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This must be the single most informative piece I've had the pleasure to read.
In the Med climate of the Southern Aegean (not too unlike California) I have spent many frustrating months trying to nurture pygmy date palms, cactus & succulents alongside fan palm (species unknown) & yucca (ostratis??)
Being a complete but enthusiastic amateur any success has been limited by either conflicting advice from retailers or more often than not, total incompetence from me.
With the worst (or best) of the summer heat subsided & rain coming soon, this piece has given me a bit more enthusiasm for next year & the confidence to adjust the water drip systems a little more generously after constantly fearing that over watering was worse than too little.