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What Succulents Grow in Las Vegas?
It is important to know that even though all succulents are regarded as plants that can easily grow in drought-prone areas with extreme temperatures, this is not the case in most instances. The majority of succulents prefer 4 to 6 hours of indirect sun and won’t do well under extreme heat. So in case, you wanna grow all kinds of succulents while being in Las Vegas, you should grow them indoors.
However, if you are looking for growing succulents both indoors & outdoors you can consider choosing from the following succulents:
Euphorbia Tiruacalli (Firestick or Pencil Tree Plant)
In case you are looking for a plant that you wanna grow under full sun, go for this one. It’s one of the few plants that just love a high dose of sunlight. In fact, the succulent won’t attain its signature reddish-orange color if it doesn’t get enough sun.
This striking color gives the plant its nickname of firestick and it looks beautiful from a distance. You can grow them in long stretches or in small pots however make sure to always wear gloves and full sleeve shirts as the sap of the plant is poisonous and can cause skin irritation.
They belong to the group of proper cactuses and have large spines. It is a column-shaped cactus that can grow quite tall and even the flowers they produce are quite large in size. The flowers are typically found to bloom during the night & are white in color.
- They are one of the most popular cactuses out there which are great for growing in the garden under the hot full sun. If you are into cactuses, Cereus cactuses are a must for you provided you dont have issues handling the spines. Matured Cereus cactuses can be gigantic in size and will look gorgeous from a distance.
The best thing about this cactus is, it’s incredibly beginner friendly and one of the best succulents you can grow outside as it can withstand extreme heat. Just make sure you wear thick gloves while handling them.
Yuccas are one of the largest succulents that you can grow. They have leaves with pointed tips and the cool thing is they can grow on mediocre care.
They can grow under the full sun however make sure not to grow them directly under the sun as it can damage the leaves. Instead, try growing the plant under some kind of shed from where it can get indirect sun all day long. They look stunning near the entrances or at the corners of the plots or as borders.
As Yuccas naturally belong from hot and arid places they dont require much water, to begin with, and only water them when the soil feels totally dry, maybe once in 10 to 15 days. They are in general slow-growing plants. Also, they are pretty easy to propagate as the newer baby ones start growing beside the stem base.
They are available in a lot of varieties, some of the common ones include: (source).
- Thompson”s Yucca
- Yucca rostrata
- Spineless yucca
Agaves contain a variety of species some of which can be small-sized whereas others can be really tall. Some of the matured ones can grow as tall as 10 feet. So you can choose the type you want as per your convenience.
They are highly adaptive in nature and can sustain full sun (once established) as well as moderate sun. Its large fleshy thick leaves make it stand out and hence it is oftentimes used for bordering pools, walls, and roads. Also, it’s totally beginner-friendly and the matured ones can go without water for weeks.
Some of its varieties contain spines at the leaf tips so you need to take caution in those instances. Overall this is a great plant to have especially if you are looking for some contrast in your home garden.
Prickly Pear is one of the go-to plants that you can grow in places with hot climates that gets cold winters. They look beautiful when grown in bushes and are slow-growing in nature. Prickly pears love bright sun all day long and commonly produce bright colorful flowers.
The pads contain spines so again you need to be careful while handling them. In case you dont wanna go through the hassle of handling cactuses with the spine, go for the ornamental varieties which are completely devoid of spines.
The best thing is they contain many species that can put up with cold winter freezes as well (source).
There are over 18 species of Prickly Pear out there, some of the prominent ones include:
- Indian Fig Prickly Pear
- Spineless Prickly Pears ( Even though are spineless contains sharp hairs that can cause skin irritation so always take caution).
- Purple colored Prickly Pears ( extremely hardy to frosts and produces pinkish flowers) (source).
What Makes Succulents & cactuses the ideal plants for Las Vegas?
- In Las Vegas, the summer temperatures can go easily go over 100°F (37°C) and the winter nights can be really chilly as the temperatures can occasionally go below the freezing point.
