Sugar's Succulents

LET'S TALK ABOUT SUCCS #002 - Succs In The Central Valley

Hey guys, excuse my year long hiatus. In case you missed it, a year ago I launched our website, started a blog & introduced myself, and then casually disappeared from the blogosphere. We have had quite the year, and have so many awesome plans in store for this year - including posting to our blog more often. Thank you for checking back in with us.

Depending on where you live affects the way you should care for your succulents. We’re going to dive, specifically, into succulents in California’s Central Valley. We’ll cover our climate here, as well as how to care for them during the blazing hot summer and frosty cold winter. So, to quote the Black Eyed Peas - “let’s get it started in heeeere”.


We have a unique climate situation here in the valley. Let’s be honest, our summers are hot as hell, and dry as a bone. We reach temps of over 100 degrees on the regular, and have to be selective about which plants we expose to that directly. On the other hand, our winters are damp and cold, sometimes rainy (if we’re lucky), and bring in a thick ground fog that we call ‘Tule Fog’ (whiiiiiich totally sucks if you have to commute in the AM). We wake up to frost on our lawns & plants, and we don’t get much rain, but will get little rain spells here and there for days consecutively. Spring in Fall here are a breeze, usually a perfect temperature, and during those times of year your succulents are pretty happy anywhere you put them.

Most succulents want to be kept in a place where they receive allllll the sun light. A coastal climate is ideal for succulents, as you can expose them to tons of sun light, and there is enough moisture in the air to offset the actual heat of the sun. Lucky for coastal residents, they can just plant their succulents anywhere and they thrive without having to protect them from any extremities.

Meanwhile, in our little dry ass valley, rather than just plant them anywhere, we have to do a tad bit of research around our property to figure out where they would grow best. Don’t worry, the research isn’t difficult. It literally consists of you figuring out where the sun hits your property directly during the hottest parts of the day, and, more importantly, where it doesn’t. Tip: We highly suggest making yourself an afternoon cocktail (or cracking a beer) and turning on your favorite playlist as you inspect your property to see where the sun light directly hits your yard. (Note: The cocktail & playlist are not necessarily mandatory, it just spices things up a little, and every thing is better with music.) You’ll want to make sure that your plants do receive that direct morning sun, as that will be what keeps them colorful & happy, and will ensure that they maintain their natural shapes. Since temperatures in the mornings are usually much cooler than the afternoon, you won’t have to worry about the sun harming your plants.


During the summer months, specifically June-September, you want to be sure to place your succulents in a spot where they are receiving all the beautiful morning sun, but where they receive filtered to none of the direct, scorching hot, afternoon sun. Since we don’t have the luxury of moisture in our air (or a sandy beach nearby, for that matter), we have to shield our succulents (especially the more delicate varieties) from that direct afternoon sun-light during those warmer months.

If you do have any succulents planted or placed in an area where they will be getting direct, full, sun - installing shade cloth over your succulents is a great way to allow the most sun light, but filters it just enough that it does not scorch up your plants. If you are looking for something a little less labor-intensive, you could put up an umbrella so that it shades your plants at the hottest part of the day. If you don’t have an extra umbrella on hand and don’t want to spend the extra money on one, get creative, drag a chair, or whatever you can find and position it so that it blocks out that harsh sun.

Your best bet would be to just plant your succulents in an area where they don’t get hit directly by the summer, afternoon, sun.


Winter in the Central Valley means it’s going to be cold, sometimes freezing, and you can expect frost. Frost and freezing temperatures are dangerous to succulents. When succulents are left unprotected in freezing temperatures, your succulents can freeze from the inside out, leaving you with rotted, mushy (and usually too late to save) succulents.

To avoid exposing your succulents to the frost, you can drag them under an awning, gazebo, patio cover, umbrella, etc. You can also purchase frost cloth and lay it over your succulents (just remember to remove it if it rains, as you don’t want that soaking up water and rotting your plants from the top). Frost cloth should adequately cover your succulents, trapping the heat in and preventing the cold air from creeping in. Using white cloth allows for more sunlight to peek through.

When it comes to rain, save yourself a watering day, and feel free to leave your succulents out to drink up that fresh rain water. If it is going to rain for days consecutively, you may want to pull them under an umbrella, awning, etc. to avoid over watering. Make sure that none of your pots are catching runoff water from a roof, gutter, umbrella or any other objects. That is a quick way to kill your succulents. If the soil in your pots are not drying out between watering (or rain), you chance them absorbing too much water and rotting.

Make sure you take a walk through your succulent garden as the weather cools down to check on your plants and make sure that none of them are receiving too much water or being exposed to the frost (Cocktail/beer + music combo still totally recommended in the winter too).


Soooo, what did we learn here? Your succulents want sun. Lots of it. But, because of our super D R Y and super H O T climate, we have to shield/filter the summertime afternoon sun that they receive, so that they do not get scorched up.

Your succulents also like a little rain water here and there, but, definitely need to be protected from excessive amounts of rain and exposure to freezing temps.

Last but not least, cocktails/beer & music + gardening = a good time. :)

- B R E S I N G L E T O N