Agave in wrong spot w pups

My what-not-to-do’s are simple to avoid, but not especially easy to remedy. A smart succulent owner learns what may be expensive to fix, can cause prized plants to look dreadful, and may even kill them.

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Succulent garden tasks

Do these succulent garden maintenance tasks seasonally to keep your succulent garden healthy and looking good: Trim damaged or excessive growth
Prune succulents to show the beauty of the plants and keep them tidy. Use cuttings to

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Pairing succulents with a teal pot

If you have a special pot that needs pairing with the perfect succulent, take the pot with you to the nursery or have it nearby when you’re shopping online. Plant-pot pairings are a lot like picking throw pillows for your sofa or a

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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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Agave flower spike in the wind

Certain succulents seem made for wind, like dasylirions. Succulents by and large withstand high winds. However, those with delicate leaves, thin skins, and leaves that pop off easily are at risk of impact damage. Hanging pots and baskets are especially vulnerable to wind gusts.

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Senecio herrianus (String of tears)

Recently Mountain Crest Gardens, a succulent mail-order nursery in Northern CA, asked me to evaluate their packaging. They selected succulents especially challenging to ship: aeoniums that mar easily: a cactus with glochids, a euphorbia with milky sap, and quite a few with leaves that are fragile, brittle or pop off. The box arrived upside-down on a 95-degree day.

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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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Why I put plastic bottles in big pots

I use plastic bottles to make large pots lighter before I add potting soil. It makes pots easier to carry, cuts down on the amount of soil needed, and is better for shallow-rooted succulents. Before I plant any tall or large pot, I half-fill it with tightly capped empty water bottles. Good design and aesthetics…

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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. The first line of defense is to create a barrier around your pots using ant…

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