Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Succulents are very versatile plants. These can be used throughout the landscape for various purposes and landscape projects. Here are some ideas on using some specific succulents for various uses in the landscape.
Specific Color Schemes
For cool color flower gardens, several of the lewisias or bitterroots are good choices. The blossoms are often shaped like stars. The ones with pastel blooms include Lewisia brachycalyx (hardy to zone 5). This has white blooms that can be tinged with pastel pink. Lewisia longipetala (hardy to zone four) also has white blossoms.
For a green and white color scheme in a garden bed or mixed border, it is hard to beat the yuccas. With their lovely white blossoms, these are recommended for white gardens.
Borders and Flower Beds
The hardy perennial spurges are excellent choices for mixed borders and flower beds of different kinds.
The showy sedums and the stonecrops are very suitable for borders. Many of these tend to bloom during late summer just when we need some color in the garden.
Interplanting for Bulb Beds
Interplant cushion spurge with hardy spring flowering bulbs. The spurge stems will conceal the fading and dying foliage of the bulb plants. This plant forms a neat mound. It is hardy to zone five. Several cultivars are available, including ones with colorful foliage.
For alpine plantings, there are a number of excellent stonecrops or sedums. Two-row stonecrop is hardy to zone three. This has creeping stems. It blooms from mid to late summer. In warmer climates, it is evergreen.
The hardy hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum spp.) are great choices for alpine plantings because these need good drainage.
For fragrant gardens, there are a number of cacti and succulents with sweetly scented blossoms. The hoya or wax plant is a tender species that can be grown in a container. Put it outdoors for the summer months in a fragrant garden. Then, bring it back inside for the winter.
For seasonal interest, nothing beats the flowering kalanchoe. This is sold as a flowering pot plant. Either grow it in containers or plant in garden beds as an annual wherever some seasonal interest is needed.
Foliage Container Plants
For year-round interest, add some hardy foliage plants to outdoor container plantings. Examples include agave as well as some others. Narrow leaved spurge is an evergreen perennial. This has attractive fleshy leaves. The stems are very erect, and look great in containers. This plant can reach two feet in height with a matching spread. Originally native to Europe, it is hardy to zone seven. The yellowish-green floral bracts appear in mid-spring.