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.
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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.
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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.
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.“
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last update on 2023-04-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
What is the best water pH for succulents? ›
Aim for 5.5 to 6.5
During a recent Cactus & Succulent Society webinar, Ernesto Sandoval advised that the proper pH for watering succulents is approximately 5.5 to 6.5 (slightly acidic).
In his book on Cactus Culture he emphasizes that pH=6.0 is the proper pH for water for cacti. Buxbaum also shows pictorial evidence for the much slower growth of cacti at higher pH.What is the best water for succulents and cactus? ›
For most plants and succulents, the best type of water to use is rain water or distilled water. Tap water often contain lots of mineral like magnesium or calcium that can build up in the soil or appear on the leaves as white dot.What is the pH of cactus soil? ›
Cacti grow best undoutedly in an acid soil, with a pH value of between 5 and 6.5. If your plants are just not growing after say 12 months in a compost, it may be that you have water in your area which has a very high pH (Alkaline) and this water raises the alkalinity of your soil.What is the best water for cactus? ›
Watering is an essential part to how well your cacti or succulent grows. Overwatering will stunt growth, but under-watering causes shrivelling. Tepid rainwater should be used for watering, rather than tap water. This is because the minerals in tap water build up in the soil and can cause deposits on the leaves.Do succulents like high acidity? ›
Most succulents like slightly acidic soil (5.5-6.5).Is Miracle Gro good for succulent plants? ›
All succulents need lightweight, well-draining soil. Improve the planting area by mixing one part Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Cactus, Palm & Citrus with one part native soil. This will improve the soil density and add nutrition to give succulent plants a boost.Can you water succulents with tap water? ›
Like most outdoor plants, you should water succulents in the morning. Avoid tap water. Use filtered, rain, or distilled water instead. If you must use tap water, leave it out overnight to allow mineral deposits to dissipate naturally.What water pH is best for plant growth? ›
The pH of the growing medium can be more acidic, basic or alkaline, or neutral; so generally, plants thrive with a pH of about 5.5 to 6.5.How do you make cactus and succulents grow faster? ›
Besides being well-draining, the soil needs to be rich in nutrients in order for your succulent to grow faster. You can help the plant with a regular watering schedule. Add water as soon as the soil is dried out. No succulents like “wet feet”.
Is Epsom salt good for cactus and succulents? ›
Epsom salt works wonders as a fertilizer during the growing season and can help keep your succulents looking lush and beautiful for a long while. In addition, using an Epsom salt fertilizer is a great way to help encourage blooming in many succulents.Is it better to spray water on succulents? ›
Don't use a spray bottle to water your succulents—misting can cause brittle roots and moldy leaves . You can also place pots in a pan of water and allow the water to absorb through the drainage hole. Once the top of the soil is moist, remove from the pan.What fertilizer is best for succulents? ›
Potted succulents: A light feeding of manure tea, diluted fish emulsion, or an all-purpose granulated fertilizer help succulents grow lush and lovely. Be sure to dilute concentrated liquid fertilizers half-and-half with water. Not doing so risks damaging roots.Is alkaline water good for cactus? ›
Cacti grow best in acidic soil with a pH between 5 and 6.5. Watering cacti with alkaline water slowly raises the pH of the soil and can cause inhibited growth.What is the pH level of Miracle Gro cactus potting mix? ›
A: Thank you for your question regarding Miracle-Gro Cactus Palm and Citrus Potting Mix. All of our potting mixes have an initial pH range of 5.5 - 6.2.Can I water my cactus with tap water? ›
Many home growers have unknowingly caused damage to plants when watering cacti and succulents with tap water. If your tap water is from a municipal source (city water), it likely contains chlorine and fluoride, neither of which have beneficial nutrients for your plants.How do you water a cactus without killing it? ›
Just give them a full water a few days later then LEAVE THEM ALONE! Make sure you place them wherever you get the best sunlight in your house, like a windowsill. Now just enjoy their presence, and give them a good soak every couple to few weeks.What is the best way to water a potted cactus? ›
They get by with little water, but not no water. Here's a rule of thumb when watering cacti indoors: let them completely dry out, and then water again. It's best if the pot has at least one drainage hole, so all the excess water flows right out the bottom of the pot.Is coffee grounds good for cactus? ›
Several people said their succulents looked healthier and bloomed more frequently. Those are just some of the benefits you can expect from fertilizing your succulents with coffee and paying attention to the pH levels of the soil! Coffee is acidic, but that's good for your plants!How do I make my succulents stronger? ›
Encouraging Root Growth in Succulents
Moreover, too much watering can rot their roots. Therefore, water them thrice a week to grow the roots healthier. Also, when you water your succulents, make sure to soak the soil completely; however, you must bed them in well-drained soil.
