Succulent Sculpture Garden

The Succulent Sculpture Garden is for those who prefer a succulent-focused landscape because they love the dramatic look and very low maintenance. Honestly, I visually prefer and would encourage those interested in gardening with succulents to embrace a more balanced approach by combining more flowering desert shrubs and perennials with succulents, as found in our Colorful Desert Garden palette. That approach also provides more habitat for hummingbirds, songbirds, butterflies, and pollinators. However, we know that some people prefer a more minimal approach, so we are providing this palette as an option. Due to identical horticulture and irrigation preferences, plants in this palette and the Colorful Desert palette can also be mixed or combined.

Design plans

Succulent-Sculpture-garden-XL-patio-02.jpg
Succulent-Sculpture-garden-XL-patio.jpg
Succulent-Sculpture-garden_XL01.jpg
Succulent-Sculpture-garden_XL_LABELS01.jpg
Red yucca + cvs
Red yucca + cvs

Red yucca + cvs

See Details

Aloe vera
Aloe vera

Aloe vera

See Details

Blue finger
Blue finger

Blue finger

See Details

Red yucca + cvs
Red yucca + cvs

Red yucca + cvs

See Details

Firecracker penstemon
Firecracker penstemon

Firecracker penstemon

See Details

Blue Glow agave
Blue Glow agave

Blue Glow agave

See Details

Blue Elf aloe
Blue Elf aloe

Blue Elf aloe

See Details

Incienso, Brittlebush
Incienso, Brittlebush

Incienso, Brittlebush

See Details

Prickly pear
Prickly pear

Prickly pear

See Details

Queen Victoria agave
Queen Victoria agave

Queen Victoria agave

See Details

Red yucca + cvs
Red yucca + cvs

Red yucca + cvs

See Details

Blue Flame agave
Blue Flame agave

Blue Flame agave

See Details

Autumn sage + cvs
Autumn sage + cvs

Autumn sage + cvs

See Details

Desert willow + cvs
Desert willow + cvs

Desert willow + cvs

See Details

Fox tail agave
Fox tail agave

Fox tail agave

See Details

Autumn sage + cvs
Autumn sage + cvs

Autumn sage + cvs

See Details

Blue finger
Blue finger

Blue finger

See Details

Incienso, Brittlebush
Incienso, Brittlebush

Incienso, Brittlebush

See Details

Coral aloe
Coral aloe

Coral aloe

See Details

Orange ice plant
Orange ice plant

Orange ice plant

See Details

Dry S
Succulent-Sculpture-garden_XL_FrontYard.jpg
Succulent-Sculpture-garden_XL02.jpg
Succulent-Sculpture-garden_XL_LABELS02.jpg
Succulent-Sculpture-garden_XL03.jpg
Succulent-Sculpture-garden_XL_LABELS03.jpg
Color-Bloom-Calendar-SUCCULENT-SCULPTURE.jpg

Description

The Succulent Sculpture Garden provides a variety of easy to grow and diverse succulents of various sizes, with just a few accent shrubs and one tree suggestion to pull it all together and help make everything pop. The succulents selected here were done so to provide visual diversity and to provide a list of plants generally easily sourced from local nurseries that carry waterwise plants. 

However, there are many other options available, and most succulents and cacti have very similar care and irrigation requirements in the garden, so feel free to do some research about other options available at the nurseries you visit and mix in additional succulents as desired.

This plant palette is available as an option for the Waterwise Community Center’s Landscape Design Assistance Program. Visit cbwcd.org/design for more details.

Plants listed in the Succulent Sculpture Garden palette are well adapted to warm climate areas with sun, high summer temperatures, aridity and wind. Some species show sensitivity to winter frost. When grown in Inland Empire gardens and landscapes, most plants do very well with normal winter rains and low amounts of summer water.

All of these plants prefer sandy or rocky soils with good drainage. This also makes them well suited for raised planters and on banks and slopes. Some of these plants can tolerate heavy or clay soils as long as they are not overwatered (and in this case prefer to be planted a bit high so that water will never pool at the base of the plants). If you have clay soil, check the information in each individual plant profile to see if they are adapted to clay soils.

The plants in this palette are easy to care for and generally do not require any pruning more than once or twice per year to keep them looking great in the garden, but it is important to do that at the right time of year for each plant. Refer to the “maintenance” entry for each individual plant.

The Succulent Sculpture Garden is all about the dramatic forms and colors of succulent plants. For best results, select succulents with different leaf colors and different forms, combining aloes, agaves, opuntias and other cacti, as well as succulent ground colors and other small accents. Make sure your garden has a great design based on the form and color of the plants without the flowers, since that will ensure your garden looks great every day of the year. Then, when the flowers come, it will be a bonus, bringing even more beauty to your yard.

Depending on the size of the site, plants can be used as groupings of the same plant repeated or as individual accents. Most often, the smaller succulents are visually most effectively used as groups of either three, five, or seven, or more although small spaces may require the use of individual plants.

