The plants that drink ‘responsibly’

Suculants Echeveria.jpeg

As the drought continues, there are a selection of plants that “drink responsibly” and can give you a beautiful garden in the harshest of summers.
Respected garden designer Mimi Rupp explains why she thinks succulents are the go-to plants for the coming season.

“These no-nonsense, tough-as-nail plants just want you to sit and relax in your garden this summer and stop worrying about watering so much. They’ve got your back,” explains Rupp. “Succulents store water in their leaves and stems, and won’t wilt if you forget to water them, nor will they miss you when you’re away. They need one-to two-thirds less water than a traditional lawn-and-flowerbed landscape.”
When we think of succulents we all think of those ugly, dry pointy, dull cacti, but there’s a beautiful variety of blazing flowers and textured leaves of today’s succulents. 

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“Cacti, those spiny plants that you swore you’d never have in your garden produce satiny flowers so lovely they’ll make your heart sing,” claims Rupp. “Ice plant, when in bloom hums with bees, and yellow flowers.” 

Below, Mimi lists her favourite succulents


Beautiful rosette shaped plants that add a pinwheel pattern to garden beds, terraces and containers. They do well with dappled sun or bright shade and like slightly more moisture than other succulents. Also unlike most succulents, they are summer-dormant winter growers that do best where winters are rainy and summers are dry.

Aeonium add a pinwheel pattern to garden beds, terraces and containers.

Try Black Aeonium (Aeonium arboretum “Zwartkop”) for some fabulous contrast in your garden. Or, Sunburst Aeonium (Aeonium ‘Sunburst’) which has a light yellow or pink leaf with a thick green stripe down the middle.


These elongated, threaded-like stems do great in hanging baskets or standing upright in containers. Tiny white flowers appear in early spring. Crassulas often prune themselves. Limbs soften and fall off, creating a new plant wherever it falls, saving you work.

READ: Get Water Wise
A must-have is Crassula capitella or ‘Campfire’ which turns from green to a scorching red-orange when environmentally stressed.

Crassulas often prune themselves.


Resembling plump-petaled roses in shades of pink, rose, lavender and green combinations, try the Lipstick Echeveria. It’s a show stealer with its pointy edges, glossy green leaves and crimson coloured tips.

READ: Top Tips For A Succulent Garden
Another plus? Echeverias are simple to propagate. You can remove the baby rosette from the mother plant without it falling apart, and easily plant it elsewhere in your garden.

Lipstick Echeveria