Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
The cacti and succulents are among the most beautiful plants. They possess many admirable qualities.
Many attributes of these unique plants account for their aesthetic value. Though each species or variety is slightly different, most people would agree that cacti and succulents have a stately and architectural appearance that is particularly striking. They tend to be very graceful.
At the same time, certain ones can add an eccentric, offbeat, playful factor to the landscape. These plants bring a breath of fresh air to otherwise dull or ordinary landscape scenes. They provide a signature flair and a presence that makes themselves felt. These plants add much needed drama to the modern landscape.
Think of these bold, symmetrical landscape plants as being living sculptures. These are ideal for pocket gardens, entryways, and other key spots in the landscape where you want to make a visual statement. Though it does depend on the particular situation, many gardeners choose species that contrast beautifully with the surrounding hardscape and other landscape features, such as other plants used in that particular spot.
Texture is another quality that cacti and succulents can add to the landscape. The texture of some is soft and appealing, and almost sensual. They seem to invite one to touch them. Other species provide a medium to coarse texture, which provides diversity in the garden.
Color is an important component in landscape design. The variegated succulents can serve as a primary source of color in a landscape bed or border. Now there are so many wonderful brightly colored varieties of the commonly grown succulents, particularly the agaves and the yuccas.
Flowers can also provide color as well though these may be short-loved in some cases. Succulent foliage can provide long-lasting color in a broad range of shades from reds and purples to chartreuse, white and cream, blue, and blue-green.
These plants command attention. They can have interesting, intriguing silhouettes and forms. In some species, such as the aeoniums, the leaves form a wonderful rosette in the shape of a flower.