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Fire retardant succulents are good choices in landscape

 

Last updated 8/21/2008 at Noon



With the arrival of summer, temperatures have risen and our hillsides have slowly turned from their beautiful green carpets with wildflowers to a dryer, more hazardous condition for fires.

We live in communities where we must be aware of fire breaks and fire retardant plants to protect our property and lives. We have no control over gusting winds and harsh, dry conditions, but there is something extra we can do.

It was proven in last year’s devastating fires that homes surrounded by succulents seemed to fare far better than those without. This doesn’t mean you have no choice other than succulents for your landscape, but for slopes surrounding your property or making a fire safe barrier, you can depend on the list below to help lessen destruction from fire.

Give it some thought and consult a local bookstore, library or the Internet to help you select the varieties most appealing to you and your particular situation. Then, find a local nursery specializing in landscape cactus and succulents and you’ll be prepared to develop a tough, juicy safety barrier for the unexpected.

In the process, you may even discover the beautiful world of luscious succulents, which, by the way, have varying foliage colors and shapes with jewel-toned blossoms part of the year. Succulents blend compatibly with most landscapes and are quite drought-tolerant, as we head toward a time of imposed water conservation.

They come in all sizes and shapes, from very small ground-huggers to large, imposing screens. So, enjoy the quest as you learn more about them, search local nurseries, stop to admire a landscape and start to collect your favorites. Beware – you might just find them irresistible as well as practical!

Here is a “fire retardant” list to get you started:

• Aloe arborescens

• Aloe ciliaris

• Aloe grenadensis

• Aloe hyb. ‘California’

• Aloe saponaria

• Aloe striata

• Agave attenuate

• Agave fransonzinii

• Calindrina spectabilis

• Cotyledon ‘Long Fingers’

• Crassula argentea

• Euphorbia mauritanica

• Portulacaria afra

• Senecio vitatis

• Senecio barbertonicus

• Senecio mandrilascea

Jackie Jesch is co-owner of Daylily Hill Nursery. For more information, see http://www.daylilyhill.com.

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