It’s been 6 months since I got hooked in collecting (and caring for) cacti and succulents. It’s not that easy as how others think it is. Some would say “Oh! Those (cacti) are very easy to take care of, even if you don’t water them, they’d survive!” For a week or so, maybe, depending on the weather or climate of the country/place you live in.
Fast forward… With the help of the group/community where I am in, I have learned so much and in fact attended a seminar a couple of months ago. We were again taught and reminded of the basics that every hobbyist/collector needs to know, and that includes the watering techniques, habits and tips.
There is no such thing as schedule i.e. 2x a week, weekly, daily. No. 1 tip is to water them when the soil is dry. I used to not follow this tip. In the first 2 months, I watered my “babies” weekly. Just imagine the heat and humidity during this time. Some looked wrinkly, some lost their leaves, some got dehydrated, and some died on me. So I had to try some techniques and see which ones will work on my “babies”. (Yes! Again, their health and looks sometimes depend on the climate of the place where we live in. Even the location matters a lot re: sunlight exposure.) So far, these worked for me:
Full sun/rain exposure. Note that this does not work with all cacti and succulents. Getting these plants rained on for a day or two is completely fine, but not more than that especially if it’s a continuous and heavy rainfall. However, based on my first hand experience, Sedum a.k.a Jelly Beans can tolerate prolonged rain. They actually love the rain! Eversince I’ve exposed my Jelly Beans on full sun and rain, they have completely changed. These used to be wrinkly and dehydrated. During summer time they showed off red tips, glowing and blushing!
Beginning rainy season, they turned green but every single bean became very healthy and plump. I am one happy plant momma seeing them healthy and still pretty! After losing 3 pots of these, I’ve finally learned what this specimen loves.
Double-potting. Again, I saw and learned this technique from one of our members who started long before me.
I first tried this technique with my Shrek Ears that gotten dehydrated, lost its leaves and almost turned yellow. I love how it responded so I tried it with another one, my Crested Gaptopetalum that almost died on me. You would think you were seeing raisins in green color if you’ve seen it that time. Well, that was 3 weeks ago. After following this double-pot technique, it changed its look and became plump as how a Gaptopetalum should look like.
All you need to do is grab a clean and empty plastic container (as shown). I prefer using a clear one so that I know when the water has already dried out. Fill half of the container with pumice stones, put your potted plant in it and fill it with water. This plant has been in this set-up for 3 weeks now, still thriving, and actually improving a lot.
By the way, this plant is placed under a shaded area. I have not tried exposing it to direct sunlight while on this set-up. So if you are doing it and keeping it in a different location, try at your own risk.
Lastly, I filled a tub with rain water. This was actually my husband’s idea. He says that rain water has lots of minerals and that my plants will love them. Of course, I agreed and collected. I have been using this for the past few days watering my other babies in the garden.
I repeat, above might work and might not work for your plants. So it’s always better to try with strong will, at your own risk teehee! Please also remember that when you expose your cacti and succulents to full/direct sun, make sure that they are stable enough to take it, otherwise, just do it gradually until they get used to it.