Succulents look fantastic and are relatively low maintenance. They're water-wise, making them more affordable than their thirsty counterparts. And they're more practical for areas going through droughts. With a bag of fast-draining cactus mix on hand, you'll be ready to do some xeriscaping.
You have loads of good-looking succulent varieties to choose from and many are easy to propagate, so you're pretty much set after your initial investment. Choose from a vast range of stunning species; there's almost no end to the interesting colors, exciting textures, and fascinating shapes with which you can cover your garden or adorn your balcony.
Native to South Africa, Kalanchoe luciae is known as desert cabbage, flapjacks, and red pancakes. And to extend the food-related metaphors, it also looks like it's dusted with icing sugar. These delicious-sounding names hint at an aesthetic your eyes will want to eat up.
Paddle plants are gorgeous red-tipped succulents with a rosette base and fleshy green leaves shaped like — you guessed it — paddles. When winter gives way to spring, a flower-laden stem emerges from the middle of the plant and reaches an impressive 2 to 3 feet towards the sky.
One of the most popular creeping stonecrop varieties, evergreen Dragon's Blood (sedum spurium) loves the heat and turns a deep shade of burgundy as soon as fall arrives. Dragon Blood's flowers are also a brilliant red and as a whole, this succulent makes a wonderfully distinct groundcover or border. You can also pop some into your container garden for added flair.
Another container garden highlight, moonstones (Pachyphytum oviferum) are also known as sugar almond plants. This succulent looks as sweet and whimsical as its names suggest. Whitish moonstones are egg-like and form an almost-ghostly background to the terracotta-colored burst of flowers they produce in winter. White stems give rise to about 15 leaves.
The black rose aeonium will leave your jaw on the floor with its sophisticated beauty. Think intriguing midnight color palettes of rich plum and intense charcoal. This plant is large, and its dark rosettes juxtaposed with yellow flower pyramids are dramatic on their own. In groups, they're even more memorable.
Triangle-tipped foliage forms a magnificent rosette, making this deep red stunner a sight to behold. Echeveria tends to cap out at about 1.5 inches in height; it's a compact succulent that proves dynamite comes in small packages and will perk up any terrarium. You can expect to see little blossoms when the weather gets hot.
This hybrid succulent is just peachy, from the orangey-pink hue of its thick leaves to the ease with which it grows. You may even see a whisper of purple, just as you would on a real peach. If your California sunset (graptosedum) is thriving, you'll notice starry white flowers come spring.
Sturdier than an echeveria, graptosedum also has a rosette shape. New leaves are gray-green but turn pastel in winter when it's dry and cold.
Like the black rose tree, the black knight plant is steeped in mystique and the colors of a boudoir photoshoot. AKA Mexican hen and chicks, this echeveria boasts new green rosette growth that's a pleasing counterpoint to older, darker leaves.
Early autumn produces even lovelier flowers than the black rose—they're like bright flames crackling over an ashy pot.
A more apt name there never was—this succulent looks like a bunch of sticks on fire. It also looks like something you might find on a coral reef bed. So, if you've become accustomed to seeing rosettes and stubby pebble-like plants in rock gardens, Euphorbia tirucalli's easy-breezy vertical stems will be refreshingly unique. The branches go yellow with summer's sun but turn fiery again when temperatures drop. Sticks on fire add much-needed height to succulent landscape designs.
Panda plants (Kalanchoe tomentosa) are from Madagascar. They're also known as chocolate soldier, white lady, plush plant, and donkey ears. That's quite a variety! They have woody stems and fleshy gray-green foliage edged with brown spots. And the leaves are covered in hairs that make them feel furry or velvety.
This stemless succulent looks as though it belongs on an alien planet. It's from South Africa, though, which isn't all that far away. Cooper's haworthia's otherworldly look comes from its similarity to tiny, translucent, blue-green watermelons. The tips are glassy, explaining one of the other names for this plant: window haworthia.
In the wild, this transparent window is often all that's exposed to the sun. The green parts of the haworthia cooperi can turn brownish, and in spring it will sprout white flowers on a central stalk.