When to Plant Succulents within the Northwest


As I write this, I’m staring out of the second-floor window of my native Portland, Oregon library on the full ponds and mossy gardens stuffed with ferns, Douglas fir, and scarlet rosemallow, on a foggy, moist day.

The furthest thought from my thoughts? Succulents basking within the dry warmth.

However there are a lot of succulents that may be grown efficiently outdoor within the northwest.

A close up vertical image of succulent plants with bright yellow flowers growing in a rocky garden in the northwest. To the center and bottom of the frame is green and white printed text.

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My stonecrop is wanting completely gorgeous because the roses are fading. A lot of folks don’t understand it, however many succulents are native to the soggy areas of the Pacific Northwest.

In the event you dwell within the northwest, you may get pleasure from succulents in your backyard. It’s only a matter of figuring out methods to take care of them and a part of that’s understanding when to plant them.

Developing, we’ll reply that query – and some others. Right here’s what I’ll cowl:

For the sake of readability, once we speak in regards to the northwest, we’re referring to Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Some folks additionally embody western Montana, northern California, and British Columbia.

These areas embody an enormous number of environments and climates.

We’re going to concentrate on the areas that have gentle, cool, moist winters and heat, dry summers. That is the area west of the Cascade Vary, working from Lassen Peak in northern California to Mount Baker in British Columbia.

Areas east of the Cascades have a local weather that’s extra in keeping with the western states like Utah and Wyoming, which have the kind of local weather for succulents to thrive.

Choosing the Proper Species

When deciding on succulents to your backyard, the primary consideration is the USDA Hardiness Zone score for the particular species or cultivar you need to develop. Clearly, these which might be hardy to your particular area are the most effective choices.

A close up horizontal image of succulent plants growing en masse in the garden.

It’s not nearly choosing a species that’s superb to your Zone, however selecting one that may tolerate your local weather. A lot of the Pacific Northwest is extraordinarily moist for a minimum of a portion of the 12 months, so search for species that tolerate a lot of moisture.

Yucca, Dasylirion spp., Manfreda spp., Dudleya spp., Sedum spp., Talinum spp., and even some Agave species like A. utahensis adapt to this distinctive local weather.

Dudleya species, and Sedum oreganum, S. oregonense, and S. spathulifolium are native to coastal Washington, Oregon, and northern California, so you recognize they will deal with the Pacific Northwest local weather.

Broadleaf stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium), which I discussed above, is one other stellar PNW native species. You’ll typically spot the native Siskiyou lewisia (Lewisia cotyledon) in Pacific Northwest gardens as effectively.

Any of those indigenous species have found out methods to navigate our moist winters.

When to Plant

The very best time to transplant succulents is within the spring. This provides the vegetation loads of time to develop enough root programs that may enable them to take care of the soggy winter forward.

A close up horizontal image of flowering Lewisia growing in a terra cotta pot set on a mosaic table outdoors, pictured in bright sunshine.

However don’t plant through the heaviest interval of springtime rain. If the bottom remains to be extraordinarily soggy from the winter rain, wait till it dries out a bit.

In Portland, we joke that spring doesn’t finish till the 4th of July, however you don’t have to attend till the tip of June to place them within the floor!

Just a little little bit of rain received’t damage and can most likely assist. It definitely takes the strain off you to be diligent about watering your new transplants.

I’m speaking in regards to the sort of rain that lasts for weeks and makes the bottom into a large mud puddle. That’s a nasty time to place succulents within the floor. Look ahead to a number of dry days to go and some dry days predicted sooner or later after which go forward and plant.

Clearly, in case you set them out in March, April, or Might, it’s probably that you just’ll have one other interval of rain. That’s fantastic, and also you don’t must do something to guard your vegetation.

A close up horizontal image of a clump of succulent plants growing in the garden surrounded by mulch.

And undoubtedly don’t get too excited and put your succulents within the floor through the “false spring” of February.

I do know it’s tempting to get began when it looks like spring has arrived, however not solely would possibly you expertise one other freeze, however you recognize that soggy, moist climate is coming proper again.

