The term "succulent" refers to a broad, loose category of plants, including cacti, that have developed thick, fleshy leaves or stems, according to the University of Minnesota Extension. The stems' main job is storing water to access during arid, hot conditions. Grown in rock gardens, desert beds or tucked inside containers with other succulent varieties, they bring unusual textures and colors to the garden.
Black rose (Aeonium arboreum 'Zwartkop') is a succulent plant with a clumping growth habit. Growing 1-to-3 feet tall and wide, black rose has burgundy-to-black foliage that grows in a rosette shape. Perched on the end of the stalk-like stem, the rosette flowers in winter to produce a bright yellow bloom, stunning against the dark foliage. Drought-tolerant, black rose is ideal planted in a rock garden with other succulents and cacti. Complementing lighter shaded plants, the black rose succulent requires full sun and well-drained soil to thrive. Grow in other areas of the garden by taking a cutting from the black rose in early summer. Plant black rose in US Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9 to 11.
Cooper's Hardy Ice Plant
Cooper's hardy ice plant (Delosperma cooperi) is a succulent ground cover with a rapid growth rate and matting form. The succulent foliage appears to have small bits of ice on the leaves, hence the name, ice plant. Growing 6-to-7 inches tall and 24 inches wide, Cooper's hardy ice plant makes an ideal plant to grow among a front flower border to fill in low areas of the bed. The mass of 2-inch bright pink-to-purple flowers emerge in summer and last through the fall. The daisy-like blooms of Cooper's hardy ice plant sit atop the dark green, shiny leaves. Drought-tolerant, they should be spaced 16-to-24 inches apart to allow adequate room for growth. Cooper's hardy ice plant requires full sun to light shade and well-drained soil to thrive. Plant in USDA zones 6 to 10.
American aloe (Agave Americana) has a clumping growth habit and sword-like, succulent leaves that are gray to green. Running down the center of each leaf is a cream stripe that creates an unusual pattern to this succulent variety. Growing 3-to-6 feet tall and 6-to-10 feet wide, American aloe plants are ideal planted as a specimen plant in a desert garden or in a large container as a landscape focal point. Summer-growing, American aloe plants have a moderate growth rate and white flowers. The leaf tips and edge on American aloe are lined with dark needle-like spines. American aloe plants require full sun. Plant in USDA zones 9 to 11.