Planting and Care
Although succulents generally require minimal care, most have one need that is absolute: good drainage. Many have shallow roots that spread out so they can take advantage of even brief rainstorms. But the roots succumb to disease if they stay damp.

The right soil depends on rainfall where you live. In desert areas, some succulents grow even in clay. In wetter climates, though, mix sand and airy lava rock into the planting area. Dig holes only as big as the nursery containers or even a little less deep, so that the plant crowns don't settle below the surface. Mulch with pea gravel to keep surface moisture to a minimum. For containers, mix two-thirds gravel or lava rock and one-third loam if you live where there is a lot of rain. In a dry climate, reverse the proportions.

Most important, don't overwater. Though container plantings need more water than those settled into the ground, probe the soil to be sure it is thoroughly dried out before watering. And always empty any standing water from saucers. In garden areas, feel the soil 3 to 4 inches below the surface to make sure it's thoroughly dry before giving plants a good dousing.

Occasional rainfall may mean you'll only need to water succulent plantings now and then, even during the sultriest weeks of the year. That's when you may really appreciate the savings bonus these plants offer—not just the lower water bill, but the extra hours freed up from coddling your summer garden.
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