Wind and Your Succulents

Agave flower spike in the wind (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

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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Avoid Mail-Order Succulent Misery

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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How to Redo an Overgrown Succulent Garden

Overgrown succulent garden (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Every three or four years I redo this succulent garden outside my office window. Last time was 1-1/2 years ago when I added the fountain. It’s an important view area because I spend so much time…uh…gazing outside instead of working. (I can’t help it. The fountain doubles as a bird bath.) I’m pleased at how plants have filled in and how little…

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How Much Light Do Succulents Need?

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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Use Plastic Bottles to Make Pots Lighter

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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Ants in Your Succulents? What to Do

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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Laura Eubanks’ Top Ten Tips for Succulent Garden Design

Laura Eubanks of Design for Serenity is a celebrity succulent garden designer in Southern California. Her “Succulent Tip of the Day” sent her popularity skyrocketing on social media, and her YouTube channel recently exceeded 4,000,000 views. Here, Laura shares her Top Ten Tips for Succulent Garden Design. The photos are from two videos I made…

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Succulent Desk Buddies, DIY

“Desk buddies” are succulents that look good on your desk and require almost no care. They’re cute and classy, and visitors invariably ask about them. All you have to do is dribble water on them twice a month (which also keeps them dusted). I chose haworthias for my desk buddies because they do great in…

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How to Stress Succulents (And Why You Should)

Kalanchoe luciae (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Plenty of sun brings out brilliant reds and yellows in certain succulents, but how much to “stress” the plants varies depending on where you live, the time of year, and the kind of plant. Give aloes and crassulas a bit more heat, sun or cold and less water and richer soil than they really want,…

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Make a Low-Light, “Scooped from the Garden” Succulent Arrangement

This succulent dish garden is perfect for a bright-shade location, such as indoors near a window. It makes a great gift, and all its components are readily available. Owner Jeanne Meadow displays it on her covered patio and waters it minimally (once a week in warm weather, once a month in cool). Design by Megan…

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12 Succulent Bouquets to Inspire You

12 Succulent Bouquets to Inspire You ~ When wired onto faux stems, succulent rosettes—despite having no roots, soil or water—make long-lasting floral bouquets. Echeverias, graptosedums, crassulas and kalanchoes lend themselves beautifully to bouquets because of their colorful leaves and floral shapes. They’re easy to attach to stems, need no water (because they live off moisture in their leaves), look…

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