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Jun 20, 2020 7:29 PM CST
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
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The purpose of this thread is to share different strategies for watering cacti and other succulents. I would like to ask everyone to please stay on topic so this can be the most useful resource.

It would be ideal if long-time growers spoke up, because you have the years and experience to know what really works. I would like to make this thread a sticky so that it can be consulted by other folks who may be new to the forum.

Please tell us your strategy for watering succulents, especially potted succulents, and what you would recommend to others. Specifically:

(1) How often do you water at different times of year?
(2) How do you decide when to water?
(3) Do you treat some plants differently from others?
(4) Please fill us in on a few key details: whether your plants are indoors or outdoors, roughly what your soil mix is, whether you use clay pots or plastic/ceramic ones, and what kind of exposure your plants get.
Last edited by Baja_Costero Jun 21, 2020 2:00 PM Icon for preview
Jun 20, 2020 7:32 PM CST
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2
My own answers are probably unusual and not a good model for most growers of succulents. Word to the wise, this is just to show one person's way of doing things.

(1) We have a very mild subtropical climate with very little seasonal variation, so I water most of my potted plants weekly year round. If it rains, I wait a week to water. If it's about to rain, I refrain from watering.

(2) I try to time my watering for when the soil has gone dry or nearly dry at depth (not just at the surface) and I know from experience how long that takes. There are various ways to assess soil moisture, but I find the best way to learn what's happening for any given plant is to time a repot for when you think the soil is going dry, but is not actually there. Once you get the plant out of the pot you can inspect and feel and know whether your guess was right.

(3) Most of my plants get weekly water, but my tiny seedlings get water twice a week; a few dry-growing plants and plants in extra-large pots get water every 2 weeks. A few summer growers (Pachypodium, Adenium, some Euphorbias) get water twice a week during summer, and a few winter-dormant plants get water every 2 weeks during winter. That's it, not very complicated.

(4) All of my plants (indoor and outdoor) "see" the sun for hours a day year round. Most of them are in full sun for at least part of the year. My soil mix is 50% pumice. I mostly use plastic pots but intentionally pot a few moisture-sensitive plants in clay pots, which dry out differently and faster.

Additional notes:

I never water short of saturation, going to fairly serious lengths to get the soil properly wet, namely watering in more than one pass, waiting 5-10 minutes in between for the water to gradually soak in. For more on how this works, consult the following thread.

The thread "Sunday afternoon experiment: watering in multiple passes" in Gardening Ideas forum

A few general principles are very helpful when you're trying to work out the best watering interval. There is no benefit (speaking generally) to allowing the soil to remain bone dry for any extended period, though most succulents are drought tolerant. There is a significant risk of rot if you do not allow the soil to dry out enough often enough. A regular wet-dry cycle is the key for good root health and proper hydration. Strong light increases evaporation and simplifies watering. The greatest risk of overwatering comes when light is low and temperatures are low, which is precisely when evaporation is proceeding at its slowest. Overpotting (giving your plant more than just a little extra space around the roots) significantly increases the risk of rot if you don't reduce the watering frequency, because the bottom (rootless) layer has the potential to stay wet indefinitely.
Last edited by Baja_Costero Jun 21, 2020 2:34 PM Icon for preview
Avatar for MsDoe
Jun 21, 2020 11:46 AM CST
Southwest U.S. (Zone 7a)
Thanks Baja, great topic!
The first thing I've learned about watering cactus and succulents is that it is crucial to have a pot and soil combination that will drain very quickly. It's also important to never leave a plant sitting in water.
Given the right pot and soil, my watering also depends on the type of plant and season of the year.
It's very hot, dry and bright here through the summer. My plants are outdoors in a screened porch, but get a little direct sun in the mornings and late afternoons. I water at least weekly, soaking the soil and usually making two or more passes, as Baja recommends. I watch the plants for signs of dehydration--wrinkly, droopy leaves or grayish coloration, and up the watering as necessary. In fast draining soil, this has not led to any rot issues.
Winters here are cool, less bright, and mostly dry. The cactus and succulents go into an unheated shed, with a south window and a grow light. Everything gets a thorough watering once a month--soak it, and make sure it drains. The succulents and small starter plants may get a second watering about mid-month, if needed. With the cool temps and shorter days most plants are semi-dormant and don't need much water. I may not water at all from December first to mid January.
As the seasons change, I gradually up the watering as the weather warms in the Spring, and cut back in the Fall. There are of course some tropical succulents that need to be treated differently, that's another story.
Cactus and succulents are very well adapted to their native conditions. Hot temps, bright light, dry air, and intermittent water are what they require, not what they "tolerate".
Jun 21, 2020 1:13 PM CST
Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
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Thanks Baja, for starting this thread.

