Southern Succulent Garden – When To Plant Succulents In The Southeast U.S.

SE succulents
SE succulents
(Image credit: ClaraNila)

Gardening in the Southeast part of the U.S. most likely seems easy to those who battle freezing temperatures, snow, and ice in other parts of the country, but growing plants outside is not without challenges in our area. While our times of freezing and snow are limited and sometimes non-existent, excessive rainfall and scorching temperatures affect growing succulents in the South. Let’s discuss the best way to grow warm climate succulent plants, how to overcome the obstacles, and when to plant succulents in the Southeast.

Succulent Planting in Southern Regions

Even though succulents are described as low-maintenance, they need proper care and especially the right location. Morning sun areas are best for your southern succulent garden. Temperatures in the high 90’s and 100’s (32-38 C.) can cause leaves to scorch and roots to shrivel. The right container is particularly important for outdoor succulents in the South and a well-prepared garden bed is necessary to keep rain off sensitive roots. Consequently, you don’t want roots on newly planted succulents struggling with excessive water. You also don’t want plants exposed to excessive heat and sizzling sun. Offer overhead protection, if necessary, when temperatures near the century mark. When possible, get succulents established before the rainy season starts. You can do this in the lower states without frost and freeze in late winter. Soil temperatures of 45 F. (7 C.) are acceptable, but when rain or even high humidity is included, it can damage succulents planted in the ground.

When to Plant Succulents in the Southeast

Learning when to plant succulents in the southeast contributes to their longevity. Planting into three feet (1 m.) of amended soil offers the proper drainage. Amendments may include perlite, pumice, coarse sand, lava rock, and pebbles as approximately half of the soil. Colder temperatures combined with moisture can damage plants. Check your long-term forecast before putting new plants into the ground, especially unrooted cuttings. Plant in spring, during that occasional dry 10-day period, or in autumn. A good root system develops in four to six weeks. If there is a cool span in summer when it’s cloudy and even drizzling rain, you may plant then. Don’t plant when a downpour is expected. Just like us, succulent plants don’t like to be exposed to extremities of weather. Do not plant a succulent straight from the store into a full sun location. As you can see, finding just the right succulent planting time in southern regions can be challenging. You may start all new plantings in containers while they develop or expand a root system and move them into the garden bed during an appropriate time. Containers provide flexibility of location and are usually attractive in the landscape plan when properly placed. If you purchase new plants and the soil is soggy or otherwise inappropriate, repot immediately no matter the time of year.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.