When growing any plant, it helps to mimic the conditions of that plant’s native environment. Succulents typically originate from harsh, arid climates, in which they endure long periods of drought and then receive torrential rains. Essentially, succulents undergo long periods of “drying” and then a short period of “drenching.” These conditions may seem uninhabitable, but succulents thrive under them!
Succulents can endure these long periods without water because they retain moisture in their leaves, roots, and stems. Like a camel will store water in its hump, a succulent will similarly store water. This is why when succulents have gone too long without water their leaves will start to shrivel—essentially, their water supplies have been tapped and need to be replenished. When watered, their leaves will start to plump up again. Any type of shallow watering like misting will simply not work and promote growth because it won’t be able to fully saturate the succulent’s root system.
By recreating their native conditions, your succulents will flourish! The Drench & Dry Method is a succulent watering technique that mimics a succulent’s natural conditions. Read on below to learn the steps!
- Wait Until Your Well-Draining Soil Is Completely Dry. You will know it is time to water your succulents when the soil is totally dry. To check your soil’s moisture level, you can simply stick a finger down in the soil. If you do this, be mindful not to disturb your succulent’s roots, particularly for baby succulents! Another method is to create a homemade moisture meter by sticking a toothpick in your succulent’s soil when it is first watered and then checking if the toothpick feels dry to see when you can water again. If you feel the soil is still retaining moisture from its last watering, hold off for about another week or so. Fear not—succulents are tough and resilient. They much prefer a little neglect to too much attention!
- Drench Your Succulent. When it rains, it pours. Once your soil is dry, it’s time to thoroughly drench your succulent and unleash some torrential rains! Flood your succulent until the water runs through the drainage holes at the bottom of the container. This means your soil has been utterly saturated. If your succulent container does not have drainage holes, then the drench and dry method will not work—you definitely do not want excess water sitting at the bottom of your pot! This would cause root rot, invite unwanted pests, and potentially kill your succulent. Instead, you will need to calculate the amount of water it will take to thoroughly soak the soil. We recommend about a 1:2 ratio of water to soil.
- Repeat When the Soil is Dry Again. Pretty easy, right? Simply continue this pattern of drenching and drying your succulents. Keep in mind that your succulents watering needs and frequency may change according to the seasons. Succulents typically need more frequent watering during summer months and less frequent watering in winter months.
The Drench & Dry Method is ideal for succulents because it caters to nature. As a result, your succulents will grow as their nature intends without distorted or stunted growth.
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