If you haven’t noticed, cactus and succulents are trending in a big way. Help your customers create distinctive designs with these fashionable plants. Not only do succulents and cactus create interesting architectural elements with their unique foliage; many also offer beautiful blooms. Cactus and succulents can be good alternatives to traditional landscape plants, especially when water is scarce and sun and temperatures are intense.
Austrocylindropuntia subulata, also known as Eve’s needle cactus or cane cholla, forms a large distinctly-shaped shrub with a dense, upright growth habit. Eve’s needle cactus blends beautifully with other water-wise shrubs and perennials. In addition to its unique form, plants produce striking flowers in shades of yellow, orange, or red. Flowers are typically 2- to 3-inches wide and are followed by rounded fruits. Use this hardy cactus as a blooming focal point or as an alternative to large evergreen shrubs in the landscape.
Hesperaloe parviflora, or red yucca, is a tried and true succulent perennial that is perfect for dry landscapes. Its long, slender, blue-green leaves resemble grass but has a much more rugged appearance. The favored feature of this succulent are the dramatic blooms. Tall spikes of red flowers appear late spring and remain for several months. There are a number of varieties available that offer yellow, pink and deep red blooms. Yucca, a relative of the aloe plant, can tolerate relentless heat and lack of rainfall. Yuccas are evergreen and make another great substitution to mid-sized traditional landscape plants. Though yuccas love the heat and sun, they will also tolerate light afternoon shade. Just like the Eve’s needle cactus, they can be used en masse or as a focal point.