In Echeveria care, watering is probably the most challenging task that gardeners have to deal with. Keep in mind that, like other succulents, overwatering your Echeveria can result in death-causing effects. In fact, you are much better off underwatering your Echeveria than overwatering. A slight overwatering mistake and you could remain with a dead plant to dispose.
So, what are the golden rules for watering Echeveria? Generally, you want to ensure that the soil is completely dry before watering. It is almost impossible to say how many days should pass between watering because different areas experience different climatic conditions that affect how slow or fast the soil loses moisture. While watering, consider watering from the bottom to achieve better results.
If you cultivate Echeveria and have been struggling with watering, you have come to the right place. By the end of this blog post, you should be able to water your plant with confidence, even if you are a beginner.
Know When Your Echeveria Is Active/Dormant and How It Impacts Watering
Like many succulents, Echeveria plants are summer growers. It means that the plant becomes super active during spring and summer and will require frequent watering.
Since most of the plant’s growth will happen during this time, feel free to take advantage of it and feed it as well. Growth will start to slow down in fall as the winter season approaches.
During summer, you can feed your plant with fertilizer every two weeks, but you need to keep in mind that some fertilizers can be really strong for it. Therefore, consider diluting it by at least half before offering it to your plant.
If you over-fertilize your Echeveria, it may experience severe fertilizer burn, resulting in root damage and discolored leaves.
If your plant has already suffered fertilizer burn, consider replacing the potting mix with an unfertilized one which can help prevent further damage.
Carefully prune off the burned leaves. If everything is already burned, consider leaving a few leaves because the plant requires them to continue growing.
During winter, your Echeveria will slowly slip into dormancy, and growth slows down drastically. In fact, the dormancy starts late fall.
As the growth slows down, the plant also absorbs less amount of water and requires less frequent watering. Therefore, it is critical to cut down on your watering schedule during winter.
We recommend giving it half the amount of water you usually give it during spring or summer. For instance, if you usually water it every week during spring and summer, start watering it every two weeks.
Echeveria is a succulent and well adapted to surviving in dry areas. Typically, the plant will show you signs of dehydration when it is fully dehydrated. These signs include wrinkled leaves and contracted stems.
Feel free to water your plant whenever you notice these signs. However, you need to be careful not to overwater it because overwatering is the #1 cause of death for Echeveria plants.
If you notice that you have overwatered your Echeveria, get rid of all the blackened spots with a clean pair of shearers. Leave it to sit in a relatively dry area for up to three days so that the cut wound can callous over.
Once the wound has been calloused over, repot your plant in dry potting mix and mist it every three or four days until it starts to show signs of life again.
Use the Right Watering Method
The truth is that most gardeners water their plants from top to bottom, directly onto the soil. For many, it is the perfect way of providing their plants with the much-needed water supply.
However, it is recommended not to water Echeveria this way and instead use the bottom watering method. In the top-down watering method, water only remains at the top of the potting mix, encouraging the growth of odd leaves.
However, the bottom watering method completely wets the soil, ensuring your plant absorbs as much water as possible.
But there is another reason why top watering won’t work well with Echeveria. Generally, these plants will be delivered when they are already potted in a potting mix that comprises peat moss. When peat moss is allowed to dry completely, it cannot absorb water when it is poured from the top.
The water will only run through the soil pretty quickly, leaving the bulk of it completely dry. The only way you can get it wet is by gradual wicking found with the bottom watering method.
How Do You Bottom Water Echeveria?
To bottom water your Echeveria or any other succulent plant, start by submerging the growing pot in a water basin up to its rim. Let the pot stay under the water for up to 20 minutes.
This allows enough water to enter the potting mix through the drainage holes and saturate the soil. Once the soil is fully saturated, allow the excess water to drain away before taking the plant back to its spot.
But the biggest disadvantage of bottom watering you need to know is that the method can lead to the build-up of excess fertilizer, which isn’t washed out of the potting mix as it is when the plant is watered from the top.
Therefore, it is highly recommended you fertilize a bottom watered plant less often. Furthermore, you should use relatively weaker fertilizer strength. Watering from the top after every five or six bottom watering sessions can help rinse out the excess fertilizer.
The best time to water your Echeveria plant is early in the morning so that any water spilled on your plant’s leaves can evaporate rapidly during the day.
Use a Growing Pot with Plenty of Drainage Holes
No matter how attractive it may seem, you should never be tempted to grow Echeveria directly in a glazed pot without enough drainage holes. While it may be possible to keep your plant alive in such a pot, you will have to pay extraordinary attention to the amount of water and watering method you use.
If you must grow your Echeveria in a beautiful glazed pot, be sure to get at least a terracotta pot with proper drainage. You can always slip the plant in and out of the container easily when it is time for watering.
You should also choose the right size pot. Don’t choose a too big pot because Echeveria doesn’t like a lot of room for its roots. Generally, you should go for a shallow pot that is slightly larger than your plant’s root ball.
Keep in mind that if there is a lot of soil around your plant’s roots, it has a great potential of holding a lot of moisture, which can result in root rot.
Know the Signs of Improper Watering
If you want to keep your plant happy, you should be able to tell when you are not watering correctly. In this case, improper watering refers to either overwatering or underwatering.
The good thing is that your Echeveria plant will always show you signs when it is unhappy with how you water it. For instance, if you are underwatering, you will notice your plant dropping leaves, wilting, shriveling up, and becoming weak.
If you are overwatering, you will start to notice sections of your plant turning black or brown. The stem may also start bulging and feeling soft. The dark areas are signs of rotting, and you need to act pretty quickly before you lose your entire plant.
If you notice any of these signs, take time to examine your plant for rot and other issues. Sometimes, you may be forced to repot it if the problem has already become severe.
Ensure you cut off all rotted parts of the plant before repotting in fresh potting mix. You should also allow the plant to lie out in the open air for at least one day before repotting it in fresh soil.
How Often Should You Water Your Echeveria?
Typically, the frequency of watering will depend so much on where you live. If you live in a relatively humid area, you need to water your plant less frequently because it takes time before the soil is completely dry.
However, if you live in a dry area or have a central heating device installed in your house, you may be forced to water more frequently.
Generally, consider watering Echeveria once every week or ten days. But keep in mind that other factors such as your plant size and pot size may influence the watering schedule.
It is always good to check the top few inches of the potting mix and only water when the soil is completely dry.
Knowing how to water your Echeveria plant correctly is critical to its survival. Take time to study your plant and determine how much water it requires based on its size, then adjust your watering schedule appropriately.
As long as you do everything right, you don’t have to worry about some things such as root rot and wilting.
Once you figure out its wagering requirements, you can focus on other things that will make it stay healthy and happy.