You're aware of autumn in sun and shadows, shorter days and drier air, and so is your garden. Smart plant parents are attuned to wind, rain and frost. And they're vigilant. Succulents recovering from summer heat and sun are especially vulnerable to pests.
These seasonal succulent must-do's are for southern and coastal CA, from the Bay Area south. If you live beyond, please visit my site's Succulent Care By Season and Region page.
In September and October...
(1) Aeoniums and senecios (shown above) are emerging from summer dormancy. Cut back leggy aeoniums, replant rosettes, and discard old plants roots and all. See how in my video, How to Refresh an Overgrown Succulent Garden (4:48).
(2) Trim Senecio mandraliscae by several inches, and plant cuttings in gaps. Old stems branch where cut, which helps mass plantings grow fuller. See how in my new video, How to Fill Gaps in Your Succulent Garden (2:21).
(4) Check your garden's run-off. Create channels that divert rain from succulents in low spots. If they sit where water collects, they may rot.
(6) Create a wreath that'll transition from fall into winter. See my video: Make an Autumn-Themed Succulent Wreath DIY (3:58).
(7) Fertilize in-ground succulents with Ironite. Ideal for newly planted gardens, it boosts spring growth. Take care it doesn't stain hardscape.
(9) Check for ants in outdoor potted succulents, especially haworthias, gasterias and aloes. A tell-tale sign is soil in the crowns, pushed up from below. What to do.
(10) Heat, sun and Santa Ana winds can desiccate succulents. Cuttings are most at risk because they lack roots, so plant them after the winds die down.
White fuzzy lumps on paddle cactus indicate the presence of a parasite that pierces the plant’s skin and consumes its juices. A bit of cochineal (coach-en-ee-al) scale is no big deal, but it does tend to spread and may eventually kill the plant. Your first line of defense is to blast what appears to be…
Agave experts, growers, and pest management specialists advise drenching the soil around healthy agaves with a systemic insecticide containing imidacloprid.* Untreated agaves are at high risk of infestation. If treated early enough, an infested agave may survive. The agave snout-nosed weevil is a half-inch-long black beetle with a downward-curving proboscis that enables it to pierce an agave’s…
Common succulent pests, diseases, and problems include agave grease mite, aloe mite, ant infestation, aphids, black spots, cochineal scale, deer, desiccation, etiolation, frost, gopher, hail, mealy bugs, mildew, rabbit, rot, snails and sunburn. Also find out how NOT to deal with a skunk!