Art News

Planting Succulents Outdoors in Florida


Most people start succulent collecting by putting them in pots with drain holes on lanais or window sills. They worry that Florida rain will harm the plants since there is so much talk about not overwatering. In nature, most succulents get their water from rainfall but probably not as much rain as we have here. Also most of them are naturally accustomed to direct sunlight. Therefore, they do very well in Florida provided that the soil does not hold too much water. We can build mounds and change the existing soil to better draining soil with bagged palm/cactus soil, perlite, and grit or fine gravel. We can be conscious of the fact that some such as jade, peperomia, senecio, and some others do better in partial shade. Most succulents such as kalanchoe, echeveria, haworthia, portulaca, graptopelum and many others love the sunshine and do fine in our rainy weather. They grow larger, change colors and truely thrive. You can leave valuable plants in larger pots so that if we have a frost you can bring them in. When you first put them outside, they might get brown spots due to sunburn. The best time to transition them to the outdoors is during our winter months. If the brown sun burn gets bad, move them to the shade. If it’s minor, leave them there and they will adapt. When it hasn’t rained in a week they need a good watering with the hose. Mulch or stones help trap the moisture a little so it is beneficial to top your garden. You should check your garden every week to see what clues different plants are giving you about how they like their environment. Once in a while you might lose one, but in general you will be amazed at how well they do in the ground in Florida.

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