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Succulents Making Strong Comeback in Landscaping
Arricca Elin SanSone | November 4, 2014

Your grandmother was on to something: If you remember Hens and Chicks, those easy-care, rosette-shaped succulents from her backyard garden, you’re in for a surprise.

Succulents are hotter than ever in the landscape. In the past several years, the popularity of these plants has skyrocketed. “Five years ago, there were a couple dozen readily available types. Now, there are almost 200 from which to choose,” says Kathy Rudnyk, specialty accounts manager with Monrovia.

Succulents, or plants that have a fleshy leaf structure that’s designed to retain water, come in all shapes and sizes. Most have taproots to seek water, so they’re drought tolerant once established. Despite popular belief, they’re not just for full-sun exposure and warm climates; some -tolerate part sun and extreme cold.

One of their biggest draws: “They’re sturdy, far sturdier than many annuals,” Rudnyk says. “Maintenance is almost nonexistent for many succulents.”

Succulents work well in beds, containers, vertical gardens and rock gardens. Some perform as groundcovers, while others are striking as accent plants or mixed with brightly colored flowers or shrubs. Although some succulents cost slightly more than annuals, they’re economical in the long run because you won’t have to keep replanting. They’re also good choices for compact sites, as they are slow growing, taking years to reach their average landscape size.

Give succulents a second look, and try these new and recently rediscovered -varieties in your next project.

Petite Succulents (up to 6 inches tall)

Syngenta

Syngenta

Sedum Sea Stars (Sedum bithynicum)
Mounds of finely textured blue-green foliage. Small but prolific pale pink blooms in late summer, which appear in overall star shapes resembling sea anemones. Heat tolerant. Does well in hanging baskets. Grows 1 to 2 inches tall, 10 to 12 inches wide.

• Hardy to USDA Zone 6

• Sun

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Monrovia

Monrovia

Coral Carpet Stonecrop (Sedum album ‘Coral Carpet’)
Baby leaves are coral then change to green as they mature and bronze in winter. Evergreen with tiny star-shaped flowers in early summer. Forms a mat 4 inches tall to 18 inches wide.

• Hardy to USDA Zone 4

• Part to full sun

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Benary

Benary

Voodoo Stonecrop (Sedum spurium ‘Voodoo’)
Colorful reddish and green whirls of foliage. Heat tolerant. Looks good when planted against neon colored flowers. Grows 3 to 4 inches tall, 10 to 15 inches wide.

• Hardy to USDA Zone 3

• Sun

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Monrovia

Monrovia

Jet Beads Stonecrop (x Sedeveria ‘Jet Beads’)
New hybrid with bronze-green foliage arranged along the stems like a string of beads. Cool weather gives it a black hue, which contrasts nicely with other foliage in the garden. Grows 4 to 6 inches tall, 12 inches wide.

• Hardy to USDA Zone 8

• Part to full sun

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Medium-Sized Succulents (1 to 3 feet tall)

Proven Winners

Proven Winners

Maestro Sedum [Sedum (Hylotelephium) hybrid]
Blue-green leaves turn to purple. Bright purple stems hold large clusters of mauve flowers. Doesn’t flop over like many upright sedums. Grows 24 to 30 inches tall, 20 to 24 inches wide.

• Hardy to USDA Zone 3

• Full sun

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Monrovia

Monrovia

Painted Echeveria (Echeveria nodulosa)
New dramatic, showy plant with rosettes of green leaves striped and edged in red. Yellow flowers bloom in summer. Prefers sandy soil. Grows in clumps 12 to 24 inches tall, 2 to 3 feet wide.

• Hardy to USDA Zone 9

• Part to full sun

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Monrovia

Monrovia

Shining Pink Rock Purslane (Calandrinia Shining Pink, tm)
New shrubby plant with hot pink flowers that dance in the wind above blue-green foliage. Drought tolerant once established. Attracts butterflies. Grows in clumps, 8 to 12 inches tall and wide.

• Hardy to USDA Zone 9

• Part to full sun

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Monrovia

Monrovia

Brakelights Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora ‘Perpa’ PP#21729)
New variety with red blooms. Long flowering season. Plant in mass, borders or in containers. Attracts hummingbirds. Grows 2 feet tall and wide.

• Hardy to USDA Zone 5

• Full sun

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Large Succulents (3 to 6 feet tall)

Monrovia

Monrovia

Calamar Squid Agave (Agave bracteosa ‘Calamar’)
New non-clumping spineless agave with blue-green color. Leaves arch from center of plant. Evergreen. Rarely flowers. Grows up to 4 feet tall and wide.

• Hardy to USDA Zone 8

• Part to full sun

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Monrovia

Monrovia

Variegated Fox Tail Agave (Agave attenuata ‘Ray of Light’)
Wide green leaves with white variegation. Mature plants boast tall vertical flower that arches back like a fox’s tail. Drought tolerant once established. Grows 4 to 5 feet tall, 8 feet wide. Bloom stalks grow to 8 feet tall.

• Hardy to USDA Zone 9

• Part to full sun

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Monrovia

Monrovia

Green Sotol (Dasylirion acrotriche)
Striking architectural plant with stubby trunk and straplike leaves that end in a wisp of fibers. Showy plume of flowers. Drought tolerant but needs well-drained soil. Grows 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Flower plume grows to 10 feet tall.

• Hardy to USDA Zone 7

• Full sun

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Monrovia

Monrovia

Soaptree Yucca (Yucca elata)
Slender green variegated leaves with white margins and white threads forming a crown atop the branches. Spikes of white flowers in late spring. Grows slowly from 6 to 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

• Hardy to USDA Zone 6

• Part to full sun

 

 

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