Description

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.

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/desgin for more details.

Plant List

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

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.

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.

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.

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 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

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Shrubs

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.

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.

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.

Horticultural Preferences

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.

Aesthetic Character

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.

Moisture Needs

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.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" 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"
1"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* 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.