Question: We live in a high fire area and I’ve heard about fire safe landscaping. What should I plant around our property? C.H. Rainbow, CA

Succulents, unlike native chaparral plants, are 80 percent water, which makes them truly fire-resistant. I recommend planting large, landscape-sized succulent plants and succulent groundcover around and along fire-zone perimeters. Here are four tough, attractive and fire-resistant succulents you can add to your existing landscaping to create a fire barrier.

  • Aloe kedongensis has a growth habit somewhat like bamboo, with canes that grow to about 12 feet and cluster densely and makes a good fire barrier.
  • Portulacaria afra, also known as Elephant’s Food, is an upright-growing plant (8-12 feet tall) with reddish brown stems and emerald green leaves.
  • Senecio mandraliscae, also known as blue chalk sticks, is a fast-growing groundcover known for its beautiful blue color. Extremely fire resistant, this low-maintenance plant works well under larger plantings and helps prevent erosion.
  • Agave franzosinii can reach dimensions of more than 25 feet. Grown for its foliage, this succulent has powder blue leaves with leaf-printing marks.

See CalFire’s article about the importance of defensible space in protecting your property at www.readyforwildfire.org/defensible_space/.

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