substrate in which plants are
should be adequately moist, but never dump,
they need oxygen as well to
function properly. Give your plants a chance to
slightly before you water them.
The number one plant killer is over-watering especially if we
succulents. It is easier to bring back a dying plant from
under-watering than overwatering. Over watering can be more
hazardous to our plants health than making them go without
water. Excessive moisture creates an
favourable to such
Overwatering can also cause a condition known as denitrification.
growing medum is made to quickly
absorb water and then dry out. It is loose and allows
oxygen to flow around the
which the roots need to function correctly. If the
media is kept too wet, the roots soon
rot and the
plant starts to
wilt because it cannot
absorb the water needed. When this happens the beginner
usually adds still more water thinking the plant needs it.
What should we look for?
- A plant suffering from overwatering may appear to actually
need water. The leaves or stems will
turn yellow, sometimes dropping off. Someone seeing this might
believe that the plant needs water and add to the problem. But
once again, feeling the soil is the best way to avoid this.
When in doubt: Soil + dry = water. Soil + wet = don't water.
media smells sour.
- One things that can happen to some plant (e.g. Christmas
cactus) is after the
buds have developed they drop
off the plant. Bud drop can be caused both by lack of
humidity or over-watering
What should we do?
Succulent plants like dryness. Some dry periods between
watering will maintain a
Fertilize and water in the spring and summer and early
- During the
winter for most species withholding water completely is
the best method. Many plants will show signs of
during this dry period but this is normal and good as long as
the roots do not disintegrate.
vegetative resumption: it is very important to withhold
watering until the plants actually begin to show signs of
Some species accept watering before they are ready to grow,
but it is very risky to attempt to push any plant into a
growth cycle with water too soon. There will be some
plants with indications of growth that are difficult to see
and obviously watering can't be postponed indefinitely. If the
plant has been kept completely dry through the winter and has
rested for over 6 months it may be safe to resume watering
without seeing signs of growth as long as the plant has
daytime warmth and enough sun.
- When plants are resting in their
summer cycle an occasional small watering will be fine for
most species as long as they can dry out between watering.
Some succulents and cactus plants will actually delay their
spring growth cycle until summer in more northern
in which case they will need plenty of water.
when there is a circular growth of root mass at the bottom.
- By the time you notice that there is something wrong, the
media has already started to
decay and the plant has begun to
loose its roots. You need to
repot immediately, cut off all
dead and decaying roots and let plant roots drying and
for some day before to plant in a fresh substrate . Use a
coarser grade of media since this will allow more rapid drying
- If the plant has no (or very few) living roots left, you
can try re-rooting. If your plant has signs of
treat it with a
before repotting. Be careful when you start to water again.
- Plastic pots require less watering whereas
pots can help to mitigate the effects of over-watering..