17 Different Types of Succulents

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Discover the different types of succulents that you can grow as an indoor or outdoor plant. Learn to fall in love again with these plants and appreciate their unique and low maintenance features.

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A variety of colorful miniature succulents.

Succulents are easy-to-care-for plants that are often mistaken as cacti. In fact, the cacti make up over 1,300 of the succulent species. There are over 60 different succulent families and about 10,000 plant variants that differ in color, texture, and size.

The word succulent came from the Latin word sucus which means “sap,” referring to the sap-filled leaves of the plants that are their main source of nourishment. It is because of these leaves that succulents need only be watered twice a month or when it’s soil is completely dry.


Type

Echeveria

Echeveria

Echeveria is very common and popular succulents and for good reason. You can easily find these succulents in a number of different colors and sizes, but they will all have the gorgeous spiral of rosettes that are so characteristic. Some Echeveria has soft and hairy leaves, while others are perfectly smooth. While some of these succulents will not bloom, others may have orange, yellow, or pink flowers. People tend to love Echeveria because they are so easy to reproduce from leaf cuttings.

They are native to South and Central America, and one of the reasons why they are so popular with homeowners is because they do not die after they flower. If you do have Echeveria in your home, you will want to make sure that you provide them with the best living and growing conditions. These plants need a lot of light and soil that has great drainage or they will not do well. Make sure that they have plenty of air circulation as well.

Aeonium

Aeonium

While many people get Aeonium and Echeveria succulents confused, there are a few differences. While they look very similar in that they both produce their leaves in concentric circles around the center, which makes them look a little like a rose, Aeonium has rosettes that are formed on long woody stems. This means that instead of growing closer to the ground the way that Echeveria and other succulents do, Aeonium can grow much taller, with some varieties reaching up to four feet tall and having rosettes that are the size of a dinner plate.

If you want to keep your Aeonium inside all the time, make sure that you choose a smaller option, which is still just as beautiful. These hardy plants can generally live through a light frost and will go semi-dormant during very hot summers, so you need to make sure that you keep an eye on your plant during these times. Regular watering during dormant periods isn’t advised.

Adromischus Cristatus

Adromischus cristatus in a pot

This small succulent has a few rosettes that are formed by triangular leaves that are quite fat. They feel a little bit like felt and are very wavy or crested on the tips of the leaves, which makes them fairly easy for most people to identify. Another way to tell apart this type of succulent is the short stem, which is wrapped in thick aerial roots that are reddish and appear to be wiry and hairlike.

This is a very easy succulent to grow, which makes it a great choice for anyone who is just learning how to grow these plants. Since they prefer well-drained soil, you will want to re-pot your Adromischus Cristatus every other year to ensure not only that the soil isn’t too compact, but also that they have space for their roots to spread out in the pot. They tend to sunburn easily when exposed to midday sun, so try to keep them in a shaded area outside.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera

This is an evergreen perennial that not only grows wild around the world but has also been cultivated for medicinal and agricultural uses. This attractive plant grows very well inside your home and has uses for homeowners. The thick, fat leaves contain a juice that has long been used to relieve the pain that you feel from a burn in the kitchen or a sunburn and is safe for topical use.

You will want to make sure that your Aloe Vera is able to dry out completely in between waterings so that its roots do not rot. It’s a good idea to use a porous pot so that the water will be able to leave the soil and it will dry out completely. Make sure that your Aloe Vera has proper drainage, as this plant will start to wilt and rot very quickly if left in too much water. It can be difficult to save your plant when this begins to occur.

Bromeliad

Red bromeliad

Bromeliads are larger succulents that stand out from others due to their size as well as their appearance. While they may look incredibly high maintenance, they are rather easy to take care of at home, and homeowners love the bright colors of the flower as well as the size and shape of the wide leaves. While they originally grow to cling to surfaces such as trees, these epiphytic plants can live in your home as long as you provide them with the proper care.

They do best in shallow pots and low soil mixtures that allow the soil to drain quickly without leaving standing water that will rot the roots. During the growing season, you will need to feed the plant with a half-strength fertilizer to promote healthy growth, and it’s important to make sure that you keep the plant in a humid area. If the plant flowers, it will die shortly afterward, but you can cut an offset, or pup, from the base of the plant to continue growing a bromeliad.

Jade

Jade plant in a pot.

This is a very popular type of succulent and is often found both in homes and on porches due to the ease with which it is grown, how quickly you can propagate it, and how easily you can trim it to make sure that it doesn’t get too large for your home or space. What makes these plants different from other types of succulents is that they have very thick stems and fat leaves that will easily root when placed in water. To ensure that your jade plant is as healthy as possible, you need to make sure that you only water it when the soil is dry to the touch and that it has full sun.

