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Name: Lucille
Texas
Lucillle
Oct 5, 2017 3:41 PM CST
For those of you that have a bunch of cacti/succulents, how do you water? Take the pots out water and replace, water them where they are? Watering can, spray bottle?
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Oct 7, 2017 10:46 AM CST

Moderator

I use a liter size squirt bottle of the sort sold with bottled water inside. The main advantage is that the flow rate is very even, so it's easy to control how much water comes out when. Almost all my plants are on a table with slats or a tray that lifts them above the floor, so I can water them where they are and they don't ever sit in puddles afterwards.

Watering to saturation is important. That usually requires watering in two or more passes. More on that subject here.

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[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Oct 7, 2017 1:01 PM (+)]
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Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Oct 7, 2017 5:17 PM CST
Remember cactus/succulent is a REALLY REALLY broad term. Add to that, a deep pot stays wet longer than a shallow pot, a big pot longer than a small pot. It also depends on where they are in relation to my radiators which will dry out a pot in a heart beat.


My christmas cactus and rhipsalis I water like any other house plant- they're in regular potting soil with a high % peat moss- and I water when the surface feels dry. In the winter inside the house that's probably every 4-5 days, outside in summer sun more often.

The little dish garden on my bath window sill I showed you in the other post only gets watered every 2-3 weeks inside and never when its outside- (in fact sometimes I take them in becasue we get too much rain). They don't have saucers so I put them in the sink under the spray to get a good even soaking, then leave them there to drip dry- usually on my way to work in the morning, so I can leave them in the sink - don't want to wreck my paint any more than I have already.

Jade and snake plants never more than once every 7-10 days.

When my father passed away in he had cactus in his house that lived without any water at all for 4 or 5 months!

I wish I had a better answer for you, but I can't tell you how many plants I have tossed in the garbage becasue someone gave me a hard and fast rule that turned out dead wrong. - Actually... I can tell you how many times - EVERY TIME, LOL.

I know a lot of people poo-poo moisture meters, but I think getting one really helped me. Especially to figure out which way I was messing up when things started going sideways. I still use it when I bring my houseplants back in every year until I get a feel for who needs what in what location.

Most IMPORTANT- heed Baja's warning about not letting pots sit in water. Nobody likes wet feet. I've used various methods to keep pots out of their own drainage saucers... soda bottle caps work great to lift a pot off its saucer and they're thin enough you can't see them. I've also hot glued a ring of pony beads around the bottom, cut 1/2 rings of old PVC on my chop saw... there's a hundred ways.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Oct 7, 2017 5:48 PM CST
All my non winter hardy cactus and succulents live in my greenhouse year 'round. They are too big and too numerous to take outside. I use my hose to water. I water once and then start from the beginning and water all again to make sure the soil has absorbed as much moisture as it can. My GH cactus get watered every 2 weeks in summer, even though the temperature in the GH can get over 100. The succulents get watered about once a week. In the winter, about once a month for the cactus and succulents but some don't get water at all.

My outdoor cactus garden gets watered twice a week by automatic sprinklers in the summer. I reset the sprinklers to once a week in the middle of September and in another week or so, I will turn the water off. During the winter, I don't water at all but last year, we had about twice as much rain as normal (15 inches) - everyone did fine. They are planted in straight desert sand but our sand is very coarse, like aquarium gravel, so great drainage.
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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Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Oct 7, 2017 6:43 PM CST
I just realized I didn't answer your question...

If you have them inside (which I think you do.. right?) and they are in a fast draining medium, the sink is probably your best bet if you don't have a ton of them. If you use a watering can most of the water will pour right out the bottom.... very messy depending on your set up. I think you were talking about putting your 4" pots inside a larger container, right? Tell us about your set up: location, pot size, container (terra cotta, plastic?), substrate, drainage holes- then we can give you something specific that will help. Obviously if they're in your livingroom a hose isn't the answer, and if you have 40 of them, the leave it in the sink trick isn't really feasible...

Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Oct 7, 2017 7:41 PM CST

Moderator

Yes, a moisture meter can be quite helpful. I have one here somewhere that I used to use, before it rendered itself unnecessary. You should try to calibrate the meter's readings with your own observations (like with your finger or a bamboo chopstick) so you get a sense of what they mean. The best test/confirmation is a visual inspection of the soil when you repot. So try to time your repotting for when you think the soil has just gone dry, and you'll get a sense of how far off you were in guessing the moisture content.
Name: Lucille
Texas
Lucillle
Oct 8, 2017 2:50 AM CST
I had thought to put my containers inside a larger container and have ordered the larger containers, but then decided to use my original plan and just plant similar plants together as a community planting. I bought some baby orchids and of course they have been planted separate, but the rest are going to be planted together depending on their needs.
The containers have a tray. So I ordered a one gallon pump up garden sprayer. I can carefully spray the containers a number of times giving the substrate a chance to absorb the water between sprays. My theory is that the fine spray done lightly is less likely to cause unused messy runoff than a watering can would. I am retired so even if it takes significantly longer to water by spraying, I have the time for that.
These larger containers are plastic, but I also have to terra cotta planters and they have trays as well.
I also have a few plants out on the patio and can use the sprayer for them too.
I'm sure there will be a learning curve, and it may take a while to get them all watered, but I am a senior and it just is not feasible to carry containers, especially the heavier terra cotta ones, back and forth to the sink.

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