Types of Succulents

Succulent plants offer an incredible array of types, sizes, shapes, colors, flowers, fruits, garden uses, and temperature tolerances, coming from a wide range between tropical jungles, deserts, mountains, and extremely cold climates.

Because of their incredible diversity, succulent plant identification can be daunting; just the foliage of colorful succulents can range from white to red, burgundy, purple, green, yellow, silver, orange, and many stripes and variegations.

Different types of succulent plants come from arid deserts, seaside cliffs and even limbs of steamy jungle trees. While cacti are succulents, not all succulents are cacti. With some exceptions, most large succulent plants are not able to survive hard freezes, but quite a few small and miniature succulents tolerate down into the teens; some hardy succulents, including London Pride saxifrage (Saxifraga × urbium), can survive outside even below zero.

Succulent types can range from individuals to spreading colonies, and from tall to tiny, plump to wispy, and with or without spiny thorns. Within each type there are often succulent varieties with amazing differences in leaf shape or color.

Edible succulents include the young paddle-like leaves and sweet, plum-like fruits of prickly pear (Opuntia, a Southwest and Mexican succulent plant); spineless fruits of barrel cactus, yucca, and night-blooming cereus. Leaves of sedum succulents are used in salads for their sour or peppery taste. The thick, clear sap inside Aloe vera leaves can be mixed with water for a slightly bitter drink.

Easy-to-Grow Succulents

While local succulent plant names are descriptive, any practical succulent plant guide will include the following Latin genera, all fairly common succulents which are easy to grow and easy to find for sale locally or online. This succulent plants list does not include the countless distinct, unique species of each. General temperature hardiness is included.

Easy-to-Grow Garden Quality Cactus and Succulent Genera

The following Latin-name genera are of plants that are very easy to grow and often available at garden centers or very easy to find for sale online. Most have several important, distinct, unique species with wildly differing characteristics. General temperature hardiness is included. 

Aeonium (name means “immortal” - tree houseleek, desert pinwheel; frost sensitive)

Agave (century plant, many others, some small, some large; frost sensitive to -10F)

Aloe (burn plant, many others; frost sensitive to 20F)

Crassula (jade plant, stacked forms; frost sensitive)

Echeveria (Mexican hen and chicks, 20F)

Euphorbia (crown of thorns, poinsettia, pencil cactus, candelabra, baseball obesa; frost sensitive)

Graptopetalum (ghost plant, hen and chicks, 15F or lower)

Haworthia (zebra plant; frost sensitive)

Kalanchoe (desert cabbage, cabbage plant, florist kalanchoe; frost sensitive)

Opuntia (prickly pear; 20F or lower)

Portulacaria (Elephant plant, dwarf jade; frost sensitive)

Sansevieria (mother in law tongue, snake plant; frost sensitive)

Sedum (stonecrop, -20F, keep small ones out of full sun in hot climates)

Sempervivum (house leeks, hen and chicks; -10F)

Schlumbergera (Christmas cactus) and Hatiora (Easter cactus; frost sensitive) 

Senecio (string of pearls; frost sensitive, and blue senecio; 20F)

Yucca (Spanish bayonet; 20F, threadleaf; -20)

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Succulent Gardens

Succulent gardens, both indoors and out, are interesting, low maintenance, and easy, and contain a variety of sometimes-bizarre plants in many shapes, sizes, colors, and features. The most crucial things they need are bright light, and well-drained soils that never stay wet.

Caring for Succulents

Succulents are pretty low maintenance compared with other garden plants, but they do have certain requirements for light, water and fertilizer.

Growing Succulents Outdoors

Create the right conditions for growing exotic-looking hardy succulents outdoors in an garden, anywhere in the country.

Pruning and Trimming Succulents

Succulent plants often need pruning to remove unruly or overgrown growth, and their dead or dying stems, leaves, and flower stems trimmed.

Transplanting and Propagating Succulents

Succulent plants are very easy to transplant into different garden settings, and are perhaps the easiest plants of all to grow from cuttings, division, stem cutting, and rooted leaves.

Different Colors of Succulents

Succulent plants come in a vast array of leaf shapes and colors, enough to satisfy the designer eye in any gardener.

What is a Succulent Plant

Succulent plants, from tropical to cold hardy, come in astounding variety of sometimes bizarre shapes, colors, and unique features; they have fleshy leaves or stems which help them store water for weeks or months.

Succulent Plants

Succulent plants have juicy leaves or stems for holding water through long periods of drought. They come in an array of shapes, colors, sizes and temperature tolerance and are suitable for growing in dry garden areas or in containers both indoors and out.

Aloe Succulents

Aloe is a large group of succulent plants with rosettes of thick, juicy leaves and bloom spires topped with beautiful clusters of mostly red or yellow hummingbird-attracting flowers. Many popular Aloes tolerate frost or short freezes.

Growing Succulents Indoors

Nearly anyone wondering how to grow succulents indoors can look no farther than their own grandmother’s windowsill, which probably boasted at least one.


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