Succulent salvation?

SucculentsalvationAs you think about new landscape choices during this fall planting season, consider the story of Suzy and Rob Schaefer, whose Rancho Santa Fe home (pictured) seems to have been saved by the succulents surrounding it.

While the couple’s once-plump, water-storing aloe did take quite a beating from the extreme heat of the fire that came within feet of the house, the plants did not flame up and spread the fire. It seems they stopped it.

The story, in this week’s L.A. Times Home & Garden section, quotes Gary Lyons, curator of the desert collection at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino:

"After the Altadena fire in 1993, I could see that agaves, aloes and opuntia had not burned, but rather had cooked," Lyons recalls. "They can’t carry a fire. I wondered why there was no code requirement or law that requires developers and residents to use succulents in high fire areas. Why should taxpayers shoulder the firefighting costs of a hillside development’s incendiary landscape?"

See a list of top choices for firescaping.

Photo by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times