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Roger's pick: The Wonderful World of Succulents - Part II of III

In continuing to excite you about the wide world of succulents, we will now delve into some of the culture of these assorted gems.

Within our great Mediterranean climate the spectrum of succulents is wide and varied, from those growing out in full blazing sunlight to dappled light for a few others.

Succulents prefer well drained soil and don’t like their roots standing in water. They are great either in an orchestrated succulent garden combining many types or as one isolated specimen in a decorative container as a garden focal point.

If your soil is clay like and does not drain well, consider adding some washed sand or sponge-rock so you can break it up to insure good drainage. You can also find prepared cacti mix in nurseries for container growing.

Most succulents will increase in size, so understand when planting those tiny 4” pots from the nursery that they can expand and become quite large in time and as always plan before you plant.

If anything is more important in growing succulents, both in the ground or in pots, it’s the watering. The nature of these plants is that they retain quite a bit of moisture in their leaves, stem, trunks and root system. So take the guessing out of it and get yourself a hand held water meter. Placed below the soil’s surface the meter will register moist, wet or dry. I use one a lot and like to keep most succulents on the semi-dry side.

Some damaging pests to look out for are slugs and snails which can do more damage in one night’s feeding than most other pests. I just go around early in the morning when these pests are on their way back to their cubby for a day rest, pluck them off and dispose of them quietly.

Other pesky insects can be aphids, mealy bug, thrips, scale and various rots. I usually do a harsh spray of water from the hose to wash off most insects.

I feed my succulent collection twice a year with various fertilizers like organic hoof and horn, blood meal, or fish emulsion and that’s keeps them growing and lush looking.

So when entering the succulent plant world, do a little homework first because succulents abound at specialty nurseries or your favorite garden center.

Questions can be directed to Roger Boddaert at (760) 728-4297.

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