Top 10 Colorful Plants: Succulents

These easy-care colorful plants will surprise you with their displays of sun-drenched yellows, reds, oranges and more.

Succulents, where have you been all my life? Browsing through Debra Lee Baldwin’s enticing Succulent Container Gardens, I fell just a little bit in love. These plump-leaved colorful plants store water in their juicy tissues, making them a forgetful gardener’s dream. Give them well-drained soil and plenty of sun, and your succulents will look as healthy when you return from vacation as when you left. In fact, they may look even better.

That’s because stressors that might harm or even kill other plants—an extra touch of sun, heat or cold; even a drought resulting from the gardener’s vacation—make many succulents come alive with color. Normally green and blue-green leaves heat up into a vivid spectrum of reds, orange, pinks, purples and yellows. Another bonus: succulents tend to be winter bloomers. So when you bring your frost-tender plants inside to protect them from the cold, you’ll get a flower fix just when you need it most.

Easy care, a host of hues to choose from, and winter flowers: Are you ready to become a sucker for succulents, too?

Sticks on Fire

(Euphorbia tirucallii)

With a thicket of loosely branching vertical stems, each about the diameter of a pencil, sticks on fire looks almost like something growing on an undersea reef. Also called red pencil plant, it has tips that turn yellow in summer and red in winter. Beware: When broken or damaged, the stems ooze sap that may irritate skin.

Why we love it: Height and shape make this the perfect thriller in any container, while the changing colors ensure a fabulous show.

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