I am a big fan of succulent plants – they are versatile, offer a great variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and are easy to group with their cousins. Traditionally, succulents have been grown in pots as display or accent plants. In recent years, they have become popular landscape plants. Modern landscape designers are now appreciating succulent plants for their architectural forms and using them in traditional as well as experimental landscape designs.
Most succulent plants grow solitary or form small groups. They rarely outgrow their environment and thus make good plants for grouping with their cousins. You can find succulent plants in all sizes – we ranging from mat-forming ground covers to low-growing foliage plants and from large globe-forming succulents to tall and cylindrical plants. Most succulent plants have similar requirements which makes it easier to group succulents plant from different genera in a landscape design. They require well-drained soil, less frequent watering, and occasional cutting or division.
Some common succulent plants that do very well in landscapes include several varieties of cacti and a large selection of plants from the genus of Aeonium, Agave, Aloe, Crassula, Echeveria, Euphorbia, Sedum, and Sempervivum.
The following gallery provides 15 good examples of landscape designs that use succulent plants.
[Do not forget to see 15 tips to help you create a beautiful succulent garden by Debra Lee Baldwin]
My love for succulents especially Agaves in not old but it is for sure obsessive. In fact, I have replaced many other plants in my collection with Agaves. The following are some of the Agaves in my succulent garden.
Agave victoria reginae
My favorite plant – Agave victoria reginae is slow but easy to grow plant characterized by a unique leaf pattern and formation.
Agave victoria reginae variegata
This variegated variety is even more beautiful and unique than its original form.
A very different formation and leaf style for an Agave. Agave bracteosa has ‘softer’ and spineless leaves – quite different from its cousins.
Another beautiful and unique form. Agave striata produces long, needle-like leaves of greyish green color.
A beautiful specimen plan with nicely arranged white leaves contrasted by reddish teeth and red terminal spines
Agave potatorum, Kissho Kan
Another beautiful Agave with bicolor leaves beautified by red spines.
Agave nicklesiae, King Ferdinand
Somewhat similar to Agave victoria reginae but with different style and formation of leaves.
A variegated variety closely resembling Agave filifera.
Agave Blue Glow variegated
Pretty rare plant – Also known as Sun Glow, this beautiful plant is a variegated form of Agave Blue Glow.
Agave desmettiana ‘Joe Hoak’
A nice plant for landscaping/ xeriscaping – fast growing and easy to maintain.
Agave guiengola ‘Creme Brulee’
A clump of Agave guiengola ‘Creme Brulee’. A delicate yet fast growing plant. Good for containers.
Agave manfreda x Bloodspot
Unique and attractive, it is believes to be a cross of Manfreda and Agave, that is why it is also described as Mangave.
Agave victoriae reginae ‘Kazo Bana’
Another beautiful variety of Agave victoria reginae. ‘Kazo Bana‘ is quite rare and elegant plant.
Agave lophantha ‘Quardicolor’
As the name suggests, this is a colorful and beautiful plant. Ideal for both container gardening as well as landscaping.
Agave schidigera ‘Shira ito no Ohi’
The name – Shira ito no Ohi – is quite difficult to pronounce and so is the maintenance of the plant.
Agave attenuata is an excellent specimen plant for ornamental and landscaping purposes. Unlike other species of Agave, this beautiful Agave does not have sharp teeth or terminal spines on its leaves, instead its leaves are softer and more succulent. A healthy Agave attenuata would usually grow as tall as 4 to 5 feet and produce broad and fresh-green leaves (50-70 cm long and 12-16 cm large) that spread up to 4 feet. Mature plants have stout and curved stem, thus giving the plant its common name ‘foxtail’.
Agave attenuata comes from the plateau of central Mexico and thus requires similar growing conditions. It prefers lightly moist and loamy soil thought it can grow in poor soil and withstand drought. Protect this agave from direct scorching sunlight in summer and from long spells of frost and freeze.
The plant produces beautiful inflorescence of white or cream color on a long stalk in spring followed by bulk of seed pods or small plantlets. The stalk is often drooping with flowers, that is why, the plant is also called Swan’s Neck Agave. Agave attenuata can be grown easily from these seeds, plantlets, or suckers.
Foxtail or Agave attenuata makes an excellent plant for both landscapes and containers.
Today I am featuring Agave ‘Blue Glow’ which is one of my favorite of all agave plants in my collection. Agave ‘Blue Glow’ is supposed to be a hybrid between Agave Attenuata and Agave Ocahui – ‘Blue Glow’ has long narrow leaves (from Agave Ocahui) with a terminal spines and almost no marginal spines (from Agave Attenuata). Dark blue-green leaves have red margins that glow when seen at eye-level with sunlight in the background. Agave ‘Blue Glow’ is relatively slow growing plant that tends to grow solitary. It forms a compact rosette of up to 18 inches in height and spreads as wide as 2 feet- suitable for growing in containers. The plant in picture is about 2 years old and was grown from a small offset.
Agave ‘Blue Glow’ prefers bright sunlight but protection from direct harsh sun of summer. It is quite hardy, easy to grow, and drought tolerant. I am growing my plant in a terracotta pot in my roof garden.
Agave Potatorum ‘Kissho Kan’ is a compact, slow growing plant that bears short blue-grey leaves with yellow margins and red spines. Kissho Kan makes an excellent container plant because of its compact size(12 inches tall and 12 inches wide, max.), regular proportions and nicely variegated succulent leaves.
The plant is considered a Japanese cultivar and a distant cousin of Agave Parryi. The name Kissho Kan is translated as ‘happy crown’ or ‘lucky crown’. Agave Potatorum Kissho Kan bears yellow blooms that grow on a long stalk like all other agave plants.
How to Grow Agave Potatorum ‘Kissho Kan’
Kissho Kan is easy to grow under filtered sunlight and moderate watering. Normally, it would grow solitary and form hemispherical shape. Mature plants produce offshoots that can be rooted and propagated easily. Kissho Kan withstands drought and cold spells to -3° C.