Question of the day:

hijole(9 Sunny California)August 22, 2014

So I've been wondering and trying to figure out what it is that causes cacti & succulents to grow so vibrantly and look so healthy at the beach and coastal areas, hopefully someone on here can help me out with this question, I know someone on here knows the reasons Why.

The climate is contrary to what I've always thought they liked but apparently not.

So if someone can share why I'd really enjoy reading it, I already tried googling it but I didn't pull up any info. On it.

Thanks, Greg

This post was edited by hijole on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 23:56

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MsGreenFinger GW(8 Ireland)

One reason COULD be is constant wind/breeeze and therefore very clean air. No overheated air pockets around plants, and stronger sunshine.
This is just and idea, no science behind it :)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 9:48AM
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And a steady, just right amount of moisture from the fog/mist.

Some of the beach houses at Mission Beach have lovely succulent gardens. This pic is from my last vacation stroll down the boardwalk a few years ago.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 10:39AM
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I have an Aunt that has lived both in the desert and on the coast and she said that hers grew better at the coast too because they never have to rest due to a lack of water and heat....That is what she thinks...Her cactus in the desert would shut down until it rained in intense heat..Quite frequently setting them back and slowing growth down..

I do have to say that the succulents I constantly give moisture to grow like weeds while the same type I withhold water from grow have the size by summers end.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:21AM
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hijole(9 Sunny California)

MsGreenFinger, Notolover & Myermike , Thank you for your comments their much appreciated :)

Although we always hear that they love fast draining soil so that they're roots only get wet then can air out seems to be the opposite for them in coastal areas,
I also notice that all types of plants seem to grow better out there to.
Even I feel better at the beach lol..

If anyone else can comment on the conditions of the weather, the air moisture it would be nice if we could some how create that environment for them.

Thanks again, Greg

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:51AM
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James AKA lumpy_j

I'm on vacation in San Diego and have been amazed at the succulents I am seeing everywhere. The temptation to fill my pockets with cuttings is overwhelming. Sea World has some really nice displays of succulents around the park, oh and they have some fish too.

I've been thinking the salt in the air might have something to do with it. I read in an orchid book that was written in the 1800's that people growing coastal orchids at that time would sprinkle salt on the pathways of their greenhouses to mimic the salty coastal air.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:25PM
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hijole(9 Sunny California)

Lumpy, umm.. don't get me started. When I was a little kid I would always try to catch birds with a box and tie a string to a stick and prop up the box so that when the bird would go for the food I'd pull the string an bam! I'd be able to catch the bird. Never happened tho. My dad used to tell me, you need to put salt on the birds tail and then you could catch them.

Now I'm ready this and it reminded me of that lol :) Hey Linda like I'll be buying some salt.

Funny thing about this is I use to tell one of my son's that and one day he was in the back yard throwing salt everywhere and I asked my wife, what is Ricky doing!?

She said, he's trying to catch birds. Omg..


    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:47PM
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kuroc(z8 AR)

I think it's because coastal and southern parts of California have a Mediterranean climate.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 9:47PM
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James AKA lumpy_j

I would think if you could get close enough to sprinkle salt on a bird you should be able to bend down and pick it up because it's either blind or dead.

Are there a lot of succulents around Mediterranean?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 12:13AM
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hijole(9 Sunny California)

Kuroc, I'll buy that but was wondering what the combination of that was.. and then again the understanding that they love being in dry soil and then with all the moisture that's in the air but then as I'm writing this in thinking, yeah but the soil might still be dry.
I'm not sure though i have just been wondering about that because they seem to always have that green house look - so vibrant and colorful.

Well i do appreciate all the comments and If someone sees this later please respond, I'm always reading the comments.

Lumpy, lol. . I know what you mean cacti & succulents almost lying on the sidewalk, and your walking by thinking, look what i found!
And i just noticed your response about the salt, your right but as a kid i didn't know that and my son was now a little kid around 5 years old and i would tell him the same thing but he tried it, i never did but he did and i didn't know what the heck he Was doing, i actually got a little upset, and asked, Hey! What is he doing out there with the SALT! LOL
AND I'm not sure about succulents in the Mediterranean either.


This post was edited by hijole on Sun, Aug 24, 14 at 0:35

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 12:23AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

The California coast climate is like spring year round--mild conditions. Never too hot, never too cold. Unless the plant is a heat lover, it is crazy happy.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 5:40PM
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Crenda SWFL 10A

Alas, the coastal climate in SW Florida is not the same delightful climate enjoyed in California. I lust after the plants in CA!

Just to whine a little - this year's been weird. High 90s every day with high humidity and threats of rain. Very little breeze. My plants and I don't know whether to wilt due to the heat or the humidity. And when it does rain, it comes in bucket loads. Water vigilence is an everyday task - and of course I enjoy the challenge!

On the up side, my aloes and agaves are thriving this summer. So there is that!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 8:02PM
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hijole(9 Sunny California)

Ok so there we have it, it's not just the beach climate, it's the California climate, I like these reasons.

hoovb, I like that, it's always Spring in California :) that would make a nice song.

Crenda, I'm sorry to hear your delima, right now we could use one of those bucket loads of rain here in California.
It would be nice to see some of the pictures too.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 10:28PM
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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

Just because cactus can grow in the desert, doesn't mean they want to grow in the desert. I only have two cactus, and I'm amazed at the growth rate when given plenty of water and fertilizer. I would assume living on the beach would be a very enjoyable environment for a cactus.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 11:09PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I imagine it is a combination of gentle temperatures and all the mist. Many plants like to get their moisture through their leaves. Echeverias have all that equipment for catching it and cactus love to collect moisture on their needles. They are Fog feeders.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 9:41AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Succulents in particular love the beach conditions of moderate year round temperatures, less intense light moderated by fog and higher humidity. As many of the most popular succulents come from similar climates, Echeverias from mountains of Mexico, Aeoniums from mountains of Canary Islands, they feel at home here. Intense desert heat is often just too much for them, but if grown under shade cloth and given moderate water, they'll look better, but never compare to beachside conditions. On the other hand, many cactus may actually sulk here in northern California beachside gardens, it is just too cool and foggy. Many growers may not be aware that many Aeonium species are winter growing, and come from cool, foggy and shaded understory habitats, so don't really look good with dry hot sun, their cue to go summer dormant.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 1:21PM
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hijole(9 Sunny California)

Hey Yawl, i wanted to thank you all for the remarks & comments, they were much appreciated, i find all the comments helpful and interesting, i just wished i could duplicate that climate in my yard, some times i would think it was the humidity but then reading the remarks from those living in Florida it doesn't sound like they enjoy that type of weather but just exactly causes them to thrive is a question. .
So today i sprinkled my echeveria plants just to allow them to drink up via the leaves, i can feel the weather cooling down this week hopefully it stay cool for a minuet.

Night all, Greg

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 12:44AM
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