Presentations by Debra Lee Baldwin

Debra Shares the Joys and Benefits of Growing and Designing with Succulents

Yes! Debra Gives zoom presentations! 

Celebrity horticulturist and bestselling author Debra Lee Baldwin shows how to use succulents to add beauty, sophistication and whimsy to gardens large and small. Presentations are one hour (45-50 minutes plus Q&A). 

Speaker Introduction

Award-winning garden photojournalist and author Debra Lee Baldwin launched global interest in succulents in 2007 with her first book, Designing with Succulents (now in its completely revised 2nd edition). She also wrote two other Timber Press bestsellers, Succulents Simplified and Succulent Container Gardens. Debra, who lives near San Diego, spent a decade contributing to Sunset magazine and applies the “Sunset aesthetic” to everything she does: books, photos, presentations, newsletters, articles, social media, YouTube videos and more. Debra's own half-acre garden in Southern CA has been in Better Homes and Gardens and similar publications. In 2017, the San Diego Horticultural Society presented her with a lifetime achievement award.

Fun facts about Debra Lee Baldwin:

  • Debra grew up on an avocado ranch near San Diego. 
  • Her hillside garden gets frost and high heat and has poor soil (just like yours).
  • She grows everything in her books---hundreds of varieties of succulents and companion plants. 
  • She was a scout and writer for Sunset, Better Homes & Gardens and San Diego Home/Garden magazines, among other publications. 
  • Debra launched the worldwide succulent craze in 2007.
  • She calls succulents “plants that drink responsibly."
  • Her YouTube channel has over 7,000,000 views.
  • Debra's presentations to garden groups include Epcot Center, the Huntington and Hawaii.

Debra is proud to announce the celebratory 10th anniversary, completely revised and updated second edition of Designing with Succulents. Beautifully illustrated with 400 photos, it encapsulates the essentials of the original along with a decade’s worth of visually exciting ideas for waterwise gardens.


“One of the best speakers we have here.”

Ron Vanderhoff

Roger's Gardens Nursery, Corona del Mar, CA

DEBRA'S PRESENTATIONS are customized for every group and updated often.

"DESIGNING WITH SUCCULENTS" ~ Find out how succulents can enhance the beauty and practicality of your garden and outdoor living areas. Whether your yard is big and established or a balcony, Debra offers simple ways to use and enjoy these easy-care, low-water plants. The “Queen of Succulents” introduces readily available varieties, explains their care, and shows how to combine them in fresh and appealing ways -- both in landscapes and creative container gardens.

"SIMPLIFY YOUR YARD WITH SUCCULENTS" ~ Succulents can help you garden smarter, not harder. These fleshy-leaved plants are the secret to easy, carefree gardens in mild, low-rainfall climates. With Debra's expert guidance, you’ll evaluate your yard, learn how to work with what you’ve got, and apply design principles that make a big difference. You’ll know which succulents to select, and why those you've already tried may not have been right for you. 







VIRTUAL PRESENTATIONS can be via Zoom or the program your group uses routinely. Let's discuss! 

A LIVE SLIDE SHOW requires a digital projector, screen, microphone, darkened room, and a table and chairs for book-signing.


A PLANT SHOW-AND-TELL OR POTTING DEMO can be done outdoors, and requires a work table, a clip-on microphone, separate table for the book signing, and supplies (nursery plants, pots, soil, water, etc.).

Event Publicity

Debra routinely helps promote the host venue via social media, her website and her e-newsletter. 

Selected Accolades

“The growing interest in succulents on the part of the gardening public can be attributed primarily to one person: Debra Lee Baldwin.” ~ Australian nurseryman and author Attila Kaptitany, in his address to the biennial convention of the Cactus & Succulent Society of America.

"For the last 2 years I’ve had attendees call to get your speaking schedule before they arranged their vacation." ~ Sherry Larson, San Francisco Flower & Garden Show 

"You received many accolades at our board meeting for your presentation. There were over 400 people there, an all-time record. It will go down as one of the most memorable evenings. What you are doing is magic." ~ Judy Bradley, events chairperson, San Diego Horticultural Society

"Presentation was superb...Very articulate, interesting, humorous and enthusiastic...Great speaker--best of the day--I never wanted succulents before but I now have a list to incorporate into my garden...Lively and dynamic speaker. Beautiful photos, relevant subject...Great slideshow--didn't want it to end...Loved it--we need more classes like this...Bring her back!" ~ Attendees at the UCCE Master Gardeners spring symposium

"Debra Lee Baldwin and her books have lit up the gardening world." ~ Ron Vanderhoff, nursery manager, Roger's Gardens, Orange County, CA

"Debra, you have given so much and have so much more to give. If there is any one thing I am convinced of about you, it is that while you have been a force in helping and motivating people to be adventurous with succulent plants, you are uniquely you...a writer, teacher, artist and more." ~ Robin Stockwell, owner, Succulent Gardens Nursery, Castroville, CA

"Just wanted to tell you what an incredible impact you've had on our island. We think of you with such warmth. A neighbor and I were chatting about our Garden Club and she said, 'you know, my favorite of all the speakers we've ever had was Debra Lee Baldwin.' You really opened our eyes to, and gave us a love for, succulents." ~ Clare Doyle, president, Boca Grande Garden Club (a Garden Club of America affiliate), Florida

"I put to use many of the things I learned from you and your books and my garden is now a show-stopper. I should put up a sign giving you credit!" ~ Christy Bradley, Junior League of Pasadena Garden Club, CA

Debra Lee Baldwin addresses the San Diego Horticultural Society after being named "Horticulturist of the Year"
Debra Lee Baldwin addresses the San Diego Horticultural Society after being named "Horticulturist of the Year"

Past Speaking Engagements

Epcot Center International Flower & Garden Festival, Orlando, FL

Sunset Magazine's Spring Weekend Festival

Eco-Xpo, San Juan Capistrano, CA

Succulent Celebration near San Diego

Iowa Arboretum

Honolulu Garden Club

Garden Club of America National Hort Conference

Philadelphia International Flower Show

San Francisco Flower & Garden Show

Huntington Botanical Gardens

Northwest Flower & Garden Show, Seattle

Succulent Extravaganza near San Francisco

Yard, Garden & Patio Show, Portland

San Francisco Botanical Garden

Denver Botanical Garden

San Diego Botanic Garden

Los Angeles Arboretum

Water Conservation Garden, El Cajon, CA

Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek, CA

Master Gardener Seminars, San Diego and Orange counties

University of California, Davis

University of California, Berkeley

Charleston, S.C. Horticultural Society

Roger's Gardens nursery, Corona del Mar, CA

Sherman Gardens, Corona del Mar, CA

Descanso Gardens, La Canada Flintridge, CA

Spring Garden Show, South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, CA

San Diego County Fair

San Diego Horticultural Society

Spring Home/Garden Show, San Diego

Cal State Flower & Garden Show, Cal Expo, Sacramento

Junior League of Pasadena

Cactus & Succulent Society of America (CSSA) biennial convention

CSSA affiliates in California, Arizona and Texas

Public libraries, various locations

Garden clubs, various locations

Bookstores, various locations

Nurseries, wholesale and retail, various locations