Succulent Growth Rate

Succulents are popular for their dainty look and small size. But while some stay small, some of them grow quite tall. Most succulents do not grow quickly, but when they do, they have a natural beauty and charm that plant lovers find irresistible. In this article, let us get to know important tips on how to make them grow faster and the factors that affect a succulent’s growth rate. 

Tips for Helping Your Succulents Grow Faster

Try some of these helpful tips to have a faster growth rate for your succulents:

Avoid planting succulents in an area where it is already too crowded. 

Succulent roots are very capable of absorbing the nutrition that the plants need in a tight space or container. Plants are able to form a succulent system according to the density of the soil as well as potting space. However, if the succulents are planted in an area that is too crowded, they will focus on the roots. Their goal is to maintain their water balance and nutrition as the key to survival, so the plants will exert less energy towards growing above the soil. 

Succulents planted in a pot with many plants will fight it out with the roots of other plants. They will fight for root space to collect nutrients, which results in stunted growth. What you can do is remove the struggling succulent and transfer it to a less competitive area, or separate it in a pot where there are no other plants. 

You can also check out our earlier article on how many succulents per pot for more details. 

The quality of the soil is a good indicator of a strong growth process. 

Succulents thrive well in soil that has good drainage. Plant growers recommend adding chunkier materials like pebbles to the soil mix for water to flow more easily. If the soil does not drain well, the extra water makes it so the roots won’t be able to “breathe,” This could result in abnormal growth and stress.  

The ideal soil for succulents allows the roots to expand properly. The pot or container should have draining holes at the bottom. It should also be a nutrient-rich soil created by adding fertilizers, preferably organic ones. The plants should have a regular watering schedule and should be watered once the soil has dried out. 

Be sure to spread the roots from time to time. 

Succulents tend to crowd their roots in circles to get the most nutrients from the soil. The tightness of the root circle depends on the amount of space provided for the plants in a pot or garden.  But for the plants to grow faster, you need to spread the roots from time to time. This allows the succulents to absorb more from the soil and grow faster. 

When plants feel that there is free space, they tend to fill it both under and above the soil. To help spread the roots, take the succulents out of the soil, being careful to not damage the root systems.  If they are in a pot, squeeze the pot or add a few drops of water to loosen the soil. Once you take out the plant, shake the soil off of the roots. 

Next, massage the root system with your fingers. Then, you can plant the succulents in a fresh soil mix. Be sure to spread the roots as far as you can with your hands, but do not use sharp objects that could damage them.

Separate offsets from the mother plant regularly.

Succulents produce offsets as they grow. These offsets are little succulents that sprout up around the base of the parent or mother plant. They stay attached to the mother plant and take up space. As they mature they absorb the nutrition from the soil and fight for survival. What you can do is separate the offsets so they can have enough space for their roots to develop. 

Protect your succulents as they grow. 

Succulents also tend to be sensitive to damages, especially during the growth process.  It can slow down the process and take months for succulents to heal if the stems or leaves are damaged or broken. Keep your plants away from curious pets like dogs and cats. Place them in an area where they are protected from harsh conditions like strong winds or heavy rains.  

What are the factors that influence the succulent growth rate?

The factors that commonly influence succulent growth rate include the following:

It will depend on the species. 

Some species naturally grow faster than others. Here are some succulents that grow fast:


This rosette succulent grows horizontally and is also called hen and chicks since it is a big rosette with baby ones.  This plant can grow two or more feet wide and is deer-resistant. You do not have to fertilize it, but it requires partial shade during the hottest months. 

Aurora pink jelly bean sedum 

This fast-growing succulent has ruby-colored leaves when exposed to sunlight, but it turns green if it does not receive enough light.  Pests rarely thrive on this plant, but if you notice mealy bugs, simply apply rubbing alcohol to the affected areas. This plant is also prone to fungus if it is overwatered, so make sure to let the soil dry in between watering sessions.

Other succulents that tend to grow fast include the Kalanchoe, Aloe, String of buttons, Christmas cactus, and Graptoveria.

It will depend on the growing conditions, including the watering and feeding of the plants. 

The growing conditions of succulents also play a role in their growth rate.  These plants do not like waterlogged soil but prefer soil with good drainage. Make sure to water them at least once a week, but see to it that the soil is completely dry before doing so. If you live in a hot or tropical country, always check the soil conditions.

Regular misting the soil is ideal for succulents that were propagated from leaves, along with watering once a week. 

Succulents also experience dormancy during summer, depending on their species. Aeonium goes dormant in summer and develops well during wintertime. However, succulents in places with cold climates are dormant in winter and grow during summer. 

Water the plants only when the soil is very dry during the dormancy period; processing water requires a lot of energy for plants during this period. Avoid fertilizing the plants during this time. 

Potted succulents should be provided with fertilizers so they can have access to essential organic and inorganic nutrients. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are ideal fertilizers. Fertilize moderately during the growth period. 


Succulents mostly come in small sizes, making them popular options as home and office decorations. Most of them grow slowly, but certain species tend to grow faster, such as Echeveria and Kalanchoe. Be sure not to overcrowd your plants in one area and see to it that the soil drains well. Separate offsets from the mother plant regularly and protect them from pets and natural conditions like strong winds to ensure a good succulent growth rate.

Image: / Seung Heon Lee

Planting Succulents in Containers Without Drainage

Yes, you can plant succulents in containers without drainage, but you will need to be diligent in determining whether the plant has been watered too much. Overwatering can happen easily, so be sure you know what you are doing. 

You have two primary options: you can water the succulent normally and tip the pot or planter to remove the excess water. You could also use the double potting method by placing the plant in a smaller pot, then placing that pot inside a larger pot without any drainage holes.

Why does a succulent’s pot need drainage holes?

A succulent pot needs drainage holes because the plants’ roots need air as much as they need water. When a plant is being overwatered, the roots drown and die. They then develop root rot and are susceptible to a host of fungal problems. The root rot will spread to the stem, branches, and leaves until the plant dies.

Succulent roots need time to dry in between watering because the roots also need air. That is why succulent soil mixes often need perlite or sand since to make the soil more airy.

How can I plant succulents in containers without holes?

Choose the right pot size.

Succulents do not like being planted in a pot that is too big for them– a bigger pot means more soil, and more soil means more water retained. They also do not like being planted in a pot that is too small because their roots will become restricted and their growth may become stunted.

Succulents prefer being planted in a pot that is large enough to give the roots space to grow. Plant them in pots that gradually grow bigger in size as the plant grows.

Place a layer of rocks.

If you place a layer of pumice, stones, pebbles, or rocks in the bottom of the pot, this may be enough to create a layer for drainage. This way, even if your pot does not have holes, the roots are still kept away from the excess water because the roots are not sitting in the wet soil for too long.

The bigger the pot, the larger the rocks and stones you will need. Adding pebbles and pumice to the succulent soil mix will create more space between the soil, allowing the water to drain even quicker.

Use activated charcoal.

You can also use activated charcoal as a natural antibacterial and antifungal component. Activated charcoal also absorbs excess water. You can place the charcoal at the very bottom or on top of the rock layer. This method is optional, but it can definitely help with the drainage. It will work better for larger pots than smaller pots.

How do I water succulents that are in a pot that does not have drainage holes?

The key to making a container with no drainage holes work is to have precise watering techniques. Keep in mind that when the excess water cannot drain out, you have to go easy on the watering. Make sure you touch and inspect the soil first before watering.

Use a syringe, spray bottle,  or squeeze bottle.

Using these precise containers will help you control the amount of water that gets into the succulent containers. If you are using a spray bottle, spray the soil around the plant and not the leaves. Plants absorb water through their roots.

Know how often to water your plants.

Knowing how often you need to water your plants will depend on the climate where you live, on whether it is the succulent’s growing or dormant season, and on the size of the container. 

Succulents will need more frequent watering during the summer and much less in the rainy season or winter. Pay close attention to your plants. Those that normally get watered every seven to ten days may only need to be watered every ten to fourteen days in the colder months.

If the climate where you live is dry and gets little rain, you need to water the succulents more frequently. But if the place where you live is very humid, you might have to water the plants much less.

If you are a beginner plant owner and have little experience with succulents, water your plants less than what is ideal and just adjust as you see fit. Eventually, you will find the right balance for each plant. You will know that your plant is underwatered if the leaves start to brown and curl at the tips. Touch the soil around the roots. If it is dry, you may need to water.

Know how much water you need.

In the beginning, it can be tricky trying to figure out how much water to pour into the pot, especially in one that does not have any drainage holes. When you have enough, excess water should not pool in the bottom. If there is excess water, pour it out or absorb it with paper towels.

Different soil types also absorb different amounts of water. A good way to start is to pour in water that amounts to half of the amount of soil. If the pot holds two cups of soil, pour in one cup of water.

Drain any excess water.

If you think that you put too much water in the plant’s soil, you can tip the container to one side to pour out the excess water. Make sure you hold the plant and soil in place so that nothing falls out. You can also use paper towels or a dry cloth towel to dab and absorb the excess water.

Remove the pot from under the rain.

In case of rain, secure the pots with no holes first and take them into a place with a roof. It is best if you do this before the rain starts to pour. If you forget to bring the plants in, you can remedy this by pouring as much excess water out of the pots as you can.


It is not advisable, but it is definitely possible to keep a succulent alive in a container that does not have drainage holes. Drainage holes are put in pots to make sure that any excess water is able to drain from the soil, thus saving the plant’s roots from root rot and fungal problems.

If you prefer pots with no drainage, then you need to be precise when watering your plants since they will be more sensitive to overwatering.

You can always tip the pot to the side to drain the excess water, or use paper towels to absorb the excess water in the soil. Make sure you take plants in non-draining pots indoors when it is about to rain.

Image: / evgenyb

Underwatered Succulents

Underwatered Succulents

Most succulents are known to be drought-tolerant, meaning that they can go long periods of time without having access to water, but this does not mean that they do not need water at all. An underwatered succulent will have shriveled and wrinkled leaves. The leaves will turn brown and will feel flat and soft to the touch.

The best way to remedy an underwatered plant is to be well-informed regarding the proper care tips for your specific type of succulent. 

How can I tell if my succulent is underwatered?

The simplest and easiest way you can tell if your succulent is underwatered is by looking at its leaves. Succulents are able to survive droughts because their bodies and leaves are essentially water storage units that keep them moist in arid climates. When they have used up all of the water in their body, they will need to replenish their water stores, which is when you will need to water them.

An underwatered succulent will have leaves that shrivel and wrinkle the longer it goes without water. It will droop and wilt the more water-deprived it becomes. Its leaves will turn brown and dry up, starting from the bottom of the plant. This is because as the plant’s water storage lessens, the leaves at the bottom will dry out first. The plant will drop leaves as it goes on in order to conserve what little water and energy it still has in order to survive. Its leaves will feel flat and soft to the touch because without water inside them, they lose their firmness and plumpness. The leaves will look like deflated balloons.

What are signs I should watch out for in case my succulent is underwatered?

Curves and folds

There are hundreds of different varieties of succulents. Their leaves can be long and slim, just like the aloe vera. These kinds of leaves will curve into themselves if they are underwatered. This is the plant’s way of conserving water because it decreases the surface area that needs to be supplied with water.

Succulents like the echeveria, whose leaves grow in a rosette form, will look like they are closed when they are underwatered. This is their way of conserving water because the leaves are more tightly packed together.

Aerial roots

Roots that form above the top soil are called aerial roots. Succulents will grow these because when a succulent feels underwatered, they need support to remain standing. Dehydrated succulents are desperate for water, so the aerial roots are their last hope at getting water molecules from the air. The same roots will also help the plant avoid bending too much and breaking off a stem, working like a tripod to keep it off the ground.

Dying roots

If your succulent is underwatered, the soil around it is cracked, the leaves are brown and dry, and their roots are most likely also dying. Dying roots will have a hard time absorbing and distributing water to feed the plant, making it harder for them to recover. It is almost always too late for a succulent if it has gone so long without water that it has dry roots. Make sure you catch the first signs of dehydration before it gets too serious.

No flowers

The longer you have taken care of a succulent plant, the more you become aware of its flowering pattern. If you notice the plant not producing any flowers when it usually does, that could be a sign of being underwatered. Succulents need water to start flowering, but if it does not flower, it means that your plant is prioritizing its survival as opposed to producing flowers.

Different feel

When you suspect your succulent to be underwatered, touch its leaves. You may notice that they are a lot softer than what they normally feel like. This is because when a succulent is properly hydrated, their leaves are taut and firm. The leaves of an underwatered succulent feel thin, crisp, and dry when you touch them.

How can I save my underwatered succulents?

As long as the roots of your succulent have not yet completely dried up, getting an underwatered succulent back to normal is an easy task. Take a watering can and water the soil surrounding the plant. Wait until all of the water has been absorbed by the soil before you pour even more water into it. Keep repeating these steps until you can see excess water coming out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. Make sure all of the excess water has been drained. Observe your succulent over the coming days, but if you did all of the above steps correctly, your succulent should be able to recover with no problem. The leaves and stems should start to feel stronger and firmer.

If after a few days the plant does not look any better, repeat the same steps. Continue this until your plant has recovered fully.

When your succulent has gotten back to its original vigor, create a watering schedule that is appropriate for the specific type of succulent that you have. Stick to this schedule so the plant is kept in a state of proper hydration.


Succulents tend to be very difficult to kill, which is why they are great plants for beginner gardeners, but that does not mean that they can just be completely ignored. One of the most common mistakes people make when growing succulents is underwatering them.

An underwatered succulent has wrinkled and shriveled up leaves and stems, browning and curled up leaves, an inability to flower, and drying roots.

Remedy underwatering by watering the soil around the plant until the soil is soaked and the excess water drains. Repeat this every couple of days, depending on the type of succulent, until the plant returns to its original vigor.

Image: / Brittany Tande

White Bugs on Succulents

White Bugs on Succulents

Succulents are the preferred plants of many plant enthusiasts because they come in an array of colors and shapes. They also make great indoor plants since they are able to survive dry conditions. However, their thick, fleshy parts make them easy targets for pests that feed on the juices of plants. White bugs like mealybugs and whiteflies are common invaders that could bring great damage to your plants if they are not removed.

