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Succulents provide beautiful options for dry environments
Jill Odom | April 14, 2016

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succulent-in-container

Succulents are excellent plants to grow in containers.
Photo: Reggie1/Flickr

Succulents are a go-to plant for drought-tolerant landscaping, but these sturdy plants are not just for the desert.

Similar to a camel, succulents store water in their fleshy leaves and can withstand dry climates thanks to this adaptation. They come in a variety of shapes, colors and growth patterns, making them great for containers and vertical gardens, as well as rock gardens.

The tenacious little plants have created quite a craze around them in recent years, but also some confusion. Although they are native to arid climates, they can be quite resilient in colder climates too. Here are some succulents that can make it in each region.

Pacific Northwest

hardy-ice-plant-monrovia

Photo: Monrovia

Hardy Ice Plant (Delosperma cooperi)

If the name wasn’t hint enough, this plant can tolerate a lot of the elements that get thrown at it, including drought, heat and salt. It has long-blooming, bright pink-purple blooms that last until frost. It attracts butterflies and can serve as a good groundcover. Grows 3 to 6 inches tall.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-11
  • Full sun

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California

Sedum-laxum-Wrightman-alpines-nursery

Photo: Wrightman Alpines Nursery

Roseflower Stonecrop (Sedum laxum ssp. laxum)

Native to California, this is a small and slow-growing succulent. Foliage has rosette-shaped, pink-tipped leaves. It can be used in miniature gardens and containers. Deer resistant. Grows up to 15 inches.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-11
  • Full sun to partial shade

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Southwest

blue-elf-aloe-monrovia

Photo: Monrovia

Blue Elf Aloe (Aloe ‘Blue Elf’)

Silvery-blue foliage that stands upright contrasts with its bright orange flowers, which bloom in the early winter to early spring. Unlike other aloe species that need a break from the sun, “Blue Elf” can handle the constant heat of the Southwest. Once established it needs minimum water. Attracts hummingbirds. Grows 1 to 2 feet tall and wide.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11
  • Partial to full sun

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Rocky Mountains

Lewisia-rediviva-wikipedia

Photo: Walter Siegmund

Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva)

This little perennial herb is Montana’s state flower and is also called the resurrection flower for its ability to survive a year without water. Its foliage is rubbery and has large pink, lavender and white blooms from May to June. Grows 2 to 3 inches tall.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-10
  • Full sun

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Texas

red-yucca-wikipedia

Photo: Wikipedia

Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)

A tall Texan to provide some height to the garden, this succulent can almost pass as an ornamental grass. Its pink-red coral bell blossoms last from May to October, drawing in hummingbirds. Can grow in containers and tolerates the cold well. Grows 3 to 4 feet tall.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-11
  • Full sun

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Central Plains

frosty-morn-stonecrop-monrovia

Photo: Monrovia

Frosty Morn Stonecrop (Sedum x ‘Frosty Morn’)

Capable of growing in shallow, dry and rocky soils, Frosty Morn has blue-green foliage and tiny pink flowers in the late summer. Can be used in mass plantings, rock gardens and container gardens. Grows 15 to 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9
  • Partial to full sun

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Great Lakes

sedum-autumn-fire-bluestone-perennials

Photo: Bluestone Perennials

Autumn Fire Stonecrop (Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Fire’)

A hardier variation of the “Autumn Joy” cultivar with longer-lasting flowers. Autumn Fire is a slow expanding clump and blooms from late summer to fall. The blossoms change from pink to a fiery red in the autumn. Attracts butterflies. Grows 2 feet tall.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-11
  • Partial to full sun

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Northeast

dragons-blood-stonecrop-missouri-botanical-garden

Photo: Missouri Botanical Garden

Dragon’s Blood Stonecrop (Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’)

Deep red clusters of flowers stand out against the evergreen foliage of this succulent. It is fast growing, making it an excellent groundcover that can also offer fall color. Deer and rabbit resistant. Can grow in poor soils as long as there is good drainage. Grows 4 to 6 inches tall and 2 feet wide.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Partial to full sun

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Mid-Atlantic

cobweb-hens-and-chicks-monrovia.jpg

Photo: Monrovia

Cebenese Cobweb Houseleek (Sempervivium arachoideum ‘Cebenese’)

One of the most distinctive types of hens and chicks out there, this plant has cobweb-like hairs stretched between its green rosettes. Pink flowers bloom in the summer. It forms clumps in crevices or wherever planted. Does well in containers. Grows 3 to 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9
  • Partial to full sun

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Southeast

jovibarba-blaze-cubits.org

Photo: Cubits.org

Beard of Jove ‘Blaze’ (Jovibarba heuffelii ‘Blaze’)

Similar to hens and chicks, this succulent does not produce “chicks” on stolons but must be propagated by splitting with a knife. The rosette is a mixture of deep reds and bright greens. It keeps its color year-round, unlike Semperviviums. Grows 3 inches wide.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9
  • Full sun
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