Succulents Need Fast Draining Soil
No discussion of how to water your succulents is complete without discussion of the right soil. Succulents need a soil that will provide fast draining for water. Not well-drained soil like most garden plants, but fast draining. It will have large sized aggregates that allow oxygen to get to the roots. There are many cactus and succulent potting mixes on the market, or you can make your own. There is no one recipe that is best. You can use a 1:1 ratio of potting mix and perlite, or one of many others you will find online. The key is to have fast drainage so the plant never sits in waterlogged soil. A good test is to take a handful of the mix you want to use for your succulents. Wet the mix, and squeeze it together. It should not form a clump, but crumble away. If it crumbles, you are ready to plant your succulents!
HOW TO WATER SUCCULENTS
There is no single way to water your succulents, but here are some suggestions to help achieve the best results.
First, use a watering can or hose with a “rain” attachment. Basically, you want to avoid spraying the plants and surrounding soil with high pressure streams of water. Overly powerful streams of water can damage plants and displace soil around the roots, causing instability.
Second, make sure to water your succulents throughly. Succulents establish strong and expansive root systems through the alternation of wet and dry spells; just like what is experienced in nature. By soaking the soil thoroughly, you are conditioning your plants to expect heavy waterings. Of course, this must be followed by a period of “drought,” which you can artificially create by allowing the soil to dry completely. During this time, the plant will naturally begin to expand its root system in anticipation of the next “downpour.”
You will know your plants roots are thoroughly soaked when water flows from the drainage hole in their pots. Be sure to avoid allowing excess water to remain in drip trays, as this can cause the soil to remain wet for much longer which can lead to root rot.