I’ve encouraged you to use succulents and cacti for your low-care desert potted gardens during the summer. However, because of the extended heat that is typical of the Coachella Valley, some of your softer succulents may be struggling—like the poor jade plant shown above.
When nighttime temperatures stay above 85 to 90 degrees, succulents do not have the ability to cool off. These plants are full of water, so they get hot! If the humidity is higher than normal, they cannot breathe.
You need to water succulents carefully during hot, more-humid periods, as these are the times when succulents are most susceptible to overwatering. If the soil is damp, DO NOT WATER!
You want to make sure that your potted succulents have enough air circulation. If they are in a deep corner of an entryway, for example, try to get them out into the air—but if they live in the shade, do not put them into any sun.
Late in the month, the sun’s shift in the sky may cause side-burning on some plants, especially cacti and succulents. If you notice burning, install small sections of shade cloth to protect plants until the cooler weather arrives.
Another related August tip: Hold off on extensive shearing or pruning of any plants for another month. Pruning now will expose formerly shaded stems and foliage to sunburn.
Marylee is the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Email her with comments and questions at email@example.com. Below: A potted red yucca is a sure bet.