So you will be faced with extremes of temperatures in both seasons and for this, the succulents are just ideal as they are xerophytes. They normally grow in desert pone areas that get high day temperatures and really low night ones. So in comparison with other plants, they will adjust better to such deviations of temperatures.
- Las Vegas gets occasional rainfall and for this reason, you may find it hard to grow all kinds of plants, especially outside, by depending on natural resources. Even in this regard, succulents are will adjust really well as they normally grow in drought-prone areas where water is scarce. So they are naturally adapted to store water for days or even weeks.
- The natural soil composition of Las Vegas as a whole can be pretty poor especially if you are looking to grow a wide range of plants in your garden. The soil is often time infertile & highly alkaline in nature. So because of this in most instances, you will have to grow plants in pots which can be an advantage as well cause it will allow you to move the plants indoors during winter.
- The fact that Las Vegas gets a long summer season that entends roughly from mid of February to Oct or some years even November, is a great deal as succulents best thrive under conditions of moderate to hotter temperatures.
However, you must be really careful regarding the succulents you choose especially if you are planning them to grow outside.
Yes, it’s true that succulents can handle heat & even colder temperates way better than other plants but there are many types of succulents that will get damaged by the scorching heat of the summer if grown outside. For example, cactuses typically tackle full sun better than other succulents.
- The majority of them are not equipped to tackle freezing temperatures even though there are a few succulents that are regarded as cold hardy.
- But for better results, you should try safeguarding your succulents in every way possible from the summer heat and winter cold and need to abide by a proper care plan. So this brings us to the next question,
How do you care for succulents in Las Vegas?
Watering Succulents in Las Vegas
Only water your succulents when the soil medium feels dry. How long it will take for the potting soil to be dry depends on the current climate, the plant age, and the kind of soil mix you have.
- Most succulents die due to overwatering and so when in doubt wait out for a few more days to water them.
Also, the majority of the succulents get dormant during the winter so always cut back on watering from multiple times a month to maybe once a month. If you keep up with the same watering schedule you will find the plants catching a root rot.
Another important thing is watering timing. Never water the succulents when the sun is up especially if they are placed outdoors! The water can act as a magnifying glass can burn the plant surfaces. Try watering them in the early morning. Read this post for more: When Should Succulents be Watered? (At What Time of the Day)
For more info on watering refer:
- What Temperature Should Water Be For Succulents, Cactus & Indoorplants?
- 5 Reasons Why You Should Not Water Succulents at Night
The Las Vegas Sun can be really Hot
Even though many of the succulents out there can survive the full sun, the full sun exposure of Las Vegas is something else. The scorching heat of the afternoon and the evening sun can end up damaging the plant big time.
Also, it takes a while for the Sun to set here especially in the summer. So this region also gets an excessive dose of sunlight even at the end hours of the evening (source).
Hence it is logical to grow succulents either indoors or under some proper shade in the garden. This practice will save you loads of headaches in the future and will help your plants to thrive better.
Las Vegas Winters can get really cold
Even though Las Vegas is regarded as an extremely warm place, it does experience really cold winter nights which can sometimes touch the freezing point(0°C or 32°F). The majority of the succulents cannot survive freezing temperatures.
- So during the colder few months of the year, it will be ideal for you to bring your plants indoors and place them near a south-facing or east-facing window from where it can get enough indirect sun.
Hence for this purpose, you should try growing them in pots so it will be easier for you to transport them. In case you cannot bring them indoors you can use frost cloths or simply old bedsheets and cover them up with that in the winter nights. It will be enough to tackle minor frosts.
Las vegas soil is majorly alkaline in nature. So it will be best if you grow them in store-bought or hand-made soil mixes that are slightly acidic in nature and drain faster. Succulents love to thrive under slightly acidic conditions.
So in case you still wanna grow them in garden soil consider using raised beds. Ideally, you should use pots to grow them.
Read the following posts for more guidance on this topic: