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Save water with succulents

Experts give advice on using succulents in the garden.

August 20, 2008

ALOE: Thick-leaved succulents are a good choice for a water-efficient landscape.

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Maintaining a garden in late summer can be a challenge as gardeners across the country face water shortages and thirsty landscapes. Timber Press and Storey Publishing offer succulent solutions for creating beautiful, lush landscapes while preserving the season’s dwindling water supply.

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Succulents come in an astounding variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, allowing for many design choices. Gardeners can find succulents to use in both warm and cool climates.

Some varieties will even tolerate shade! Succulents can be a low-maintenance, high-impact addition to any yard.

From the book Designing With Succulents by Debra Lee Baldwin:
• Creating water-efficient landscapes can be an art, with succulents available in many sizes and colors. They can grow alongside meandering pathways, in formal settings with geometric lines, on boulder-strewn hillsides, and in pots on patios and balconies.

• It takes only three years for a newly planted succulent garden to fill in; by five years it can look so good that people might assume it has been there 20.

• Succulents are naturally more fire-resistant than other plants, and the thicker and juicier a succulent’s leaves, the longer it will take to catch on fire. 

From the book Hardy Succulents by Gwen Moore Kelaidis:
• Add perennials and annuals to a succulent garden. Many new breeds are tolerant of dry conditions and can provide complementary color to the succulent garden, such as agastaches, salvias, primroses, and penstemons.

• Sedums are hardworking and low-maintenance, suffering from few diseases and continuing to grow for many years even when ignored by the low-labor gardener.

• Although most succulents delight in full sun and tolerate low water, there are a few that are adapted to the shade. Some even thrive in dry shade.

From the book The Garden Succulents Primer by Gideon Smith and Ben-Erik Van Wyk:

• Succulents have it all, from style and color and, of course, form. These hardy plants therefore present the ultimate opportunity for visual variability in all facets of garden and landscape design.

• A well-designed and established succulent garden creates a wonderfully relaxed energy in any open space, especially in a domestic garden. The warm,
summer colors of a multitude of these species will imbue any landscape with rich, toasted shades that not only invite exploration, but also suggest peace and
well-being.

• An interesting fact: There are succulents within the hyacinth family, the geranium family and the mint family.

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