My watering approach is primarily based on the fact that I have too many plants and too little time to water them by hand using the more dedicated plant dependent approach. This on occasion costs me a plant that is unable to make do with my unified approach, and then I kick myself for a few days, before moving on. I tried hand watering with acidified water but at the moment in my life I just do not have the time - I wish I did.
I water by hose with tap water (which comes out around pH 8), which has a chlorine filter on it. I have recently switched to a shower head style attachment which has a gentler, but larger flow of water. I am still figuring it out. It has the advantage of dispensing a large amount of water quickly but at lower pressures, which speeds up water and is supposed to disturb the soil less, however with pumice rich soil mixes (same would be the case for perlite), the amount of water that accumulates in the pot does get the pumice floating a bit. I think the solution to that is to water from slight higher above the pot which in my most recent watering appeared to avoid this.

My collection is mostly made of cacti, agaves, aloes, with a sprinkling of other xeric plants mixed in (Adeniums, Euphorbias, Fouquieria, Sansevieria) all plants are kept outside year round (my SO is the house plant person, though we have some Sansevierias, Haworthias and a cactus or two on a bright window sill, where the two plant collections meet).

I live in the middle of the Greater Phoenix area heat island, so while officially my zone is 9a/9b, in recent years, it has mostly been 10a, with the occasional around freezing night thrown in in winter. It does mean that the summers are really rough on many plants if not provided a good amount of shade, which since moving to a new house has been somewhat of an issue. It has also meant that on occasion I hit the other end of when it is bad to water xeric plants, with for most of us would be during cold winters, but a number of my plants I really have to be careful with in terms of watering them in the middle of summer, when we tend to hit a significant period where night time lows are >85F. Significant numbers of especially potted Aloes do not like to be watered then. They do not like the high night time lows period, but sitting in a wet pot seems to make it worse.

But back to my general watering approach. In the hot period, generally starting early/mid May, I water all my plants in pots and in the ground once a week. I usually keep that up through the summer until early-mid October, or when day time highs start dropping below mid 90s consistently. Despite my efforts to keep my plants to a universal watering scheme, there are a few plants I try to water twice a week throughout the really hot summer period day time highs >105, which are the Desert Roses, which really are more tropical than xeric in their water needs when it is hot.

If we have an active monsoon season (which usually starts some time in mid July and lasts through August into September) and we get frequent rains storms I tend to adjust my watering scheme to that, so reducing the frequency if we get good rain (if it rains in that period it usually a torrential downpour).

The rest of the year I look at the balance between night time lows and day time highs, if night time Ts are >55 and day time highs still get >85 I water once every two weeks, once things get cooler, I will go to once a month and when Ts get below 45 at night I stop watering completely. In good years we get winter rains and in December to mid February, I protect most of my small potted plants from that because the rains tend to be associated with extended periods of cold night time Ts, which is a bad combo especially for the smaller younger plants.

My soil mix is a pumice / cactus soil mixture in the range of 30/70, 50/50, and in some cases 70/30, though the latter I rarely use anymore as it dries out too fast in summer. I generally have plastic pots for plants I am growing in my shade structure and a combination of ceramic/clay/plastic pots for the plants I have out in the spaces we use (back patio, front porch).

