Did you know that succulents make a great firebreak? Not only are succulents waterwise plants but they can also create a great firebreak for your home. The world has watched Australia slowly burn over the course of a few months (summer of 2019 – 2020), taking out thousand of wildlife and flora in its path. Maybe it is now time to consider thinking about using the hardiness of succulents to lessen the impact of fires to your home and possibly save it from future fires?
Succulents don’t spread flames, more so they cook/bake, rather than burn and spread fires. They do this by retaining moisture in the leaves and stems, making it very hard for them to actually catch fire.
Portulacaria (common names include ‘Mini Jade’ or Elephant Bush) is a non toxic succulent shrub that is safe for pets and humans. It is used in its native lands as a food source for not only elephants but can also be added to salads and soups for human consumption. This plant can grow several metres tall and wide, creating a great firebreak for your property.
Other succulents to consider are Agaves, Jade (Crassula Ovata) Euphorbia Firesticks (toxic to humans and pets if the internal sap makes contact with skin) but when planted responsibly can grow vigorously fast and cover a lot of ground, growing tall and wide in the hotter months. A lot of Aloes are also safe for pets and humans so if this is a consideration, maybe Aloes are more for you. Aloe Arborescens has very fleshy leaves and grows up to 180cm high and once established can also take over large areas in 1 – 2 years once established, this makes it a highly affordable option for covering large spaces to protect your home.
Once again, succulents are… well, succulent… so they won’t just ‘burst into flames’. Choose succulents that will also cover the ground around your taller specimens such as our very own native Pigface succulent or Senecio Mandraliscae (Blue Chalk Sticks) as they spread thick and wide in between your taller specimens not only providing more of a ‘firebreak’ but also a colourful and interesting landscape.