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A Cacti and Succulent Garden for Hot, Dry Climates

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Looking for a garden bed that: A) can be planted in an afternoon; B) looks good right away; and C) won’t complain if you forget to water? Here’s your ticket to low-maintenance beauty, thanks to cacti and succulents—plants that know how to beat the heat!

Triangle-shaped bed of drought-tolerant cacti and succulent plants.

Note: This garden is intended for dry climates in USDA Zones 9–11. Find your hardiness zone. If you live in a colder climate, check out our drought-tolerant plan and curbside garden plan.


Vignette of cacti and succulents with gravel mulch.

Agave desmettiana ‘Variegata’ makes a strong focal point in this drought-tolerant garden. Its size and brightly variegated foliage set it apart from other plants, particularly the burgundy euphorbia and green aloe in front of the agave.

Euphorbia trigona and Euphorbia acrurensis

African milk tree (Euphorbia trigona) and Euphorbia acrurensis have a similar upright structure. However, leaves along the columns give the African milk tree a frilly look (left of photo) and Euphorbia acrurensis a scalloped look.

Euphorbia trigona ‘Red

Euphorbia trigona ‘Red’ is a popular cultivar of the African milk tree. The burgundy leaves give it a much different look than the standard African milk tree (shown in the previous photo).

Crassula ‘Campfire’

Crassula ‘Campfire’ has dramatic foliage that goes from bright green to red as it matures. The short, mat-forming succulent fits well in small gardens.

Echeveria ‘Topsy Turvy’

Echeveria ‘Topsy Turvy’ offers gray-green leaves that curve upwards to form an attractive rosette. Bright orange and yellow flowers rise above the foliage on arching stems from late summer to fall.

Portulacaria afra ‘Variegata’

Rainbow bush (Portulacaria afra ‘Variegata’) is a sprawling, succulent with attractive variegated leaves decorating burgundy stems. It offers lavender flowers in summer.

Aloe ‘Christmas Carol’

Aloe ‘Christmas Carol’ is a petite plant with dramatic star-shaped foliage trimmed and dotted in red. Vibrant pink to reddish-orange flowers appear from fall into winter.

Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’

Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’ boasts perfectly formed rosettes of soft-gray foliage dusted in white and edged in deep hues of pink. It’s topped off by bright coral flowers on foot-long stems in summer, making a perfect addition to any rock garden.

Kalanchoe tomentosa

Panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) has gray-green leaves spotted in brown at the tips. These brown markings are accompanied by silvery-white hairs, similar to the fur of a panda bear. The shape of the velvety leaves is reminiscent of furry cat ears.

A cacti and succulent garden is intriguing to look at and easy to care for. --Lowe’s Creative Ideas

If you live in a hot, dry climate with temperatures that remain above 28 degrees F, consider this low-maintenance garden bed of cacti and succulents.


Explore more ways to use succulents in your garden:

Gardening with Succulents

Wall-Mounted Succulent Planter

Summer Succulents