Posts

,

Caring for Your Succulent Garden After Rainstorms, 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 than 25 inches, low humidity, and temperatures above freezing.

Check for:

Succulents with rotted leaves. Remove mushy leaves before rot spreads to the plant’s stem or crown. 

Drainage issues. If soil stays sodden and muddy areas remain long after a storm, roots may drown. Move plants to high ground, and install French drains.

Slope erosion. Create dams of rocks and diversion channels, and add gravel or mulch to diffuse the rain’s impact.

Stagnant water. Check pots, bins and barrels. If they’ve filled, dump the water before mosquitos find it and breed.

Weeds. Wherever soil is exposed to sun, weeds WILL sprout. Get them when small. All too soon they’ll have deep roots, go to seed, and look you in the eye.

Seepage. Check your home’s basement. Mine used to have an inch or two of standing water whenever the ground became saturated during storms. A few years ago, a friend suggested a simple solution: Coat the concrete blocks that form the basement’s walls with a special paint that prevents seepage. Works great. Any home improvement store carries it.

Shop for plants.  Now’s a good time to accumulate plants you want to add to your garden. Rain-soaked ground is soft and easy to dig. Early spring is the best time to establish new plants, after all danger of frost has passed (here in Southern CA, that’s mid-March). Plants will take off in spring and won’t have to contend with summer heat while putting down roots. Don’t delay; if your garden is like mine, when the soil dries, it’ll be as hard as concrete.

Take photos as what-to-do reminders. When the weather clears, such issues are easy to forget.

The bottom line: Succulents are opportunistic when it comes to rain. Given adequate drainage, they absolutely love it!

Related info on this site:

Prepare Your Succulents for Rainstorms
Succulents, which come from arid climates, may rot. Stems or trunks turn squishy and collapse. It may be possible to…[Continue reading]

How to Water Succulents 
Succulents—fleshy-leaved plants from hot, dry regions—are designed to live off water stored in their leaves and tissues in order to survive periods without rainfall. But this doesn’t mean…[Continue reading]

YouTube Videos:

Why Succulents Rot and How to Prevent It (2:01)

Why Rain is Good for Potted Succulents (0:53)

Post-Rain Must-Do’s for Succulent Gardens Debra's post-rain must-do's video


, , , ,

No-Water Succulents for Southern California Gardens

 

Certain readily available succulents not only get by on rainfall alone, they’ll grow in nutrient-poor soil and can handle searing sun and frost. No-water succulents for Southern California gardens that are native to the Southwest and Mexico include dasylirions, agaves, cacti and yuccas. They thrive from south of the border to the Bay Area and in parts of Colorado, Texas and the Carolinas (Zones 7b and higher).

No-Water Succulents for Southern California Gardens
Above: Mark and Cindy Evans’ hilltop landscape in Laguna Beach is several miles inland from the coast.  It features these no-water succulents for Southern California gardens: several varieties of dasylirions, agaves, cacti and yuccas. Also in their garden are highly drought-tolerant South African succulents such as euphorbias, crassulas (jades) and aloes.  Can you tell which is which?

No-Water Succulents for Southern California Gardens

Above: In the Evans’ garden are Yucca rostrata, Agave attenuata and Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet). A topdressing of golden decomposed granite lends a finished look.

No-Water Succulents for Southern California Gardens

Above: Two Dasylirion whipplei (which resemble pincushions) are 15 years old. The Yucca aloifolia at left was there when Mark and Cindy bought the house in 1999. “I think it’s pretty old; its base is huge,” Mark says. Four silvery blue Yucca rostrata also are 15 (the much larger one at right gets more sun). Mark planted the spineless paddle cactus along the wall from cuttings six years ago. Behind them, at right, is a 6-year-old blue Agave americana. Growing in the dry fountain are 8-year-old foxtail agaves (Agave attenuata).

How is it possible that yuccas and dasylirions, which have thin leaves, are succulents?  It’s because they store water in their trunks. A succulent by definition is “any plant that stores water in fleshy leaves or stems in order to withstand periods of drought.”

Related info on this site:

Go to my Agave page for labeled photos of 20+ varieties

No-Water Succulents for Southern California Gardens

Read my article: “Is Cactus the New Black?”

Long a pariah plant, cactus is becoming cool. Spiny succulents are following smooth ones in popularity, notably in [Continue reading]

Why Grow Paddle Cacti? DLB’s 16 Reasons

No-Water Succulents for Southern California Gardens

Of the dozen or so types of cacti in my garden, I have more opuntias than any other. Also known as paddle cactus or prickly pear… [Continue reading]

Be sure to see my YouTube video: What you MUST know about century plants (Agave americana

 

Obtain my comprehensive guide to succulent landscaping, Designing with Succulents.