It may seem natural to mist these plants to provide them with additional moisture, the truth is that misting succulents is not always necessary – and in fact, it can cause more harm than good.
Succulents Do Not Require Frequent Misting
Succulents are adapted to survive in dry environments, and are able to absorb moisture through their leaves in small amounts under specific conditions. Misting succulents on a regular basis can disrupt this natural process and lead to problems such as rot and overwatering. In fact, misting the leaves of your succulents can actually cause them to become overwatered, leading to root rot and other issues.
Misting Succulents Can Cause Shallow Root Growth
In addition to the risk of rot and overwatering, misting succulents on a regular basis can also cause shallow root growth. Succulents that are misted regularly may develop shallow root systems, which can make them less able to absorb water and nutrients. This can lead to poor growth and overall poor health for your plants.
Misting succulents can be bad for several other reasons:
• It can lead to fungal diseases. The moisture from misting sits on succulent leaves and does not dry quickly. This can lead to fungal growth, especially in humid conditions. Leaf spot fungi and other diseases can take hold if succulent leaves remain wet for too long.
• It does not increase humidity effectively. A light mist of water does little to increase the overall humidity. As the water evaporates from the leaves, it creates a cycle of the misting not actually providing lasting higher humidity. For humidity-loving succulents like epiphytes, misting is not an effective method and can lead to disease with little humidity benefit.
• It can cause sunburn. If succulents are misted in intense sunlight, water droplets can act as a magnifying glass and burn the leaves. As the water evaporates, it focuses the sun’s rays onto the leaf surface below. This is especially a risk if succulents are misted in the middle of the day when sun is strongest. Misting in shady conditions reduces this risk but still does not effectively increase humidity.
• It wastes water. A misting uses a significant amount of water that evaporates quickly. There are more effective ways to increase humidity for succulents, such as pebble trays or humidifiers, that do not waste as much water. The water used for misting succulents provides little lasting benefit to the plants.
Best Practices for Caring for Succulents
So, what is the best way to care for your succulents? The key is to provide them with the right conditions and to be careful with watering. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Provide bright, indirect light: Succulents need plenty of sunlight to thrive, but it’s important to protect them from direct, scorching rays. A south- or west-facing window is a good choice, as long as the plants are not placed too close to the glass.
- Related: Sunlight
- Use well-draining soil: Succulents are prone to rot if their roots sit in water for too long, so it’s important to use a well-draining soil mix. A cactus or succulent soil mix is a good choice, or you can make your own by mixing equal parts potting soil, perlite, and sand.
- Related: Soil
- Water carefully: Overwatering is one of the biggest problems when it comes to caring for succulents. To avoid this, wait until the soil is completely dry before watering, and then water the soil deeply to ensure that it is thoroughly moistened. Be sure to allow the soil to drain completely after watering, and never let the plant sit in standing water.
- Related: Watering
When Misting Succulents is Acceptable
While misting succulents is generally not recommended, there are a few situations in which it can be beneficial. For example, if you are growing succulents in a terrarium (you shouldn’t be growing succulents in terrariums anyways) or other enclosed space with high humidity, misting succulents can help to provide some additional moisture. Misting can also be helpful for plants that are experiencing stress, such as those that have been moved to a new location or are experiencing extreme temperatures.
In general, it’s best to avoid misting succulents unless there is a really good reason to do so. By providing the right conditions and being careful with watering, you can keep your succulents healthy and happy without the need for misting.
Learn all about watering your succulents at: How & When to Water Succulents So They Don’t Die