Design with succulents

Succulents create great gardens
Debra Lee Baldwin

To create lush, dramatic garden beds, combine two or three large succulents with masses of smaller ones. Don't use too many kinds in one planting or you'll end up with a disorganized-looking garden.

Hedge. For a maintenance-free, mild-climate hedge that needs minimal water, is green year-round, and has intriguing texture, intersperse jade plant ( Crassula ovata) with smooth-leafed Agave attenuata and elephant's food ( Portulacaria afra).

Accents. Use large succulents ― including aeoniums, agaves, crassulas, echeverias, kalanchoes, portulacarias ― as accents among lower-growing kinds.

Tuck-ins. Put smaller species of echeveria, ice plant, sedum, and senecio between steppingstones, or use them to create patterns in a small garden.

Color contrasts. For drama, play up contrasting hues where possible. Blue senecio ( S. mandraliscae) makes a cooling counterpart to Aeonium arboreum 'Zwartkop', with nearly black rosettes, or bright coral red Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire'.