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Find the best succulents for Sacramento

The succulent known as hen and chicks is among the most popular and is easy to grow in Sacramento. (Photo:
Debbie Arrington)

Annual show and sale features wide variety of popular plants

With their interesting shapes, textures and colors, succulent plants have become the hottest stars in California gardens.

Find the best ones to grow in Sacramento during the 59th annual Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Show, set for Saturday and Sunday at Shepard Garden and Arts Center.

With their low-water needs, succulents are a natural pick for drought-tolerant gardens. But with their sculptural look, succulents also have gained huge popularity for many non-garden uses.

Succulents have become a hit in bouquets and centerpieces for weddings and other special occasions. They’re used to create vertical wall plantings and as topiary garden art. They can hang from baskets or get cozy in containers. Their foliage can be made into wreaths and table decorations.

At this show, see examples of creative ways to use succulents and cacti as well as some eye-popping specimen plants.

Take home some plants, too. Presented by the Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society, this event features a huge sale of hard-to-find varieties at reasonable prices.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 4 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 5.  The Shepard Center is located at 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento, on the north end of McKinley Park. Admission and parking are free.



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For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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