winterizing echeverias in Zone 8

pug_daddy(8/9)November 29, 2008

Hi everyone,

Originally I had planned on bringing my mostly Echeveria collection of plants (all in containers) into my garage, put fluorescent lights six inches over them, and wait for winter to pass. Due to the large number of plants, my friends convinced me otherwise, and built a make-shift shelter in my backyard using shade cloth and frost blanket on an existing pergola. Problem is, the shelter blocks out even more light -- out in the open, the section of my backyard has much less direct sun during winter, but still enough to be considered as "bright shade" in my opinion. I am really tempted to just leave the plants out in the open, and cover them with floating frost blankets if necessary. But this last rainfall we had (not a rain storm, but several days of on/off rain so nothing could dry out) caused several of the more tender hybrids' bottom leaves to either turn slimy or get this brown mold on them which caused eventual rotting anyway.

I've already spent a couple of hundred dollars just on building the shelter my well-meaning friends talked me into doing; if I go back to my original plan, buying more shelving and light fixtures is going to set me back even further (i.e. money I don't have). I'd appreciate some thoughts on what I should do at this point -- given that I am in Zone 8 (SF Bay Area, not sure how to calculate the micro climate number), how big of a gamble am I taking by leaving the succulents out? Are there alternatives to bringing them in and still address the moisture problems?

I'd be grateful for any feedback. Thanks in advance!

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Update: I am not sure what happened, but when I re-entered my zip code into the GardenWeb Zone finder, it came back Zone 9 instead of Zone 8. Not sure if it really makes any difference pertaining to my problem though.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 12:48AM
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I'm in zone 9b and my 3 plants get no protection through the winter.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 6:56AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Pug,

I'm an indoor grower only so can't counsel you, but pls., before you spend anymore money & time, pls. try to find a local botanical garden or at least professional nursery w/ whom you can consult. I looked at yr. page, don't remember where you are, if not a professional nursery, perhaps try a cooperative extension, a local agricultural college.

Wait, have you looked of a local Cactus & Succulent Society? If not to join them, perhaps just to consult with?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 9:57AM
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Hell Pug. My wife and I grow thousands of Echeverias and I can tell you that most of them will take to DRY cold very well.In your zone I would expect that a very simple structure to protect your plants from winter rains should suffice.(Just a roof or garden frame,allowing free air circulation to avoid fungus and mold.)I also think that indoors-even with supplementary lighting- is a poor substitute for real sunshine and fresh air.These plants come from mountainous regions and appreciate all the light they can get.Hope this helps.T.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 8:50PM
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