Common Types of White Bugs on Succulents 

If you are finding white bugs on your succulents, it may be one of the following:


Mealybugs are white, fuzzy, cotton-like pests that can bring a lot of damage if a large number of these bugs populate your plants. These pests are known to feast on both indoor and outdoor succulents. They are soft-bodied, segmented, and covered with powdery wax and filaments around their edges. 

These slow-moving pests feed and suck on the sap of leaves,  excreting honeydew as they feed on the plants. This further aggravates the situation since the honeydew tends to attract other pests, such as ants. These bugs multiply easily since the females can lay up to 600 eggs at a time. Affected plants should be treated at once to prevent a massive infestation. 

Mealybugs are also called tiny white bugs, millie bugs, citrus mealybugs, and pink hibiscus bugs. Aside from white, they may also come in colors such as brown, cream-colored, pink, olive-green, or yellow. Some people mistake adult mealybugs as fungus or powdery mildew, but they are actually seeing clumps of bugs that move around and feed on the sap of succulents. These bugs may also hide under the soil and feed on the roots and root crowns.


These soft-bodied, winged insects are not a type of fly, although they are capable of flying and have wings. They are Hemipterans that make up the family Aleyrodidae with more than 1,550 species. These bugs are just about 1/12 of an inch and are often found in clusters on the undersides of leaves. They are easier to spot than other pests since they are active during the day and scatter easily when disturbed. 

Whiteflies use their piercing mouthparts to suck plant juices and produce a sugary substance called honeydew that can promote fungal growth, such sooty mold. Plants are unable to carry out photosynthesis if there is a heavy infestation of these pests. The leaves become wilted, turn yellow, and eventually shrink and drop off. 

How do I get rid of white bugs on succulents?

These are some measures you can take to take to get rid of white bugs on your succulents:

1, Isolate the affected plants. 

Once you notice a heavy pest infestation in your succulents, you should isolate the affected ones. Quarantine them and keep them in an area away from other plants to avoid spreading the pestilence.  

2. Rinse the plants with a high-powered water sprayer.

Spray the affected plants with water set to high pressure. This is usually enough to remove the white bugs on succulents. However, this may only work on a short-term basis; you need to repeat the process a few times. 

3. Clean and sanitize the pots and let them dry off. 

Clean and sanitize the pots with hot, soapy water.  Also, clean the plants to remove any traces of white bugs. Once the pots are dry, you can replant. 

4. Replant the plants using fresh succulent soil. 

Replant the cleaned succulents using fresh soil.  Discard the old soil as it may still contain pests.

5. Spray the newly replanted plants with repellents. 

These are some of the common repellents used for treating white bugs on succulents:

  • Rubbing alcohol – Use 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Dilute it with some water, then spray it on the succulents. You can wipe the stems and leaves using some cotton balls or Q-tips dipped in rubbing alcohol. 
  • Liquid dish soap- Simply mix some liquid dish soap with water and spray the solution on the plants. It effectively eliminates white bugs on succulents. Repeat the process regularly until you do not see traces of the pests. 
  • Neem oil – Neem oil is an essential oil that is effective in eradicating white bugs and other pests from your succulents. Simply dilute a few drops with a cup of water and spray on the affected plants. Repeat as necessary until there are no traces of the bugs. 

Do not spray the plants when there is full sun. Place the treated plants in a shaded area or where there is indirect sunlight.  Neem oil can also cause sunburn to your plants if you spray it during the peak sunlight hours.  Check and monitor the treated plants so that the pests won’t come back. 

If the infestation is so heavy and many plants have already been affected, your last resort should be to get rid of the affected plants to avoid infecting the other remaining healthy plants in your garden. 

Other Common Types of Pests on Succulents 

These are other common types of pests that invade succulents:

  • Aphids 
  • Fungus gnats 
  • Scale
  • Spider Mites 
  • Ants 


Succulents may be drought-resistant and able to survive with minimal attention, but they are not spared from pests and diseases.  White bugs on succulents, such as mealybugs and whiteflies, are known to feed on the plants’ sap, multiply, and take over the plants rapidly.  Minimal infestations can be easily resolved with homemade solutions like isopropyl rubbing alcohol, liquid soap, or neem oil. However, for very heavy infestations, the last resort is to get rid of the damaged plants to avoid the spread of the infestation. 

  Image: / SingerGM

Black bugs on Succulents

Black bugs on Succulent

Succulents are popular among plant enthusiasts because they require minimal care and maintenance. There are approximately 10,000 succulent species worldwide, and most of them are continually being crossbred because of their unique colors, shapes, and sizes. However, just like other plants, succulents are prone to disease and pests. In this article, we will identify different varieties of black bugs on succulents and how you can protect your plants from them. 

Types of Black Bugs on Succulents

These are some of the most common types of black bugs on succulents:


Aphids are soft-bodied insects that are also called plant lice. These pests feed on plant sap and excrete honeydew, a sugary substance that attracts ants and sooty mold fungus. There are around 4,000 species of aphids, which inflict damage not only on succulents but on other plants such as vegetables. Aside from black aphids, other species come in various colors such as green, yellow, and brown. 

How to get rid of aphids: 

Spray water with high pressure to get rid of aphids in your succulents. You can also remove the aphids from the plants using your hands. Another treatment option is using soapy water and vegetable oil. Simply put a few drops of dish soap in one to two cups of water, add one teaspoon of vegetable oil and mix well. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on any affected plant areas, including the undersides of the leaves. 

Neem oil is also effective in removing aphids from your plants. Mix one tablespoon (15 ml) of neem oil into eight cups of water. Spray the solution on affected plant areas and the undersides of leaves. Do this only at night to avoid the leaves being sunburned. Repeat the procedure once a week as necessary, until there are no traces of aphids on the plants. 

You can also introduce beneficial insects like ladybugs that prey on aphids. Attract them to your garden by planting chives, calendula, or cilantro plants. 


Ants thrive on succulents because they feed on the nectar of the flowers. They also consume the honeydew that aphids excrete. You need to treat the aphids to remove the ants that flock to your plants. 

How to get rid of ants:

Use soapy water or insecticidal soap, spraying it on the plants to remove the ants lurking in the leaves and stems. Repeat the procedure weekly as needed. Ant baits are also effective in drawing the ants away from the plants. 

If there is a heavy infestation, you may have to repot the plant. Transfer the affected succulent to a new pot and place fresh succulent soil.  

Fungus gnats 

Fungus gnats resemble mosquitoes and are attracted to the moisture of potting soil. These black bugs are also called sciarid flies or mushroom flies. They look harmless but it can be hard to get rid of these black-colored bugs. If the soil in your plants is constantly moist, these pests become attracted to it and will start breeding. 

How to get rid of fungus gnats:

Avoid overwatering your plants so that the soil is allowed to dry out. Make sure that your potting mix is fast-draining. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on top of the soil to get rid of these pests. Insect traps can help get rid of these insects as well. You can also spray the affected plant areas with a soap and water mixture. 

Pest Prevention Tips

Here are some general pest prevention tips to keep your succulents healthy and pest-free:

  1. Use a mild, balanced fertilizer during the growing season of your succulents to keep them strong and healthy. Once the autumn season ends, do not add fertilizers again to your plants for the entire cold season. 

2. Remove dead leaves so that bugs and pests cannot breed and hide. This will also prevent mold growth. 

3. Make sure that you are using fast-draining soil so that it will not stay moist. If the soil stays wet for a long time it will attract gnats, mealybugs, and other pests. 

4. Do not reuse soil or dead leaves from plants that have been affected by pests when making compost. 

5. Spray your plants regularly with neem oil to repel harmful pests. 

6. Pesticides should only be used in extreme infestations since some of them can contain toxic ingredients. They come in two types, contact and systemic. Contact pesticides need to be in contact with the pests to be able to kill them, while systemic ones are absorbed into the roots of the plants and poison the bugs when they feed on the plants. The latter type is more costly and comes in concentrated forms that should be diluted before application. 


Black bugs on succulents may wreak havoc on your plants and could damage or kill them.  Aphids can multiply quickly and can attract ants and sooty mold, which will aggravate the situation. Fungus gnats may not be as damaging, but they can also be a nuisance and hard to get rid of. Common treatment options include spraying plants with soapy water, using ant baits and insect pads, or spraying with contact or systemic pesticides. 

Image: / Aleksandr Krotkov


How Long Do Succulents Live?

How Long Do Succulents Live?

Succulents are so diverse that there is no clear-cut answer to this question. Some succulents only live for a few years, while there are others that can live for centuries, such as the barrel cactus. There are very many factors that affect a succulent’s age. Hybrid plants often have shorter lifespans. Some succulents do not live for very long, but they do reproduce quickly to make sure that their species continues. Other succulents die after flowering. In this article, we will learn about some of the factors that can affect a succulent’s lifespan.

How do succulents grow?

Succulents grow much more slowly than other types of plants, and every type does not grow at the same rate. Most of them do go through a growth phase and a dormancy phase every year.

A succulent’s growing season is when its body does the work to mature. This is the time when they start to grow new leaves, produce offsets, and bloom with flowers. During this time, you should provide your succulents with fertilizer, sunlight, and more water than normal.

When a plant is dormant, it is a lot like when an animal is hibernating. This is a plant’s way of making it through the most extreme weather conditions. They will slow their growth so much that they might even stop growing completely in order to conserve their stored water and energy. During this phase they will not need as much sunlight or water.

Indoor plants may not ever go into dormancy because there are usually just insignificant changes in temperature compared to what they would face outside. There is nothing wrong with your plant in this case; it is just that the indoor conditions do not coincide with what the conditions would be in their natural habitat.

In the northern hemisphere, succulents will usually go dormant in the winter and grow during the spring and summer seasons. Those in the southern hemisphere will become dormant in the summer and grow during the winter.

Do succulents have a specific life span?

The growth rate of succulents will depend on what type of succulent it is. It is difficult to pinpoint what exactly the average lifespan of a succulent is because of the many varieties. This doesn’t even consider all the other factors that can affect a succulent’s age.

Out in their natural habitat, succulents can live for years and even centuries. The ones that do not live this long are efficient at reproducing offsets which ensures further generations.

The most important factor in making sure that your succulents are able to reach their maximum possible lifespan is to give them the right growth conditions, outdoors or indoors. 

What is the average lifespan of the most common succulents?


This succulent is known for its evergreen leaves, which is why it is one of the most popular succulents used in terrariums and arrangements. It can come in different colors and adds beauty to any home.

The Echeveria can live for three years up to several decades. The better and more appropriate the living conditions you give them, the longer they will live. This is usually not a problem since these plants are perfect for beginners.

They like to have a lot of light, so you can leave them under direct sunlight for five hours a day. This plant is perfect for places with lots of sun.

Crown of thorns

The crown of thorns can live up to 25 years. Also known as the Euphorbia, this plant’s stem is covered in thorns, hence its name. It also grows flowers that come in a variety of colors. It loves the sunshine and does well when placed near a window. You only need to water these plants in the spring and late fall.

Christmas cactus

A native succulent of Brazil, this plant produces white, pink, and red flowers, which make it a great indoor plant. It can live up to 20 years as long as all of its basic needs are met. It may need fertilizer and a precise amount of water to grow well. It likes light but should not be planted directly underneath the sun.

Jade plant

This succulent is also called the money plant because it is said to bring good financial luck to whoever owns it. These plants can live to be between 70 and 100 years old. This can be the type of plant to get passed down from generation to generation. They can be placed under direct sunlight for several hours a day, but should also be watered adequately. They thrive in tropical climates and need to be taken indoors during the winter.

Hens and chicks

This plant is native to Europe and Africa. It is one of the smaller kinds of succulents and is named for its structure. There is a bigger mother plant and connected to its base are her chicks. This plant can survive for over three years. This is one of the easiest plants to grow because it can be grown anywhere.

Aloe vera

One of the most popular succulents in the world, the aloe vera has a multitude of benefits according to many cultures. It has thick long leaves which contain a gel that has many uses. The aloe vera plant reaches full maturity at around four years old and can live up to 12 years if given proper care. A 12-year old aloe vera can reach two to three feet tall.

Barrel cactus

This is probably the succulent with the longest lifespan. It can live anywhere from 50 to hundreds of years if placed in ideal living conditions.

Their stems look like barrels and their spines can come in different colors. These plants are from the driest of deserts and do well even under direct sunlight for long periods of time. They do not need to be watered very often since they are able to store plenty of water in their bodies.


Succulents do not have an average lifespan because there are so many different kinds. Some only live for a few years while others have been known to live for centuries.

Factors that affect a succulent’s lifespan include whether they die after flowering (monocarpic), whether they are a hybrid or not, and if the plant is grown in its ideal living conditions.

Image: / JNemchinova

Do Succulents Need Drainage?

Yes, succulents need to be planted in soil that has great drainage or in a container or pot that has drainage holes at the bottom.

In their natural habitat, succulents grow in sandy soil. It allows water to drain quickly and does not soak the plant’s roots. It also rains very little in their natural habitats, so these plants have to be able to store plenty of water in their bodies and leaves. They are not built to have perpetually wet soil around their roots. Exposing their roots to moisture for extended periods of time will lead to root rot as well as bacterial or fungal problems that can ultimately affect the entire plant, often leading to death. Providing good drainage for succulents is very easy and will help the plants survive much longer.

Why is it important to use a pot with a drainage hole?

It is possible to use a pot without a drainage hole for your succulents, but you have to always be precise about watering because it is very easy to overwater.

If you are a beginner, it is better to use pots with drainage holes because you are most likely still trying to learn how to properly water your plants. If the pots have drainage holes, it is almost impossible to overwater your plants unless you do it multiple times a week.

A pot with drainage holes allows any excess water to flow out instead of settling in the soil and making your plant’s roots susceptible to root rot.

If your pots do not have holes, ask someone who knows how to handle a drill to make holes at the bottom of your pots. If you are using a glass container, you can place a layer of pebbles or charcoal at the very bottom to help drain and absorb the excess water.

Succulents prefer to be planted in ceramic or terracotta pots because they are porous and allow water to evaporate faster than glass or plastic pots.

What soil should I use for better drainage?

As mentioned above, succulent roots will rot if they are allowed to sit in wet soil for too long. Aside from using a pot with drainage holes, planting your succulents in fast draining soil is also beneficial. Succulents predominantly grow in arid deserts so they are used to living on sandy soil. Simulating this in your garden will be greatly appreciated by your succulents.

