Selected Succulents for California Landscapes
Sunday, September 13, 2020
A succulent is any plant that stores water in juicy leaves, stems or roots to withstand periodic drought. Technically speaking, even Epidendrums are a part of this large family of plants! But most landscape professionals associate succulents with desert-style plants.
Bring a touch of the Southwest to any landscape design
Succulent plants provide dramatic, sculptured qualities unique to Southwest gardens. The great variety of form and subtle foliage color makes these plants attractive and useful for landscape projects with dry or difficult areas to landscape, including: hillsides, dense hardscapes, against sunny walls, verandas, patios and porches and, of course, containers.
Aeonium arboreum 'Zwartkop' ('Schwarzkopf')
– Erect stems with dense rosettes of black-purple foliage held on top. Full sun only in coastal or cooler climates. Provide partial shade in hot climates. Semi-deciduous, 'Zwartkop' may drop its leaves during high summer heat and humidity.
– A large agave with smooth, grey-blue, hard, nearly rigid leaves. Margins have down curved spines and a long spine at the tip. A large dramatic plant that also does well in containers.
– A solitary succulent, this aloe has broad, flattened leaves with smooth margins, and faint vertical lines. The foliage color can be variable depending on the amount of sunlight from either a dull reddish-green, or a grey-green with a pinkish-red edge. Clusters of pendulous, glossy coral-red flowers on branched stems appear in spring.
– This free spreading succulent forms tight rosettes of greyish-white foliage useful for small scale ground covers, containers, edgings, and pattern planting. Clusters of yellow-lined pink flowers from spring to summer.
Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire'
– This succulent tree or shrub is mainly grown for its striking silhouette. Pencil-thick branches are slower growing than the species and are pale pink to fiery salmon pink; fades closer to yellow in the summer and becomes redder in the winter. Small leaves are inconspicuous.
Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' (S. reflexum)
– 'Angelina' is an attractive dense, low-growing sedum with brilliant golden yellow foliage. A vigorous evergreen perennial with alternating needle-shaped succulent leaves. Dramatic foliage color for use as a groundcover, in rock gardens or containers. Color is stronger in high light conditions. Clusters of small star-shaped yellow flowers in summer.
Senecio mandraliscae (Kleinia m.)
– Succulent shrubby perennial with cylindrical, slightly curved, striking blue-grey leaves. Partial shade in desert; full sun elsewhere.