Succulents are tough. Not only can they live in some of the worst conditions on the planet, they are easy to kill. Figure that one out. They naturally grow in deserts, places where everything else withers and dies, they thrive. Yet when you bring them home and give them water and nutrients they die. I guess they are trying to tell us something. Don’t Water Me!
And any gardener knows, Not watering isn’t as easy as it seems. When I see a dry pot, my first instinct is to water it. When we first got our succulents from my Pa, we put them up in the hothouse and treated ’em like all the other plants. And they started to show their displeasure almost immediately. But my dad quickly figured out what he was doing wrong, moved them to the back of the room, and stopped watering. And now they are Glor-Ious! Growing like mad!
I was looking around for more information on caring for succulents and the consensus is only water once a week during peak season (mainly Spring and early Summer), and only water once a month during the Winter months. Be careful though, some cacti and succulents are from the southern hemisphere and they consider our Spring/Summer their Winter, so adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Another good tip for the unsure gardener, only water when the soil is dry completely through. And when in doubt, Don’t Water!
One of the coolest things I read I found on CactusLands. They said you can cover the topsoil of your succulent with pea gravel or crushed granite to help the soil dry at an even rate (helps keep the topsoil moist along with the rest). It also helps the water distribute evenly. Very cool. And I think I’m gonna try it out on a few of ours.
Along with the important lack of water, succulents also don’t particularly care for nutrients. We planted our succulents in Black Gold (it received the National Home Garden Club Seal of Approval) which is a peat and perlite mixture with no fertilizers, and as I said, they are doing just great. No matter what brand of soil you use, be sure it has good aeration to allow water and air to the roots. If you do add nutrients to the soil (they like a little nitrogen) do so sparingly.