What Is the Best Water pH for Succulents?

Succulents require special conditions in order to thrive. The best water pH for succulents is 6.0 to 6.5, but the range will vary depending on the type of plant. Succulents prefer to live in soil that's slightly acidic; however, they can tolerate more alkaline soils.
Succulent rain water.

Succulents are loved for their hardy nature and ease of care. While they tolerate diverse conditions, proper watering is essential to their survival. The easiest way to kill a succulent is failure to water it properly. Watering goes beyond correct timing and watering method. You also need to pay attention to the water’s pH level. Using the wrong type of water may cause problems.

So, what is the best water pH for succulents? The ideal water pH for succulents is between 5.5 and 7.5 on the pH scale. Anywhere within this range will ensure your plant has access to the essential nutrients needed to survive and thrive. It’s important to note that different types of succulents may have specific preferences for pH levels. For example, cacti prefer slightly more acidic water, while other succulent varieties are happy with water pH closer to neutral. Consider using distilled or rainwater when watering your succulents since it is usually close to the ideal pH range. If you are using tap water, you should test the pH first to ensure it is within the desired range.

This blog post discusses everything you need to know about the ideal water pH for succulents. Read on to learn more.

Understanding Water pH Levels

Before we dive into the ideal pH range for succulent plants, let’s first understand what pH levels are and why they’re essential.

The pH level of water is a measure of its acidity or alkalinity on a scale of 1 to 14. A value of 7 indicates neutral pH; lower figures indicate increasing acidity, while higher figures indicate increasing alkalinity.

Understanding pH levels is crucial because overly acidic or alkaline water can cause plant issues.

Too acidic water can leach essential nutrients from the soil and prevent their uptake by the roots, while too alkaline water may contain toxic salts to the plant.

Keeping the pH level within the ideal range ensures that your succulent has access to all the essential nutrients it needs while avoiding potential issues caused by incorrect water pH levels.

How To Test Water pH

Testing the pH level of your water is a simple process and can be done in two ways: with test strips or a pH testing meter.

Test strips are the quickest and least expensive way to test water pH levels, but they are less accurate than a digital tester.

pH meters are more precise and can accurately read the water’s pH level. However, they can be costly and require calibration so test strips may be a better option for the average gardener.

A water Ph stick checker.
Testing the pH level of your water is a simple process.

Once you have tested and recorded your water’s pH level, you can adjust it as needed. To increase alkalinity, add baking soda to the water.

For acidity, use white vinegar or lemon juice. Remember to test the water again after making adjustments to ensure it is within the ideal range for succulents.

What Is the Best Water pH for Succulents?

The best water pH for most succulents is anything between 5.5 and 6.6. The pH figures within this range are classified as slightly acidic.

A alkaline ionized water.
Urban water usually tends to be slightly alkaline, with a pH above 7.

Since Water pH is critical in nutrient uptake, you must ensure that your succulents get the right amount of essential nutrients.

Keeping the water pH level within this range will ensure your plants get all the nutrients they need to stay healthy and thrive.

Residential and urban water usually tends to be slightly alkaline, with a pH above 7.

It means you must modify it slightly before watering your succulents. The best way to acidify the water is by adding two tablespoons of vinegar per gallon.

However, rainwater is naturally slightly acidic, making it the best option for watering succulents.

Some essential minerals that can be accessed in slightly acidic water and soil include phosphorus, sulfur, magnesium, manganese, iron, and calcium.

Can I Use Slightly Alkaline Water on My Succulents?

Alkaline water usually has higher pH levels (more than seven on the pH scale). Many people believe that drinking alkaline water is suitable for their health even though no research has confirmed it.

However, just because alkaline water is considered beneficial to humans doesn’t mean it is also helpful to plants.

Alkaline water helps increase soil alkalinity; hence, few plants can survive and thrive in such conditions. Only plants that love alkaline soil instead of slightly acidic soil will thrive under such conditions.

