Question #2: when?

I've been getting some good ideas on what to do with the metal drum, and I have another question for you: "when?"

Actually, "when do I water?", referring to the several potted succulent plants that I'm overwintering indoors. The first one is the pride of this new collection, the unhuggable Pachypodium lamerei.


It's been in my living room near the west-facing windows, but it's so tall that the leaves aren't getting much light. Elaine (the plants' original owner) kept it in a bright, sunny room all winter and I remember her saying that the leaves will fall off in February...

...although maybe she said "by February". In any case there are only a few leaves left, but the trunk looks fine and I'm not concerned -- but should I be watering it at all? It hasn't had anything since October I believe, not a drop. I'm thinking that a little bit of moisture might not hurt...

Next up are the potted Agaves in the basement. I'm using this 'Arizona Star' as a representative of a few other that are getting fluorescent light (not overly bright) and staying at temperatures in the low 70's F (maybe 22ºC):

I gave them a small amount of water the other day. Not enough to soak the entire rootball, but I get nervous about letting a root system dry out too much. Was this correct? Should I water a bit more? What signs should I look for that tell me if it really needs water?

Finally, the big Agave (maybe desmettiana?) that is under a light in the garage:

There's no space for this one indoors, so it had to stay out where temperatures are 40-50ºF (4-10ºC). I also gave this one a little bit of water -- which mostly ran around the rootball and immediately out of the drainage hole -- but I'm a bit more worried about it because of the cooler temperatures. Should I leave it dry until spring? 

Any and all opinions welcome on when I should be watering all of these!


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Mark and Gaz  – (January 22, 2015 at 9:07 AM)  

We give our agaves a little water even during the winter especially those in the sun room and shed, much less in the minimally heated greenhouse. Long gaps in between watering. It doesn't harm them and prevents them from shrivelling. We do find though that come spring it can take a lot of watering to thoroughly remoisten dried out rootballs, some watering in the winter makes it less difficult.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (January 22, 2015 at 9:53 AM)  

I echo what Mark and Gaz said. I'd keep the desmettiana in the garage quite dry but the Arizona Star can probably take a little bit of water every two weeks. Just make sure the soil dries out between waterings.

As for the P. lamerei, if it doesn't have leaves, it isn't growing. I'd kept it dry, but I don't have any personal experience so I'll let someboy else chime in.

danger garden  – (January 22, 2015 at 11:36 PM)  

I'm kind of stingy. Things like these get water once during the winter, maybe twice if I notice they are starting to (as Mark and Gaz say) shrivel. My Pachypodium usually lose their leaves by now but I noticed they are still hanging on, still no water for them yet. Maybe in the next couple of weeks when I look things over closely. The one thing that might be different in your case is how much water did they get prior to your adopting them? Mine were outdoors, so they got, some rain before moving indoors.

Alan  – (January 23, 2015 at 1:42 PM)  

So it sounds like I'm doing things correctly and erring on the side of too little water. Thanks!

Can't wait to get these things outside again!

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