Agave attenuata

Succulents offer a sustainable path to a beautiful garden


As we all work together to conserve water this summer, it is probably time to say goodbye to your thirsty perennials and annuals.

Don’t despair. Succulents offer an equally beautiful alternative and are well suited for a dry summer season. With more than 10,000 varieties to choose from, you can select a combination that will please the eye while helping our community reach our water conservation goals.

Cornucopia of colors

Succulents come in a variety of colors. Mostly shades of green, but also orange, red, maroon, yellow, even black. Depending on the amount of sun they get, their colors can brighten. Don’t be afraid to move them around if they are in pots and looking sad or faded.

They can also be planted directly into the ground, though, and spread over time if you have a big bare spot to fill in.

Succulents come in various shapes. My favorites are those that look like rosettes. Others look like they belong under the sea.

Succulents are by nature fleshy, retaining water in their thick leaves and stems to weather droughts. The aloe looks like a fan. But some appear delicate. String of pearls, for instance, and string of bananas, are both perfect for hanging pots.

Or you can buy wall pockets to hang on a fence or wall and stuff them with succulents for a modern vibe.

Planting tips

If you’re going to give these gems a try, just be sure to buy some succulent planting mix, which is sandier for better drainage.

The best bonus of growing succulents: Just break off a piece, stick it in some soil and – voila – you’ve got another succulent.

Shop for succulents and get planting advice in Irvine at Armstrong Garden Center in Culver Plaza, Home Depot at Woodbury Town Center and OC Succulents at 3350 Warner Ave.


Here are four beautiful succulents to consider for your outdoor living space.  Each has an interesting color or leaf shape and can be purchased in local nurseries.

Echeveria ‘Afterglow’ - This beautiful succulent is low maintenance with lavender-pink leaves that have a bright pink outline. This is your contrast plant. Consider pairing it with bright greens, blue rock or even a yellow sedum.
Agave victoriae-reginae - It grows in neat clumps that are about 1 foot high with tapered leaves and a deep green with white accents. This slow-growing succulent is easy to maintain and is a good central feature.
Euphorbia tirucalli - Also known as sticks on fire, this succulent grows to a maximum of 8 inches tall and has bright orange, yellow and green accents. It is most beautiful when planted with a blue or green companion.
Agave attenuata - Also known as the foxtail agave, its rosettes can reach a massive 4 feet wide. Coastal full sun is ideal, along with infrequent watering. The blue-green leaves look fantastic when paired with a blue rock garden underneath.

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