A person watering a bonsai.
It is not ideal to use alkaline water on succulent plants.

Some alkaline soil-loving plants include barberry, calendula, lavender, and clematis. However, succulents don’t love such soil. Instead, they love slightly acidic pH, with the sweet spot being 6.

If you start and keep using alkaline water on your succulents, the soil will slowly turn alkaline, affecting your plants’ growth. Therefore, it is not ideal to use alkaline water on succulent plants.

How Does Alkaline Water Affect Succulents?

Some of the common side effects of prolonged use of alkaline water on succulent plants include:

  • The soil will slowly turn alkaline: All succulent plants can only thrive in slightly acidic conditions. While most are highly adaptive, they may struggle to grow under alkaline conditions. A succulent growing in alkaline conditions is more susceptible to death than one growing in slightly acidic conditions.
  • Nutrient deficiencies: Alkaline water makes it difficult for succulents to absorb elements such as iron, magnesium, and zinc from the soil. As a result, these minerals will not be available to the plants, and they will slowly start showing signs of nutrient deficiencies.
  • Root development is affected: Roots are the most critical organs of every plant. They help anchor the plant and absorb water, oxygen, and nutrients. However, the development of succulent roots is significantly affected when grown in alkaline conditions. The roots become weak and unable to perform their functions well.
  • Affected plant growth: In general, alkaline water retards plant growth. Not only will your succulents grow at a slower rate, but they will also be stunted.
  • Pest and disease problems: Since alkaline water retards plant growth, it makes them susceptible to pests and diseases. Pests and diseases attack weak and slow-growing plants more readily.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Watering My Succulent and Have No Idea If the Water Is Alkaline or Acidic?

The best way to determine if you have been watering your succulents with acidic or alkaline water is to check the soil pH.

Take a small shovel and carefully dig one or two inches of potting mix. Use the sample with a pH meter or soil tester kit to test for the pH level.

A soil ph meter
The best way to determine if you have been watering your succulents with acidic or alkaline water is to check the soil pH.

If the readings are between 5 and 6, the water is slightly acidic, while readings of 7 and above indicate that the water you have been using is alkaline.

If it’s alkaline, stop using it immediately and find an alternative water source for your succulent plants.

What Is the Best Type of Water for Succulent Plants?

Rainwater is absolutely the best type of water to use. It is naturally acidic, allowing plant roots to absorb essential nutrients better and faster.

It also helps the soil release essential micronutrients such as copper, iron, and manganese, critical to plant growth.

The process also helps remove unwanted toxins and chemicals from the soil, essential to plant growth.

The only disadvantage of rainwater is that it is only sometimes available. You must collect and store enough of it during the rainy season for use at a later time. However, harvesting rainwater is prohibited in some states.

Water container with water.
You must collect and store enough of it during the rainy season for use at a later time.

So, what can you do if you don’t have rainwater? The next best water is distilled water, free from toxic chemicals and additives such as fluoride and chlorine. Distilled water is also slightly acidic, making it ideal for succulent plants.

Lastly, if you can’t get rainwater or distilled water, use bottled spring water as a last resort. Spring water has the proper pH balance and contains essential nutrients to help your succulents grow healthy.

However, it’s essential to check the label of the water before using it to ensure that it doesn’t contain any added chemicals or minerals.

Avoid tap water since it contains high levels of chlorine and other chemicals that can be toxic to succulent plants. It also has a neutral pH balance which can disturb the soil acidity needed for healthy growth.

The Bottom Line

The water pH is just as important as the timing and method of watering your succulents. The ideal water pH for succulents is between 5.5 and 7.5 on the pH scale.

Test the water using test strips or a digital tester to ensure you don’t over-alkalize the soil. Rainwater is the best type of water for succulent plants, but if that’s unavailable, then distilled or bottled spring water will also work.

Avoid tap water since it contains too many unsafe chemicals for your succulents. With a suitable water pH and proper care, your succulents will flourish.

Happy gardening!

Last update on 2023-07-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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