Pairing Plants with Succulents

While landscaping exclusively with succulents is possible, supplementing with other plants actually highlights and accentuates the beautiful textures, shapes, and colors of your succulents!

Achieving a balanced-looking landscape with only succulents can be difficult because most succulents are low-lying plants. Adding different heights, colors, shapes, and textures is essential to achieving visual variety. When looking for companion plants to landscape alongside your succulents, it can also be difficult to find other plants that can thrive in full sun, low water, and gritty, rocky soils.

Here are 10 beautiful plants that will give you some much-needed height and variety in your succulent garden and landscape!

Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca)

Characterized by its slender, wiry blue-green blades, Blue Fescue is an evergreen ornamental grass. It is largely considered a “no fuss” plant that can tolerate a variety of conditions, making it ideal to grow with succulents. It is a small ornamental grass that can grow up to 1 foot tall and 10 inches wide. The grass itself features narrow blades that form tidy, dense tufts.  It loves full sun and works especially well as groundcover, edging, and as an accent plant for borders.

Autumn Sage (Salvia greggi)

Autumn Sage, or Cherry Sage, is a native perennial plant that blooms gorgeous red flowers abundantly from mid-summer to mid-fall. At full maturity, it can grow 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. This bright bushy shrub is a hummingbird magnet, and it blends well with other wildflowers and even succulents. Like succulents, Autumn Sage tolerates full sun, sandy well-draining soils, and needs minimal water. Autumn Sage works well as garden borders, a low hedge, or a gravel or rock garden.

Gold Bar (Miscanthus sinesis)

Another striking ornamental grass is Gold Bar, which features wispy green blades marked with horizontal gold bands. It can grow 4-5 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. The dense clumps form a rounded, fountain-like appearance. This showy, low-maintenance grass thrives in partial to full sun with well-draining sandy soils. Similar to succulents, Gold Bar is also a drought-tolerant plant. From late summer through the fall and early winter, Gold Bar can bloom beautiful burgundy flowers that pair well with its yellow stripes.

Lemon Fizz (Santolina virens)

This evergreen groundcover provides beautiful, bright yellow groundcover as well as fragrant foliage. The compact mounds of sizzling yellow foliage stay vibrant year round and bloom yellow flowers in the summer time. Lemon Fizz is drought tolerant like succulents and enjoys partial to full sun and well-draining soils. The rounded shrub is great in pathways, borders, and gardens. Lemon Fizz pairs particularly well with red succulents, making those deep russet tones really pop!

Jessamine (Cestrum sp.)

Jessamine, or Cestrum “Orange Zest,” is a drought-tolerant shrub that will bring tropical vibes to your landscape. It thrives in hot summer heat and low-water conditions. This deciduous shrub can even survive cold winter temperatures. As a result, it’s quite a favorite landscaping piece in northern gardens. It blooms beautiful yellow or orange tubular flowers, and it only releases its perfume-like fragrance at sunset. Jessamine usually grows to a height of about 5 feet tall. It thrives in full sun and well-draining soils, but it can tolerate afternoon shade.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow is a perennially blooming herb that is native to North America. It is a popular plant to use as borders and groundcover. The tiny, tightly cluster flowers it blooms can be bright yellow, pink, red, or anything in-between. This drought-resistant herb is aromatic and is known for attracting butterflies to your yard! It need full sun to grow, or else it can become leggy. Like succulents, yarrow will not tolerate wet soil. It prefers hot, dry climates and well-drained soils.

Rockrose (Cistus)

Rockrose is a tough, hardy plant that thrives on neglect. This fast-growing shrub can withstand strong winds, heat, and drought with little overall care. Rockrose can grow up to 12 feet high and 8 feet wide. It tolerates gritty, sandy, and rocky soils like succulents. Native to the Mediterranean, Rockrose has soft green or silvery-gray foliage that blends well with succulents. The shrub produces prolific amounts of red, yellow, pink, or white flowers mid-spring to mid-summer.

Orange Sedge (Carex testacea)

Orange Sedge, also known as Orange New Zealand Sedge, features wispy, coppery-brown grasses that grow about 2 feet tall to 2 feet wide. This evergreen ornamental grass grows from a tight crown. In the summer, the grass is greenish orange, but it turns a gorgeous burnt copper in the fall and winter. Orange Sedge can grow and thrive in cool weather as well as full sun, and it enjoys a moist, well-draining soil. This plant makes a great accent that provides gentle movement to otherwise still gardens.

Wire Netting Bush (Corokia cotoneaster)

Native to New Zealand, this evergreen shrub (or small tree) features zigzagging branches and green leaves. The bush appears twisted and contorted into a rounded mass. There are certainly more branches than gray-green leaves. In the spring, it blooms tiny clusters of yellow, star-shaped flowers, which are followed by scarlet red berries. It can grow 8 feet tall and 8 feet wide, and pruning is recommended to get a more open look. Like succulents, it thrives in well-draining soils and full sun. However, Wire Netting Bush is not particularly cold hardy.

Grevillea

Native to Australia, Grevillea is a large genus that contains over 300 species. Grevillea are evergreen shrubs or, sometimes, trees that have needle-like leaves and long, slender colorful flowers that are curved like ribbons. It can grow up to 12 feet tall and 15 feet wide, depending on the species. Grevillea are extremely hardy like succulents. They tolerate drought, heat, and grow well in well-draining soils. Depending on the species, Grevillea can be frost-tolerant as well. They make excellent privacy screens, borders in gardens, or background plants that enhance foreground succulents.

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