All that stated, in case you come throughout a screaming cut price on some appropriate succulents on the retailer and it occurs to be autumn, don’t fear. You’ll be able to transplant them in fall, and so they’ll most likely just do fantastic, particularly in the event that they’re native species.

The one occasions you completely shouldn’t plant succulents is within the winter months and through the hottest a part of summer season.

The place to Plant

This may appear apparent. You’re gardening within the Pacific Northwest, proper? In order that’s the place you’ll plant. However you might need observed that the surroundings in several elements of your metropolis and even your yard can range dramatically.

You might need a spot in your yard that appears to stay soggy all 12 months lengthy, whereas one other space appears to dry out shortly.

Pay attention to the particular microclimates in your backyard and place your succulents in these areas which have good drainage and solar publicity.

A close up horizontal image of a succulent garden outdoors with a variety of different species.

Since many elements of the northwest have clay soil, you would possibly must perform a little amending to make your succulents blissful.

Quite than including humus or sand (which received’t damage), it’s finest to work some fantastic grit into the soil. This creates extra channels by way of which moisture can escape.

Alternatively, you may all the time put them in raised beds or containers.

While you’re rising a species that doesn’t essentially thrive in your area, generally you need to perform a little analysis to find out methods to make it work.

If a species is rated for a local weather simply outdoors of your USDA Hardiness Zone, there are actions you may take to affect the microclimate so as to develop species you may not be capable to in any other case.

For example, in case you dwell in Zone 8b and also you discover a succulent that’s hardy to 9a, you may nonetheless develop it, however you’ll must discover a spot in your yard that has situations extra like Zone 9a.

For example, you may put your succulents close to a brick wall which is able to assist to extend the temperature, otherwise you might need a protected, sunny space that retains warmth higher than the breezy, low spot in your yard.

Alternatively, you may select to develop your vegetation in containers so you may transfer them indoors through the winter.

As well as, it helps to know the surroundings by which a plant grows naturally. Pediocactus species develop within the southwestern United States, the place they’re periodically coated in snow through the winter, to allow them to tolerate chilly winters.

However they’re solely coated with snow for a brief interval. For that cause, you probably have snow within the forecast, and it tends to linger in your neck of the woods, you must defend your vegetation with frost material which you could raise off after the snow has been there for a day or two.

Or, if a species solely grows effectively in rocky soil, you would possibly construct a raised rock mattress for the vegetation.

Offering Safety

While you’ve chosen your vegetation and determined the place to place them, you’ll nonetheless want to offer safety to your new transplants.

A late spring freeze doesn’t simply harm fruit tree blossoms. Succulents uncovered to robust, direct solar within the spring throughout a tough freeze could also be broken or killed.

A close up horizontal image of a gardener's hands removing a small succulent plant from its pot for transplanting out into the garden.

Cowl these with frost material or develop your succulents on the west aspect of a rock or constructing in order that they have time to defrost through the day earlier than the solar hits them.

You must also present a thick layer of mulch, as long as it doesn’t cowl any a part of the foliage, to assist defend the roots from the warmth and chilly cycle that occurs in winter.

For different tips about succulent winter care, please go to our information.

Carry the Desert Vibe to the Wet PNW

It is smart that there are a lot of succulents that love the situations within the northwest.

Though rain is often the very first thing that involves thoughts when folks take into consideration the PNW, most areas additionally expertise lengthy, dry summers.

A close up horizontal image of Dudleya edulis, aka fingertips, a succulent plant native to the Pacific Northwest, growing in pots outdoors.

Crops which have tailored to gather water through the wet season and retailer it up for the lengthy dry season have a bonus. And that’s what succulents do.

Understanding methods to work with the surroundings, which incorporates understanding the most effective time to plant, is a part of serving to succulents thrive.

What species do you intend to develop in your backyard? What Zone do you reside in? Tell us all the main points within the feedback part under!

Don’t go, but! There’s so rather more to find out about rising succulents, regardless of the place you reside. Have a learn of those guides subsequent:



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