Some shown here are a result of research, others are my own personal gardening must-haves. I update this list when I run across something I want to share, and try to keep the links current. If there’s a product you’re looking for or want to recommend, or a link that’s out of date, please let me know! — Debra


Gilmore’s Thumb Control Hose Nozzle is a terrific sprayer with easily adjustable apertures, from mist to a narrow blast. Every time I use it, I marvel at its design and usefulness, and wonder why I didn’t get such a cool device sooner.

Trigger sprayers ensure you don't waste water. I love this one's multiple settings! Trigger sprayers ensure you don’t waste water. I love this one’s multiple settings! Around $17.



Frost cloth for in-ground succulents.  About $25 for a 50-by-6-foot roll.Frost cloth

Programmable timer, seven-day, eight independent settings. About $12.

Timer for grow-lights, overwintering succulents indoors


Agave snout weevil drench: Per my online article and YouTube video, both titled “Agave Snout Weevil Prevention and Treatment,” experts recommend a systemic insecticide that contains Imidacloprid, such as:

Insecticide drench



In my YouTube video, “Drill Holes in Nondraining Containers,” the power drill is a DEWALT DW246 7.8 Amp 1/2-Inch Drill with Keyless Chuck, around $150 on Amazon. Dewalt Power Drill

The diamond drill bit (“1/2 inch Diamond Tipped Hole Saw Drill Bit for Ceramic Tile Glass”) came from Home Depot, but it’s also available on Amazon for around $4.50.

Diamond drill bit


No-splash watering can has a narrow spout that puts water where you want it—at the plant’s base, not on its leaves. Wet foliage doesn’t harm succulents, but when drops dry, they can leave white rings from mineral deposits. Though most noticeable on dark, glossy succulents like Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’, they also make light leaves look dull.

I keep a pretty watering can near my pot plants I keep a good-looking watering can near my potted plants. $15

In my blog post, “My Must-have Garden Tools for Handling Spiky, Spiny Succulents the tools are: 12-inch tweezers, kitchen tongs, artist’s brush, chopstick, scissors, metal teaspoon, inexpensive garden gloves, and duct tape.

Long-handled tweezers are useful for removing bits of debris and topdressing from prickly plants and those with tight leaf axils—any place your fingers are too big for or that is too spiny to reach into. Amazon sells 12-inch stainless steel tweezers for under $10. These shown here, with soft silicone tips, are around $30. Btw, I also own 10-inch tweezers, forceps, and “planting tongs,” but I seldom use them.

I wouldn't be without silicone-tipped 12-inch tweezers Silicone-tipped 12-inch tweezers


Gloves for holding cactus Duct tape wrapped around the fingers of gloves lets you pick up small cacti without getting poked.

I wear the gloves while a friend wraps them (or vice versa). Before potting small cacti, I put on a pair of nitrile gloves and have my husband wrap them with duct tape. Pack of 6, $11.50

Glochids are nasty little spines found only—and usually—on Opuntia cactus. They’ll stick to anything except the slick side of duct tape. Btw, you can also use the tape’s sticky side to remove glochids from your skin, if need be.

Opuntia microdaysis Opuntia microdaysis (bunny ears) is deceptive; its fuzzy tufts are glochids—tiny hooked spines that detach all too easily

Kevlar sleeves are a must when gardening in close proximity to spiny plants, such as cacti or agaves. These cut-resistant tubes protect your arms, are made of stretch fabric, and have a thumb slot. Around $8 per sleeve (sold singly; order two).

18-inch Kevlar knit sleeve protects from scratches 18-inch Kevlar knit sleeve protects from scratches



                         Useful items you probably have already: 

Kitchen tongs (around $6) are handy for grasping and potting-up cacti and small agaves with sharp tips, and for twisting pads off opuntias. If you’re handling a delicate plant (one with spines that might bend or break), wrap the tips of the tongs with foam rubber or soft sponge and secure with rubber bands. (Sun causes rubber bands to deteriorate, so store your modified tongs in shade.)

I use pieces of aluminum window screen (sold by the roll for around $8.50) to keep soil from falling through the drain holes of pots. It cuts easily with scissors. Alternatively, get a roll of drywall tape.

I wouldn’t be without a chopstick to settle roots of succulents. It’s essential when small nursery plants are tucked together so tightly, I’m not able to manipulate their root balls to settle them. I learned the chopstick trick from succulent floral designer Melissa Teisl when we made this potting video together.

An old metal teaspoon (mine was mangled by a garbage disposal) is perfect for funneling topdressing into gaps between plants. You can also use a real funnel, but anything larger than coarse sand may clog it.

A soft artist’s brush is great for cleaning dirt off leaves and spines.


All these links go to Amazon because their prices are as good as any, and as an affiliate, I receive a small percentage of any sales that originate on my website. I’m grateful if you obtain items that way, but most are readily available at hardware, department, home improvement or drug stores as well.