Camelback Royal ViewMediterranean Landscape, Phoenix
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In a conversation I had with author and succulent expert Debra Lee Baldwin, she shared a story recounting how a grouping of succulents had shielded a vulnerable corner of a Southern California home during a devastating wildfire years ago. The homeowner says that the flames came within 6 feet of her home and then stopped. She attributed the fire’s halt to the succulent Aloe arborescens, ironically called torch aloe, shown here. This aloe can reach 4 to 8 feet tall and wide and grows in USDA zones 9 to 11 (find your zone). Baldwin further explained that the fleshy leaves of succulents may cook in the fire, but they don’t burst into flames or spread the fire, thanks to their juicy water-holding attributes.