There is commercially available cactus soil mix that you can use, or you can add sand, perlite, or pumice for even more efficient draining. These added components will make the soil more airy and porous so water drains through quickly but the roots also have access to all the oxygen they need.

Always check the soil before watering.

Succulent water needs differ depending on the type of succulent you have. Some plants like to be watered more than others. No matter what succulent you might have, the easiest way to determine whether it needs to be watered again is by touching the soil in the pot. If it looks dry, touch it with your finger, and burrow it for a few inches if you need to. If the top inch of soil is dry, it is time to water.

Always remember that it is better to underwater succulents than it is to overwater succulents. Underwatering is easy to remedy, but an overwatered succulent is often too far gone to save by the time symptoms have appeared.

You can start by watering your succulent every two weeks. Observe, and then adjust accordingly. If you think two weeks is too long between waterings, try doing it every 12 days and observe again. Keep doing this until you figure out the correct schedule for your plants.

What if my succulents get caught in the rain?

Succulents naturally grow in places with little to no rainfall. If you live in an area that has more than 20 inches of rain in a year, you should move your potted succulents under your house’s eaves. You can place large umbrellas in concrete bases around your garden so the plants do not get soaked with water. Make sure that water runoff does not go towards your garden beds and potted plants. If you have plants in low-lying areas, it is best to replant them elsewhere to avoid puddles. You can also topdress the soil around the plants with pumice to deal with the excess moisture.

Is there a specific type of water I should use for succulents?

The best water for most succulents, and plants in general, is rain water or distilled water. Tap water often contains calcium or magnesium that builds up in the soil and appears on the plant’s leaves as white dots. During the rainy season, collect rainwater in large containers so you can use it throughout the rest of the year.

Tips for watering succulents

  • Do not use spray bottles when watering succulents because this will just wet the plant’s leaves. Succulents absorb water through their roots in the ground. You should use a small watering can and pour the water directly onto the soil at the base of your plant.
  • Do not water the leaves on top of the plant. If it is left for too long, it can cause the leaves to rot.
  • Do not water your succulents when it rains or when the weather is too hot.
  • Do not water during the afternoon; the best time to water your plants is in the early morning.
  • Use rainwater, distilled water, or filtered water on your succulents.


Yes, succulents need drainage in the form of well-draining soil and a container that has drainage holes at the bottom. Good drainage is important for succulents because when their roots are left to soak in wet soil for too long, they can develop root rot and become susceptible to bacterial and fungal problems. All these conditions can affect the rest of the plant over time and even lead to death.

A strict watering schedule should be followed so you do not overwater your plants. As long as you stick to it, you should have no problem keeping your succulents healthy and happy.

Image: / OlgaMiltsova

Succulent Root Rot

Succulent root rot is a general term for a variety of diseases that affect the plant’s roots. The most common cause of succulent root rot is overwatering. When the plant’s pot is always soaked in water and there are no drainage holes, the roots will “drown,” killing the root one segment at a time. The rot can spread to the rest of the plant if not caught soon enough.

You can save your succulents from root rot through sulfur, beheading, trimming, or drying.

What is root rot?

Root rot is a condition in plants that can be caused by diseases, but is more commonly due to overwatering. A plant’s roots rot and die, causing the rest of the plant to die if it is not treated as soon as possible.

Overwatering your succulent causes root rot, especially if the plant’s pot does not have any drainage holes in the bottom. The excess water that the plant does not absorb simply stays in the soil around the plant’s roots. Succulent roots need air to survive, which is why they need airy soil. If their pot is soaked in water all the time, the roots will basically “drown” and die.

It is quite challenging to catch root rot in its early stages. People usually notice differences in their plants because of changes in the stems or leaves, but these symptoms mean that the root rot has become quite serious and may be hard to treat.

How can you tell if your succulent is overwatered?

One way to rule out certain plants in your garden from root rot is by checking to see if they have been overwatered or not. An overwatered succulent’s leaves will have a lighter color than normal, or may even be translucent. The leaves will feel squishy, mushy, and soft to the touch. The leaves may also start falling off of the stem because of the added weight of the excess water the plant has been absorbing.

How can you tell if your succulent has root rot?

Being able to tell if your succulent has root rot requires inspecting the root, stems, and leaves.

Checking the roots

When you are in the process of repotting your plant, or if you simply suspect root rot, unpot your plant and remove as much dirt as you can so you can take a good look at the roots.

If the plant’s roots are yellow or white, they are healthy. Healthy roots also have root hair, which is a natural root structure that is used to drink water from the soil. The fuzz on the root can also be a symbiotic fungus that helps in absorbing nutrients from the soil, called mycorrhizal fungus. If you do not see fuzz, that is okay- uprooting the plant is necessary, but can destroy the fuzz. It will not hurt the plant, but try not to unpot the plant too often.

If the plant’s roots appear brown, do not worry: they are likely just dried out or underwatered. This can be remedied by a more frequent watering schedule.

Plant roots that have root rot will be dark brown or even black. They will feel slimy and wet to the touch. The roots of a plant with root rot will most likely disintegrate as you pull them out of the ground.

A rotten smell can also be a sign of possible root rot. The rotten smell can range from mild to very foul, depending on the severity of the rot. The smell is similar to rotten vegetables.

Unfortunately, people usually only catch root rot in its early stages when they happen to be repotting their plants.

Check the stems and leaves

When you find signs of root rot on the plant’s stems and leaves, this means that the damage is severe and that the root rot has been going on for quite some time.

If root rot is present, the leaves of the succulent will start to turn yellow and become paler. In the most severe cases, the leaves have already become mushy and are falling off from the stem. There is nothing that can be done at this point since the body can no longer support itself.

It is still possible to reverse the effects of root rot when the plant’s leaves are pale and yellow, but it can be difficult. It is especially hard to catch, especially when the plant’s leaves cover the base of the stem, making catching the root rot early almost impossible.

Another tip is to see if only the lower leaves are turning yellow. This is a sign that it is being overwatered.

How can you treat root rot?

The best method to choose when trying to treat root rot will depend on the severity of the damage. Here are several suggestions:

Dry out the roots.

The simplest way to treat root rot is to simply let the roots dry. This technique is only going to work if the rot has not yet spread to the stem and leaves. If the leaves on the plant have already started turning yellow, drying out will no longer work. Leave the plant to dry out for several days before repotting it.

Trim the roots.

If you are fortunate enough to have caught the rot in its early stages, you can treat it by trimming off the affected roots. The key is to cut off the root a few inches above the affected part. This is because even if a segment of the root looks healthy, the insides may already be rotting. Just to be safe, cut off more than what seems necessary. After trimming, do not replant immediately. Instead, let the cuttings callus for a few days to increase the chances of recovery.

Sprinkle sulfur

Powdered sulfur can help prevent root rot, especially ones caused by fungi and bacteria. The sulfur acidifies the soil when it is sprinkled on the roots before the plant is repotted. Just be careful when using sulfur to prevent root rot because it can also kill beneficial microbes. Keep in mind that sulfur will not treat root rot caused by overwatering.


Succulent root rot happens when the roots of a plant are damaged or even die due to bacteria or fungi. It is more commonly due to overwatering.

You will know a plant has root rot if the leaves are pale or yellow and mushy when touched. The roots will be a dark brown or black color with the foul smell of rotten vegetation.

Treat root rot through drying out the roots and trimming off the affected roots. Prevent it from happening by sprinkling sulfur powder on the roots before repotting.

Image: / Boyloso

Do Succulents Like Acidic Soil?

Succulents are well-loved for their unique shapes and sizes. The soil that they are growing in plays a major role in determining their health and appearance. These hardy plants thrive well in soil that drains well, but what about the soil’s quality? Read on and get to know if succulents have a special preference when it comes to soil quality and if they favor acidic soil or not.  

Do succulents like acidic soil?

Yes, succulents like acidic soil and most of these plants thrive well in soil that has a pH level of six. Cacti also typically grow in soil with a pH level between five and seven.  However, the exact pH level and acidity may vary among certain varieties. 

Certain succulents grow well in limestone soil while some do not, it such as the Echeveria which grows well in peaty soil. This type of soil consists mostly of peat, decomposed vegetable matter or mosses usually found in bogs. 

You may also check out our earlier article on what kind of soil do succulents need for additional information related to this topic. 

Is the acidity level in succulent soil important?

Succulent growers attest that the acidity level in succulent soil is not a major concern. More emphasis is given to the quality of care given to the plants. They also note that there has been no definitive pH level that is considered perfect for succulents. If the soil is deemed too acidic, succulent owners can always use a succulent soil mix to address the concern. 

Additionally, succulents grow well in soil that allows excess water to drain easily. The ideal succulent soil should allow the plants to breathe.  Succulents do not grow well in compact soil. It retains water and moisture, which could lead to root rot. 

What are the signs of a pH imbalance in cacti and succulents?

These are the signs of a pH imbalance in cacti and succulents:

  • Sunburn
  • Yellowing on new growth 
  • Brown spots  
  • Shriveled leaves and stems 

Plants showing these signs should be watered with rainwater so they can be saved. Rainwater is acidic and it will maintain the pH levels at an optimal degree. Testing the pH of the soil and water is also a good measure. You can adjust the pH of water before giving it to your plants by testing the pH level. 

How to lower or raise the soil’s pH?

If soil pH is too high for your succulents, mix aluminum sulfate in the first inch or so. The amount of aluminum sulfate used will depend on the starting pH level of the soil. Make sure to calculate the amount, as too much could be harmful to your plants. 

The ideal mix is 1.2 pounds of aluminum sulfate per 10 square feet of soil. Various compounds can be used to lower the soil pH, such as iron sulfate, elemental sulfur and acidifying nitrogen depending on your personal preference and application. 

Inversely, you can raise the soil pH with agricultural lime. Just apply it to the first few inches of the soil. For immediate results, mix potassium carbonate in water since it is very soluble and reaches the root system at once. Low pH is usually due to over-fertilization, so be sure to always test the soil first before adding fertilizers

How to Make Succulent Soil?

To avoid the perils of acidic soil, you could opt to make your own succulent soil. These are the ingredients that you will need:

  • Potting soil 
  • Coarse sand 
  • Perlite or Pumice 

First, mix three parts of potting soil into two parts of coarse sand and one part of perlite. If you are using a cup,  it would mean three scoops of potting soil, two scoops of coarse sand and one scoop of perlite.  

The potting soil is the base for your succulent soil. Make sure it is clean and fresh. It should also be light and porous as it means it is fast-draining. Avoid using garden soil or compact soil as it absorbs too much water and moisture. 

The coarse sand makes the soil mix breathable but do not use beach sand since it does not provide aeration. Beach sand also has minerals that could be harmful to succulents. 

Perlite or pumice is lightweight and organic that makes the soil porous. It looks a lot like Styrofoam. It is a good addition to your succulent soil since it does not absorb or hold too much water and water. It also prevents compaction allowing the soil to become fast-draining.

Mix them all together with a trowel or with your bare hands.  That’s it, you now have your very own succulent soil!

The utmost advantage of making your own succulent soil is that you can adjust all the ingredients, unlike commercial soil mixes that tend to be compacted or not coarse enough. 


Succulents are low maintenance plants and they can thrive in acidic soil with a pH level of more or less six.  However, succulent growers indicate that the soil’s acidity level is not a major concern.  Measures can be made to lower or raise the soil’s acidity.  Many plant enthusiasts also prefer to mix their own succulent soil to ensure that their succulents will grow and flourish.

Image: / evgenyb

Where Do Succulents Grow?

Succulents grow in the dry and arid deserts of North and South America, Europe, and Africa. This is why most succulents are drought-tolerant and are able to survive despite having very limited water for long periods of time.

What are succulents?

Succulents are plants that have natural water storage tissues which make them virtually drought-resistant. They are able to live in the driest places on earth because of all the water they can store in their bodies, including in their stems, branches, and leaves. The word succulent comes from the Latin word “sucus,” meaning sap or juice. In times of low water supply, succulents are also able to become dormant in order to conserve the little water and energy they have so they can concentrate on surviving. They need more water during their growing phase because they are maturing much more rapidly.

Is a cactus a succulent?

Yes, a cactus is a succulent, but some people think they belong in different groups. Cacti are one of the largest groups in the succulent world. Cacti store water inside their bodies, which by definition make them succulents.

Cacti have fleshy stems that store water. Their bodies have spines or hair, and a few others even have leaves. Because of their distinct appearance, it is not that difficult to identify a cactus when you see one.

So, simply put, all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti.

What is the history of succulents?

Succulents that previously existed in only one corner of the world can now be bought at your local nursery because these once exotics plants have been sought by collectors to be added to their gardens.

Thousands of years ago, succulents only grew in the deserts and arid areas of the Americas, the European Alps, and Africa. Succulents were called the camels of the plant world because of their ability to go long periods without any water. This special quality of the succulent is what drew people towards domesticating them and putting them in the gardens near their homes. Succulents soon became known as ornamental plants because of the variety of shapes, sizes, and colors that they come in.

Over time, people began discovering more and more of the benefits of succulents. They found out that keeping certain succulents inside the house kept the pests away. Other cultures used succulents as natural sweeteners, such as the Agave plants. And the healing powers of the aloe vera have long been a part of various cultures worldwide.

What are some of the beliefs that people once had about succulents?

From our ancestors, there are several myths about succulents that still prevail even to this day.

Succulents attract wealth.

According to ancient Asian beliefs, the jade plant brought good luck and wealth to the family that owned it. The jade plant’s leaves and appearance are related to growth and renewal, which is why it was chosen as a symbol of prosperity.

Succulents keep your family prosperous and safe.

People used to believe that the houseleek helped keep evil out and kept the family in the house safe and prosperous. It was also said to protect the family from lightning, fire, and even witchcraft. This is why the Roman emperor Charlemagne ordered his entire empire to keep houseleeks in their homes.

Succulents can protect you from death.

The Sempervivum Tectorum is one of the many succulents that people believed could provide protection against death. People would put the plant on their rooftops for full effect. They said that if a stranger came along to remove the plant from the rooftop, bad luck or illness would come upon a member of the household. To this day, there are still people that place the plants on their rooftops in some parts of Wales.

Where do succulents come from?

