Thursday, January 13, 2011

One Reason Not to Over Water Succulents

Echeveria spp.
The leaves crack.  Too much water in the plant tissues result in increased turgor pressure; eventually the pressure breaks the cell wall.  Normally, transpiration (loss of water through the leaves) alleviates the pressure coming from the contents of the cells.  The leaves of most succulents, however, are designed to hold water. Transpiration, which is a constant event in most plants, balances the water level in the cells.  In the case of succulents this process is set to very low level or even none at all. Sometimes they have leathery or waxy leaves from a thick layer of epidermis that keep the water inside.  This is how they adapt to dry environments.  However, when they are exposed to conditions of excessive water their defensive virtues work against them. 

Not all succulents respond to excess water in the same way.  Some of them rot starting from the parts that are directly in contact with the excess moisture. 

4 comments:

One said...

I finally have healthy succulents for the last few months. I water them only once a week. I used to drown them years ago.

Helen Lewis said...

We always learn better from experience, don't we? :) This one was sitting in the rain for a long time. We do have quite a lot of succulents because my children are growing them but this is so different from the rest.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I learned this lesson the hard way about 20 years ago. I tend to be an over-waterer, rather than an under-waterer. I returned to some succulents I had in pots, and found a fuzzy moldy mound of leaf mush. I'm sure when the leaves cracked, it invited fungal invaders, and turned them into soup. I've avoided succulents ever since. I was successful with an underwater garden in a 75 gallon tank though! ;)

Linda said...

I have one plant the has cracked leaves. I only water once a week. What am I doing wrong?

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