In my watering guide, I talk about waiting until your soil is completely dry before watering again. This will prevent root rot, gnats, and keep your succulents healthy (woot woot!). Knowing when to water again can be tricky.
Let me teach you several methods to check the soil to determine that is it completely dry before watering again.
My first method to checking the soil is with a water meter. Simply jab the meter into the soil, wait a moment, and the meter will measure the moisture content of the soil. When the meter indicates that the soil is dry, it’s time to water again!
This method has a couple of disadvantages. Water meters are sometime unreliable. Also, the meter will only measure where the probe is placed, so the bottom of the pot could still be wet even if the top is dry.
If you don’t have a water meter (most of us don’t), here’s a trick for you. Use a wood skewer instead. Stick the wood skewer down into the soil, wait a moment, and then pull it out.
If the skewer comes out wet or with soil on it, then the soil is most likely still wet (you have probably done something similar to this when baking brownies…gotta make sure they are done).
This is definitely not an exact science, but it gets the job done.
Check the Drainage Hole
The bottom of the pot is always the last to dry. You can take a peek around the drainage hole to see if the soil is wet or dry. If it’s dry, bingo…time to water.
Hefting the Pot
One of the best methods is simply lifting the pot to feel how heavy it is. It works like this:
- Water your plant using the soak method and feel how heavy the pot is right after watering.
- Wait a few days then feel how heavy the pot is now. You should notice it’s much lighter.
- Wait another day or two and see if it feels any lighter. If it feels the same, your soil was dry the other day and you can water again.
This may take a bit to get used to, but it’s a super effective way to tell when your soil is completely dry.
Wait for Signs
Succulents do a good job showing you when they need water. If your plant’s leaves start to shrink or wrinkle, they are parched and need water!
When In Doubt
These are all great methods to use when you’re ready to find out if it’s time to water again. If you’re not sure, then don’t water. It’s really hard to save an overwatered plant and much easier to revive an underwatered one. So when in doubt, don’t water.
Eventually, you will get to a point where you have watered your plants enough to know how frequently they need water. Until then, use these 5 methods to keep your succulents happy!