Succulent garden tasks

To keep your succulent garden healthy and beautiful, you or your succulent garden maintenance professional* need to do these tasks seasonally:

Trim damaged or excessive growth

Prune succulents to show the beauty of the plants and keep them tidy. Use cuttings to fill gaps. Remove frost-damaged leaves on jade and other tender succulents. Cut damaged tips of aloes and agaves to a point that follows the natural shape of the leaf. Deadhead spent flowers.

Repot overgrown containers

Indicators that succulents have outgrown their containers include roots emerging from drain holes, a plant that looks overly large for its pot, and stems that are tangled and rangy. See my book Designing with Succulents for how big a particular plant will get. If it has potential to get large, and the climate is suitable, plant it in the garden. On my YouTube channel see: How to Refresh an Overgrown Succulent Container Garden (4:31).

Fertilize

In spring, boost growth by feeding succulents a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted 50% with water. See How to Fertilize Succulents, FAQs

Helpful videos on my YouTube channel

Above: These are just six of over 100 helpful videos on my YouTube channel. 

Evaluate plant placement

Notice which succulents suffer from winter cold, and move them to a better, more sheltered location. A few feet can make a big difference. Plants closest to hardscape, boulders and structures benefit from radiated warmth. Those beneath overhanging branches or eaves are safer than those out in the open. Your home's south side is warmer than its north. And because cold air is heavier than warm, succulents at the top of a slope are less vulnerable than those below. Plan for the other extreme, too: Succulents (especially young or newly planted ones) can be scorched by sun.

Sunburned kalanchoe leaf

Sunburned kalanchoe leaf

How's the light?

For best form, growth and color, most succulents need a minimum of four hours of sun daily (exceptions are the few shade lovers, such as haworthias, gasterias and sansevierias). Most won't bloom without adequate sunshine. If you've overwintered your succulents indoors, "after all danger of frost" is the time to reintroduce them to the outdoors. But do so gradually, lest leaves burn. See How Much Light Do Succulents Need?
Among those succulents that tolerate, in fact require, all-day sun are large aloes, agaves, dasylirions, euphorbias, yuccas and cacti. Unless you live in a mild, maritime climate, it's best to consider the "pretty little ones"---echeverias, kalanchoes, sempevivums, sedums, dwarf aloes, small euphorbias and aeoniums---as semishade, understory plants. See Heat and Sun Concerns.

Control Pests

Check new growth and flower buds for aphids and thrips. At first sign of an infestation, spray the insects with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol diluted 50% with water. Spread Sluggo to control snails and slugs. Not sure what's wrong or what to watch for? See my Pest, Diseases and Problems Page.

Start cuttings

When succulents are emerging from dormancy---which for most is spring---take and start cuttings. Exceptions are aeoniums and senecios, which do better in fall. Each cutting needs a few leaves so it can photosynthesize. Roots will form where leaves were attached, so bury the stem's "potato eyes." See How to Propagate Succulents.

Get rid of weeds

This is one essential task most of us loathe, try to get our kids to do (risking their lifelong distaste for gardening), and IMHO is the best reason to hire help! Do it before weeds grow tall and set seed.

Get Help!

Do you have someone skilled in succulent garden maintenance whom you've worked with and like? Kindly leave a recommendation on the Referrals page! And if you provide that service yourself, let us know!
Succulent garden maintenance referrals

Succulent Garden Professionals: Referrals

Here’s where to find (or recommend) a succulent garden design and/or maintenance professional. Do you have someone skilled in this whom you’ve worked with and like? Kindly leave a recommendation!

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Summer Care for Succulents: Heat and Sun Concerns

Don’t let summer sun and heat harm your succulents! Heat generally isn’t a concern. Although some succulents (like sempervivums) tend not to thrive in temps above 80 or 90 degrees F, the majority are fine. It’s heat plus sun that’s the concern.

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2 Comments

  1. Kay Henderson on June 27, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    So glad to have found your website. I have numerous succulents and and, am happy to learn more about how to make them thrive.
    Ka Y

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on June 27, 2020 at 6:31 pm

      What a love comment, Kay. Makes me feel it’s all worthwhile!

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