Watering succulents (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Water pH for Succulents

Did you know that giving succulents water with the wrong pH can inhibit the plants' ability to take up nutrients? This leads to less vigorous growth and may cause yellowing. Urban and residential water tends to be alkaline, meaning it has a pH higher than 7, which is neutral.

Minerals optimally accessed in slightly acidic soil include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese.

Rainwater is slightly acidic, which is why a few days after a storm, your succulents (all your plants for that matter) look amazing.

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). Manager of UC Davis' Botanical Conservatory, Ernesto is renowned for his knowledge about growing succulents, their root development, ideal soil mixes and more.

Acidify the water

The pH of residential water and its mineral content varies by region. If yours has a high mineral content (typical of San Diego), add 2 tablespoons of vinegar per gallon of water. If your water is low in minerals (typical of Davis west of Sacramento), add one T per gallon.

Test to be sure

pH meter

pH meter

Check your water with a pH meter. A bargain at around $13, a pH meter provides peace of mind. Plus you can use it to test other liquids, including your drinking water, pool, aquarium and more.

Even better: Citric Acid

Citric acid

Citric acid

For a gentler alternative to vinegar, use citric acid (about $15 for a 2-pound bag). Affiliate links.

Related Info on this site

How to Water Succulents

How to Water Succulents For succulents in the garden, in containers, and if there’s no drainage It really is this simple ~ Aim to keep soil about as moist as a wrung-out sponge. Watering about once a week in summer and once a month in winter should do it. Water thoroughly to soak the roots and…

Rain on agave (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

How Rain Benefits Succulents

Here’s how rain benefits succulents: It provides dissolved minerals and washes away dust that inhibits photosynthesis; it dilutes and flushes salts and harmful chemicals that have built up in the soil from tap water; and it provides nitrogen essential to growth,

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