Why Succulents are the Key to Water Conservation in California

Water conservation is a hot topic these days, and Californians are searching for innovative ways to cut back on water consumption. For gardeners, this can be a tricky workaround. How do you grow a garden without frequently watering it? As it turns out, the solution is simpler than you might think, and it’s one we can definitely get behind! Plant. More. Succulents. 


Succulents Make Water Conservation Easy

Succulents are similar to cacti in the way that they retain moisture within their plant bodies. In the wild, they grow in dry, desert landscapes where rainfall is scarce. By storing moisture within their succulent leaves, they can survive for much longer during periods of drought. 

OC Succulents- California - Succulents and Water Conservation - drought tolerant agave

Grass lawns need a lot of moisture to stay lush and green, and let’s face it: they aren’t particularly exciting or eye-catching. Reducing the footprint of your lawn and adding more succulents will make your landscape more attractive and water-wise! 

Plant a mix of low-growing ground cover succulents and taller statement plants to add visual interest and dimension to the landscape. Use river rock as a mulch material to fill in the gaps between plants and create paths on which you can walk. Perhaps we’re a little biased, but we strongly believe that a colorful succulent rock garden is far more beautiful than a plain grass lawn! 


How Often Should Succulents Be Watered?

Water in-ground succulents in California about once every 7–10 days during the peak summer season. In spring and fall, when things cool down, every 10–14 days should suffice. In winter, when most succulents go dormant, you can scale back to watering about once per month. Succulents grown in containers require frequent watering since the soil moisture evaporates faster.  

Many of our favorite garden plants need watering several times per week or even daily during the hottest summer months. Succulents, on the other hand, don’t appreciate frequent watering, and their leaves will get mushy and may fall off after sitting in too much moisture. Watering deeply but infrequently will provide the best results. 

You can tell when your succulents need moisture when their leaves start to look wrinkly and puckered. Don’t worry if you leave them for a little too long and they start looking like the Crypt Keeper—just water them generously, and they’ll plump up again. 

Hydrozoning with Succulents and Drought-Tolerant Plants

Hydrozoning is a practical approach to water conservation in the landscape. The basic idea is simple: choose plants with similar watering and sun requirements and plant them all together. If you choose lots of drought-tolerant plants that need minimal moisture, you can create a low-maintenance garden and landscape that’s easy to keep alive. 

If you have a few moisture-loving plants that you’d like to grow, plant them together in a separate area of the garden to minimize the amount of water you use. If your moisture-loving plants are planted amongst your drought-tolerant plants, keeping them all happy at once while limiting your water usage will be very challenging. 

Bonus Tips for Water Conservation in the Garden

Looking for more ways to conserve water as a gardener in California? Here are a few extra tips that can make a big difference!

💧 Water your plants early in the morning before the sun goes up or late at night after the sun has set. This way, the moisture won’t immediately evaporate from the ground when the sun gets hotter. 

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💧 Consider an automated irrigation system with a moisture sensor. This way, it will spread the perfect amount of water only when necessary. 

💧 Always use mulch. Mulch or river rock spread across the soil will help block the sun from heating up the ground and evaporating moisture too quickly. It also helps to block pesky weeds from germinating!


On the hunt for succulents for sale in Orange County? We carry everything you need right here at OC Succulents! Ask our experts for tips on how to display and arrange your new plants in the landscape—we love helping create beautiful, eco-friendly garden designs with conservation and responsible resource usage in mind.  

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