Caring for Succulents

Watch How You Water! Summer Care for Succulents

OK, we all know that succulents are low-water plants. But they’re not “no-water” plants. Although they may survive without irrigation during the heat of summer, they’re unlikely to be lush and healthy. I suggest that you ~ — Check your automatic irrigation system. Trust me, it needs it, and maintaining it can mean life or death to prized…

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Your Succulent Garden After a Rainstorm, Checklist

Rain at last! Could the California drought finally be over? Well, no. It’ll take hundreds of years for underground aquifers to refill. The snowpack isn’t adequate for our future water supply. On the bright side, our gardens are looking glorious…even those with mainly drought-tolerant plants. Perfect conditions for succulents are good drainage, annual rainfall less…

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My Must-Have Garden Tools for Spiny Succulents

Succulent garden tools

The tools I use when working with spiky, spiny succulents include 12-inch tweezers, kitchen tongs, artist’s brush, chopstick, scissors, metal teaspoon, inexpensive garden gloves, and duct tape. Long-handled tweezers are useful for removing bits of debris and topdressing from prickly plants and those with tight leaf axils—anyplace for which your fingers are too big or that you prefer not to touch. Amazon sells 12-inch stainless steel…

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Should You Let Your Flapjack Plants Bloom?

Should you let your flapjack plants (Kalanchoe luciae) bloom? I’m recommending no…but it’s not that cut-and-dried (no pun intended). Flapjack plant is a succulent that’s popular mainly because of the color of its leaves. (Shown above at Waterwise Botanicals nursery.) Like other succulents with overlapping leaves along a single stem, when Kalanchoe luciae blooms, the entire plant elongates. This is how…

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Succulents and Too Much Rain, A French Solution

Want to protect your succulents from too much rain? Here’s how the Jardin Zoologique Tropical in southeastern France keeps their succulents from becoming waterlogged during seasonal rainstorms. Corrugated fiberglass panels atop metal bars tent the plants so excess rain doesn’t soak the soil. The structures are tall enough to allow good air circulation, and the panels are translucent, enabling maximum sunlight to reach the plants. The…

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Prepare Your Succulents for Rainstorms

Snail on Succulent

While gardening between El Niño storms, I inadvertently threw a snail through the open window of a passing pickup truck. I realized this because, unlike previously tossed mollusks, I didn’t hear the sound of shell hitting asphalt. If the driver had stopped, I would’ve apologized and explained that it wasn’t personal—at least not where he was concerned. Snails…

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