What Do Garden Succulents Need?

Succulent plants belong in any garden or landscape, anywhere in the country. The fascinating plants, usually have fleshy leaves, plump stems, and roots that are used for storing water in dry seasons. You will find them n a wide array of shapes, sizes, foliage colors, flowers, and often unique frills and bristles.
Thanks to Mother Nature and evolution, many can tolerate hard freezes.
This a great garden succulent!Gardeners worldwide use them as stunning single-use focal point plants, durable groundcovers for difficult slopes, patio accents, or grouped in colorful combinations. These marvels are suitable for living fences, brush fire defense, and even home-grown burglar protection. In-ground succulents can be combined with container-grown species for added emphasis, especially with those which may need moving seasonally out of the adverse weather.

What Garden Succulents Need

There are three major considerations for growing succulents outdoors:
  1. Temperatures both winter and summer, amount
  2. The timing of natural rainfall,
  3. Duration and intensity of sunlight.
The best advice on succulent gardening is choosing the right plants for your area, preparing the soil for better drainage, and protecting some from hot mid-summer sun. And have fun! 

1. Temperature

Many popular garden succulents will tolerate mild freezes, including certain Aloes and Senecios, golden barrel cactus, (Echinocereus), cholla (Cylindropuntia), pincushion cactus (Mammillaria). Echeveria, and Graptopetalum. At least half a dozen types, mainly certain species of Yucca, Agave, Sempervivum, Delosperma, Opuntia, and Sedum, can easily survive being left outdoors in USDA Zone 4 or 5, which can get to -30 F. There are some extremely cold tolerant alpine succulents, including London Pride saxifrage, will simply melt in warm climates
Keeping container plants close to buildings will help protect from cold injury. 
2. Rainfall
Garden succulents are able to tolerate dry conditions for a long time, but usually grow and flower better with regular watering during the active growing season. Though quite a few, including Opuntia, Yucca, Aloe, Echinocereus, Cylindropuntia), Mammillaria, Agave, and Delosperma can survive in most arid or summer-dry parts of the country on rainfall alone, most will need watering at least every few weeks, often more in very hot areas.
Still, too much water is worse than too little, so most gardeners keep outdoor succulents on the dry side during rainy weather, especially in winter, to both help reduce rot and help them survive lower temperatures; this may mean covering them from rain, or keeping them in pots to be moved under a protective porch roof.

3. Sun

In general, MOST succulents do best in sun; many will get leggy and weak without at least six hours of sun daily, and many get more colorful and flower better in eight or more hours of direct sun.  Plants with colorful foliage tend to take more intense sun than green or variegated varieties.
However, some will fade, spot, or even burn in the intense heat of the full sun, especially in humid climates and when temperatures remain above 90F or so; these need to be shaded from mid-day and afternoon sun by buildings, lattice, arbors, shade cloth, or trees with light, fine-textured foliage.

How to Plant Succulents Outdoors

Kalanchoe tomentosa 'Chocolate Soldier'You should plant as early in the season as possible to allow succulents to become established before winter. Be prepared to protect cold-hardy kinds the first winter.
In most cases, native soils and container soils alike will need amending with other materials to increase water drainage during rainy seasons.
You can add a little compost or other organic matter, and up to fifty percent total volume with coarse sand, pumice, grit, or kitty litter-like soil amendments used by professional turf managers to loosen soils. Till these into at least the top six or eight inches of native soil. You should use a firm soil and mix carefully as you plant, firming it as you go. Then cover the area with coarse sand or gravel. Allow them to settle in for a day or two before watering, and fertilize lightly in the spring with a low-nitrogen garden fertilizer. And again, supplement in-ground succulents with container-grown ones, plus natural accents such as small boulders, gnarly driftwood, glass sculpture, or a section of fence made of weathered wood, adobe, or stone. 
 Old-hand gardeners know for best success indoor cactus and succulent plants require a certain amount of neglect.

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