This unthirsty native thrives by the pool

Sharon Cohoon

Able to thrive in full sun and reflected heat, lady's slipper (Pedilanthus macrocarpus) makes the perfect poolside companion. The succulent shrub's waxy 1/2-inch stems even have a "wet" look. The stems remain bare most of the year. Reaching 3 feet tall and as wide, this unthirsty native of Mexico gets by with only twice-monthly irrigation. Hummingbirds adore its tubular, orange-red flowers, which appear in spring and fall. P. macrocarpus also makes a handsome accent in containers and is a good choice for the light shade under desert trees.

Lady's slipper is suitable for Sunset climate zones 12 and 13. Its frost-tender tips get burned when the thermometer dips to 28°-30°, and temperatures in the low 20s will kill the plant. Look for plants in 5-gallon containers at garden centers.

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