Succulents are plants that have adapted to dry growing conditions. Succulents have fleshy tissue in their roots, stems or leaves that store water, allowing the plant to survive drought conditions. These plants can be classified by their growing height, including low-growing, shrub-like, and tall, tree-like succulents.
Ground Cover Succulents
Ground cover succulents grow low to the ground and can be used to fill empty spots in a garden, or link elements of a landscaping plan, according to Colorado State University Extension. Carpobrotus has daisy-like flowers in white, pink, red and purple. Gasteria plants have white blotches on the leaves. Aptenia is an evergreen with red and purple flowers with a spread of 2 feet or more. Boweia, or the climbing onion, is a vine-like succulent with green, star-shaped flowers. The 3- to 6-foot long vines of the boweia grow out of a bulb near the top of the soil. Echeveria is a low-growing succulent with leaves that grow in a rosette pattern. Graptopetalum, also known as the ghost plant, has oval leaves covered in a powdery film that turn gray in the shade and pink in the sun.
Shrub-like succulents range in height from 1 to 5 feet and can be used in containers and as hedges, according to “Designing With Succulents,” by Debra Lee Baldwin. Crassula, known as the jade plant, has round leaves and small flowers. Aeoniums are native to North Africa and have symmetrical rosettes of flattened leaves, and yellow or off-white flowers. Portulacaria, known as the elephant bush, grows in dense patches and is eaten by elephants in Africa. Shrub aloe types include aloe vera, aloe arborescens and aloe cameronii. Aloe vera ranges in height from 2 to 3 feet. Aloe arborescens forms rosettes 1 to 3 feet in diameter. Aloe cameronii has red leaves that grow in clusters. Bulbine has thin, pointed-tip leaves. Sansevieria has sword-shaped leaves.
Large succulents that are tall like trees can be used as focal points in landscaping. Agave Americana, also known as the century plant, reaches a height of 5 to 7 feet and is used as an ornamental plant, according to the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension. The agave's leaves are spear-shaped and form a rosette at the base of the trunk. The aluadia grows to 10 feet tall and has sharp spines and oval leaves growing along its stems. The cyphostemma is a deciduous tree with white, paper-like bark and elongated, oval-shaped leaves with serrated edges. The tree blooms with yellowish-green flowers in the summer and red berries in the fall. The beaucarnea, also known as the ponytail palm or the bottle palm, ranges from 15 to 20 feet high and is native to Texas and Mexico. The leaves arch downward in a weeping shape. Yucca plants range in height from 6 to 40 feet, depending on the type. Often called giant lilies, yuccas grow throughout North America, but are native to the Southwest.