Like most kinds of succulents, jade plants will not thrive when they do not have enough sun. You will be able to tell that your jade plant isn’t getting the light that it needs to be as healthy as possible when it stretches out and there are large spaces between the leaves. This is known as etiolation and will make your plant look gangly and unsupported.

Graptopetalum

Pink flower of a graptopetalum succulent.

While Graptopetalum may look very similar to Echeveria, this succulent is different because the rosette shapes are formed on stems. The thick leaves do a great job of holding moisture so that the plant can survive periods of drought, and the leaves are fleshy and attractive. Look for a Graptopetalum, or ghost plant, that has foliage that is silvery gray or bluish green. It’s normal for the leaves to have a little bit of pink along the edges when the plant is younger.

Graptopetalum that are grown in full sun is generally yellowish-pink in color, while ones that are grown in partial shade are more bluish-gray. If your Graptopetalum lives in full, hot sun all the time, you can expect it to be gray with pink. The plant will sometimes bloom in the spring or summer months and will produce small yellow blooms. The mounding growth of this plant makes it an excellent ground cover.

Euphorbia

Euphorbia succulent in a pot.

Like other succulents, Euphorbia is a great option if you want a plant in your home but aren’t prepared to spend a lot of time worrying about when to water it and what type of care it will need. There are many varieties of these succulents to choose from, which makes it easy to find one that will look great in your space, but you do need to be careful when handling your new succulent, as they all have a latex sap that is milky in appearance and can be mildly irritating or poisonous.

Euphorbia generally do very well when allowed to grow in full sun and when provided with well-drained soil, as this will ensure that the roots do not rot. Many of these plants will do just fine when faced with drought conditions and will continue to look amazing. Taking care of your Euphorbia is relatively easy, as you only need to make sure that there aren’t any pests present and that you water them underneath their leaves to prevent mildew.

Haworthia

Haworthia

If you want a particularly outstanding looking succulent then you need to consider adding a Haworthia to the mix, as they are characterized by unique growth, bold colors and markings, and a wild form that sets them apart from other succulents. Most Haworthia grows in the form of a rosette and has chubby foliage that may look, at first glances, like an Aloe Vera. Because Haworthia produces multiple pups as it grows, it is fairly easy to separate these from the main plant and produce new plants with ease.

If there is a problem with your Haworthia, you will want to check the roots, as they will give you a clue as to the overall health of your plant. If the roots are not a pale yellow and look like they have been rotting, you may need to trim them back to improve the health of your plant. Haworthia are some of the most tolerant succulents, making them ideal for people who tend to overwater their plants or forget to water them at all.

Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe

One of the reasons why these succulents are so popular is because they have such gorgeous blooms that are available in a wide variety of colors, making them incredibly popular with florists. It’s easy to encourage your Kalanchoe to bloom even in the middle of the winter by providing them with ample light, but you do need to be careful that you don’t overwater them during this time, as you can easily damage them and cause them to rot, just like with any other type of succulent.

The leaves of the Kalanchoe vary widely in shape, from ones that are paddle-shaped to others that look more like the ears of an elephant. While most Kalanchoe is upright plants that mimic the appearance of other houseplants, others are hanging varieties and can be used in hanging baskets around the home. Make sure to keep an eye out for common household pests and to cut off the flowering head when it is bloomed out so that the plant can focus its energy on being as healthy as possible.

Huernia

Huernia

While there are many succulents that bloom and have very attractive flowers, if you want to make sure you are choosing a succulent that is sure to impress you with the beauty of their blooms, you will want to consider Huernia. These plants prefer very bright light so that they can maintain their sage green color, although incredibly harsh sun will cause them to shrivel and change color. If you expose your Huernia to too much sun it can actually die, but not enough light will lead to fewer flowers being produced during the growing season.

Like most succulents, if you overwater your Huernia you will accidentally rot the roots. Make sure that you plant them in shallow pots and be careful to water them occasionally, but deeply. Huernia is also fairly easy to propagate if you want to have more plants, as all you have to do is pop off a piece of the plant at one of the segmented areas and place it on top of the soil so that it can grow roots.

Sedum

Sedum

Typical of other succulents, Sedum store water in their leaves. Their leaves grow in clusters around very thick stems or stalks. While some leaves are shiny and almost look like they are covered in wax, others are hairy. There are many differences in the size and appearance of these succulents, as they can be very tall and look great as houseplants, while others make excellent groundcover in the garden.

These succulents do best in full sunlight in order to thrive and grow. When these plants are grown under the right conditions, they will bloom, producing very pretty flowers that are red, orange, lavender, yellow, or white and shaped like small stars. There are more than 400 different plants in this genus, making it relatively easy to find a Sedum that will meet your needs.

