Cacti having a moment in the sun

Updated Apr 27, 2015

shutterstock_2564578 California landscapers are helping homeowners reimagine their yards as the state suffers through an epic drought. Solutions to Governor Jerry Brown’s call for a 25-percent reduction in water use range from painting brown grass green, to complete yard removal in favor of drought-resistant plants.

As a result, cacti and other succulents are becoming popular. “It wasn’t so long ago that I would go scouting gardens and people would say, ‘I hate succulents,’” Debra Lee Baldwin, author of Succulents Simplified told Bloomberg Business. “Now people are coming to me and asking about them by their Latin names.”

Jeanne Meadow began replacing her lawn in 2009. Today, her 4,500-square-foot San Diego County home is surrounded by thousands of succulents, including 15-foot-tall aloe trees and tiny senecio serpens. “I had an understanding that we were living in a desert and importing water. I said: ‘Let’s see what these plants can do.’ It turns out, they’re really pretty magical if you know what you’re doing.”

shutterstock_145771346Homeowners’ increased awareness – and acceptance – of drought tolerant plants has meant increased sales for landscape businesses like Los-Angeles based Garden of Eva Landscape Design Group, which is receiving 10 calls a day from homeowners who want to cut their water bills. The California Cactus Center, a Pasadena, California, business that specializes in succulents, also reports rising sales, and Altman Plants, in Vista, California, has launched an online cactus shop to keep up with drought-driven demand.

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