Gardening with Succulents and Cacti

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And how to create an outdoor space like this of your own.

This stunning front yard combines a variety of succulents and cacti, along with decomposed granite to create a low-maintenance and water-wise front yard. The three Euphorbia Ingens, nicknamed candelabra cactus, set a dramatic stage to welcome guests. Surrounding them are a variety of aloes, agaves, and prickly pear cacti. The nectar-rich orange blooms of the aloe attract hummingbirds and pollinators to the yard, proving a drought-tolerant green space can still be pollinator friendly.  

Any home gardener can get this structured, low-maintenance look.

Some tips for the home gardener

  • Make sure to research your gardening zone and pick the right plants for your area to maximize their success. 
  • At a neighborhood nursery or garden center, you can easily find dedicated spaces and staff knowledgeable about succulents, cacti, and drought-tolerant plants. 
  • Select your showpiece and make it center stage, surrounding it with low-growing plants in a variety of shades to provide depth and interest.


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Laura McLean
Laura McLean
Laura McLean is a native San Diegan who is the plant expert co-owner of Sweet Seedlings, and has spent over 20 years working for a nonprofit and as a marriage and family therapist. She has transformed her yard into an urban vegetable and pollinator garden, and strives to connect mental health, self-care, and a commitment to our earth with every seed she sows.

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Randi Baird
Randi Baird is a Martha’s Vineyard-based editorial and commercial photographer specializing in food, lifestyle, and portraiture. Her work as a photojournalist for Greenpeace International informed and guided her passion as a champion for the environment through her lens. For over 30 years, she has used her photographs as a means for communication, education and social change. She has photographed three cookbooks to date, including WHOLE IN ONE, by Ellie Krieger; Simple Green Suppers, by Suzie Middleton; and Three Island Chef - By Deon Thomas. She co-founded Island Grown Initiative in 2006, a non-profit who’s mission is to increase local food production, reduce food waste, and expand access to healthy, affordable food throughout the Martha's Vineyard community. Her images have received worldwide attention distributed by the Associated Press, United Press International and Getty images. Randi is a backyard grower of fruits, vegetables, poultry and tends bees with her family in West Tisbury, MA.

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