Agave

Agave

Agave plants are incredibly large succulents that have spiny tips on the ends of the leaves. The leaves grow in a rosette, although it can be difficult to distinguish that shape and pattern at first glance. Smaller agaves tend to be around the size of a plate, where there are some succulents that will actually grow to be 20 feet in diameter. While most have sharp points on the leaves, there are very few plants that have softer leaves, although these can be tricky to find.

The sign of maturity of this succulent is a very tall stalk that grows out of the center of the plant for the flowers. The flowers vary in color and are shaped like bells. Once the plant produces seed pods it will generally die, although there are a few species that won’t. Providing the plant with ample sun and protection from frost will ensure that it lasts as long as possible and is healthy.

Dudleya

Dudleya

While once included in the genus Echeveria, Dudleya varies enough that they are now recognized as a different type of succulent. They do look very similar to Echeveria, as they form rosettes and have similar colors, but their flowers are very difficult. Dudleya flowers arise from the bottom of the plant rather than the middle and the flower stems are covered in leaves that are spread out along it.

When properly cared for, Dudleya can live for up to 100 years. They have a dormant period in the summer and spend most of their time in the winter growing. They can easily rot when left in the damp soil or when water is left on the leaves, so it is very important to take care when planting and maintaining these succulents. Low light will cause these succulents to etiolate quickly, so most people prefer to grow them outside where they will have ample light.

Cotyledon

Cotyledon in a pot

Most of all Cotyledons are poisonous, so owners need to take special care when growing these plants and maintaining them in their homes. They require much of the same care and conditions of other succulents, including dry soil, plenty of sun, and warm temperatures. One of the main reasons why people love to grow these succulents is because of their interesting shape and appearance. Unlike other succulents that tend to be much smaller, these plants can grow to be quite large, which can be stunning both in the yard and in the home.

When you are going to buy a Cotyledon succulent, you will want to make sure that you consider the type of flower that you want, where you will keep it, and how you are going to prevent children or animals from being in danger of the poison. Under the right conditions, you can enjoy a succulent with thick leaves, long stems, and gorgeous yellow, pink, or orange flowers.

Sempervivum

Sempervivum

Sempervivum is some of the most common succulents that you can buy. They are often known as “hens and chicks” plants and, while they look very similar to echeveria, they are incredibly cold hardy and spread quickly during the growing season, forming mats and covering areas without any problems. Gardeners who want to include succulents in their outside gardens but are worried about how they can do so without the plant dying will benefit from investing in Sempervivum, as they can survive snow as well as being eaten to the ground.

Generally, Sempervivum will form rosettes that vary from half an inch to more than 6 inches wide, and while their leaves vary in appearance, they all store water. They have a typical growth pattern that consists of a larger rosette and smaller offsets surrounding it. The mother plant remains attached to the baby plants via a stolon and is able to pass nutrients through the stolen until the smaller plant is able to form its own roots and take care of itself.

Senecio

Senecio

Unlike other types of succulents, it can be very difficult to find a commonality in the Senecio genus. These succulents can vary from very small, upright plants, to long, trailing ones that look great in hanging baskets. The one way to tell that these plants are all a member of the Senecio genus is due to their appearance and the way that the flowers bloom.

The blooms of Senecio succulents are often overlooked by most people due to their small size. If you want to grow these succulents, it’s important to note that they are toxic and can cause major health problems when consumed. This makes them a great addition to your garden, as they are very resistant to deer and other pests.

Feature

Monocarpic

Sempervivum is an example of a monocarpic succulent.

Some succulents will flower and then die. If you are ok with your succulent putting out pups and then dying, a monocarpic succulent such as a Sempervivum is the right choice for you. The plant will put off many new plants before blooming and dying.

Polycarpic

Sedum is an example of a polycarpic succulent.

Sedum is an example of a polycarpic succulent. This means that the succulent can bloom multiple times before dying. If you want to experience a lot of flowers without having to worry about the main succulent dying, you will want to look for polycarpic plants.

Size

Large silver succulent cactus with sharp tips in foreground and the blossoming stalk of a century plant shooting skyward in the background.

While most succulents are rather small and will work well in your house or garden, if you want to really have a showstopper plant, you will want to consider buying one that is larger. In that case, think about planting an Agave, if they will grow in your area.

Hardiness

Sempervivum succulents are known for their hardiness that they can thrive in very cool temperature.

Most succulents need very warm, dry air to survive the best that they can. If you live in a cold area and don’t want to worry about bringing your succulents in during the fall and winter, you need to be very careful when choosing what plant to buy. Some succulents, such as Sempervivum, can handle the chill of a zone 3 winter.





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