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Succulents, Popular Water-Wise Plants, Also Act As Wildfire Barrier

Author Debra Lee Baldwin is pictured in this undated photo pointing at a copy...

Credit: Debra Lee Baldwin

Above: Author Debra Lee Baldwin is pictured in this undated photo pointing at a copy of her book, "Designing With Succulents."

Succulents, Popular Water-Wise Plants, Also Act As Wildfire Barrier


Debra Lee Baldwin, author, "Designing with Succulents"


San Diegans redoing their landscaping to make it water-wise have probably learned a lot about succulents. The thick, fleshy plants are now ubiquitous in neighborhoods across the region. But what might not be as well known is that succulents, including cactus, are big business in San Diego County. According to San Diego County's most recent agriculture crop report, in 2016 San Diego growers produced nearly $83 million worth of cactus and succulents.

Debra Lee Baldwin, the author of three books about succulents, said the drought drew a lot of attention to succulents and plants that require less water.

"Succulents, by definition, are plants that withstand periods of drought by storing water in their fleshy leaves and stems," she said.

Not only that, but as Baldwin wrote in her most recent book, "Designing with Succulents," succulents can also act as a wildfire barrier.

Referring to an opuntia, also known as a prickly pear cactus, Baldwin said, "It will cook, it won't catch fire, even in the extreme heat of wildfire."

Baldwin discussed tips for landscape designing with succulents Monday on Midday Edition.

Baldwin will be at a book launch party at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 9, at the San Diego Horticulture Society meeting at Congregation Beth Israel, 9001 Towne Center Drive.

A second event will be held Saturday, Oct. 14, in Fallbrook.

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