Anyone who is stuck watering their lawn (or with the water bill) over our long, hot summers can probably appreciate the notion of xeriscaping. Cacti are a popular choice for xeriscaping, are well-suited for hot and dry weather, and look sharp (pun intended) in many different settings. They are not the only choice, however. There are many drought-tolerant plants and shrubs that can be added into a water-wise landscape. There are also several plants that are just as low-maintenance as cactus. Click the links to print out a list of these agaves, yuccas, nolinas, and sotols, and can read about them below.
Agaves have thick, succulent leaves with sharp edges and points. They are often mistaken for aloes, although the two are not closely related. Many may be familiar with the stately Century Plants, and may have wondered at their towering bloom stalks. As impressive as these bloom displays are, they also spell the death of the plant. Agaves are monocarpic and flower only once in their lifetime, then die after blooming. Often, the roots will produce shoots, and these offsets or “pups” will grow to replace the agave that flowered.
YUCCA, SOTOL, and NOLINA
Yuccas possess a thinner leaf than agaves without a succulent base, and usually can bloom repeatedly without dying. Sotol leaves are edged with small serrations, and produces a tall flower spike. Nolinas have leaves that are thinner and more numerous, and can have a grass-like appearance.