A summer with succulents is truly a magical time. You'll witness your plants go through their active growing phase, colorful blooms and little succulent surprise babies sprouting out during this period.
For this magic to happen you will need a solid placement plan for sunlight, water schedule, and a willingness to test and learn. Once these elements are ironed out you can get back to neglecting plants and enjoying your summer bbq's, pool parties and beach trips.
Let's jump right into it...
Summer Sunlight = Scorched Succulents
Probably the most important part of a succulent's aesthetic success or demise in the summer. It's important to be aware of what succulents prefer all the time - early morning sunlight and afternoon shade.
Depending on the environment you are providing for them the sunlight you provide will vary. In extremely hot summers, like Las Vegas, succulents will prefer to have very early morning sunlight and in the shade by 830 am.
Where you decide to plant them around the garden, home or patio is critical. Get creative with ways to provide shelter for your plants. Use trees, bushes, awnings, umbrellas or grab some screens or sunlight filters.
Take note of your home and garden's sunlight trends to ensure they don't get scorched. Too much sun can lead to scorched succulents, usually a white or dark brown spot found on the foliage.
In most cases, it won't kill your plants but will make them unsightly. The only cure is to wait until it grows out. We wrote a whole succulent sunburn article on the subject.
The rule is the same all year-round - only water when the soil is 100%, completely bone dry. The only difference in summer will be the frequency of watering.
In the fall and winter, you might find yourself soaking your plants once a month, if not longer. In the summer you should expect to do this more frequently. Depending on where you live and the environment you're providing for them, the water frequency could be once a week, twice a week or more.
Humidity should also be a factor to consider when watering. In humid summers, like New York, outdoor succulents may never need to be watered. The moisture in the air may enough to sustain them all season long. In some cases it may be too humid to keep them outdoors some days.
Overwatering and constantly wet soil is the number one killer of of these water-hoarding chunky plants. Their shallow root systems simply don't know when to stop drinking, like how a goldfish will eat itself to death.
Always err on the side of dry when in doubt. The plants will show signs of wrinkling when they need water, and will happily bounce back with a drink.
Testing and Learning
With everything, you will need to test out plants in the environment you provide for them. Through the process, you will without a doubt fail and kill plants.
If you leave them outdoors in the sun for too long, they will scorch. And that's okay.
If you forget them outside on a very humid day they may rot out. It happens.
As long as you're learning what to do different next time, you're that much closer to understanding your succulents and their sun and water needs over the summer.