For my in the ground plants I do not really do anything different though for a while I tried with using a soaker hose which I would string out around and between plants and then let run for a couple of hours. The idea would be that for in the ground plants a prolonged deep soak is more beneficial than a short heavy deluge of water from the watering hose which in the hot periods tends to mostly run off and evaporate. Having those soaker hoses out in the elements - especially the harsh UV we get here - means they do not last that long add the spiky nature of most plants and you'd really would like to keep them in place - ie. bury them. At the old place which we rented I did not feel it was worth the effort. In the new house, I think I eventually will, it is a compromise between putting a full irrigation system in and watering by water hose, it is just going to requite some planning and also to get to a point where I feel all the major plants are in place and established (which is not yet the case as at least one shade tree and a number of other plants are still on the list to be put in the ground).
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Jun 22, 2020 12:04 AM CST
Name: Eric
Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Cactus and Succulents Plant and/or Seed Trader
I live in a unique/difficult climate for most dessert type plants. A northern Maritime climate. It's cool and the air is damp in summer. Average temp is 75°f during the summer. Winters are often cloudy with minimal sunny days. But I figured out a tricks that my sound strange to people. The Winter months are the hardest on some types of cactus/dessert plants. I found a lot of plants from extreme environments grow only when the conditions give them the chance. Like in the winter months here, nothing grows outdoors. Even native plants. They can, it's to cold and dark. I use that same idea with dessert plants. A lot of dessert plants won't grow if they don't have the moisture. But they won't die because they store water. I found a lot of desert plants if kept cool and dry can make it through the whole winter with minimal light. ( When a plant grows without proper like the growth new is often poor) so I intentionally keep them from growing During the winter months. I have a large aloe vera I water only 2 times during our 5mo. Of winter surprising it shows no signs of dehydration. It does turn kind of pale but it recovers quickly after I put it outside in spring. But not all plants work the way. A simple guide I use. If it has anything that resembles leaves that strategy won't work. Like a Jade plants. They need max sun all year otherwise it will start dropping whole branches not just Leaves. During the winter months I water every 2 weeks. My wife often asks me what to water. I tell her "anything with leaves" the rest gets watered very sparingly. During the growing cycle most go outside and I let the rain take care of them. But there is some that don't like it outside during summer. Those plants are chosen because of trail and error. Lithops don't go outside."too wet" my crown of thorns stays inside too. I don't know why, whenever I put it outside it freaks out and drops most of it's leaves. That plant seems to do that even if I move it a few inches from "it's spot"
Last edited by Hallow Jun 22, 2020 12:22 AM Icon for preview
Jun 22, 2020 4:01 PM CST
Name: 'CareBear'

Amaryllis Cactus and Succulents Dog Lover Hostas Irises Region: Pennsylvania
I think I'm a little different than most here so far. I live in a Zone 6 (North-East) and have to winter my Agave, Aloe, Euphorbia, Haworthia, Echeveria and Sansevieria. Most are very different in watering. Most larger growing Agave can take any soil, and almost any watering as long as you don't over do it. Only the young starts need extra papering. I'm too lazy to water the proper way. I water heavy once a month in winter and don't drain the pans under the pots. I try to use the old water from my fish tank and give the fish the fresh water from the tap. Our water is good quality and does contain fluoride which is very bad for plants. I hope the fish tank process removes this but I also double filter our tap before using. I hand water and that takes days to do with all the plants I own. I started to supplement my winter days lighting with LED shop lights. They are cheap to buy and cheap to operate compared to fluorescent T-8. I notice a big improvement since switching. Come late spring when there are no more temps in the hi 30's to low 40's, I start to move the plants outside. Semi shade at first for a few weeks then full sun. Once outside in the heat of summer, I water much more and heavier and with collected rain water. I water much the same but soil mix for Aloe is more faster draining grit added with Haworthia being mostly grit. Some of the Agave need a more heavier grit (faster draining) mix. That way when I mess up, it's no big deal since it flows right thru it. I don't keep a schedule. Sometimes I don't water for weeks. Almost never more than once a week. If your not sure to water then wait a few more days then water. With succulents, better to err on the side of dryness.

I'm open for questions on details. I am always trying new tricks and ideas so who knows, maybe next year I'll start something new.
Jun 22, 2020 5:09 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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My plants are in a greenhouse facing south and west. It gets HOT in there, even with the door wide open (today its 106 inside and 90 outside). My cactus are in pots ranging in size from just a couple inches to about 18 inches wide. Most of the succulents are under shadecloth, that helps a bit.

I water when I realize something might be wilting, the smaller cactus and succulents every 1 to 2 weeks. The cactus are harder (they don't wilt Smiling ), they get watered every 2 to sometimes 3 weeks. I water with a hose and I don't have any saucers so make multiple passes 5 to 10 minutes apart to make sure the soil is well hydrated.

About the only planning I do is I try not to water before a heat spell. I have had cactus literally explode and fall into pieces and others crack because of the expanding moisture in the cactus. If there's no way around it, I water at dusk then cross my fingers I won't come out in the morning to cactus pieces all over the floor. I realize I wouldn't have this problem if I watered more often and the plants weren't so dehydrated to begin with but, ... Sighing!
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Jun 23, 2020 7:02 AM CST
Name: 'CareBear'

Amaryllis Cactus and Succulents Dog Lover Hostas Irises Region: Pennsylvania
Daisyl, You bring up a good point that I forgot to mention. I feel like watering when hot and dry but try to resist till evening or early morning. Watering during hot sunny day does more damage to leaves and like you said over swelling. Water droplets left on aloe leaves burns hole in them in the hot sun.
Jun 23, 2020 9:48 AM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Stush2019 said:Water droplets left on aloe leaves burns hole in them in the hot sun.

