Garden succulents are plants that retain water in
their leaves, roots, and stems in order to survive and thrive in dry climates with arid soil conditions. They have become increasingly popular in xeriscaping, which means creating gardens
minimize or eliminate the need for supplemental water. In addition, these
drought tolerant plants require minimal care and can flourish in just about any
climate, which is another factor in their growing popularity. A common
misconception is that this plant group only includes cacti. The cactus,
however, is only one branch of this diverse floral group. In fact, the wide
variety of sizes, shapes, and colors are part of the tremendous appeal of these
The incredible range of shapes, volume, and
colors of these plants means that they can work in just about any outdoor
living space. For a general perspective on these beautiful, dramatic, and
wonderfully diverse plants, they have been divided into three basic categories,
based on size.
- The small, low-growing varieties can bring
color and texture to once bare patches of a yard. They can also become groundcover
for untrodden areas of a garden. In addition, they may also be potted and used
to decorate walls, terraces, and windowsills. These plants include: Aloe, Aptenia,
Bowiea, Carpobrotus, Cotyledon, Crassula, Dudleya, Echeveria, Euphorbia, Gasteria,
Graptopetalum, Haworthia, Hoya, Ice Plants, Lithops, Pachyphytum, Portulaca,
Schlumbergera, Sedum, Sempervivum, Senecio, and Stapelia.
- The medium, shrub sized varieties vary in height from twelve inches to about five feet. The eye-catching shapes and colors will add dynamism to any water-efficient landscape design. These midsized plants are: Aeonium, Agave, Aloe, Bulbine, Calandrinia, Cotyledon, Crassula, Euphorbia, Kalanchoe, Portulacaria, Sansevieria, Sedum, and Senecio.
- Large and treelike varieties add dramatic verticality to a gardens appearance. In addition to their exotic beauty, when fully-grown, most of these garden succulents can survive on rainwater alone. This group includes: Agave, Alluaudia, Aloe, Beaucarnea, Cacti, Cyphostemma, Dasylirion, Dracaena, Euphorbia, Furucraea, Kalanchoe, Pachypodium, and Yucca.
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