Many succulent plants are good choices to decorate southern Louisiana landscapes with sandy, well-drained soil during times of drought. However, gardeners need to know succulents do not tolerate wet soil, poorly draining soil or flooding. Therefore, if you live in an area with these attributes, your best bet is to plant succulents in containers.
Small Evergreen Shrubs
Evergreen succulent shrubs give a tropical feel to your landscape. Slipper plant (Pedilanthus tithymaloides) features zigzag stems and red flowers. This succulent likes protection from afternoon sun. Crown of thorns (Euphorbia milii) thrives despite exposure to air pollution, can grow in gritty soil and deters critter with its thorns. It offers red or yellow flowers and does best with a bit of midday shade. Both succulents are drought-tolerant and grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11.
Succulents for Hanging Baskets
Succulents with dangling stems planted in hanging baskets offer a little privacy and provide vertical interest to Southern porches and patios. Purslane “Rio Series” (Portulaca oleracea “Rio Series”) has blossoms in orange, rose, red, white or yellow. This succulent grows in USDA zones 8 through 11 and is considered invasive in some regions. Variegated October daphne “Mediovariegatum” (Sedum sieboldii “Mediovariegatum”) displays creamy-yellow leaves distinctively edged in powdery-blue and grows in USDA zones 4 through 9. Its soft-pink blossoms attract butterflies.
Control Soil Erosion in Sandy Soil
Some succulents help control soil erosion and grow well on sandy slopes. Prickly pear (Opuntia compressa) displays yellow flowers that produce edible fruit. This eastern and central U.S. native evergreen cactus can grow in dry, clay soil. Tolerant of air pollution, Caucasian stonecrop “Schorbuser Blut” (Sedum spurium “Schorbuser Blut”), also known as “Dragon’s Blood,” is a good choice for roadside landscapes. It has pink flowers and its green foliage features purple-red margins, which turn completely red as the weather cools. Both succulents can thrive in gravelly soil, tolerate drought and grow in USDA zones 4 through 9.
Texas Natives for Louisiana
You can grow certain succulents native to Texas in southern Louisiana. Century plant (Agave americana), also known as American aloe and maguey, is a a medium-size shrub that grows in USDA zones 8 through 11. This evergreen tolerates very high heat and extreme drought. Louisiana yucca (Yucca louisianensis), also known as Gulf Coast yucca, is a small shrub that grows in USDA zones 7 through 11 and adapts to most soil types.
- Louisiana Tech University: Soils of Louisiana
- Perennials.com: Sedum Sieboldii "Mediovariegatum"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Portulaca Oleracea "Rio Series"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Euphorbia Milii
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Pedilanthus Tithymaloides
- Texas A&M University Texas Native Plant Database: Louisiana Yucca, Gulf Coast Yucca
- Texas A&M University Texas Native Plant Database: Century Plant, Maguey, Flowering Aloe, Spiked Aloe, American Aloe
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Sedum Spurium "Schorbuser Blut"
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Opuntia Compressa
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