There are native succulents in all parts of the world, except for the really cold areas. They mostly come from the deserts and dry areas of North and South America, Europe, and Africa. There are special succulents that have learned to survive in mountainous areas and even in the rainforests. In places where most other plants would not be able to survive because of extreme temperatures or lack of water, succulents are able to survive and adapt. There are also succulents that live near the coasts and dry lakes. Most plants would not like these areas because of the high mineral deposits.

Which countries have the most native succulents?

South Africa

The climate in South Africa is semi-arid to arid, making it a perfect place to host succulents. Most of the land in South Africa is either hilly or flat and has little to no rain for most of the year. The highest temperatures can reach up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The country is known for its succulent karoo that stretches from southwestern Namibia to the South African west coast.

The most common succulents found in South Africa are the plush plant, ghost plant, panda plant, elephant bush, zebra plant, jelly bean plant, aloe zebrina, jade plant, and the Cotyledon orbiculate.


Mexico has a diverse collection of succulents as well because its climate is perfect for multiple succulent plant species. The land is hilly and dry with the temperatures going into the extremes.

The most common succulents in the country are the hooker orchid cactus, Moses in the cradle, ladyfinger cactus, seven stars, echinocereus viridiflorus, sedum allantoides, graptopetalum pentadrum, echeveria agavoides, and the echeveria elegans.


Succulents grow in the driest, most arid parts of the earth, specifically the deserts of the Americas, Europe, and Africa. Succulents are able to store water in their bodies and in their leaves which allow them to survive in the driest conditions. This quality is what makes succulents resilient and drought-tolerant.

Nowadays, the most exotic succulents can be found in your nearest nursery, which just proves how tough and adaptable these plants are.

Image: / Anastaciia Petrova

How To Keep Succulents Small?

How To Keep Succulents Small

The simplest way to keep your succulent small is to plant it in a small container that will restrict its roots from growing and spreading, thus, keeping it in a manageable size.

Pruning a plant back to a size that is to your liking is also another way to keep it small.

Lastly, you can always choose to grow small species of succulents so you will not have to worry about wrangling large ones.

Are some succulents smaller than others?

Yes. The variety in succulent species is so vast that some can be a few inches high fully grown, while others can reach several feet high. Because succulents are generally quite slow-growing, people seem to assume that they will not grow over a couple inches. Make sure you do research about the plants you plan on growing so you have an estimate as to how much space you should be giving each plant. Here are some examples of how large succulents can get:

  1. A species like the aloe vera plant can be around two feet high, which is not small but also not big enough to look out of place when placed indoors. All these plants need is a spot in the house with ample sunlight and regular watering.
  2. Sempervivum plants grow only to be four to six inches wide and need not to be repotted for several years. You only need to remove any new plants and replant them somewhere else.
  3. The Lithops, or living stone plant, is one of the smallest succulent varieties. You might even mistake them for pebbles when you see them growing from the ground. You will know a Lithops is growing when you see a pair of leaves growing from the middle and the original pair dying.
  4. The Christmas cactus can reach up to two feet in diameter, which is bigger than most small succulents. With proper pruning, it can be kept to a manageable size that will not overwhelm your home.

How do I keep my succulents small?

Choose small succulents

One of the easiest ways to make sure your succulents don’t take up too much space in your house or garden is to choose small succulents to begin with. If you know that the plants you choose are not going to grow over several inches, then you can plant them in small pots without worrying about constantly changing them. It is much more difficult to try and control a plant’s urge to grow bigger than it is to choose one that will always fit in the palm of your hand, even after five years.

A great example of a small succulent is the Mammillaria gracilis fragilis, or the thimble cactus. The thimble cactus matures into three inch tall clumps. When its tiny segments fall off from the stem, they tend to just take root themselves. Another example of a small succulent is the Mammillaria bocasana, or the powder puff cactus.

Prune often

Etiolation is when a plant’s leaves and branches lack sunlight. It makes them grow out their branches longer in the direction of the nearest light source. This makes the plant grow faster as it seeks what it needs. Keep your plant to your preferred size and shape by pruning it. When your plant has etiolated, it can be difficult to prune it properly so it returns to its original shape. It is best if you trim your plants before the plant has enough time to stretch. Another way to avoid etiolation is to place your plant in a place where it can receive appropriate amounts of sunlight. If a plant gets sufficient sunlight, it will have no need to stretch anymore.

Before pruning, sterilize the scissors or shears you will be using so as not to introduce any bacteria or fungi into the plant’s system. When you prune a plant, the area where you cut it is essentially a wound that germs can use to get access to a vulnerable plant. Make sure you sterilize the scissors between usage on different plants.

Pruning your succulent also gives you the cutting to plant in a new pot. You are basically getting another chance at your miniature succulent garden each time.

Confine the roots

As mentioned above, succulents are slow-growing plants. They also do not tend to have very thick or large roots. If you confine the roots in a space that will limit their root growth, this will also help keep the plant from growing. Restricted root growth also means restricted nutrient absorption, hence the stunting of growth.

You can do this by planting the succulents close together. This not only restricts the root growth but also makes for a visually appealing succulent arrangement. Succulents tend to look more beautiful when they are arranged with minimal space between plants. It will make them look fuller and healthier.

If you want to keep your plant separate while also keeping its growth at a minimum, try to plant each individual plant in small pots or containers so the limited space will keep the roots from growing too much. Just make sure that you are still using appropriate succulent soil and a pot with drainage holes at the bottom.

Do research on appropriate care

Different species of succulents require different sets of plant care directions. Different succulent species come from different parts of the world with varying climates. So read up on the kind of soil and how much water and sunlight your new plant is going to need. Succulents are very hard to kill and very easy to take care of;  doing the bare minimum will keep it alive, but giving the plant TLC will make it thrive.


Some people do not have the space in their apartments or houses to take care of succulents that grow several feet tall or wide. Not having the space is no reason to deprive yourself of the experience of being a plant parent. You can keep small succulents so that you can have a sizable garden without it taking up too much space.

For greater success, choose succulents that are naturally small. Try planting them in small pots to confine their roots. Prune the leaves and stems, especially if they are going through etiolation, and make sure to always provide each plant with appropriate care.

Image: / kynny

Succulent Diseases

Succulent Diseases

Succulents grow naturally in hot and dry places and are endemic to areas such Central America, Africa, and South America. While they are known as hardy plants that can survive with minimal amounts of moisture, they are also prone to diseases.  Read on for some important details on succulent diseases and common treatment options. 

Common Succulent Diseases

These are some of the most common diseases in succulents:

Fungal diseases or infections 

Succulents tend to develop fungal infections when they are removed from their natural habitats.  The main culprit is a change in conditions since succulents thrive in a dry climate. Too much moisture can lead to fungal attacks. 

These are some common fungal infections among succulents:

1. Sooty mold 

This is also called the black mold and is considered the least damaging fungi. It is caused by the presence of aphids, whiteflies, scales, and mealybugs. The insects produce honeydew that the sooty mold feeds on. 

Treatment: To eradicate sooty mold, your succulents should be free from insect infestations. Spray the plants with rubbing alcohol or apply neem oil. 

2. Grey mold 

Grey mold is also called Botrytis cinerea, an infection that is easy to identify. It forms grayish-brown spore masses on the leaves and flowers of succulents and often spreads when the weather is cold and wet during early spring and summer. It spreads quickly and chooses damaged or dying succulent tissues. 

Treatment:  Use fungicides during the early stages, but if the infection is serious, you will need to cut the affected areas and burn off the damaged tissues. Avoid watering the affected plants from the top so they can dry out between watering. Do not leave stubs when taking cuttings.

3. Leaf spots 

This fungal infection disfigures succulents severely. If there is a heavy infection, it can spread to other plants. However, despite the appearance of it, it does very little damage to succulents. 

Treatment: Do not use a fungicide if you notice shallow tan lesions or spotting on the affected plants. You can replace the plants, but since the fungal infection does little damage, the affected plants will eventually outgrow and tolerate it.

4. Fusarium wilt 

This fungal infection is caused by Fusarium oxysporum, a pathogen. It prevents succulents from taking up water and causes wilting, yellowing, and death. The fungus penetrates the plants through the roots and reproduces in the vascular tissues, which get blocked. This means the plant cannot absorb water anymore. You will notice brown streaks if you cut the leaves of infected plants. 

Treatment:  Water the affected plant sparingly to discourage further fungal growth. Use sanitized tools and provide enough feeding to encourage the growth of new and healthy tissues. 

5. Anthracnose 

The infection is caused by fungi of the genus Colletotrichum and affects many cacti and succulents.  Your plant may be infected with this fungi if it has moist, tan-colored rot with red, pink, or orange pustules. 

Treatment: Remove and destroy affected leaves and avoid reusing the contaminated soil. You may also use a copper fungicide to destroy the remaining fungal bodies.

6. Root and crown rots

This infection is caused by the fungal pathogens of the genus Phytophthora.  The symptoms of this fungal infection are not identifiable during the early stages, which makes it hard to differentiate from other fungal diseases. Affected succulents become wilted and stressed, change their colors, and eventually die because of a slow rot that develops upward from the soil level. 

Treatment:  This infection does not respond well to treatment. The best you can do is to replant your succulents in well-draining soil and avoid overwatering them. 

7. Powdery mildew 

This disease is caused by the bacterium Sphaerotheca and usually affects herbaceous plants and succulents. Symptoms include scabby or corky areas on the leaves.

Treatment: Treat this infection by applying fungicides like Triadimefon. Home remedies include milk, baking soda, garlic, and compost tea.

Viral diseases 

Succulents are also prone to viral infections which spread through insects that feed on their sap.  Insects and pests should be eradicated so as not to spread the viruses. Keep  your grafting knives disinfected at all times. Signs of viral infections include stunted growth and abnormal shoots overgrowth. Affected plants are usually discarded since there is no specific treatment for the infections. 

Bacterial infections

An example of a common bacterial infection among succulents is called bacterial soft rot. This infection is caused by the pathogen Erwinia. Signs include soft and mushy plant tissues, as well as the collapse of stems and branches.  This is also called the damping-off disease and usually affects small seedlings. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease; affected succulents should be discarded. Do not overwater your plants and provide adequate air circulation to prevent this disease. 

Aside from diseases and infections, succulents can also suffer from nutritional deficiencies. The soil’s pH levels can affect their ability to absorb minerals. You can reduce the alkalinity by adding vinegar to the soil.  

According to Saddleback College, iron deficiency is common among succulents and causes them to turn yellow. Adding vinegar to the soil enhances the availability of iron according to reports done by The Vinegar Institute. Too much nitrogen in the soil can also upset the pH balance, preventing flowering and causing plants to turn darker green.

Poor care of succulents can also lead to disease-like conditions such as desiccation, sunburn, overwatering, and etiolation, which is characterized by long, weak stems and smaller leaves. These conditions can be prevented by watering your plants correctly, providing proper ventilation, and giving access to just the right sunlight.


Succulents are hardy plants, but they are also prone to infections and diseases. They tend to develop bacterial, fungal, and viral diseases as well as deficiencies and disease-like conditions. To ensure that your plants are healthy, learn what you can about proper succulent care from plant experts and succulent growers. Most importantly, make sure that you do not overwater your plants and that you use well-draining soil. 

Image: / Rangeecha

Powdery Mildew on Succulents

Succulents have a high tolerance for fungi that cause leaf spots, but they can also develop fungal diseases. The probable reason for this is a change in natural habitat. A common fungal infection among succulents is powdery mildew. It is easy to identify and has distinctive symptoms such as pale yellow and white powdery spots. 

Powdery mildew on succulents: What it is, treatment and prevention 

Powdery mildew is prevalent in warm and dry weather, and does not spread well in cool and rainy environments. Certain plants are immune to this fungal infection, but succulents can become prone to it. The fungus rapidly develops in a humid environment with moderate temperatures. Most often, the most affected parts are the lower leaves, but above-ground parts are also susceptible. 

It is often characterized as white spots and affected succulents look like they are dusted with flour. The fungus could appear on the stems, fruits and leaves. It could eventually disfigure the leaves, buds and growing tips and could also affect other plants through insects, the wind and even splashing water. As the fungus spreads, the leaves turn yellow and become wilted until eventually, the whole branch dies.

Powdery mildew may be caused by high humidity and in certain cases, it can be temporarily removed by rubbing the leaves. It can take away the plant’s nutrients and weaken it, resulting in lesser blooms and stunted growth. The fungus could even kill your succulents.  

Treatment for powdery mildew on succulents 

These are the common organic treatment options for powdery mildew:

  1. Potassium bicarbonate: It effectively kills powdery mildew spores. 
  2. Milk: It gets rid of the fungus once it is hit by the sun and free radicals start to form.
  3. Neem oil: It kills the fungus in less than a day. 
  4. Vinegar: The acetic acid effectively kills the fungus, but make sure not to use a strong mixture to avoid burning the leaves. 
  5. Baking soda: It has a high pH level that kills the fungus, just like potassium bicarbonate.
  6. Garlic: It kills powdery mildew because of the high sulfur content.
  7. Sulfur: It controls and prevents the growth of the fungus.
  8. Copper: It is an effective treatment but you need to follow strict instructions.
  9. Mouthwash: Another organic way to eradicate the fungus.
  10. Water: It washes off the spores but only works temporarily. 

Aside from organic treatment,  you can also use fungicides to treat powdery mildew on succulents. Some of the recommended fungicides include Bayer Advanced 701270 and Spectracide Immunex Fungus Control. 

How to use baking soda for powdery mildew treatment

Mix one tablespoon of baking soda and one-half teaspoon of liquid, non-detergent soap with one gallon of water. Spray the mixture on affected leaves. See to it that the plant is watered well before application of the baking soda mixture. Do not apply the treatment during the daytime as the mixture can cause sunburn. It is best to test it on a few leaves first.

Prevention for powdery mildew on succulents

Here are ways to prevent powdery mildew on succulents:

  • Opt for succulents that are resistant and tolerant to the fungus.
  • Do not water succulents from overhead to minimize humidity. 
  • Shear overcrowded plant parts to increase the circulation of air and reduce humidity. 
  • Sanitize your pruning tools. 
  • Periodically spray your succulents with fungicides. 
  • Remove affected plant foliage to prevent the spread to nearby plants.
  • Your watering routine should be in the morning so the plants, and especially the soil, can dry out during the day. 
  • Do not place susceptible succulents in shady and humid areas. 
  • Avoid over-fertilizing with nitrogen.
  • Utilize healthy planting stocks.
  • Avoid chemical application as much as possible.
  • Make sure that succulents have some access to direct sunlight.
  • See to it that the soil drains properly.


