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Now that the holidays are past, are you wondering what to do with the succulents in your mini-trees and other decorations? Here are a few tips:

*Remove the succulents from the mini-tree or other decorative item one at a time. Check to see if they've already begun rooting into the object they were on, but if they have, it's no problem to gently pull them off of it.

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Agave Q&A

February 03, 2014

Agave › Q&A › tips ›

Can you tell me the name of this succulent (assume it is NOT a cactus)? 

Should I keep roots in water while I decide where to plant them….or should they just sit out w/o water (some sites I’ve seen on cactus say to put the plants in shade for a few days without water to let the roots heal to prevent bacteria from entering via roots)?  Right now I have the roots of most of them immersed in water and in full shade.

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Few plant species have evolved with such a narrow altitudinal range (7500 ft to 8700 ft ), live only on sites facing the equator, and must be bathed in a compost tea flowing from the grassland above. A.p. is the most hardy species in the genus.  Most species of cactus and succulents are more tolerant of a wider range of temperatures, soil moisture, and exposure. Many plant lovers have lost their prized specimens because of such misunderstanding.

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Many people ask me, what is the difference between a cactus and a succulent? All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. Cacti are new world plants, meaning they all originated in the Americas. I know there are some beautiful cactus gardens in North Africa and around the Mediterranean, but the fact is all of the cacti originated in the Americas. To keep this simple, let's just say that most cacti have spines and there are 1,000's of varieties. When working with cacti as opposed to most other succulents, know that cacti use less water than other succulents and require better drainage and aeration in the soil they are grown in. to accomplish this, double the amount of amendment added to the soil compared to what you would do with other succulents. If you're landscaping in the ground, in areas where there is 20 or more inches of rain per year, you will be more successful by creating a raised bed in which to plant the cacti.

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Seed Grown Aloe ProphyllaSucculent propagation isn't all about cuttings! We actually grow several varieties of succulents from seed collected from our plants here at the nursery. Here's a peek behind the production at Succulent Gardens for two popular plants.

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Talking with people about succulent care or observing succulent care "in the wild" has clearly demonstrated to me some of the confusion that exists throughout the world of horticulture with regard to succulent plants. Just take a walk through garden centers where highly trained nursery people are on staff. Beautifully maintained bedding plants, fruit trees, and a wide variety of ornamental plants abound, perfectly watered, fertilized, and maintained. Then seek out the succulent section. What you'll see are mislabeled, over watered, under watered and in general poorly maintained plants. I puzzled over this for many years as I was asked to help landscape professionals and retailers.

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Summer has arrived! Right after Sunset Celebration I took a short trip to San Jose del Cabo, at a surf break called the Rock. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon, and were in the water at 5pm. My first wave of the trip was a disaster when someone lost his board as I was riding by. Three stitches in my shin, two days out of the water and I was good to go. The plants were hanging out back home, as only succulents can do, and didn't suffer in the least while I was away!

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One of my goals when creating our nursery in Castroville was to build an inventory that gives me lots of flexibility when designing and installing succulent landscapes and container gardens. Availability of material is critical to the realization of any landscape project. Whether creating my own design, or working with a professional who needs material for their own project, availability of desired varieties in sizes and numbers necessary, is critical to any project’s success.

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In order to garden successfully with plants growing on a wall, it is important to recognize the difference from traditional gardening. I never thought about gardening on the ground or in pots as gardening horizontally, but that is exactly what you are doing. Of course there are variations in the slope, but by and large, traditional gardening has been horizontal. Succulent plants are often found growing on cliffs in the crevices of rocks or on the cliff edges, clinging to what soil they can find purchase in. This ability to eke out a living in little soil makes them pretty good candidates for vertical gardening.

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Succulents are well suited to being grouped with other low-water plants in containers.

"Succulents are the conservationists of the plant world"
— Robin Stockwell

  1. All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti.
  2. Care instructions for succulents are often generalizations and awareness of the needs of individual varieties will usually result in better results.
  3. Succulents are low maintenance, not no maintenance.

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