Aeonium Mint succulent plant, Camellia tree, Christmas Cactus in bloom, Drought in Southern California, Indian Hawthorn shrub, Jade plant, Los Angeles/Southern California, Pencil or Firestick Succulent Plant, Potted fruit trees, Succulent Garden
In August, I shared my challenge of “Creating a drought-resistant garden in The City of Angels.” By October, I completed the painful task of uprooting the plants struggling to adapt to our extreme heat and drought. I’m happy to report that most of the plants have adjusted well to once-a-week watering, a fifty percent reduction.
Not surprisingly, the Aeonium Mint succulent plants suffered the most. I uprooted three plants in areas where they faced over four hours of intense afternoon sunlight. What a difference from their cousin, shown on the right, that receives only a few hours of direct sun in the morning!
The expansive, five-foot-tall Pencil or Firestick plants have all partially collapsed. After cutting off the collapsed branches and trimming the fleshy stems, I fortified the remaining branches with wooden sticks, as shown in the photo below. The Firestick is my favorite succulent plant for adding height and color—red, orange, yellow, and green—to a succulent garden with few seasonal flowering plants.
The ten-year-old, three-foot-tall jade plant, rooted in the ground, is also not happy with water rationing. On Thanksgiving Day, another branch collapsed. I sliced off the branch and did a general pruning to reduce the weight on the remaining branches. To prevent another collapse, I secured all the branches together with green ribbon, as pictured below. I’m considering the painful choice of cutting down the plant; I will wait and see if it recovers with less evaporation over the winter months.
The potted jade is doing very well. I marvel at the way plants adapt to the confining space. As shown in the photo to the right, the leaves with orange edges are much smaller than its all-green, earth-rooted relative.
I reserve the gray water I save after domestic use for my son’s three potted fruit trees—guava, lime, and orange—as well as my vegetable plants. The infrequent visits of Mother Nature’s pollinators have been the greatest constraint for our dwarfed fruit trees. After several years of watching their blossoms fall from the stems, I was surprised this year to see the appearance of two oranges, five guavas, and several limes. The lime tree has shed most of its leaves following the drop in temperatures.
The Christmas Cactus is now in full bloom, adding color to my garden plot. But it’s the Camellia trees—now laden with buds and early flowers of pink, red and white—and an Indian Hawthorn shrub that steal the show at this time of the year. (All photos were taken on December 8.)
NOTE: The captioned photo is a section of our largest garden plot, located across from my apartment.