Powdery mildew on succulents could pose a great threat and even kill your plants. Aside from fungicides, various organic treatments are effective in eradicating the fungus, such as baking soda, neem oil and copper. It is ideal to apply preventative measures as mentioned above to ensure the health of your succulents. 

Image: / alexander ruiz

Easiest Succulents to Propagate

In North America, some varieties of succulents can cost a pretty penny depending on how rare they are. Most collectors will buy one of each type of succulent and simply propagate it when it becomes fully grown. This is their way of adding to their collection for free.

Most succulents are easy to take care of and propagate, but some are definitely easier than others. In this article, we will discuss the easiest succulents to propagate.

How to Propagate Succulents?

Do research about your plant.

Nowadays, identifying and reading up about the type of succulent you have will only take you a few minutes. Type your succulent’s name into any search engine and you can be well-informed about the do’s and don’ts of caring for the plant.

One such question you can get answers to is how to propagate your succulents. The internet is a vast library of knowledge, and most gardeners and succulent enthusiasts are very open to answering questions from beginners.

Join local Facebook groups with other plant collectors. Not only can they help in identifying your plant, but they will also be able to provide helpful tips and tricks.

Choose a full grown plant.

Even immature succulents will grow new plants from their fallen leaves, but it is always better to pick a bigger and more mature plant with large leaves and plenty of branches to choose from. The bigger the leaf you choose, the healthier the new plant will be.

Let the plant dry out.

This is not necessary, but the leaves are easier to remove from the stem if the plant is thirsty. An overwatered succulent’s leaves will fall off because it has too much water in it. These plump leaves will not grow new plants.

Remove only a few leaves.

Make sure you do not get too ahead of yourself and pick too many leaves off. A few leaves from the plant will do, about three or four. This is advisable because you do not want to stress out the original plant. Picking too many leaves only for the propagation not to work would be wasteful.

Propagate during the growing season.

This is where your research will come in handy. You should know when your plant’s growing season is. A plant’s growing season is when it grows the fastest. Some plants grow in the summer and are dormant in the winter, while other plants are the opposite.

When succulents are dormant, you will have a difficult time propagating.

Choose the bottom leaves.

The leaves at the bottom of the succulent are the most mature ones. This is most noticeable in plants that grow in a rosette formation, because the leaves at the bottom are the easiest to pull out whole. If you need to, remove the plant from the soil so it is easier to pull the leaves off whole. The ease with which the leaves are removed will depend on the type of plant. Make sure the leaves you pull off are not torn, broken, damaged, or still partially stuck to the stem.

Take the whole leaves you removed and place them on a towel or a tray to keep them dry. Place the towel or tray on a windowsill. The new plants will appear in a couple of weeks.

Plant your new plants when they are ready.

If there is an obvious new plant and some roots, you can plant it in a succulent soil mix and slowly introduce it to the sun. It is best to start with morning sun as this is the most gentle for young plants. Soon you can start watering your new succulents too. Just make sure their pots have drainage holes so they do not get overwatered.

The Easiest Succulents to Propagate

Sempervivum “Hens and chicks”

This is a cold-resistant succulent that is able to grow well outdoors, even in northern states. The main plant, or the “hen” will produce the new plants, or “chicks” by itself. When the new plants start growing roots, you can separate them from the main plant and put them in their own pot. Use a sharp knife to cut the new plant from the main plant.

Aloe Vera

This is probably the most popular succulent in the world. The plant can produce baby plants along its side, but it can also be propagated using its leaves. The leaf option is doable, but propagating it through its offshoots is much easier. You can check if a baby plant is ready to be removed from the main plant by removing the dirt and checking to see if the baby plant has formed its own roots. Transfer it to its own pot with succulent soil mix. Make sure the pot has drainage holes.

Kalanchoe “Mother of Thousands”

This succulent gets its name from the fact that it can actually make baby plants right on its leaves. This plant can reproduce very quickly and is a great choice for an indoor plant. When the baby plants are ready to grow on their own, they will simply fall off of the main plant. You can just pick them up and plant them in their own pot. This plant really is the perfect succulent for a beginner.

Burro’s Tail

When the leaves of this succulent fall off, they will start to root and grow new plants themselves. You can help it along by taking the fallen leaves and placing them atop damp succulent soil. You can use leaves or cuttings to propagate this plant since they will both grow well.

String of Pearls

This succulent may be tricky to grow but it is fairly easy to propagate. When you propagate this plant, you cut off a four inch long strand and place the cut end directly into the soil. Do not expose the new plant to direct sunlight; instead, place it in a shaded area. Make sure you do not overwater it.

Sedum “Jelly Bean Plant”

Much like the burro’s tail, this succulent is easy to propagate. You simply need to remove some leaves and place them on top of damp succulent soil. The roots will form after a couple of weeks and soon enough, you will have new jelly bean plant babies.


Most succulents are simple to propagate, but some are much easier to propagate than others.

You need to choose a mature plant that has big leaves which you can remove easily from the bottom layers. Let the leaves dry out and wait for the roots and baby plants to come in before you can plant them in soil. Examples of easy succulents to propagate are the Sempervivum, aloe vera, kalanchoe, burro’s tail, string of pearls, and the jelly bean plant.

Image: / PUGUN SJ

9 Succulents for Office

Succulents add to the aesthetic features and charm of a home. Similarly, it is now a trend for modern office areas to include these plants as part of their interior design and decor. These plants enhance the atmosphere, put employees in a stress-free mode, and improve the quality of the air.  Succulents are also easy to care for and can even go weeks without being watered. 

Try some of these lovely succulents in your office.

Small Succulents 

1. Bird’s Nest 

Image: / suriya silsaksom

Scientific name: Sansevieria trifasciata hahnii

Common names: Golden bird’s nest, golden hahnii, dwarf snake plant, dwarf mother-in-law’s tongue

Origin: Europe, India, Africa 

Size: six to seven inches 

This succulent plant features decorative bands of varying designs on its leaves. It grows as a dense rosette of dark green leaves. This small succulent plant rarely grows larger than seven inches and is ideal for small office spaces and as decor on desks and shelves. It tolerates low-light office areas and can even grow in a room with only fluorescent lights. 

2. Dwarf Jade Plant

Image: / toeytoey2530

Scientific name:  Portulacaria afra 

Common names:  Elephant bush, elephant food, elephant plant, miniature jade, porkbush, spekboom, yellow rainbow bush, small leaf jade 

Origin: South Africa 

Size: six to eight inches

The dwarf jade plant is considered the ultimate office succulent since it has round, green, glossy leaves and a burgundy red stem that blends well with most office decors. This plant is also natural when shaped into classic bonsai shapes. It resembles the jade plant but has rounder and smaller pads than the crassula ovate variety. It favors indirect sunlight near windows or low-light areas; if placed in very bright areas the leaves may become droopy. 

3. Lace Aloe

Image: / Kateryna Bibro

Scientific name: Aristaloe aristata 

Common names:  Torch plant, bearded aloe, guinea fowl aloe, hardy aloe, bristle-tip 

Origin: Lesotho, South Africa 

Size: six inches

This small aloe plant features a lace-like leaf pattern, and its rich green leaves are decorated with small white spots. It can be placed in small work areas and thrives well in an office setting since it can survive even though it is rarely watered. The plant needs direct light from a window or overhead office lights and won’t do well in low-light environments.

4. Zebra Cactus

Image: / CoinUp

Scientific name: Haworthia fasciata/ Haworthia attenuata 

Common names: Zebra plant, zebra haworthia, haworthia zebra

Origin: South Africa 

Size: four inches 

This plant is related to aloe plants and belongs to the same subfamily. It has distinctive horizontal white stripes on the leaves and prefers bright light, but can thrive well in low-light areas. Zebra cactus is an ideal office desk plant because of its cute size and low light needs. 

Medium Succulents 

5. Dwarf Century Plant

Image: / ben-bryant

Scientific name: Agave desmettiana variegata 

Common names: Variegated smooth agave, dwarf variegated agave, maguey, golden moments 

Origin: Mexico 

Size: two to three feet 

This plant is a quick-growing succulent that is very low maintenance and fits well in office areas. It has soft, spear-shaped, blue-green leaves that form into rosettes and is edged with golden yellow stripes. This succulent looks charming under night lighting and favors direct light by a window or bright overhead lights. 

6. Kalanchoe

Image: / Denise Hasse

Scientific name: Kalanchoe luciae 

Common names: Variegated paddle plant, variegated desert rose, shaved ice 

Origin: Madagascar, Africa 

Size: two feet

This plant has large gray-green leaves, splashes of cream and white, and red highlights on its edges.  It adds color to any office nook but can also be placed near windows or in hallways. This succulent thrives well in both bright and low-light areas and also grows well in artificial lights.

7. Aloe Vera


Scientific name: Aloe barbadensis miller

Common names: Chinese aloe, Barbados aloe, burn aloe, Indian aloe, true aloe, first aid plant 

Origin:  Arabian peninsula 

Size:  six inches to three feet 

This plant is easy to maintain and thrives well in both bright light and low light areas. It looks beautiful in office corners or hallways; as it matures the leaves drape gracefully around the plant. It is known to purify formaldehyde and benzene from indoor office air. 

Large Succulents

8. Corn Plant

Image: / Emilian Danaila

Scientific name:  Dracaena fragrans 

Common names:  Cornstalk dracaena, money tree, cornstalk, dracaena massangeana,  mass cane, happy plant

Origin: Africa 

Size:  six to eight feet 

Corn plants thrive well in low-light areas and indirect sunlight. They usually have leaves that are on the outer edges and yellow in the center, or leaves with yellow and green stripes on the edges and green in the center.  These large succulents have broad, glossy leaves and look great in reception areas or conference rooms. They remove formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from office air. 

9. Ponytail Palm

Image: / RenataKa

Scientific name:  Beaucarnea recurvata 

Common names:  Elephant’s foot palm, ponytail palm, elephant foot tree, bottle palm, palma culona, monja 

Origin: Southeastern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala 

Size:  15 to 18 feet 

This succulent plant is a member of the lily family. It has a slow growth rate and fits well in office spaces for a couple of years. The plant has lush, long, curly leaves and a sleek and bulb-like trunk. It is visually appealing and looks perfect in office hallways or reception areas.  

The plant’s height can be controlled depending on the size of the pot that you use. It prefers full bright light but can also thrive in low-light areas. 


Some succulents look great outdoors and in the garden while some varieties add beauty to homes or offices. The succulents for an office mentioned above each have a unique beauty and shape. Most of them thrive well in both bright and low-light areas. These plants add visual appeal to office areas and hallways. Most importantly, they purify the office air and get rid of harmful compounds like formaldehyde, which can cause headaches and asthma.

Homemade Fertilizer for Succulents

Succulents are popular home and office plants because most varieties are small and colorful. These plants benefit from fertilizers because it helps them to grow well and produce vibrant colors. Commercial fertilizers are easily available and accessible, but you can always use homemade fertilizers that are less-expensive and still effective. 

Homemade Fertilizer for Succulents: Common Types

These are some commonly used homemade fertilizers for succulents:

1. Banana Peels 

Bananas contain potassium, which is important to plant growth.  To use, simply throw one or two banana peels into a hole in the soil before planting the succulents. You can also place it under mulch to compost it, or pour pureed banana peels directly into the plants. 

2. Coffee Grounds 

Coffee grounds provide nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals to your plants. However, they are acidic, so be sure to soak and rinse them after you have used them for your coffee. To use as fertilizer, simply mix the coffee grounds into the soil around the succulents. 

You can also use coffee grounds as a liquid fertilizer by soaking them in water for one week. When the water is ready, simply pour it onto the plants. 

3. Eggshells 

Eggshells are rich in calcium and potassium. They contain 83% calcium carbonate and help lower the acidity of the soil. To use as fertilizer, wash them first to remove any yolk or egg whites, then crush them and sprinkle or mix them in the soil. 

You can also make eggshell tea by soaking crushed eggshells in boiling water to release the nutrients. When the liquid cools down, pour it onto the plants. 

4. Weeds 

Weeds can also be used as a fertilizer, either as compost or as a brew.  They provide nitrogen and do not steal nutritional elements from the plants. You can cut them into small clippings, soak them in water, and let them sit for a day or two. Mix one cup of the solution with 10 cups of water and pour it at the base of the succulents. 

5. Manure 

Chicken, horse, and cow manure are also good fertilizers for plants. Make sure that these types of manure are composted and old since that works best for plants. 

You can also make manure tea out of livestock manure by steeping it in water to be cured. The curing process is intended to destroy harmful pathogens that could harm the plants.  Once the curing is complete, the finished product is placed in a sack resembling a teabag. The bags are then ready to steep in water that is applied or poured onto succulents.

6. Charcoal 

Charcoal may not contain nutrients like other homemade fertilizers, but it helps in lowering carbon dioxide. This allows the roots to thrive and grow. You can add it to the base of the soil as it encourages airflow and helps absorb excess water. It controls moisture and helps prevent root rot. 

Other organic fertilizers that you can use for your succulents are seaweeds, Epsom salt, and green tea. Seaweed contains trace elements that act as food for soil microbes. Epsom salt is rich in sulfate and magnesium and can help nourish the plants to grow greener and healthier. Simply dissolve one tablespoon of Epsom salt in a gallon of water and use the mixture to water the plants. Green tea improves soil oxygenation and increases the level of nutrients in the ground allowing the roots to grow and thrive. 

Pros and Cons of Homemade Fertilizer for Succulents


  • They improve the structural component of the potting soil and increase soil aeration. 
  • They are ecologically friendly. 
  • They are gentle and safe and help avoid leaching and toxic salt buildup. 
  • They are very affordable since they are commonly available at home or in the environment. 
  • They transform unhealthy soil and make it more suitable for plants. 


  • There is a slower release of nutrients, which means it may take time before you see favorable results. 
  • There can be a low supply despite the commonality of most homemade fertilizers since most plant and crop growers also use natural fertilizers. 
  • It is messy and some may find it inconvenient. Other plant growers cannot tolerate the unpleasant odors of rotting organic matter and manure. 
  • The nutritional value of homemade fertilizers is usually less than that of commercial fertilizers.  


