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Southwest Regional Reports

Mixing Annuals, Perennials, and Succulents in Containers

Meet the needs of a variety of plants in one stunning display

These are some of our mixed containers, including both annuals and succulents. The large container in the middle includes ‘Carmencita’ castor bean (Richinus communis ‘Carmencita’, Zones 9-11; top right), ‘Princess Caroline’ fountain grass (Pennisetum ‘Princess Caroline’, Zones 8-10; top left), ‘Caramel’ coral bells (Heuchera ‘Caramel’, Zones 4–9; right and left), pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli, Zones 10–11; top center), ‘Zwartkop’ aeonium (Aeonium arboretum ‘Zwarktkop’, Zones 9–11; middle center), ‘Autumnale’ fuchsia (Fuchsia ‘Autumnale’, Zones 10–11); bottom center), and golden creeping Jenny (lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 4–8; bottom right). Photo: Steve Aitken

Living in the low desert certainly has its pros and cons when it comes to gardening, but one particular benefit that we are quite fond of is the ability to grow succulents year-round without having to bring them inside in the winter months.

Overwintering succulents was part of our reality in Colorado. Each year, Sheila’s Denver guest room became a Little Shop of Horrors full of overwintering plants and succulents, cyclops-like light attachments to provide the perfect amount of light for her plants, and barely enough space to walk to the back of the room to water. Living in an environment where that scenario doesn’t exist is quite the treat, to say the least.

Pencil Cactus
Pencil cactus. Photo by Steve Aitken.

A favorite technique that we have always utilized on our own containers and for clients is the comingling of succulents, annuals, and perennials. The succulents can have a…

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