Fancy ruffled echeveria

Fancy ruffled echeverias—those large, flowerlike succulents—eventually need to be beheaded and the rosettes replanted. This is a bother, but it comes with a benefit: New clones will form on old, headless stalks. But not always. Here’s how to ensure success.

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Autumn succulent arrangement (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

These seasonal succulent must-do’s are mainly for southern and coastal CA, from the Bay Area south. If you live beyond, please visit my site’s Succulents By Season and Region page. 

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Succulents and light

How much light do your succulents need? It depends on the type of plant and where you live. Most haworthias and gasterias prefer shade but can handle some sun along the coast. Many but not all cacti are fine in full desert sun. As a general rule, the majority of soft-leaved succulents want half a day’s sun (in mild climates) and dappled or “bright” shade.

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See the video Depending on how long temps stay below freezing (32 degrees F), “frost tender” succulents may show varying degrees of damage. When moisture in the cells of a vulnerable plant freezes, it expands, bursts cell walls, and turns leaves to mush. In a “light frost,” leaf tips alone may show damage (“frost burn”). In a “hard…

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I’ve been hearing from Texans with severely damaged gardens. Sounds like you did the best you could, but no one anticipated the severity of the cold snap. You’re asking what might be done, and here’s my best advice: Even though the top growth is severely damaged, your succulents may survive if their roots are intact.…

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Cold weather care for outdoor succulents

Cold Weather Care for Outdoor Succulents, By Region Should you be worried about your outdoor succulents in winter? It depends on where you live. It’s all about frost. The temperature at which water freezes (32 degrees F) is the Great Divide. Above that, most succulents are fine. Below that, most are at risk. See “Frost and…

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These four ways to overwinter succulents give you several options, depending on how cold it gets where you live. Most varieties can’t handle temps below 32 degrees F. These common winter conditions can lead to damage or death for dormant (not actively growing) succulents: — soggy soil (causes roots to rot) — excess rainfall (engorges…

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Rinse ants out of rootball (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Late summer into fall, Argentine ants like to nest in the root balls of potted plants. Haworthias, aloes (especially dwarf varieties), gasterias and gasteraloes are highly vulnerable. Ants overwinter in the soil and consume the plant’s juicy core. Leaves eventually fall off and the plant dies. Ants push soil up from below. The first line of defense is to…

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