Do succulents like baking soda? ›
There are several safe and convenient treatments you can do with a succulent infected by Leaf Spots. You can either use an all-purpose fungicide or simply spray your succulent with a mild solution of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), using ½ teaspoon per gallon of water.How often should succulents be fed? ›
For best results, feed your succulents every two weeks. In addition to feeding, other factors that contribute to growing healthy succulents include using a lightweight, well-draining soil and providing them with the right amount of light.What should you not use Miracle Grow on? ›
Copper sulfate is also a bactericide, and as such, is incredibly harmful to soil life. Anything with the Miracle-Gro label should be avoided entirely: Bagged potting soil and garden soil, 'Shake n Feed,' that blue stuff, and yes, even so-called “Organic” Miracle-Gro products should be entirely avoided.Do succulents need big pots? ›
What's the Ideal Pot Size for Succulents? The ideal pot size for succulents should be about 10% wider than the plant itself. If you are looking at shallow or deep pots, always choose the shallow pot. The depth of the pot should be 10% bigger than the plant.When should you not water succulents? ›
The most important rule for watering succulents is this: Only water when the soil in the succulents' growing container is bone dry. We repeat, let the soil dry out completely between waterings. If the soil isn't crumbly, dry dirt, don't water it. See, most houseplants want their soil moist at all times.Should you mist succulents daily? ›
Should I mist my succulents? No, do not mist your succulents. Doing so can cause spots and rotting. Remember, they come from arid climates with very little humidity, so they like dry air.Is soapy water good for succulents? ›
Instead of alcohol, you can also use soap such as dish soap diluted in water. Try using a few drops of soap in a cup of water and shake to mix well. Spray directly onto affected areas. It will take a few treatments to get rid of the problem.What pH is tap water? ›
EPA guidelines state that the pH of tap water should be between 6.5 and 8.5. Still, tap water in the U.S. tends to fall below that -- in the 4.3 to 5.3 range -- depending on where you live.What is the pH that most plants prefer? ›
Plants differ in their preferences for soil pH, Miller said. In general, most plants grow best in a neutral soil pH, although there are important exceptions. For example, blueberries, azaleas and rhododendrons do well in an acidic soil between 4.5 and 5.5. Lawns favor a pH of 5.5 to 6.Does baking soda raise pH in water? ›
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate is naturally alkaline, with a pH of 8. When you add baking soda to your pool water, you will raise both the pH and the alkalinity, improving stability and clarity.
Do succulents need more water than cactus? ›
Succulents also include cacti, which generally need less water than other succulents. Rather than giving these water-thrifty plants little splashes of water here and there, give them a good soaking until water runs out the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.How do I get my succulent to grow bigger? ›
Succulent Potting Soil
Occasional rain, plenty of sunlight, and lots of room to grow will result in bigger, faster-growing succulents. If you keep your plants indoors, make sure you do not have an overcrowded pot. Give your plants more space to grow.
- Don't crowd your plants too much.
- Maintain your soil quality.
- Spread out the roots.
- Separate offsets from the mother plant.
- Keep your succulents safe.
Most cactus plants need lightweight, well-draining soil. Prepare the soil in the planting area by mixing equal parts native soil and Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Cactus, Palm & Citrus. It has Moisture Control® technology to help protect against over- and under-watering, both of which can cause problems for your cactus.Are coffee grounds good for succulents? ›
Coffee grounds are a great source of nitrogen, but also contain some amounts of potassium and magnesium. These are all great for your plants, and succulents are no exceptions. Giving them an environment rich in these nutrients can help lead to strong blooms and healthy leaves.Does sugar water help cactus? ›
There is no scientific evidence that feeding plants sugar water is conducive to plant health, on the contrary, it can harm your plants and even kill them.Do you water cactus from the top or bottom? ›
Watering A Cactus From The Top
Do not pour it over the top of the plant, because if it sits on there too long, it could cause black spots or tip rot. When it begins to flow from the bottom of the pot, you've added enough. Discard any that drains out, and never leave it soaking.
