Keeping my succulents dry
In our climate, most succulents do fine outside as long as they stay relatively dry in the winter. Rain was forecast for Friday, Saturday and Sunday so I finally got my act together and built a rain shelter for my succulent table.
This is what this table looked like in July.
|Succulent stand on 7/7/2011|
The plants sitting on top of the fence and on the top tier of the table had to be moved. I also rearranged the other pots to maximize use of the available space. I figure having the pots close together can only help retain some extra warmth on a cold night.
|After rearranging on 11/13/2011|
Here’s another view of the rearranged pots. Since rain was imminent when I actually did the work, I didn’t have time to rake the leaves, but that’s a cosmetic thing so ultimately it’s not important.
The shelter consists of 4-mil plastic sheeting, 10 ft. wide. I added a row of grommets along the top so the sheeting can be attached to the overhang of our front porch by means of small bungee cords.
|4-mil plastic sheeting to serve as a rain shelter|
Here’s the installed sheeting. Not the most architecturally stunning sight but inexpensive, fast, and fully functional—the perfect solution for me since I’m not very handy.
Another advantage I noticed: The area seems brighter because the plastic diffuses the light, and it’s noticeable warmer since it keeps out the most of the wind.
|Another view of the installed sheeting|
Here’s the view from the street. I don’t know what our neighbors will think, but I’m sure that before long we will find out through the neighborhood grapevine.
|Rain shelter as seen from the street|
The covered front porch is already home to many potted succulents, and for the winter, I’ve added plants that usually live elsewhere, like in the backyard or on top of the fence. The main goal is to protect them from the rain. Freezing temperatures are a separate issue; on nights below below 28°F or so, I will throw a frost blanket on the more tender succulents. That should be enough to keep them from getting damaged.
|Front porch, now home to even more plants than usual. The rain shelter described above is on the right.|
Here are some photos of what are becoming increasingly crammed quarters. But I actually find the massed arrangement of pots quite attractive.
|Cacti and agaves on the edge of the front porch|
|Different view of same plants|
|View towards the driveway (on right)|
|Even our bistro table got taken over|
|Larger pots lining the edge of the porch, still covered by the deep overhang of the roof|
|Small table on the front porch. The plant on the left with thin strappy leaves is an Agave geminiflora. It’s been in this spot (bright light but no sun) for 2+ years and loves it.|
|Looking towards the front door (on right)|
|Repurposed shoe rack to the right of the front door|
|Area to the left of the front door; I plan to shove more plants under the bow window|
A couple of dozen plants are now inside the house for the winter, including my angel wing and palm leaf begonias and the caudiciforms I bought at the UC Davis Arboretum plant sale recent. I’ll write a separate post about them soon.
P.S. The rain we had after my wife and I put up the rain shelter amounted to very little. It did rain hard west of here, but we were spared. But at least now I’m prepared for what is sure to come.