Succulents grow well and display vibrant colors when they are provided with the right amount of care and attention. Commercial fertilizers are effective in making them healthier, but you can also opt to use a homemade fertilizer for succulents. These natural and organic fertilizers are ecologically friendly, cost-effective, and commonly available at home or in the environment. However, some plant owners may not prefer them because they can be messy or produce unpleasant odors.

Image: / KarpenkovDenis

Succulents or Air Plants

Air plants, or tillandsia, can survive by taking all of the nutrients they need from the air, hence their name. They do not need to be planted in soil to survive. They require very minimal maintenance and are perfect as ornaments for places where they can be left for long periods without supervision. Air plants are not succulents.

Succulents are a family of plants that have adapted to arid climates and are drought-resistant. They are able to store plenty of water in their leaves and bodies to tide them over until the rainy season returns. Unlike air plants, they need to be planted in soil in order to survive. This is their only way of taking in water and the nutrients they need.

Air Plants

Air plants only grow on tree branches or on other plants in nature. There are hundreds of different kinds of air plants. They can come in different shapes and sizes, but they usually have triangle or strap-shaped leaves that grow from the center of the plant outward in a rosette pattern. Some varieties of air plant can be resistant to drought, especially the ones with silver foliage. The ones with green foliage are more susceptible to the absence of water. Most air plants have funnel-shaped or tubular flowers that come in different colors.


Succulents have thick and fleshy leaves that contain the water they store in their bodies. Their leaves can either look berry-like, ruffled, needle-like, spiky, or rounded. They are able to survive with minimal water, and they can even go dormant in order to preserve life until they can get more water. They are very low-maintenance plants which are difficult to kill, no matter how forgetful their owner is. Succulents also come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. They do not attract insects, and they are easy to prune and trim.

Is there a difference between air plants and succulents?

Yes. These two plants are different despite people confusing them sometimes. You can own both of these plants at the same time because they are both low maintenance. But keep in mind that they each have specific care instructions that may not be applicable to the other type.


Air plants are a much smaller group of plants compared to succulents. The genus Tillandsia has about 650 different species that all have similarities in their phenotypes.

Succulents, on the other hand, are a much more varied and bigger group of plants.


Air plants do not need soil to survive. Instead, their roots are exposed and wrapped around branches or anything sturdy to keep them from falling. The way these plants are watered is by placing them in a container with water and allowing them to soak for 30 minutes. After the soaking, you remove them from the water and allow them to air dry upside down. Once a plant is dry, set it upright and place it back in its container.

Succulents need to be planted in soil and watered regularly in order to survive. They do not take well to being overwatered, as this will cause root rot and possibly death. Their pots need to have drainage holes for the excess water to drain through. Most succulents need direct sunlight for several hours a day to help their colors come out. They love to be outside or at least by a window.


Air plants are quite resilient, which makes them low maintenance plants that need minimal care. They can be owned by almost anybody and would have no problem. You simply need to soak them in water for 30 minutes once a week. Allowing them to dry after soaking them in water will prevent the growth of mold.

Succulents are also quite easy to look after. They just need to be around sunlight for six hours a day. Make sure you alternate the sides of the plant being hit by sunlight in order to prevent the plant from leaning to one side. They are desert plants, so they know how to survive with very little water. It is easy to overwater them, especially if you are used to other plants that love water. Soil composition is also important. There are commercial succulent soil mixes that are specially designed for succulents. They have ingredients like sand and perlite that help make the soil porous and drain better.

Variety of Colors

Air plants come in many different colors. Even the same species of air plant can have different colors. They mostly come in varying shades of green, but they can also come in deep red, burgundy, and violet. These colors can be affected by the plant’s life cycle or the amount of light it gets. Air plants prefer to be shaded by the leaves of the trees they are attached to. When the light is filtered, this encourages the different colors to come out.

Succulents also come in different colors. When you make a succulent arrangement, it always looks visually pleasing when you mix and match different colored succulents. They can come in yellow, pink, burgundy, red, chartreuse, white, blue-green, and variegated.


Air plants are not a kind of succulent. They are their own family of plants. The two do have a lot of similarities in that they are both low maintenance and drought-resistant. Air plants need very minimal watering and get their nutrients from the air. Succulents retain water well so you do not need to water them often. But they need to be planted in the ground because that is how they absorb the nutrients they need to survive.

Both plants are recommended for beginner plant owners because they are easy to look after and very hard to kill. They also happen to both be very striking ornamental plants.

Image: / Mumemories

How to Grow Large Succulents?

How to Grow Large Succulents

The size a succulent grows to is dependent on several factors. The most obvious of these is the vessel that they are planted in. Succulents, like most plants, need to be repotted the larger their roots get. The more space their roots have to grow into, the bigger the actual plant is going to be.

Make sure you are using the correct soil for your succulent and that it has proper drainage to avoid root rot. Make sure the soil mix you are using has the right amount of nutrients as well.

If your succulent is provided with all of the necessary components to thrive, it will grow into the biggest it can possibly become, dependent on the kind of succulent, of course.

Know your succulent

Before you assume your succulents will grow to massive sizes, temper your expectations and learn about your specific succulent type. Identify whether your succulent is small and slow-growing or big and fast-growing. If you are aware of what your succulent’s name is, look up its maximum size and speed of growth on the internet. If you are unaware of the succulent’s name, try joining local Facebook groups that talk about succulents and gardening in general. You will likely find several members knowledgeable enough to identify your plant.

If you have identified your succulent, do ample research regarding its care. Know the kind of soil it likes, how often it needs to be watered, how much sunlight it needs, and how to properly prune and repot it. The more information you read on the plant, the easier it will be to care for it in the future.

Succulents thrive in the ground

Succulents are great indoor plants, but placing them in pots can be very limiting to some types. Succulents will flourish and grow most quickly when placed in the ground. Unfortunately, there are parts of the world that have harsh winters. Most succulents will die due to frost and ice. Thankfully, there are ways to grow succulents indoors during the winter. 

In an ideal climate, the succulent’s root system will have plenty of room to grow when planted in the ground. Make sure you plant your succulents in a part of the garden that does not hold pooled water. It has to be in an area with great drainage. Place a sun-loving succulent under the sun and place shade-loving succulents under a tree or anywhere with shade.

Succulents will typically grow well in the ground even in poorer soil, but if you use good quality soil, they will prosper.

Use a bigger pot

As with most plants, if the plant has room for the roots to grow, the plant will grow better. This is still dependent on the type of plant, but if it is a succulent that can become quite big, then it is going to grow. If it is a small plant that is naturally slow-growing, there is not much one can do to try to make it bigger.

If your succulent is an indoor plant, repot it to a pot that is designed for a plant three times its size. If it outgrows the new pot, repot it into another larger pot. Continue doing this until the plant is no longer getting bigger.

Repotting succulents into even a slightly bigger pot regularly will help the succulent because you are essentially replanting it in fresh and healthy soil each time. This way you can also periodically check its root health. Potting mix has organic matter, so it can harbor fungi and pests. Transferring your succulent regularly will serve as a monthly physical examination.

Give your succulent its ideal living situation

Succulents are relatively easy to care for: as long as you provide them with their basic needs, they will grow beautifully.

Most succulents love the sunlight. They have to be exposed to sunlight for several hours a day to grow and be healthy. This is why it is important to do your research regarding the plants you plan on owning.

For plants that need sunlight, you can place them in an area of your house or yard that gets ample morning light but is shaded in the afternoon. In the fall and winter, it may be best to take your succulents indoors, as these plants do not tolerate the cold well.

Know when your succulent is dormant

Some succulents become dormant in the summer, while others wait until winter. Know when your succulent goes dormant so you do not try and encourage it to grow when it literally cannot. If you know that your succulent is dormant, just let it be and it will keep growing when it is ready.

Keep your succulents safe as they grow

Because succulents have a rough, hardy look, most people think they are able to be constantly touched and moved. Succulents may be less delicate because of the places they originated from, but they are actually very sensitive to physical damage. This damage can greatly impact the growth process of your succulent. Sometimes, a scratch can take weeks, or even months to fully heal.

Keep your succulents out of your pet’s and children’s reach. Your pet might bite or trample it, while your toddler might play with it. This is especially important for succulents that have thorns and spines. Keep your succulents away from areas affected by strong wind as the pots may fall over and break.


The size of a succulent is still primarily dependent on the type of succulent it is. If it is a naturally large succulent, providing it with all of its needs by doing research on proper care should be enough. It will grow to its full potential as long as it is looked after. A small succulent, no matter what you do to make it grow larger than what is natural, will never grow bigger.

Identify your succulent and learn how to care for it, plant it in the ground if possible, repot it gradually to a bigger pot as it grows larger, know when it is dormant, and keep it safe from your pets and children.

Image: / InnaPoka

Succulent Pests

Succulents are drought-resistant plants that are quite tolerant of insects.  While some of these pests may not bother the plants, some are harmful and may inflict serious damage to your succulents.  

Common succulent pests 

These are some of the common succulent pests:


These bugs are common pests among cacti and succulents. These tiny and elliptical insects are gray or light brown-colored and are two to three millimeters long. They are named after the waxy or mealy white material that they produce. If you notice white cottony substances in your succulents, it means mealybugs are thriving in them.

Mealybugs produce honeydew or a sugary substance that could promote mold growth and succulents may become susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections. These bugs also consume the sap from the leaves which leads to yellowed and wilted leaves. They easily spread among the plants and usually live on the underside of the leaves and joints of the plants. 


These insects have two groups that attack succulents: armored and soft scale. There are over a thousand species of these insects that vary in size, color and shape. Small, brown bumps in your plants indicate a scale problem. These pests eat the sap, damage the plants and make them susceptible to diseases.


These small insects are also called greenflies or plant lice and they have fat and teardrop-shaped bodies. They come in various colors, though most commonly green. They thrive in large numbers and they suck on leaves or flowers found at the end of the stems. 

Aphids also secrete honeydew(a sugary white substance) as they feed on the sap. The honeydew attracts the growth of molds and when these pests suck on the plants’ tissues, the leaves become misshapen and growth is stunted. 

Spider mites

These mites are small and their presence is hard to detect. These pests like to suck on the sweet sap of succulents. Red-colored mites are the most common kind. Infested plants turn white and silvery and early signs of these pests include spider webbing and small brown spots on the plants.


These small, white and flying insects are usually found among leafy succulents. They multiply easily and are hard to control. They are usually seen on the underside of leaves and just like aphids, they produce honeydew that promotes mold growth.

Fungus gnats

These insects are not as harmful compared to the other pests, but they can still cause damage to your succulents. They look like mosquitoes and they are easily attracted to constantly moist soil. If your succulents have soil that is always wet these pests will most likely live in the plants and start to breed.


A few ants may seem harmless for plants, but if you see an army of them, they could cause damage to the succulents. Ants are attracted to succulents because the plants most likely have aphids, scales or mealybugs that secrete sugary substances.

How to get rid of succulent pests? 

Here are the steps on how to get rid of succulent pests:

First, examine your succulents. 

Check and determine which of the plants are affected. Identify what kind of pests ravaged the plants, whether it was mealybugs, aphids or fungus gnats. It is essential to administer proper care to avoid the spread of damage.

Quarantine the affected succulents. 

After you have identified the infected plants, quarantine them to stop the pests from spreading further. It will help you keep a closer eye on the plants so you can give extra care to the ones that are not responding to treatment. If you bought new succulents, separate them in another area before you allow them to be with the other plants. 

Next, administer pest control measures.

A great way to keep pests away is to take preventative measures such as spraying systemic insecticide on newly-purchased succulents while they are quarantined.  It will protect the plants from damage and you should spray them again upon re-potting. 

If your current succulents are affected by pests, spray them with a water mixture with at least 70% alcohol. Be sure to cover all angles and if there are still pests, use a mixture of dish soap and water or insecticidal soap or spray.  Once the plants are bug-free for a month it is already safe to return them to the group. 

Stay watchful and monitor your plants.

Do not be complacent. Being pest-free does not mean the pests will not come back. Monitor and check your succulents regularly for any signs of pests and bugs and quarantine affected plants at once.

Repeat the steps if there is a re-infestation.

Should you notice the presence of pests again, repeat the steps indicated above. If you find the pests too stubborn and you cannot get rid of them, it may be time to call a pest control professional to handle the problem. 

Preventative tips to keep pests away  

Here are some preventative tips to keep pests at bay:

  • Keep your succulents dry, as wet soil attracts pests. 
  • Remove dead leaves so pests won’t have anywhere to breed and hide. It will also reduce mold growth. 
  • Avoid placing dead leaves or reused soil from infected plants in your compost pile. 
  • Use a mild and balanced fertilizer to keep your succulents resistant to pests during the growing season. 


Succulents are easy to take care of and not easily bothered by insects. However, succulent pests may attack them and inflict damage. Follow the steps discussed above on how to get rid of these bugs so your plants will grow healthy and pest-free. 

Image: / ViniSouza128

Insecticide for Succulents

Insecticide for Succulents

Have you noticed white fuzz or yellow and rust-colored spots on your succulents lately? Chances are they might be infected with pests or harmful insects that are not easily detected by the human eye. Plant owners tend to rely on insecticides for succulents to fix the problem. Read on for a closer assessment of the pros and cons of using synthetic insecticides, and for organic alternatives that are safe for your plants and the environment. 

Insecticides for succulents: What are they?

These are some of the most common insecticides for succulents: 

1. Imidacloprid 

This is an effective insecticide, but it should only be used for very extreme situations or when there is a huge infestation. This insecticide tends to cause major harm to bees and bee colonies. The chemical is also found in some Bayer and Merit products. This insecticide comes in small granules that are diluted in water before being sprayed onto plants. The product may not be available in some US states. 

2. Acephate 

This is usually found in products by Bonide. Just like Imidacloprid, you have to dilute the chemical in small amounts and spray it on the plants. Pour the leftovers on the soil but use the insecticide with great care to limit damage to the environment. This product also may not be available in some US states. 

3. Neem oil insecticide 

Neem oil is from the Azadirachta indica tree, which is endemic to South Asia and India. It is known for its insecticidal properties. The key ingredient is Azadirachtin; the highest amounts of this are found in the seeds. Neem oil insecticide is applied as a soil drench and causes insects to reduce or cease feeding. It also prevents larvae from maturing; the oil coats the breathing holes of insects and kills them. 