Underwatered. Succulents are super easy going plants that can survive months in drought condition. However, they can rot and die within a few days if given too much water.Are tea bags good for succulents? ›
A tea bag should be soaked in about 5 gallons of water for 24 – 36 hours until the liquid turns a golden-brown color. This water can replace tap water when your succulent is dry and needs a drink.What is the best top soil for succulents? ›
Succulents grow best in a porous sandy potting soil, so amending your potting soil with sand is super important. You could use any type of sand, but to ensure fast drainage for succulents, I recommend buying a coarse sand rather than the really fine stuff.
What time of year should I fertilize my succulents? ›
It is recommended to fertilize your succulents in spring. For many succulents, this is the start of their growth phase, when they will want to use those nutrients.Should you water cactus with distilled water? ›
The ideal water for a cactus is rainwater or distilled water. Rainwater contains healthy minerals that feed a cactus.Is bottled water good for cactus? ›
Is bottled water good for plants? Well, yes. Plants need water to grow. And any type of water is good for plants.Should I water cactus everyday? ›
If you want your cacti to grow, then water is vitally important. In a sunny location, which gives them plenty of heat during the day, you can give them water every week. The only rule is: Make sure the soil is dry between waterings.What is the pH level for succulents? ›
for Succulent Plants
Most cacti and other succulent plants grow well in slightly acidic soil around pH6. A few succulent plants grow naturally on limestone soils with a basic reaction, but an alkaline soil is more likely to kill plants than a slightly acidic one.
Acid loving plants optimum pH range is 5.0 to 6.0. Potting mix pH is generally slightly higher in acidity (5.3-6.5).What is the pH of indoor potting mix? ›
A: Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix has an initial pH range of 5.5 - 6.2. The types of plants used, and the type of water they use (city water, rainwater, well water) will all change the pH as soon as they contact our product.Do succulents like alkaline water? ›
Ideal Water for Succulents
The ideal pH range is below 6.5, right at 6.0 for most succulents, which is acidic.
Alkalinity and pH are two important factors in determining the suitability of water for irrigating plants. pH is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) in water or other liquids. In general, water for irrigation should have a pH b etween 5.0 and 7.0.Do succulents prefer hot or cold water? ›
Soft succulents will enjoy anything over 32 degrees F. Preferably 40 degrees and up. Temperatures under freezing are simply too cold for these plants to survive. Their plump and fleshy leaves where they store water will freeze and rot the plant.
What does Epsom salt do for succulents? ›
Epsom salt works wonders as a fertilizer during the growing season and can help keep your succulents looking lush and beautiful for a long while. In addition, using an Epsom salt fertilizer is a great way to help encourage blooming in many succulents.Is tap water bad for succulents? ›
Using tap water to succulents on a regular basis may lead its soil to turn pale or whitish in color due to the harmful chemicals it contains that will sit in the soil. You can, however, avoid this by frequently changing the potting medium, and at the same time, closely watch out for any root rot.What pH is rain water? ›
Water contains atmospheric gases as well as carbon dioxide, and when the carbon dioxide dissolves it forms carbonic acid, which makes the pH of normal rain about a 5.6 on the pH scale.Is bottled water good for plants? ›
Pro: Bottled water can be a great alternative to tap water, if the local water is not safe for plants. If bottled water is the easiest option for you, try to use bottled spring water as it contains natural minerals that help plants grow.What pH is too high for plants? ›
High media-pH (above 6.4) induced iron deficiency is the most common nutritional problem for certain iron-inefficient crops (Figure 1), including calibrachoa, diascia, nemesia, pansy, petunia, scaevola, snapdragon and vinca.What bottled water is best for plants? ›
While watering your yard plants with bottled water may be impractical, using bottled spring water for your indoor plants will make a big difference for them. To give your plants the absolute best, rainwater and bottled spring water are your best options. Any water containing sugar or salt will hurt them!Should you mist succulents? ›
Full grown succulents don't actually like to be misted. They thrive in arid climates, so when you mist them, you are changing the humidity around the plant. This can lead to rot as well. Use misting for propagation babes to lightly provide water to their delicate little roots.What is the best way to water succulents? ›
Succulents do better with periodic long, deep drinks that soak its soil to the bottom of the pot than regular but timid waterings that wet the top inch or two of the soil in the container. So when your succulents' soil is bone dry, drench that baby. Let the soil dry out completely, then drench again. Dry out.