Heavy rains and prime growing conditions may be in the forecast for gardens across the country, to the delight of the gardeners everywhere. Yet every year, October still manages to be a season with devastating fires and drought for some parts of the country. Approach this challenge proactively by choosing to plant Curio talinoides var. mandraliscae, (syn. Senecio mandraliscae) commonly known as Blue Chalk Sticks. Not only is it an attractive drought tolerant solution, Blue Chalk Sticks is also fire resistant — perfect for firewise landscaping.
Water requirement: Low water needs but tolerant of regular irrigation; don’t overwater
Sun requirement: Full sun to light shade in arid climates
Mature size: Up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall and up to 3 feet (90 cm) spread
Tolerances: Drought tolerant, high wind, second line salt wind
USDA zones: 9-12
Environmental benefits: Attracts butterflies, bees and hummingbirds; fire resistant
Blue Chalk Sticks has two unbeatable design features going for it: color and texture. The dense sprawling mat of cool, grayish-blue creates a solid field of this soothing and subtle color, while up to 4 inches (10 cm) long leaves jut up from the ground like fleshy oceanic spikes.
An evergreen succulent, this plant will provide colorful interest in your garden throughout the year with an insignificant white flower appearing in summer.
How to Use It
The chalky blue color is striking with greens and dark purples and is a great foil to splashes of hot orange. Whether you plant this spreading plant as a groundcover or a container plant, freely use it to highlight contrasting golden tones.
Thriving in well-drained soil, go as far as to plant Blue Chalk Sticks in a gravel bed for the ultimate in clean design. Whether lining a garden path or framing a courtyard, the foliage of Blue Chalk Sticks gracefully cascades in from the edges like an approaching textural wave.
Before You Plant
Hardy to around 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius), your Blue Chalk Sticks plant may need to take shelter in the house if your region sees freezing temperatures. It’s tolerant of any amount of heat. Make sure to keep your plant in well-drained soil, preferably sand-based. And while a loose sprawling specimen is always attractive, you can easily keep the Blue Chalk Sticks compact and at a desired shape through pruning.
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