4. Insecticides with essential oils 

Some systemic pesticides contain essential oils like thyme, cloves, cinnamon, and rosemary. Products that contain these oils include SNS 209 and Ed Rosenthal’s Zero Tolerance. However, some pests are not affected by these insecticides.

Pyrethroid insecticides are also commonly used by pest management professionals. They are a special chemical class of active ingredients found in most modern insecticides. Pyrethrin insecticide, in particular, contains pyrethrum, a compound extracted from chrysanthemum flowers.

Insecticide sprays, such as acephate and dimethoate, are also effective for succulents when they are diluted and sprayed on the plants. These should be applied only as often as the label recommends. 

Systemic insecticides and pesticides absorb into the succulents through the roots. When the pests drink the juice, they die, or their hormones are affected so they cannot procreate or multiply. Extreme caution should be used when handling these insecticides to protect other plants, bees, animals, and children from getting into contact with them. 

Safe alternatives to eradicate pests from succulents 

These are safe alternatives to remove pests from succulents:

1. Beneficial insects 

Not all insects are pests that are destructive to succulents. Some insects are beneficial and help ward off harmful pests from your plants. These insects include the following:

2. Ladybugs or lady beetles

They feed on soft-bodied pests and eggs. 

3. Spider mite predator

These are an important biological controller for two-spotted spider mites.

4. Mealybug destroyer

They attack all species of mealybugs and also feed on aphids. 

5. Fungus gnat predator

These tan-colored mites feed on fungus gnat larvae. 

6. Aphid parasite

This tiny parasitic wasp lays eggs inside aphids, causing them to mummify and die.  

7. Aphid predator

This gall midge attacks many species of aphids. 

8. Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock formed from diatoms, or fossilized hard-shelled microalgae. It is typically 80 to 90% silica mixed with iron oxide and alumina, a clay mineral.  Once ground, the resulting powder is coarse, hard, absorbent, and microscopically sharp-edged. 

DE is popular as an insecticide since it effectively kills ants, aphids, mites, and gnats, which are common pests among succulents.  It is considered an economical and safe alternative for pest control. It also helps absorb excess water among potted succulents and can keep the soil dry easily.  DE helps bind newly applied fertilizers to the plants and has proven to be beneficial for succulents grown hydroponically. 

Other succulent owners attest that spraying the affected areas with rubbing alcohol or soapy water are effective in removing insects. Regular spraying should be done until the insects are totally eradicated. 

Succulent growers note that commercial or synthetic insecticides should only be used as a last resort and if there is a heavy infestation. It is ideal to use natural and organic ways first to treat pests before settling for synthetic insecticides that can be harmful to the environment. 


Succulents are easy to cultivate and propagate since they are low-maintenance plants. However, they are not immune to invaders; harmful pests put them at great risk. The use of insecticide for succulents is an effective way to wipe out pests, but it is also dangerous since it can harm beneficial insects like ladybugs and bees. It is ideal to utilize organic and safe options first in treating pests and to only use synthetic insecticides as the last resort. 

Image: / ronstik

Can I Use Cactus Soil For Succulents?

Can I Use Cactus Soil For Succulents?

Succulents thrive best in a temperate temperature with the right type of soil. They prefer porous sandy potting soil since it dries faster than other types of soil. However, in the absence of sandy potting soil, you may be wondering if other soil types are ideal for your plants. In this article, we will find out if cactus soil is a good alternative for succulents.

Can I use cactus soil for succulents?

Yes, you can use cactus soil for succulents since cacti are also a type of succulents. What works for cactus when it comes to soil can work for other succulent types, too. Succulents and cacti thrive well in a well-draining and airy growing medium, which is what cactus soil provides.

Good quality cactus soil has air pockets, high-drainage properties, and strong nutrient retention qualities that satisfy the needs of a succulent. Some cactus mixes use ingredients like coco coir, peat moss, coarse sand, pumice, and perlite. 

What do succulents need from the soil?

Succulents used to be endemic to the arid lands of the desert. They have developed survival techniques in order to survive harsh desert conditions, such as a lack of water because of low rainfall. In such conditions, there is also a high water evaporation rate due to the hot and sunny weather.  

Succulents can develop a lifestyle that tolerates such conditions as insufficient water. Inversely, waterlogged soil is unfamiliar to succulents. They are unable to survive in such a soil type because they are used to small amounts of water. They need soil that is airy and drains fast. 

What is cactus soil?

Cactus soil provides a better base for cactus roots than regular soil as it keeps roots and stems from sitting in moisture. Too much moisture can result in root rot. This type of soil is available in most garden centers and nurseries. This planting mix for cacti has superior drainage and dries quickly after watering. Cacti usually harvest the moisture that they need immediately, so excess water needs to be drained to prevent rot and fungal disease. 

Commercial mixes for cactus soil use classic soil elements and add peat to hold moisture. Once the peat dries out, it does not absorb water again and the pot becomes too dry.  Homemade cactus soil can be tailor- made for your specific cactus varieties; a certain soil mix is not always right for every cactus variety or growing region. 

How can I make cactus soil?

While commercial cactus soil is good quality soil, it is cheaper if you make your own mixture. If you are living in an area with an arid climate, add peat to your potted plants. Just don’t let it dry completely. The usual mixture would be one part washed sand, one part soil, and one part grit (like pebbles or pot shards). You could also try five parts potting soil, two parts pumice, and one part coir. You can adjust the parts of the mixture depending on the variety of succulent that you have. 

What are the components of a good succulent potting soil?

These are the components of a good succulent potting soil:

1. It should be well-draining. 

Soil should drain well and quickly. Loose and grainy soil is the ideal substrate for succulents. 

2. It should have good aeration. 

The roots should have space to breathe and to create a sustainable environment for useful organisms in the soil.  

3. It should be non-compacting and breathable soil. 

The soil should be non-compacting and not sticky so that moisture won’t be retained for a long period. This helps the plant to be able to breathe. 

4. It should contain just the right nutrients. 

Excessive nutrients in the soil result in unpleasant and brittle plants, so the soil should contain the right amount of proper nutrients.

How do I make succulent soil at home?

Here are the materials that you need for your DIY succulent soil:

  • Gardening gloves 
  • Measuring cup 
  • Trowel or shovel 
  • A bucket or plastic bin
  • Common gardening soil 
  • Perlite or pumice 
  • Coarse sand 

Measuring the succulent soil 

The ideal mixing ratio of the ingredients is two parts sand, two parts gardening soil, and one part perlite or pumice. The right measurement is essential so that the desired drainage, aeration, and compactness will be achieved. If you convert to cups, it would be three cups sand, three cups soil and 1.5 cups of perlite or pumice. 

Pumice or perlite aim to help with aeration and drainage. It is also useful in holding nutrients and moisture together. Using one alone or combining pumice and perlite results in a rich potting mix. The sand’s role is to make the potting mix less compact and to increase the drainage, while the gardening soil is to provide nutrients for the plants.

Mixing the DIY succulent soil 

With your gloves on, begin to moisten the garden soil so that the dust won’t come up in the mixing container. Next, add the sand and mix well. Finally, scoop in the perlite or pumice and stir thoroughly until the mixture is evenly combined. That’s it! You now have your DIY succulent soil, ready to be used for your succulents if you intend to pot or repot them. It is also ideal to set some aside and store it for future use. 


Succulents are popular house and garden plants because they are easy to cultivate and add beauty to your patio, gazebo, or living room. They are low maintenance and easy to propagate. If you need to repot them, you can use cactus soil since it is similar to succulent soil. Both types of soil drain well, have good aeration, and provide nutrients that make them ideal for succulents and cacti. 

Image: / Yasin Caglayan


Cactus Compost

Cactus Compost

The best way to cultivate any plant, and especially those that come from places with unique climates, is to simulate their environment in your home.

Cacti come from arid desert landscapes where the soil is very dry.

Cactus compost is a combination of components in soil that cacti can thrive in. It works very well in imitating desert soil, giving cacti its ideal living conditions.

Cactus compost is usually a mix of peat moss, soil and grit. Planting your cacti in cactus compost will make it grow better than using regular garden soil.

What kind of soil does a cactus like?

Most cacti species originated from Africa, parts of Europe and both North and South America. Cacti have stems that are great at retaining water and moisture, which is how they are able to survive harsh desert conditions. 

The sandy soil typical for deserts plus the dry desert conditions dry out the ground almost immediately after rain. Because of this, cacti never have to sit in water for extended periods of time.

Cactus soil must have good drainage, must not be too compact and must have great air circulation. All three factors need to be present, as too moist soil can lead to root rot, pests and fungal problems.

Root rot attacks the cacti’s water absorption main channel and will spread towards where the water is stored. The plant will eventually shrivel and become weak until it dies.

What is good cactus soil?

Whether the cactus is kept indoors or outdoors, the soil it is planted on will determine the amount of water retained. The most important factor that any cactus potting mix should have is that it drains well. It has to be porous enough for water to seep through quickly giving the soil a chance to dry out completely in a short amount of time.

The best soil for cacti can be considered poor soil for other houseplants, especially those that originated from the jungle. Cactus soil has more inorganic elements compared to regular soil and has only about 25-50% of organic matter.

Inorganic material is important for cactus soil because it is what keeps the soil porous, allows it to drain well, and makes sure that air circulates through the soil. The most widely used inorganic components for cactus soil are perlite and pumice. You can also use gravel or grit.

Organic material is also added to cactus soil because it helps the cactus absorb and hold more water and nutrients. Examples of widely used organic components or cactus soil are mulch, coir, and peat.

Can I use regular garden soil for cacti?

Regular garden soil can have too much organic matter and may retain too much water for cacti. They also have too much added nutrients, some of which cacti may not agree with. You can use regular garden soil but you have to mix it together with an inorganic material like perlite or pumice for better drainage and less water retention in the soil.

What is cactus compost?

Cactus compost is a mix of both organic and inorganic materials to form a soil that is most ideal for cacti to grow on. It has superior drainage and tends to dry out quicker than normal garden soil. The cacti will quickly absorb the water it can sustain and the excess water has to dry out or drain to prevent root rot and fungal problems.

You can buy commercially sold cactus soil mixes, but once the peat has dried out, the soil may have a difficult time reabsorbing water. You may be better off customizing your own cactus compost so you can design the mixture specifically for the type of cactus you will be planting.

How can I make cactus compost?

Gather the following components to mix your own cactus compost:

1. Regular garden soil

Any kind of garden soil you have on hand is fine to use. It will work especially well if your soil is light and porous. This will be the base of your cactus compost. Heavy garden soil usually means that it will retain a lot of moisture so steer clear of that for your cacti. Keep in mind, we need well-draining soil.

2. Sand

Cacti come from the desert where sand is abundant, so it makes sense for there to be sand in cactus compost. Adding this to soil will make it porous. You can use any sand, but coarse sand is ideal. Do not use beach or sandbox sand because those are too fine. You can use turface or poultry grit as an alternative.

3. Pumice or perlite

Perlite is an organic soil additive that is lightweight and resembles styrofoam. It helps with keeping the soil from getting compacted and to promote plant aeration. It also helps with the water drainage. Pumice does pretty much the same thing.

4. Peat

The pH level of soil can affect the plant in it. One way to lower the pH of your soil is to add a little peat to the mixture.

5. Lava rocks/ gravel

When added to the cactus compost recipe, they will help keep the soil airy and loose.

Before you start combing the components, gather a measuring cup, a bucket, a trowel and gardening gloves.

Take three parts regular soil, three parts sand, turface, grit, or gravel and two parts perlite or pumice.

Once you have all the components measured, you can move on to the next stage, which is mixing it all together.

Moisten the garden soil first so dust does not rise up while you are mixing. Start adding in the sand and mix well. Using your hands will loosen clumps and combine them better. 

Take the perlite or pumice and add to the mixture. Mix well.

If you have a pH measuring meter, test a small sample of the soil. If the pH is below or beyond the normal values, add a small amount of peat. Stir the mixture well before measuring the pH again.


Making your own cactus compost is better for your cacti and can also save you a lot of money. You can customize and personalize the soil for the kind of cactus you wish to plant. The most important factor to keep in mind when creating cactus compost is that it has to be well-draining, and properly aerated.

Image: / Dejan_Dundjerski

Succulent Compost

Succulent Compost

Succulents need to be planted on soil that drains well as they do not do particularly well in regular soil. Creating a mix of compost, sand and perlite will emulate a succulent’s natural arid environment where water is scarce. This growing medium is porous and will allow excess water to drain away from the roots of your plants.

The guaranteed success of a succulent’s growth starts with its soil. In this article we will learn more about how to make your own succulent compost.

What kind of soil do succulents like?

Succulents are not like most plants that originate from relatively moist areas. Most plants love moist, nutrient rich soil. Succulents, on the other hand, prefer well-drained soil. Putting them in rich soil, with manure or other organic material that holds moisture well is a quick way to kill your succulents.

The best potting soil for succulents is a potting mix composed of porous soil in order to avoid overwatering. There may be conflicting information regarding the type of soil to use for succulents, but the one constant is that drainage is key. Succulents have the ability to withstand drought but wet soil will cause them to rot.

The best way to cultivate any plant is to simulate the natural environment from which it came. Succulents in the wild grow in sandy and gravelly soil, some even in rocky areas and even cliff sides. Their natural gritty soil may get saturated with water during the rainy season, but dries out quickly.

Succulent soil key factors

Porosity and texture

Soil’s mineral layers are categorized based on texture types. Based on grit size, the three types are clay, silt and sand. The amount of time it takes each type to dry is based on their proportions which in turn affects the amount of water it can hold. Sandy soil holds less moisture and dries out faster than clay soil, making it better for succulents.

Mineral vs organic

In the context of soil, organic means that it came from anything that was alive at one point, while mineral is any natural, inorganic substance that was not derived from a living organism.

Plant debris and tree bark are examples of organic components, while gravel is mineral. The organic components help with nourishment, while the mineral components help with the drainage.

Getting the perfect ratio between organic and mineral components is important for it to properly support the succulent’s growth and to help avoid root rot. This can also allow you to water your succulents heavily but infrequently.

There are plenty of mineral and organic components you can mix and match depending on the plant you are using them for. Potting soil, compost, coconut coir and pine bark are great choices for organic ingredients, while chicken grit, gravel, volcanic rock, perlite and coarse sand are fine mineral choices. Try not to use non-calcined clay or vermiculite because they tend to store water.

