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Which require the least water? Agaves, Cacti, Adenium or Pony Tai

Posted by yorkiemiki 10b / SunsetZone24 (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 26, 14 at 2:16

Which require the least water? Agaves, Cacti, Desert Rose (Adenium Obesum) or Pony Tail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)?

I'm in sunset 24/ Zone 10B Los Angeles near the ocean.

It's been an absolute drought this winter and very sunny. Dry sunny mediterranian climate. I got a lot of cacti/ succulents since late last summer, tons in pots etc.

A lot of plants I've been watering only once a month (cacti, ponytail, desert rose, agave) or every week or two (succulents-echeveria, aloe, sedum, gratopetulum etc) depending on the type.

I'm wondering what I should do since were supposed to get our biggest winter storm. It won't be very cold here only 50 degrees, but it will be raining a lot. Should I take a lot of my plants indoors?

Does Adenium Obesum, or Pony Tail Palms require less water?


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RE: Which require the least water? Agaves, Cacti, Adenium or Pony

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 26, 14 at 17:16

It's not just a question of how much water but when the water shows up. I brought some cacti, sansevierias, adenium, Madagascar aloes, etc under the patio. Anything that is currently dormant and could rot out in the rain should come in. Make sure to turn over any drainage trays and put the pot on top of it so they don't sit in standing water. Making sure pots have feet so the drainage hole is clear and doesn't allow the pot to fill up in a downpour is also a good idea.


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RE: Which require the least water? Agaves, Cacti, Adenium or Pony

It is a tough question, as most require little or no water during the winter, unless it's unseasonably warm, then some or all could use at least some water. Most aloes like a lot of water in winter, though. Some I would water 2-4x a week.

Cacti, for example, rarely need water in the winter, as most are not actively growing in the winter... but this winter, a lot of the cacti in my yard are wilting from the lack of water and constant heat, so I actually have to water them. But normally they can go for many months without water and be fine. A better question would be how much can water can they tolerate in winter... surprisingly many can tolerate a LOT as few cacti in your zone will rot if they get a ton of water in the winter (if planted in the ground... in pots is a bit trickier and overwatering is more easy to do, resulting in a rotted cactus). Sansevierias hardly ever require water any time of year... but love it in summers if its warm and the soil is very well draining. Some tolerate a good deal of winter rain in the ground, but I have never seen one die over winter from lack of water. Beaucarneas tolerate water year round (particularly recurvata), but will do fine normally with none at all... up to you. Agaves typically do not grow that much in winter, but I have not rotted many or had any rot from getting winter storm after winter storm dumped on them. Desert roses have to be warm though, are they will rot (do not leave them outdoors if its gonna be cold!)... they love water in summers, but only tolerate it in winters if above a certain temp (not sure exactly what that temp is, but it seems it's warm enough in my greenhouse cause they get water and haven't rotted yet).


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RE: Which require the least water? Agaves, Cacti, Adenium or Pony

Thanks Izrddr and nil13 as always great to hear expert advice from local succulent enthusiasts.

Great advice.

I actually ended up taking inside or under patio the majority of Cacti, Desert Rose (Adenium Obesum) or Pony Tail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata). These were the 4 types of plants I have that I was particularly worried about.

The agaves I think will fair OK as you have suggested Izrddr. And I'll double check to make sure none are sitting in water,.

My Sansevierias I'll make sure to take in tonight, I didn't realize they didn't like water that much. I have a lot PIG

I haven't watered my desert rose all winter...do you think this is a good idea? It's oudoor and I just got it in september

I have tons of other succulents I will just leave out during the storm.

I will be sure to make sure theirs none potted that are sitting in water.

I recently turned my front "hell strip" or the parkway between the streeet and sidewalk into a little succulent gardent. It's really thrived since it's mounded and the weather has been very dry. I hope the plants do OK despite the upcoming storm.

It will be the most rain we've received in 3 years, but still not a lot compared to places like washington state. I think between 2-4 inches total of rain.

Thanks again!

Here is a link that might be useful: LA to receive half of 2013 rain over weekend


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RE: Which require the least water? Agaves, Cacti, Adenium or Pony

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 27, 14 at 11:02

For the sans. it depends on which ones. your basic trifasciatas can handle being out in the ground. i have never had a problem with cylindricas either. The ones I have had trouble with are the more fragile cultivars, especially the oes that can hold water in the rosette.


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RE: Which require the least water? Agaves, Cacti, Adenium or Pony

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 27, 14 at 17:13

Agaves, also depends. A. victoriae-reginae is super xeric. Agave attenuata, not so xeric.

The soil has become so very dry here, a soaking rainstorm isn't going to hurt anything, and weather people tend to exaggerate the expected rainfall nowadays.

Shut off your irrigation for a while, get out there with a straw or shopvac or something after the rain is over and blow all the water out of the rosette centers and everything will be fine.


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RE: Which require the least water? Agaves, Cacti, Adenium or Pony

I have a Sans Tri. in my bedroom growing on a dimly lit south window. I only water it once every few months... those are great "neglect" plants. They will live with little light or water or attention. The ponytail palms I have found do better to let them dry out during winter. They may lose some old leaves but they will not die. Just water if they start to look too rough. I would protect your echeveria and other smaller succulents though. They won't die but the echis tend to be fussy about water on their rosettes.


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RE: Which require the least water? Agaves, Cacti, Adenium or Pony

In general, cacti grow in hotter, drier places than agave. Both of these should be able to handle wetter periods if they are in well-drained locations.


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RE: Which require the least water? Agaves, Cacti, Adenium or Pony

Wow the rain has really been coming down.

I've been nervous as I have so many pups and cuttings being propagated as well as the cacti, adenium, agaves or anything else that's dormant.

I'm going out blowing water out of rosettes, turning pots upside down, and putting large cuttings under patios.

I had a lot of large Agave attenuatas (foxtail) that had 2 inch thick truncks lying around and noticed fungus/ mold on some of them, but also I noticed a lot of root buds coming out even though it's winter!

A lot of my outdoor cuttings are in trays and are pretty soaked too, what could I do about these?

Also I def need to water my sanseviera less too.


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RE: Which require the least water? Agaves, Cacti, Adenium or Pony

Only real mold I'm noticing is on my Agave Attenuatas (foxtails) good thing is root buds have been forming, they were huge cuttings from just about a month ago. They weight like 15 lbs each.

Here is a pic is of how much mold theres growing. Despite the mold the cuttings look very good shape with root buds all over the 2 foot stem

[IMG]http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3711/12913474105_bff743f2f3.jpg[/IMG]

Should I cut off the ends? or just apply cinnamon/root hormon like I did?

I'm leaving them out in partial sun now to let them dry

[IMG] http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3711/12913474105_bff743f2f3.jpg [/IMG]
god its so hard to post picture here on garden web.... it won't let me post the flickr HTMLS.... I GIVE UP

Here is a link that might be useful: succulents

This post was edited by yorkiemiki on Tue, Mar 4, 14 at 0:03


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RE: Which require the least water? Agaves, Cacti, Adenium or Pony

just plant them now and they will be fine.


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