poking your finger into the dirt and judging the consistency for yourself.

If you've neglected your succulent for too long, it has ways of letting you know. When leaves start to wrinkle and shrink, those are signs your plant is dehydrated. But by watering it immediately, the specimen should return to a healthy state. Squishy, discolored leaves, on the other hand, indicate overwatering. Too much moisture promotes rotting in the roots and leaves, and this condition is much harder to come back from.

Succulents benefit from heavy watering whenever they reach peak dryness (think of the occasional downpour in a desert). Drench the soil until you see water running out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container. After a good soaking, your plant will likely be happy for a while—though you should still check on it regularly like a good plant parent.

[h/t HGTV]