Kalanchoe luciae

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. If there’s a good thing about our too-hot Southern California summers, it’s that heat makes certain succulents stunning. Give aloes and…

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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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Certain low-water annuals and perennials are “nostalgia plants,” because they remind me of my SoCA childhood. These California classics are as popular now as 40 years ago, for good reason: they’re easy-care, readily available, inexpensive, and add great texture and interest to Southwest gardens. The plants’ bold hues are reminiscent of a Mexican serape: purple, orange,…

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Rancho La Puerta health and fitness spa in Tecate, Baja California, across the border east of San Diego, offers the best of Mexico’s food, climate and ambience. It’s also famous for mature gardens that offer a wonderfully immersive experience. The Ranch is a great getaway within half a day’s drive from nearly anywhere in SoCa.…

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San Diego Voyager: Today we’d like to introduce you to Debra Lee Baldwin. Thanks for sharing your story with us Debra. So, let’s start at the beginning. Where did you grow up? I grew up on an avocado ranch in south Escondido on a hilltop overlooking San Pasqual Valley. As a child, I helped my father…

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I like to display bouquets of succulent rosettes in clear glass containers filled with layers of sand. Practical as well as pretty, the sand lends color and interest, and serves as to anchor the stems so top-heavy rosettes don’t tumble out. A jay appears interested in the spring succulent bouquet I made for the 2018 Super…

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My spring garden’s most vivid blooms are those of succulent ice plants. Aloes, bulbine and numerous arid-climate companions are bright and beautiful from March through mid-May. Increasing temps tend to put the kibosh on delicate spring flowers. If you live near the coast of CA, you’ll enjoy a longer spring, but you may not get…

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Is there a way to make succulents bloom? Yes and no. It partly depends on a plant’s age. It may not be large or mature enough to gear up for reproduction (which is the point of flowers). But there IS something you can do to make a succulent bloom if it’s just sitting there, sulking,…

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[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” admin_preview_bg=”] Two basic design principles will help you create perfect succulent art-pot pairings. From my book, Succulent Container Gardens: “Contrast and repetition are the two most important design elements. When these are used effectively, the results are remarkable. Contrast jolts and engages; repetition comforts and soothes…Repetition hearkens back…

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Dec., 2017 Whenever I’m asked how to find certain succulents or services that are in short supply, I wonder why so few offer them. After all, there’s clearly money to be made! If you or others who might make these happen are merely unaware, hang on, I’m about to remedy that.  Btw, I’m happy to help get the word out about anyone who offers the…

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Reviews of Debra Lee Baldwin’s book “Designing with Succulents”, the completely revised and updated second edition.  Book reviewers are important. It’s not the author or a publicist telling you how good a book is, it’s editors, radio show hosts, columnists, industry pros and peers whose opinions are impartial and credible. Consequently, I’m very pleased and…

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My DIY succulent topiary tree holiday centerpiece needs less care than a floral arrangement and lasts much longer—several months or more. Its requirements are similar to those of a succulent wreath: bright but not intense light (rotate occasionally for even exposure), weekly watering (from the top, to evenly moisten the moss), and pinching back if…

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