Succulents have become stars of the garden world over the past few years, and it’s easy to see why. Water-wise, fuss-free, sculptural, colorful and just plain cool, they’re one of this decade’s must-have plants. While they look amazing simply planted in a pot, it’s easier than you may think to incorporate these plants into your garden’s design. And not just in the warmer zones; many succulents are hardy to zone 4.
To get you inspired, we’ve listed five of our favorite ways to use succulents.
Many succulents are so architectural that just one perfect specimen planted with lots of negative, empty space around it makes a bold statement. From ovals and spikes to pearls and pegs, the quirky shapes of the foliage of many succulents makes them an ideal choice to create a focal point.
Twisting, curling, ribbon-like, blue green leaves add texture to the landscape. Reaches up to 4 ft. tall.
Low growing varieties make excellent colorful, durable ground covers. These spread rapidly, are water-wise once established, and offer interest in color and texture. Can be sheared back in order to control their spill onto pavement, and their root systems can help knit and stabilize soil such as on hillsides.
Small, succulent blue leaves reminiscent of the needles of a blue spruce conifer. Spreads up to 18 in. wide.
Spillers and Fillers
Whether slipped into cracks in an old concrete wall, wedged between stones in a rock wall, or planted above and allowed to spill over, trailing varieties are a water-wise solution to disguising or dressing up blank vertical surfaces. Once they snuggle in, you don’t have to do much more than trim and tidy-up as they grow.
Brilliant green leaves with vivid reddish pink edges forms dense rosettes on a compact plant. Reaches up to 6 in. tall.
Create a painterly vignette in a container by mixing various textures and colors (we’ve even seen succulents potted up as chic house numbers made by combining two low-growing varieties), planted into a living wall for a vertical accent, or layered in a strawberry pot. Or, keep it simple and modern by tucking one killer specimen in a pot for a jaw-dropping statement that, with minimal care, will live for years to come. Your neighbors will be wondering what designer you’ve hired.
Striking form with salmon-red flowers in autumn and winter that attract hummingbirds. Reaches up to 10 in. tall.
We’re all designing with wildlife on our minds these days and many succulents produce the most beautiful flowers in a shades such as red, white, pink, and orange. Birds, bees, and butterflies will swarm, so get your camera out and capture Mother Nature at her best.