This week, I'll take you to South Australia. Kylie Staltari is an experienced succulent collector. Where she lives, Winter is not a problem. In fact, she gets few frosty mornings. It is the Summers that are a killer. This year, we are experiencing a warm Spring and possibly another crazy summer. So we asked her how she maintains her garden and coping in the upcoming season. This is what she had to say:
When did you start collecting succulents and what was your first succulent?
I started collecting 5 years ago. My first succulent was Aeonium Kiwi.
You have a big collection. How do you manage to care for all of them?
I no longer am able to work anymore due to a permanent back injury, so they are my therapy & give me a purpose & sense of achievement.
Kylie's Soil Mix and Watering Tips
I wouldn’t recommend that pre-packed “Succulent & Cacti” mix. I prefer NuErthpotting mixwhich I then mix in some tiny pebbles &/or perlite to make a gritty free draining consistency.
Water thoroughly soaking BUT infrequently (once soil has dried out). I don’t find produces healthy plants with sporadic shallow watering.
Once a week in Summer, every 3-4 weeks in winter subject to rainfall & species you are growing.
What is your weapon of choice (aka Pesticides)?
Imidacloprid-monthly as preventative
What do you use for fertiliser and how often do you use it?
Seasol/powerfeed combo monthly during normal watering
You had a crazy summer last year. How did it go and what’s the plan for this year?
Shade sails, throwing shade cloth over garden beds during extended heat waves.
What is your secret to growing healthy frilly/bumpy succulents?
My not so secret method of growing healthy plants is mostly trial & error. We never cease learning from these plants. Mistakes are made but I’ve learnt a lot from making those mistakes & tweaking my methods & soil recipes. Very free draining soil & through infrequent watering. Plus monthly seasol/powerfeed to help them cope with the elements whether it be the cold or extreme heat.