You've seen that happen?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Jun 23, 2020 1:21 PM CST
Name: 'CareBear'

Amaryllis Cactus and Succulents Dog Lover Hostas Irises Region: Pennsylvania
On Aloe and Agave. Starts as a stain which progresses into a hard dried spot then a hole. I think the water acts as a magnifier glass and increases the suns rays. Not all the time but it does happen most to plants not used to the hot sun and not acclimated.
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Jun 23, 2020 4:57 PM CST
Name: Connor Smotzer
Boerne, TX
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Okay happy to share my experience having a collection of succulents, and caudiciforms over the last 10yrs or so.

So I cant lie for quite a few years my watering was automated on drip lines, but that doesnt really matter much anymore. If anyone does want to know the specific intervals for drip lines I figured out please ask and I will share them. It took a while to get it dialed in.

(1)On average, specific specimens may get a little higher or lower, I water about 3 times for week for growing season, completely saturating it each time I do. depending on which plant it is it may truly only take a day or two to already dry out. And to go along with it since I have very little organic material in soil mix I ball park about 50% ratio fertilize 2 times and then low dose at 25% ratio the third time I water, then every once in a while (about every 2 weeks) I flush water it with no fertilizer in it.

I also usually water initially just partially and then come back around hit them all again until water floods out the bottom. This does not take much water to do this, becuase the actual soil water potential is lower and weaker due to larger aggregate size and large pore spaces. My soil mix also has a pretty low field capacity, on purpose. I really dont like growing succulents in soils with greater field capacities. With my mix it allows me to put water onto feeder roots, without excess moisture, more often, leading to better root and shoot growth, and less disease problems.

(1) during dormancy I water off of the first #2. but when I do need to water I do not water completely I have found it safer to water in much smaller doses during dormancy. this helps with not over watering.

(2) For me my biggest indicators I use to know when to water with my caudiciforms is turgor pressure. This is a pretty fool proof way for anything that trunk swells or deceases. I simply press firmly against the caudex and if there is any give after a few days from last watering then I know I can water again. This is my go to reference point for most caudiciforms. I dont recommend trying this method with cacti Hilarious!

(2)In combination with that I water off of the weight of the pot when picked up. Takes a little bit of muscle memory, but im pretty good about knowing how each pot feels between completely watered down to dry.

(3) For outdoors based off of my 2 number 2's most everything gets treated the same outside. But the Larger speciemns get a little more often watering. For inside I water about 1 time a week, after picking up the pot and checking for weight.

(4) For me because of the type of soil I grow in (75% aggregate), please refer to my post in the next sticky, I water a lot. And I like it this way. This may not work for everyone but it allows me to have more control over moisture levels with out holding too much for too long and this also allows me to fertilize with pretty consistent frequency, without burning or getting into toxicity levels.
- I have a mix of pots from plastic to japanese ceramics, most are unglazed, but a few are glazed. these dont act like terracotta though (they dont dry out and wick away moisture. But I do not treat them any different based on what type of pot they are in.
-currently my plants get about 5 hours of direct sunlight from about 8am to 1pm in Texas. this is a much different light than they were established under but so far no problems.

I think that covers it. If you know how your soil works, holds, and drains water (Which I recommend getting close with it) watering becomes very simple and stress and worry free.
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Jun 24, 2020 9:59 AM CST
Name: Rose
Colorado Springs, CO (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Cactus and Succulents Cat Lover Photo Contest Winner 2021
Okay, basic facts first:
-I'm in central Colorado, 6200 ft elevation. Climate is relatively hot and sunny in summer, with a few weeks of drenching afternoon thunderstorms in July/August, and moderately cold in winter (nights average 20F).
-I have an assortment of plants -- agave, aloe, some cacti, Adromischus, Adenium Faucaria, Crassula, Haworthia, holiday cacti.
-The holiday cacti, one aloe, and the Haworthias are indoors year round in front of a south window; the rest are outside for the summer in partial shade (mostly sun for the Adenium). They will all come inside to the south windows in winter.
-Pots are a mixture, mostly ceramic but some terracotta and one plastic. Except for the holiday cacti, which are in straight cactus potting soil, they are are all planted in about 50/50 cactus potting soil and grit (pumice, coarse sand). Some have a little bit higher proportion of grit.

