Sustainable gardening

Beautify your own open spaces by planting succulents and other water-wise plants.

Succulents are a great addition to any landscape.

Thousands of varieties can be found around the world, from California natives to jungle lepismium and desert agave. And most do very well in our arid Southern California climate.

They are beautiful, reflecting a variety of exotic shapes, colors and textures, and most require very little water. They can be planted in direct or filtered sunlight. Beyond that, most are easily propagated, so you can expand your garden or share them with your friends without taking another trip to the nursery. One of my favorite California native succulents that can tolerate full sun is chalk dudleya (Dudleya pulverulenta). It grows a rosette up to 12 inches in diameter, with waxy leaves and interesting flower spikes. It prefers to be drought-stressed in the summer months, requiring water just once a month. Its pink blossoms attract hummingbirds and bumblebees.

Other varieties that add interest to a garden include:

  • Coral aloe: used for bold textural accents, with bright coral-colored flower spikes in late winter and early spring.
  • Emerald empress: considered one of the easiest plants to grow, it tolerates drought and heat.
  • Royal ruby: features beautiful rosettes ranging from red to smoky gray.
Irvine-based OC Succulents has varieties such as echeveria elegans with yellow blossoms and purple sempervivum.

You can find inspiration for your own succulent garden by exploring Irvine Ranch Water District’s Right Scape website at RightScapeNow.com. A searchable database of plants is available at RightScapeResources.com/search.php.