All the plants in this palette have a low need for irrigation. In most inland valley garden situations, established plantings using this group of plants will thrive with a deep watering of 1 to 1.5 inches approximately once every three to four weeks, depending weather, soil type, and sun exposure, in the months when there is no or little rain. In most situations, young plantings will thrive with a deep watering of approximately one inch per week during dry weather, until they begin to become established, usually approximately one year after planting. Then, begin to increase the time between watering events, keeping an eye on how the plants are doing, until you reach your “established” irrigation schedule.

The chart shown below provides a baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth. Several winter months noted by an asterisk (*) indicate when rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. It is important to note that these plants can successfully grow within a range of supplemental moisture each month; the actual irrigation schedule should be adjusted to reflect specific soil, slope and exposure conditions to achieve best plant performance.

Beyond this, bloom season and plant appearance may be improved with a bit of additional summer irrigation provided to some of the plants on this list, including desert mint, hummingbird sage, and red buckwheat, as well as the trees, blue elderberry, and western redbud. In many cases, these plants can survive perfectly well with the lower level of irrigation, but an occasional hose-watering by hand of just these mentioned plants, in between the less frequent deeper irrigations to the whole planting may provide for a longer flowering season for the pollinators and a more lush look for the humans enjoying the plants. It is important, in most cases however, that you do not increase the irrigation frequency to the entire garden, after it is established, to twice per month, because this will most likely result in overwatering of the other plants, which require dryer conditions between watering events in the summer.

The chart shown below provides a baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth. Several winter months noted by an asterisk (*) indicate when rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. It is important to note that these plants can successfully grow within a range of supplemental moisture each month; the actual irrigation schedule should be adjusted to reflect specific soil, slope and exposure conditions to achieve best plant performance.

Low water Use Plants – Irrigation Schedule 1

 Jan*Feb*Mar*AprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov*Dec*
Runs per Month0x to 2x0x to 2x0x to 2x1x1x1x1x1x1x1x0x to 2x0x to 2x
Inches per Run1″1″1″1″1″1″1″1″1″1″1″1″
 
Inches per Month0″ to 2″0″ to 2″0″ to 2″1″1″1″1″1″1″1″0″ to 2″0″ to 2″

Range of supplemental summer water: 7″
Range of supplemental winter water: 0″-10″

 
0″-2″
0″-2″
0″-2″
1″
 
1″
1″
1″
1″
1″
0″-2″
0″-2″
0″-2″
 Jan*Feb*Mar*AprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov*Dec*

For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Succulent Sculpture Garden plants

Trees

Desert Museum palo verde

Botanical Name: Parkinsonia x 'Desert Museum'
Plant Type: Tree, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 20 ft. - 30 ft.  Width: 20 ft. - 25 ft.

Desert willow + cvs

Botanical Name: Chilopsis linearis
Plant Type: Tree, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 15 ft. - 30 ft. (rarely)  Width: 15 ft. - 20 ft.

Succulents

Prickly pear

Botanical Name: Opuntia ficus-indica
Plant Type: Cacti
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 10 ft. - 18 ft.  Width: 10 ft. - 18 ft.

Orange ice plant

Botanical Name: Lampranthus aurantiacus
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent, Iceplant
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 15 in. - 18 in.  Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Blue Elf aloe

Botanical Name: Aloe 'Blue Elf'
Plant Type: Aloe
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 15 in. - 18 in.  Width: 24 in.

Blue Glow agave

Botanical Name: Agave 'Blue Glow'
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 20 in.  Width: 18 in. - 20 in.

Black rose aeonium

Botanical Name: Aeonium arboreum 'Zwartkop'
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.  Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Afterglow echeveria

Botanical Name: Echeveria 'Afterglow'
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun
Height: 6 in. - 8 in.  Width: 10 in. - 12 in.

Coral aloe

Botanical Name: Aloe striata
Plant Type: Aloe
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 12 in. - 24 in.  Width: 12 in. - 24 in.

Blue finger

Botanical Name: Senecio talinoides ssp. mandraliscae
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.  Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft., can slowly spread further

Purple prickly pear

Botanical Name: Opuntia violacea var. santa rita
Plant Type: Cacti
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.  Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Queen Victoria agave

Botanical Name: Agave victoriae-reginae
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.  Width: 1 ft. - 2 ft.

Blue fox tail agave

Botanical Name: Agave attenuata 'Boutin Blue'
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.  Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Blue rose echeveria

Botanical Name: Echeveria imbricata
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun
Height: 6 in. - 12 in.  Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Aloe vera

Botanical Name: Aloe vera
Plant Type: Aloe
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.  Width: 3' then offsets to form a larger clump - 24 in.

Shrubs

Mountain marigold

Botanical Name: Tagetes lemmonii
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.  Width: 6 ft.

Incienso, Brittlebush

Botanical Name: Encelia farinosa
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.  Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Autumn sage + cvs

Botanical Name: Salvia greggii
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 4 ft.  Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.