Since I have such a variety, with different needs, in pots of different sizes and materials, I have little choice but to check everybody every few days right now, weekly in winter. I mainly use cues, as Ms Doe mentioned -- leaves that feel thinner, softer, squishy, or puckered. This works for all the smaller ones and the holiday cacti. With the agave, aloes, desert cacti, and Adenium (which is brand new and I'm still figuring it out) I mainly use a moisture meter. In summer everybody gets watered deeply, indoors and out.

In winter: the windowsill gets cold enough at night to keep them mostly dormant, but sunny enough most days that they do get thirsty. I water the larger cacti, agave, and aloe maybe every 2-3 weeks and more lightly as I'm paranoid about the bigger pots drying too slowly. The others, whenever they show those thirsty cues. I'm also careful to refrain from watering if it's gray and overcast; without the sun coming through the window to warm them, they can stay cold and wet too long and that's bad! (Learned that the hard way after an Adromischus got root rot.)

Stush2019 said:On Aloe and Agave. Starts as a stain which progresses into a hard dried spot then a hole. I think the water acts as a magnifier glass and increases the suns rays. Not all the time but it does happen most to plants not used to the hot sun and not acclimated.

I had that happen to my Agave this spring. It seems to happen only under just the right conditions, when it's sunny but cool enough that the drops don't evaporate quickly. The rest of the time the water dries up too fast for that magifying-glass effect to happen.
Jun 24, 2020 1:45 PM CST
Name: 'CareBear'

Amaryllis Cactus and Succulents Dog Lover Hostas Irises Region: Pennsylvania
Good advise on soil type which makes watering completely different. My soil for most is about 1/2 organic and granite (poultry) grit. For my Sans, it's 80% organic and 20% perlite. Some agave I have in 80% grit due to rot easy during summer rains.
I have done more damage with chemical fertilizer. I have switched to organic sea weed and compost tea. They are extremely low in levels to non existence. They are high in bio- enzymes which help roots take up what they need in regular watering and contain a growth hormone.
Jun 26, 2020 3:49 AM CST
Name: Steve
Stoke-on-Trent, UK
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Multi-Region Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Procrastinator Pollen collector Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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I started my reply to the sticky post on soil with an explanation of my local weather.
This can be summarised as:-
lower than ideal temperatures
high rainfall
relatively low light levels due to the northern latitude
My main interest is aloes (both species and hybrids) with a few mammillaria, echeveria, haworthiopsis, By far the biggest part of my collection is hybrid aloes. Its difficult to know the exact taxonomy/parentage of these plants but many are heavily influenced by species plants from Madagascar
All my plants are indoors . This deals with the temperature problem but reduces my light availability and airflow.

Hybrid aloes can be a sensitive to over watering. Even just slightly too much water (in my environment) can lead to compromised roots and curling leaves. The lower than ideal light also i think can, at times, discourage the plants from growing strongly. What this all adds up to is quite a balancing act for me with watering. I pretty much need to make sure i dry out each time.I tried various approaches to this including wooden sticks and water meters. As my soil is very gritty , both of these had a tendency to indicate the soil was dry when it was not. I also think i have an inbuilt tendency to want to water Smiling This can affect my decision making when it comes to things like looking at wooden sticks Smiling I also do not water in winter unless the plants look in real trouble. So from oct through to march my plants are pretty much dormant.

In the end i resorted to weight. What i did was leave my plants long enough be be sure they were dry and put them on a small set of scales like this.
Thumb of 2020-06-26/ketsui73/421ee3
I then took the weight in grams and put in on a plant label in the pot. This is the base weight. Every few days I would weight the plant quickly and only water those that were at or close to the base weight. As an experiment I also recorded the dates of each watering and the number of days since the last water for each plant on a card like this
Thumb of 2020-06-26/ketsui73/d3bc38

What I quickly realised was that different plants started to diverge with some needing water every say every 14 days and others much sooner. There can also be quite a variation with the same plant depending on conditions and time of year.

There are some drawbacks with this method. It a bit slow and laborious, and if the plant is growing strongly the base weight needs to be increased.
I quit filling out the cards each time as I don't need to. I am either close to the base weight and watering or not.

