The Needs of Succulents (above and below ground; in and out of containers)

By Ernesto Sandoval
Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 7:00 pm

While the basics apply to plants generally, this talk will emphasize succulents in particular, and our specific growing region. Ernesto will discuss what these plants need above ground as well as below ground, including topics such as the sunlight/temperature combination, the soil pH, and the comparison of requirements for potted and inground plants. In his 25 years at the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory, Ernesto has accumulated a wealth of knowledge about coaxing the best out of succulents, and he enjoys passing along tips and insights to others who want to grow them well. By helping people to understand the workings of plants he hopes to help us better understand how to and why our plants do what they do and how we can maximize their growth with less effort.

Ernesto is the Director at the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory, and he worked his way up from a student weeder/waterer to his present position. He has been wondering about why plants grow and look the way they do for a long time. When he was 13, he asked his dad why one tree was pruned a particular way and another tree a different way. His dad answered bluntly “because that’s the way you do it.” Since then, he has dedicated himself to learning the answers to these and many other questions. He got a degree in Botany before starting in at the Conservatory, and he has immersed himself in the world of polyculture and biodiversity by growing several thousand types of plants, many of them succulents. Several of his favorite garden projects involved converting lawns (or other water-guzzling landscapes) into drought-tolerant gardens filled with diversity. He likes to promote plant liberation by encouraging gardeners of all sorts to grow more plants in the ground when possible. He regularly gives talks to various garden clubs, and especially to succulent clubs because of his special interest in these plants.

In addition to being the speaker, Ernesto will be the Featured Grower. He will bring an assortment of rare and interesting succulents, including pachycauls from Socotra (Dendrosicyos socotrana, Dorstenia gigas), Dorstenia foetida ‘Taba Gorge’, various cold-hardy Aloe species & hybrids, Hoyas, and much more.

The Show & Tell table will feature Eriosyce on the cactus side (including Neochilenia, Neoporteria and Horridocactus), and Graptopetalum & Pachyphytum on the succulent side. As usual, feel free to bring anything else that you would like to share.

Please bring baked goodies, fruit, snack food or a beverage if your last name begins with the letters I to M, and any other members who would like to contribute this month.

Location: Auditorium in the San Francisco County Fair Building, 1199 9th Ave (at Lincoln Way), San Francisco – MAP