Sempervivum makes one of the excellent choices for relatively low-maintenance houseplants. The plant is naturally hardy and requires minimal watering to survive. In fact, overwatering a sempervivum plant can be catastrophic. Therefore, you need to understand your plant’s watering needs and try as much as possible to stick on it to have a lush succulent at home.
So, what are some of the golden rules for watering Sempervivum? Since the plant is highly drought-tolerant, you should only consider watering it when the potting mix is completely dry. If the soil still feels moist, there is no need to water it. How much you need depends on a wide range of factors, but you need to try as much as possible to match what the plant gets in its native habitat. Cut down on watering your plant during winter and consider using the bottom watering method to keep your plant hydrated. The best time to water your Sempervivum is early morning or in the evening to allow it to absorb as much water as possible.
Read on to learn more about sempervivum watering rules and how to create a lush succulent planting at home. We cover everything you need to know.
How Often Should I Water my Sempervivum?
Generally, you should water your Sempervivum only when the potting mix is completely dry. Although the soil may still be relatively moist at depth, feel free to water your plant as long as the top one inch of the soil feels dry.
You need to keep in mind that the soil dries at different rates depending on the time of the year. The watering frequency also depends on the presence of drainage holes and the type of soil in use.
Consider watering your succulent at least two times a week if it is grown in sandy soil and one time per week if it is grown in clay soil. However, no watering is necessary during winter since the plant enters a state of dormancy and no growth happens.
Water once per week during spring and autumn only if your plant grows in sandy soil. Otherwise, no watering is required during these two seasons as well.
During summer, you may notice that the topsoil of your succulent dries in a day. It doesn’t mean that you need to water it daily. In such a case, the plant will have absorbed enough moisture to survive the heat for three or four days.
Furthermore, the soil layer towards the bottom of the growing pot will still contain enough moisture to keep your plant alive. Keep in mind that if you overwater your plant, you could easily lose it due to root rot issues.
Spring is the time of the year when Sempervivum grows intensively. So, it needs a lot of water during this time. Watering it at least once a week is enough to keep it happy.
You can consider increasing the watering frequency towards the end of spring when the sun is intense, and there is no rain. This will keep your plant active and healthy.
How Much Water Do I Need?
The exact amount of water you need to give your depends on a wide range of factors, but you need to try as much as possible to match what the plant receives in its natural habitat.
Sempervivum mostly grows in the alpine region, where they receive relatively regular rainfall. However, the rain is mostly light showers.
As a general rule of thumb, a sempervivum plant requires approximately 0.5″ to 1.0″ of water once a week during the dry months of the year. Sometimes, you can go slightly lower or higher than the recommended values depending on the climate of where you live.
What Type of Water Should I Use?
Rainwater is the best option for your Sempervivum. This is because it doesn’t contain any chemicals or salts found in tap water. Rainwater is natural and free from anything that could potentially damage your succulents.
Therefore, it is highly advisable to collect as much rainwater as possible during winter and store it for later use.
If you don’t have access to rainwater, go for reverse osmosis or distilled water. In this case, the water has been treated appropriately to get rid of chemicals that may build up in your potting mix and cause harm to your plant.
Distilled water is the cheaper and readily available option. You can purchase distilled water from your local supermarket.
Avoid using tap water at all costs because it contains chlorine, sodium, magnesium, calcium, and fluoride, which may harm your succulent.
If it is the only option you have, let it sit in an open container overnight to allow the mineral elements to evaporate or settle at the bottom of the container before watering your plants with it.
Watering Frequency Depends on the Type of Soil
The kind of potting mix you use to grow your Sempervivum will directly impact the watering schedule. If your succulent is growing in clay soil, you don’t need to water it frequently. This is because clay soil dries slowly.
Clay soil may feel dry at the top, but it usually forms a crust that doesn’t allow the bottom layer of the soil to lose water. Therefore, Sempervivum grown in such soil doesn’t require watering at any time of the year except summer.
On the other hand, sandy soil loses water relatively quickly, even if there is no drought. So, if your succulent is growing in such soil, it requires frequent watering.
During summer, consider watering your Sempervivum at least twice a week but cut the frequency down to once a week during spring. During winter, your plant will most probably have enough moisture to keep it happy throughout the season.
What Are the Signs of Underwatering?
Even though it is a drought-tolerant plant, it doesn’t mean that Sempervivum can survive for eternity without water. Your plant gets dehydrated when it is not receiving sufficient amounts of water, and it will show you.
Generally, if you see signs of over-drying, such as wrinkled, crispy, or flexible leaves, you should start watering your Sempervivum quite often. Water deeply and frequently to revive your succulent and maintain its health.
It may take a couple of weeks before your plant starts responding. Feel free to water up to three times a week for young plants to encourage faster growth.
Don’t panic if you notice signs of underwatering in your Sempervivum. As long as you increase the watering frequency and ensure all the other conditions are ideal, your plant will be okay. You should only be worried if you start to notice signs of overwatering because that is more dangerous.
Don’t Overwater Your Sempervivum
Overwatering can be quite dangerous to your plant, especially if it is not noticed early. Most often, sempervivum plants suffer from overwatering from excess water during winter, but it can also happen during summer or spring if you are not careful.
When you manually water these plants and do it quite often, it becomes quite dangerous. Some of the common signs of overwatering include yellow and almost transparent leaves. This is a clear indication that your plant has started to rot, and you need to find ways of reviving it.
The plant can also become elongated as it tries to fight off the rot. If you notice signs of rot on your plant, you need to act quickly. Dig it out of the container and transfer it to a relatively dry place.
Clean all the potting mix from the plant and carefully remove all the rotten parts of the plant. Place it in a dry place, prepare a fungicide solution and treat it. Let it dry before repotting.
Size of Plant Affects the Amount of Water Consumed
Another important thing that you need to remember is that the size and shape of your Sempervivum will affect its water requirements.
Generally, the large species plants require more water but need to be watered less often since they absorb and retain moisture better than the small varieties. So, water them with plenty of water once a week.
The relatively small and compact sempervivum varieties require less water but frequent watering. These varieties grow slower and don’t retain moisture for too long. Some of the common examples include sempervivum globiferum and sempervivum arachroneidum.
So, if you have a dwarf sempervivum, only feed it with a small amount of water but make sure you do it frequently. Technically, you need to water the small varieties as soon as the topsoil dries.
Best Time to Water Sempervivum
In the summer, it is better to water your outdoor succulents early in the morning so that roots can soak up moisture before the peak heat sets in. This is also the best time to water your Sempervivum during winter.
If you cannot water your plants early in the morning, then do so late in the evening. Don’t winter it during the afternoon because the scorching sun could deny the roots an opportunity to absorb as much water as possible.
Sempervivum is a highly drought-tolerant plant that can take some neglect. However, you need to be careful with your watering regime because too much or too little water can cause harm to your plants.
Don’t let your plants dry out, and don’t overwater them. We hope you have learned a few tricks on how to keep your Sempervivum happy, and you are ready to go.