The idea that all succulents grow in dry areas is not quite correct. While a majority of them grow in areas where water may not be available throughout the year, they still receive a reasonable amount of water from underground sources to keep them hydrated. Furthermore, the water requirements of these plants vary from species to species. In fact, during the growing season, many succulents may need as much water as ordinary plants.
So, what are some of the golden rules for watering euphorbia? The most critical euphorbia watering rule you need to know is to only water your plant when the potting mix is completely dry. Watering at the wrong time can be catastrophic to your plant. Reduce watering during winter since the plant is in a period of dormancy. During this time, only give it enough water to prevent wilting. The best time to water your euphorbia during summer is evening. Watering early in the morning before the heat is also acceptable and may even be better during the cold winter months.
This article discusses some of the critical rules you need to know when it comes to watering euphorbia. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
1. Know When Your Euphorbia Needs Water
Generally, your plant will need watering when the potting mix is completely dry. If you don’t water on time, your plant will start showing signs of underwatering such as wilting.
So, it is always good to check the soil regularly and water your plant whenever you feel like the soil is dry. But don’t be quick with watering. You need to check the soil status a few times to ensure that it is completely dry.
Euphorbias have developed efficient water storage mechanisms and can still survive without water for a couple of days or weeks. It is always good to wait until your plant starts to show signs of wilting before you water it during winter.
Your primary objective should be to avoid overwatering your plant at all costs. The best way to know if the soil is completely dry is by sticking your finger into it for about an inch deep. If the soil feels damp or moist, don’t water.
Keep in mind that if you have grown your euphorbia in containers or pots, you need to water them approximately once or twice per week.
2. Watering Frequency
You need to study your plant and understand it to figure out the watering frequency. Sometimes, you may need to water it once or twice during summer or two or three times per week.
Other growing conditions such as temperature, light, and humidity will play a crucial role in determining how often you should water your euphorbia.
Ideally, you need to ensure your potting mix is completely dry between watering sessions. Furthermore, you need to check whether the excess water is moving through the drainage holes as expected.
If the excess water is settling at the bottom of the pot/container instead of draining out, you could be staring at a much bigger problem. Waterlogged euphorbia is highly susceptible to a wide range of issues, including root rot.
If you have grown your euphorbia outdoors, you need to suspend watering them during winter, given that they receive plenty of water from the winter rainfall. For indoor plants, only water them when they start showing signs of wilting.
Don’t worry so much if you don’t water your plant on time because they can survive for up to two months without water. In fact, it is relatively easy to deal with underwatering than overwatering.
3. How Much Water Should You Give Euphorbia?
It is not just about knowing when to water your plant. You also need to know how much water is right for it. This is something that many gardeners struggle with all the time.
The general rule is that if you have made the soil moist, you have done your job right. However, you need to check whether there is any water retained at the bottom of the growing container before walking away.
If you have grown your euphorbia in containers without drainage holes, watch out for signs of watering faults. Ideally, you should water your euphorbia with an amount of water equal to half of the soil amount.
For instance, if you have two cups of succulent soil in the growing container, water them with one cup of water. In case you accidentally pour so much water on your plant, use paper towels or a rag to remove some of it.
4. Know How to Water
There are many different ways of watering succulents. However, always water euphorbia from the top or bottom to achieve the best results.
Watering from the bottom allows your plant to absorb water slowly until it is thoroughly soaked up. To water from the bottom, carefully place the plant in a shallow dish or tray filled with water and immerse it for about two or three inches.
Let the plant rest in the tray of water for a couple of minutes before you take it out. The best way to know that your plant has absorbed enough water is by checking the top layer of the potting mix. If it has become moist, take the plant out.
Watering from the top also works, but it isn’t recommended. To water from the top, you will need to use a watering can. Ensure you are watering the base of the plant to avoid direct contact of water with the leaves of the plant.
Water your plant until water starts to come out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container. That is a clear indication that the plant has received plenty of water.
Avoid using spray bottles because you will only be spraying water on your plant’s leaves. You should only use a spray bottle when you are propagating baby plants. In adult euphorbia plants, the roots absorb water, not the leaves.
5. Know How to Water Euphorbia without Drainage
Succulents, in general, need good drainage soil and growing pots with plenty of drainage holes because they don’t like being waterlogged.
As such, if you use the right potting mix and go for a container with plenty of drainage holes, you won’t encounter a lot of challenges when watering your euphorbia.
If your container doesn’t have plenty of drainage holes, it can lead to severe root rot. Saving a succulent from root rot isn’t an easy task.
However, expert gardeners will always want to go for the fancy containers even if they don’t have drainage holes because they know how to handle these plants.
So, if you are an expert gardener and are fully convinced you can grow euphorbia in a container without drainage holes, there are a few things you need to do to keep your plant happy.
If you want to go with a container without drainage holes, you need to ensure the potting mix has excellent drainage. That will have a significant impact on your plant’s overall health and spur vigorous growth.
Additionally, position the plant closer to a window sill that receives plenty of sunlight so that the excess moisture is lost through evaporation. Keep in mind that excess water has nowhere to go, and if you fail to provide the right conditions for evaporation, your plant will develop root rot.
You can also be tactful with how you add soil to the container. Including substances such as pumice would be great since it aids drainage.
No matter what you do, ensure you provide optimal conditions for maximum evaporation and good aeration. When you water euphorbia grown in containers without drainage holes, it is mandatory to measure the water level.
6. Use the Right Type of Water
The best type of water to use for watering euphorbia is rainwater or distilled water because it doesn’t contain many impurities. You can always collect enough rainwater during winter and store it safely for use throughout the year.
If you cannot access rainwater throughout the year, consider using distilled water. Avoid tap water at all costs because it contains a lot of minerals such as calcium and magnesium that may build up in your potting mix or appear on the leaves of your plant as white dots.
If you have no other option apart from tap water, collect it in an open tray and let it stay undisturbed overnight. The minerals will collect at the bottom of the water tray. Carefully transfer the water to another container leaving out the bottom layer, and use it to water your euphorbia.
7. Know the Best Time to Water
The best time to water your plant varies depending on the season. During the warm season, you should water it in the evening so that it can take up as much water as possible without competing with evaporation. During the cold winter months, early morning watering is acceptable.
As we wrap up this piece, we trust you now know how to water your euphorbia, and you are ready to start practicing what you have read. Always ensure you have the right tools to accomplish the mission. As long as you water your euphorbia plant appropriately, it will stay happy and healthy for many years.