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How to Care for Succulents

Blooming Desert Landscaping » How to Care for Succulents

how to care for succulents

Succulents add beauty and diversity to your Arizona desert landscaped home. Succulents, plants that store water in their tissues (leaves, roots, stems), thrive in Arizona’s dry, desert climate making them an ideal choice for home landscaping projects. From agaves to yucca plants and aloe, succulents not only look beautiful as landscape additions, but they’re fairly easy to maintain. Learning how to care for succulents will help you make sure beautiful plants thrive in your care.

Basic Succulent Care

If you’ve added or are thinking of adding succulents to your landscaping, it’s essential to understand the basic care needed to maintain these gorgeous plants. Succulents are resilient and adapt easy when introduced into a new environment if their preferences are met. To maintain your succulents health, you do need to provide the right amount of light, water, and soil.

Light

While succulents are hardy and don’t need fussy care, they do require some attention. In general, succulents love the sun, requiring full or partial sun in order to thrive. Some shade during the hottest part of the day can help protect from any potential burning, which is something to consider when choosing a spot for a succulent within a landscaping design. Younger succulent plants may require more shade or sun protection.

Water

Because succulents have the ability to adapt to drought conditions, they tend to prefer not being wet for an extended period. Give your succulents a break and allow the plants to dry before watering again. Keeping succulents saturated can lead to root rot. A water meter can help ensure optimum watering.

During a succulent’s blooming season, the plant may require more frequent watering (this will depend on the individual succulent variety.) During their dormant season, the succulents will require less water. Regarding potted succulents, always use a pot with drainage holes and place a water-catch tray under the pot. This allows the soil to soak up the water from the bottom. Clay pots dry out faster than other materials increasing the need for additional water.

Soil

The soil needs to be quick draining. For succulent beds, a basic soil recipe that combines one part commercial potting soil with one part sand and one part gravel (perlite or pumice may be subbed for the gravel) typically works well for the Arizona desert climate.

Care Tips for Specific Succulents

Several different succulents can thrive in the Arizona desert climate. These range from agaves to yucca plants that offer beauty and diversity to your home landscape design. Before choosing specific plants, make note of the plant’s actual size at full maturity to ensure it won’t overwhelm the rest of the plants and features in the landscape.

Twin-flowered agave

This beautiful succulent forms an open rosette shape when mature that can span about three feet in width. It also grows to about three feet tall. The twin-flowered agave prefers full to partial sun and has low watering needs. Its yellow flowers bloom in the winter season.

Octopus agave

Considered a pool-friendly succulent, the octopus agave is a popular addition to Arizona home landscape designs. It likes full sun but tolerates partial sun. The plant grows to about four feet tall and can spread to a full five feet wide, so be sure to give it plenty of room. The octopus agave blooms with yellow flowers in spring and has low watering needs.

Agave tip: According to the AMWUA (Arizona Municipal Water Users Association), “Once agaves mature, almost all will produce a spectacular flower stalk. Depending on the species, agaves will die after they bloom, usually 5 to 20 years after planting.”

Banana Yucca

Also pool-friendly, the banana yucca thrives with full sun and minimal water. Its flowers appear in white clusters on the plant’s tall stalks in the spring. It grows to about three feet tall and sprawls about five feet in width.

Other great succulent choices for your Arizona desert home include the desert milkweed, the blue yucca, beargrass, Weber’s agave, Sago palm, and aloe plants like the Cape aloe and Dawe’s aloe that adds a brilliant pop of red color to the landscape.

For more information on which succulents to plant in your yard and how to care for them, contact our team at Blooming Desert today.