Low Maintenance Succulents for Arizona Landscapes

Arizona’s arid climate presents unique challenges for landscaping, but it provides some opportunities, too. For example, it’s the perfect environment for a variety of succulents. These hardy (and trendy!) plants are well-suited to the desert landscape, requiring minimal water and maintenance while adding beauty and interest to your garden. Here are some of the top, low-maintenance succulents that thrive in Arizona’s climate and could be the perfect addition to your yard.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is not only known for its medicinal properties but also for its resilience in hot, dry climates. This succulent requires very little care and can thrive in full sun to partial shade. Some aloe vera plants can get quite large, making them a great option when you need to fill a lot of space.

  • Watering: Needs minimal watering, about once every three weeks (possibly less often in the winter)
  • Sunlight: Prefers full sun but can tolerate some shade


Agaves are iconic succulents that are perfect for Arizona landscapes. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, from small rosettes to large, dramatic plants. They also come in several different colors, from dusty bluish-green, to bright grassy green, to pale sage.

  • Watering: Extremely drought-tolerant and need watering only occasionally
  • Sunlight: Thrive in full sun and can easily handle the intense Arizona heat


Echeverias are rosette-forming succulents that come in a variety of colors and forms. They are perfect for adding a pop of color to your landscape. The most common colors are light green and shades of purple.

  • Watering: Prefer to dry out between waterings, typically needing water only once every two weeks
  • Sunlight: Thrive in full sun to partial shade


Sedums, also known as stonecrops, are versatile leaf succulents that can be used as ground cover or in rock gardens. They are incredibly easy to care for and come in many varieties. They have a distinct, thick foliage that looks like a cross between a shrub, flower, and cactus.

  • Watering: Drought-tolerant and only need watering when the soil is completely dry
  • Sunlight: Thrive in full sun but can also grow in partial shade

Hens and chicks

Hens and chicks are small, rosette-forming succulents that produce offsets (or “chicks”) around the main plant (the “hen”). They add visual variety while being very low maintenance, and are ideal for Arizona gardens.

  • Watering: Need very little water, even in the hot summer months.
  • Sunlight: Do well in full sun to partial shade

Jade plant

The jade plant is a popular succulent that is known for its thick, glossy, round leaves and tree-like growth habit. It’s an excellent choice for low-maintenance Arizona landscaping, especially when you need to add a little height to your succulent garden.

  • Watering: Require infrequent watering, about once every three to four weeks
  • Sunlight: Prefer bright, indirect light but can also thrive in full sun

Paddle plant

Paddle plants are known for their large, paddle-shaped leaves that can turn red at the edges when exposed to full sun. Vibrant and unique, they add a striking visual element to any landscape.

  • Watering: Need watering only when the soil is completely dry
  • Sunlight: Thrive in full sun to partial shade.

Barrel cactus

Barrel cacti are native to the desert and are perfectly suited for Arizona’s climate. They have a distinctive barrel shape and while they may stay small, they can also grow quite large, making them a dramatic focal point in a garden.

  • Watering: Require very little water, especially during the winter months
  • Sunlight: Thrive in full sun and can withstand intense heat

Tips for planting and maintaining succulents in Arizona

While it’s true that succulents require very little attention, especially once established, there are still some things to be aware of when it comes to planting and caring for succulents in your yard.

1. Choose the right location. Place your succulents in areas that receive the appropriate amount of sunlight based on their specific needs. Most succulents prefer full sun, but some can tolerate partial shade. Take some time to become familiar with the different levels of sun exposure in each area of your yard, and make your planting decisions based on that information.

2. Use well-draining soil. Succulents are particularly susceptible to root rot, which means that they need soil that drains quickly in order to prevent water pooling up and sitting for too long at their roots. Consider using a cactus or succulent potting mix for your succulents, or amend your existing soil with sand or perlite to improve drainage.

3. Water wisely. Believe it or not, overwatering is the most common cause of succulent failure. Allow soil to dry out completely between waterings, and reduce watering during the winter months, since succulents are often dormant during this time.

4. Protect succulents from extreme conditions. While succulents are hardy plants, extreme conditions such as frost can damage them, and there are some areas of Arizona where temperatures can drop significantly on winter nights. Consider using frost cloths or moving potted succulents indoors during cold snaps.

5. Fertilize sparingly. Succulents don’t need much fertilizer. A light feeding with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season (spring and summer) is usually sufficient.

If you want to create a beautiful, drought-tolerant Arizona garden that requires minimal care, it’s hard to beat succulents. Low-maintenance and hardy—while also unique and colorful—succulents are as resilient as they are vibrant and aesthetically pleasing. If you want to enhance your Arizona garden with succulents, visit your local nursery to see all the incredible options for yourself. Happy planting!

If you’re ready to get started creating your dream landscape, contact Rustic Creek today to speak with one of our talented landscape design specialists to begin planning your project.

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