I should also point out that the best tool in a plant keepers arsenal is their own eyeballs. Most of the time you get to know what you plants want be looking at them constantly and noticing the small changes. Smiling
Last edited by ketsui73 Jun 26, 2020 4:22 AM Icon for preview
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Jun 28, 2020 11:21 AM CST
Name: Charline
Toronto (Zone 5b)
DaisyI said:

You've seen that happen?

The same thing happened to my Haworthia maughanii.
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Jun 28, 2020 11:27 AM CST
Name: Charline
Toronto (Zone 5b)
I found it can be difficult to make certain seedlings growing roots into the soil, especially in the clay pots. So I did an experiment. The problem was solved.

Thumb of 2020-06-28/Charlinex/7e55fb
Last edited by Charlinex Jun 28, 2020 11:29 AM Icon for preview
Jun 28, 2020 11:18 PM CST
Name: Gary Simpson
Cannelton, IN (Zone 6b)
aka; smashedcactus
I water similar to Stush2019 I'm in zone 6b. I do have some that I leave outside that have just had 6 in. of rain this week. I do not use saucers on them. I rarely lose one. I try not to use glazed pots for my cacti. I've lost several in them. If I do use a glazed pot, I always check with a moisture meter. If any reading at all, I do not water. Pictured are some that I plant each year that do very well with the amount of rain and full sun.
Thumb of 2020-06-29/simcactus/c964cb
Jul 17, 2020 1:34 PM CST
Montreal, QC (Zone 5a)
Charlinex said:I found it can be difficult to make certain seedlings growing roots into the soil, especially in the clay pots. So I did an experiment. The problem was solved.

Thumb of 2020-06-28/Charlinex/7e55fb

Hi, this looks interesting, can you explain what effect the foil has? Is this to prevent the plants getting water from the surface and force them to look deeper? Thank you!
Jul 17, 2020 2:11 PM CST
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
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Since this thread is a sticky, please try to stick to the subject of watering cacti/succulents.

Thank You!
Jul 17, 2020 7:39 PM CST
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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I observe seasonal changes when watering. Light levels and temperatures affects my watering regimen here. My area is considered Central Valley, so we are inland, with sizzling dry heat into the triple digits during the long hot, dry period and cold inversion during winter so our temps may go down to 20F. We do get residual Delta Breeze since we are just at the edge of the Bay Area, so it helps cool my area down on some days.

More watering during the long and hot dry period, not just summer per se, since it starts from mid Spring to late Fall here for our long dry spell, zero rain.. Once temp forecasts says it will be over 90F and higher, I would have to assume we will meet and exceed the forecast It always helps to have a weather station, so you can clearly see the temperature in your own locale as well as the humidity levels. Our humidity levels are so dismal during the long dry months, may just be in the 30% to 0% range. So understandably all the plants may easily get too dry very fast.

When I do water, I use a watering can and another one with a spray. I try to do it early in the day, so there is time for the water to reach the roots, help cool down the soil somehow. Succulents for the most part are drought tolerant but not all are heat tolerant. Some would go dormant if kept way too dry in summer, shrink badly, but may still bounce back once the amiable cooler temps of Fall to Winter returns. If forecasts really call for weeks long heat wave, I may have to do watering every other day here. My containers are a mixed type, some maybe glazed clay or not, plastic, fabric, but all must always have drain holes. Also the older ones are in heavier set clay containers to avoid being toppled by the wind.

Winter is rest time for me in watering, Mother Nature takes over. By then temps are not too onerously hot, so the plants can wait it out for the intermittent rains. The only dicey part is if it starts to hit 20F, then just have to expect considerable cold damage. Typically too, I have to overwinter some succulents indoors and wait for mid Spring to let them out. Once indoors, there is lesser to no watering being done, since they also go dormant.

With my media mix, I use cacti soil that is not Miracle Gro, and always adding pumice or perlite to make it grittier and well draining. I have to do that since most of my succulents are growing outdoors year round, and come winter time, they fend for themselves when the cold rains arrive. Got to maintain the media gritty and well draining.

The succulents that I overwinter indoors are Adeniums, Euphorbias, the desert orchid-Eulophia petersii along with other orchids I have here except the Cymbidium.

There are some succulents that I never bring outdoors, the Sansevierias and some of the succulent Hoyas. Indoor watering is another thing to consider. Watering them as needed may sound vague but pretty much, about once a week in summer, and longer intervals during winter when light levels are just too weak, so plants are slowing down, and they do not need much watering. They maybe indoors, but they are always near a window so they can still get bright indirect light.

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