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by Gail
(Redwood City, CA, USA)


Hi Jacki,

Thanks for this great site. I live 30 miles south of San Francisco and have hundreds of succulents in containers on my patio.

We are getting drenched with major rain right now, which is great for the drought, but I’m worried about my succulents. They are all in well-draining containers and I’m making sure that no roots are sitting in water, but I’m worried if we get rain like this all winter that my succulents will get too much water.

Do I need to cover them with a heavy tarp? How much rain is too much for container gardens?

Gail in Redwood City

Comments for Large container garden getting drenched in Northern California

Dec 15, 2014
That is a concern
by: Jacki

The biggest problem will be if you get cold weather, to the extent of freezing, which could be disastrous. I don’t know if you get frost or not in your area – I’m thinking not.

Succulents generally will survive short periods of wet weather without any problem – I think if you had been proactive and covered them before they got too wet, it would have been ideal, but now I think covering them would cause more problems. The biggest issue would be rotting due to the wetness which would have no way to escape.

I might put the pots under a table, ideally glass topped. You could use saw horses or something and place glass over so that it lets light through, but doesn’t impinge on the moisture escaping.

Do you have eaves on your house that you could move the plants to? Not sure how big your containers are, maybe they are too big to move.

The fact that you’ve used fast draining soil is excellent – well done! The only other thing I can recommend is to raise the pots up so that the water can actually drain out – if the pot is right on wet soil or decking it can actually wick the moisture right back up into the soil. Pry them up and put a couple of small sticks under them, that’s all they need, nothing fancy.

Best of luck with this, and hopefully you will dry off soon. It’s either feast or famine!