Can I use garden soil for my succulents?

Vegetable garden soil has a lot of additional organic matter and is not suitable for succulents. Garden soil is ideal for most plants that want moisture retention. Garden soil is far too rich for a succulent that prefers lean soil with little to no organic matter or excess nutrients. The richness and the moisture retention will cause root rot and kill your succulent.

Can I make my own succulent compost?

Yes, making your own succulent compost is very easy, economical and you can control the amount of each ingredient you add. You can modify the recipe until you get the perfect succulent compost for your plants. Your goal with making succulent compost should be to improve the drainage as much as possible. Succulent plants come from parts of the world that are dry and where the soil is sandy and water is not retained. For indoor succulents, water is easily controlled as a variable, so the substrate remains as the main concern.

How do I make succulent compost?

If you have a large bucket or tub, get one ready because you will need a lot of space to be able to mix the succulent compost properly.

Mix together:

1 part compost – using a multi-purpose compost with an open texture is ideal

1 part horticultural grit – this is made from crushed rock, specifically granite or limestone

1 part sand – building sand is perfectly fine and very cheap

Place all of the ingredients in your bucket or tub and give it a good stir, sifting it through your hands and fingers to make sure the distribution of each component is even. Remove any clumps until everything looks properly mixed together.

Keep in mind that these materials, when mixed together, will be a lot heavier than normal compost, especially after watering, so make sure you take that into account when choosing the pot before planting your succulent.

Scoop your freshly-made succulent compost into garden sacks for storage. Now you have proper succulent compost you can use anytime.

Soil for outdoor succulents

Succulents that are planted in the ground are often not as finicky about the soil compared to those planted in containers. Of course, outdoor succulents still need a sandy soil with grit and compost, but the conditions in the outdoors means you can have healthy succulents even with less than adequately draining soil. This is because outdoor plants have more soil, have ample sunlight and have more airflow than indoor plants.

You can improve drainage for outdoor plants by mounding it into berns or placing it on raised beds. Sloping topography exposes more soil to the sun and uses gravity to contribute to the draining of water.


Succulents will not thrive in normal garden soil because it is too rich with organic matter and retains too much water. Succulents require nutrients but not too much and what is most important is proper drainage to keep the succulent from getting overwatered which often results in root rot.

A mixture of one part compost, one part horticultural grit and one part sand will do wonders in helping your potted succulents flourish. This mixture simulates the natural arid environment of these plants, which is the best way to cultivate them.

Image: / Daisy-Daisy

White Powder on Succulents

White Powder on Succulents

If you notice your succulents starting to look as though they have been sprinkled with flour, they might have powdery mildew.

Powdery mildew is one of the most common succulent problems. It is a fungal disease that coats the stems and leaves of plants and succulents with a white or grayish-white powdery substance. When the case of powdery mildew becomes too severe, it can spread to the bugs and flowers.

In this article, we will discuss what exactly causes powdery mildew and how to properly remove it from your succulents.

What is powdery mildew?

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that affects a lot of different plants, including succulents. It can be caused by many different species of fungi, with different species attacking different plants. Other than succulents, powdery mildew can affect legumes such as peas and beans, nightshades such as roses, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes and cucurbits such as melons, cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.

When your succulent gets taken over by the fungus, the spores of the powdery mildew will form a layer on top of the leaves.

Unfortunately, it is quite easy to infect other nearby plants, because if the spores get blown by the wind, they can be carried over to your other plants.

The powdery mildew caused by the fungus can stunt the growth of your succulent. It may not kill your succulent no matter how severe the infection is, but it can definitely cause its leaves to turn yellow and to wither.

How do I know if my succulent has powdery mildew?

The most important step in removing and preventing powdery mildew is to learn how to identify it. Being able to catch it in its early stages will help you treat it and make sure your succulent is minimally affected.

Powdery mildew will first present itself on your succulent as powdery white, circular spots on the leaves and stems. Over time the spots will spread across the upper side of the leaves, slowly making their way to the bottom of the leaves. Before long, your entire succulent will look as though it was dusted with flour.

The youngest leaves or foliage are the quickest to be affected by the powdery mildew. The longer the fungus is left alone, the more the leaves become disfigured, twisted, and even broken.

How does powdery mildew spread from plant to plant?

As mentioned above, powdery mildew is transferred from one plant to another through the air. The spores that were on an infected succulent can drift in the air, across your garden, and onto your other plants.

In some cases, you might think you no longer have powdery mildew on any of your plants, but unbeknownst to you, dormant spores can cause new outbreaks.

Powdery mildew flourishes in warmer climates and will thrive and spread quickly in dry areas with temperatures that range from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In colder and wetter areas, the spores are not able to spread as efficiently. The fungus also prefers to infect plants that have more shade, compared to those that are out in the sun, because temperatures higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit can slow the spread too.

How to control powdery mildew

You can use protectant fungicides on your succulents. Examples of protectant fungicides are potassium bicarbonate, neem oil, lime-sulfur and sulfur. These types of fungicides will work best if sprayed on your succulents in the early stages of the infection or as a strict preventative fungicide.

If you are apprehensive about using chemicals in removing powdery mildew, you can give baking soda a try. When you mix baking soda with a non-detergent liquid soap and water, it becomes an effective preventative fungicide. Spray it on your affected succulents or on your unaffected succulents once a week to reduce the incidence of powdery mildew. Making sure your plants are spaced apart properly can also help prevent powdery mildew from spreading.

To make the solution, mix together one gallon of water, half a teaspoon of non-detergent liquid soap, and one tablespoon of baking soda. Transfer the mixture into a spray bottle and spray your succulents enough to coat all of its outside surface areas with the solution. Do not forget to spray the bottom of the leaves.

Be sure to discard any leftover mixture. Despite being effective, the solution can be quite strong and burn your leaves. Make sure the plants are watered well days prior to spraying the solution and do not apply the solution while the sun is under direct sunlight.

If your succulent has become far too infected, it may be too late to rid it of the fungus. You will be better off discarding infected plants as well as their leaves, stems, and fruit. Make sure you throw them away properly as these spores can stay dormant for some time. Do not place the infected plants in your compost.

How do I prevent powdery mildew from infecting and spreading amongst my succulents?

When choosing new succulents, choose those that are resistant and less tolerant of powdery mildew.

Do not overwater your succulents to reduce the humidity.

Prune your plants that are overcrowded to promote better air circulation. Better air circulation means less possibility of infection.

Make sure you clean and sanitize your pruning tools after each use.

Remember to remove any affected foliage and to dispose of them properly.

Spray your plants with preventative fungicides.

Ideally, water your plants in the early morning, so it has a chance to dry throughout the day.

Do not put your susceptible plants in shaded areas and place them in a place where they can get direct sunlight.

Make sure the soil is able to drain excess water properly because the fungus loves humidity.


The white powdery stuff on succulents is called powdery mildew and is caused by different kinds of fungi, depending on the plant it is infecting. This plant fungal disease manifests itself as white spots on your succulent’s leaves first before it spreads its ways all over all the leaves, stems, and flowers.

Image: / Svetlana Glazkova

How To Ship Succulents?

Starting a succulent collection is a good stress reliever and first-time succulent growers derive great joy from it. Countless varieties can be purchased online and shipped to any state or country. However, succulent enthusiasts are wondering if it is safe and viable to ship succulents. In this article, get to know vital information on how to pack and ship succulents properly.

How to ship succulents?

Succulents are shipped using two ways, either as bare root which is without a container or placed inside a container.  While these plants can survive long journeys without water it is ideal to pack them carefully. Proper coordination with the destination agricultural department should be made to verify if shipping of succulents is allowed to a specific country. 

Shipping succulents through the bare root or no-container method 

These are the advantages of shipping succulents “bare root” or without a container:

Lower postage rates.

The parcel is lightweight and this means that there will be lower postage rates. Also, it is cheaper to ship the plants since the weight of the pot and soil are not included. 

It prevents rotting. 

The plants won’t rot because there is no soil, which tends to be the  culprit if succulents rot during a long journey.  The absence of air circulation and the dark environment also lead to fungi and bacteria growth which could accelerate the damage.

It prevents soil spillage. 

Potted succulents could lead to soil spillage due to constant motion while in transit.

It prevents etiolation.

With soil plants can still grow. In an environment of partial or no light(such as a shipping container, transit vehicle, etc), it is called etiolation, which could lead to the formation of weak leaves and stems during the long journey.

Avoid watering the succulents before shipping and pull them out of their soil gently. Be sure to shake off any excess soil. Leave the plants out for at least two days to dry out the roots, especially if they are too moist.  You may also trim some of the roots if they are too bushy or cramped together.

Shipping succulents in containers 

Another way to ship succulents is by putting them in small containers. Do not water the plants for four to five days before shipping. It will prevent rotting since the soil’s moisture content will increase after packing due to lack of air circulation. This will prevent the drying out of the soil and may cause fungal growth.

It is better to use plastic containers instead of clay pots since the latter are prone to breakage during the journey.

Shipping procedures for succulents

Wrapping the succulents

If you are shipping succulents either with the bare root or container method, you should wrap them with tissue paper or paper. You may layer the paper thickly since it offers extra protection. Spiky succulents should be packed  in many layers of paper to avoid damaging other plants. Do not cover the top part of succulents with plastic wrap as it could retain moisture and may cause rotting. 

Wrap succulents separately. If they are in containers, use plastic to cover the soil in the container to prevent soil spillage. For bare-root succulents, some peat or moss may come in handy to retain some moisture. 

Labeling the succulents 

Properly label each of the succulents after wrapping them. Mark fragile succulents with the word “fragile” so the courier’s staff are well-aware of the contents of your package. Succulents with spikes should be labeled with the word “warning”.

Boxing the succulents 

If you have already wrapped and labeled the plants, it is ready to be boxed. Use a durable and corrugated cardboard box for the succulents. Place the plants carefully inside the box and layer it with more newspapers and bubble wrap. 

Fill any spaces in between the plants with newspapers to avoid the plants moving during handling. Use bubble wrap to reduce mishandling damages. Keep a list of the plants inside the package and mark the box with the word “perishable” or “fragile”. Secure the box with tape and apply it on all sides to ensure that it does not open up during the journey. 

Things to keep in mind when shipping succulents to other states or countries

Succulents cannot survive in areas with low temperatures and frost can kill them. They thrive well in areas with high temperatures. If the temperature of the plants’ destination is expected to drop below zero, it is wise to postpone shipping for the time being. Heat packs are ideal if you are shipping succulents to low-temperature areas as they keep the plants warm for up to a maximum of 72 hours. 

If you are shipping cacti, pack them in extra paper and make sure that the spines do not damage the packing materials and the other plants. Indicate that the package contains cacti by putting the word “cacti inside” to alert the handlers and receiver so they know to be extra careful. 

Things not to do when shipping succulents

  • Do not dampen the succulents if shipping them to an area with warm weather, as it could lead to rotting. 
  • Do not pack small succulents in a large box. 
  • Do not pack the plants in plastic wrappers as it could lead to rotting. 
  • Do not forget to secure the soil of plants that are in containers. 
  • Do not wrap all the succulents in one paper. 

What to do when you receive a package of succulents?

If you received a package of succulents, carefully unpack the package and water the contents. Do not place it in direct sunlight as sudden exposure to it could cause plant stress and may lead to death or leaf loss. If the plants are in bare root, place them in a good succulent mix or cactus pot soil. Water them properly to freshen them, keep them in a shade for a few days and eventually acclimate them to light. 


Succulents may be considered tough or hardy plants, but they should be handled with care when shipped to another state or country. These plants can be shipped either in bare root or containers.  Proper wrapping and boxing procedures should be observed as discussed above. Most importantly, the temperature of its destination should be anticipated in advance to ensure that the plants arrive in good shape.

Image: / YakobchukOlena

How Do Succulents Reproduce?

If you are a first-time succulent owner, you may be wondering how to propagate your plants and add more to your collection. Succulents reproduce in specific ways. Most of them multiply through division, while for some cacti, small ‘baby’ plants tend to appear on the edges of the leaves. Keep reading for more interesting details on succulent reproduction methods.

How do succulents reproduce?

These are the various ways or methods that succulents reproduce:

With cuttings

This method is applicable for succulents with well-developed and tall stems.  For a higher survival rate using this method, see to it that you have a well-sharpened blade when cutting the stems. Also, make sure that the stems are actively growing and the roots are visible outside. Cut the young and rooty stems carefully.

After you have cut the stems, allow them to develop some callus before planting. The callus is where the end of the plant dries and hardens a bit. This takes about three to 15 days and this is a critical process to prevent baby plants from having fungal infections.

Once the callus develops you can place your cuttings in a shallow pot. Bury only the callused part of the cuttings and place it in an area with some sunlight.  You can water it regularly by spraying the rooty areas. However, do not overwater as it could harm the succulents during the propagating process.

By leafing

This method involves the removal and replanting of succulent leaves. It is popular among succulent lovers who own pulpy succulents. Just like the previous one, this method requires careful cutting techniques. To propagate, see to it that you cut the part where the leaves and the stem meet using a sharpened blade.  

Once you have cut the part, place it in a shallow and soiled container. Put it in an area with a minimum amount of sunlight and spray with water regularly to keep it moist. 

After about three weeks a callus will develop and the mother leaf’s core will wilt and fall. The buddings will be visible and it is an indicator that the plant is ready to be planted in its permanent planter.

Through stem cuttings

This particular method works best with rosette-shaped succulents and other plants with long branches. Choose shorter stems to cut; the small size indicates they are actively growing and it means they have a higher chance of surviving. Callusing takes up to four days and you must ensure that the branch where it was cut from should remain planted and allowed to heal itself. 

By using seeds 

The seeds, which usually have an orange color, can also be used to propagate succulents. They should be rinsed with warm water to get rid of the coating and planted in a prepared pot and soil should only partly cover it. Gently water the seeds with a spray bottle from time to time since they need careful treatment. 

While said methods work for most succulents it is not applicable for offsets like hens and chicks succulents.  Leafing and direct cutting are not applicable since offsets have parts that are strongly connected and the common way is by propagating through water. After letting it produce callus, they should be placed in water in a jar instead of in soil. 

The cuttings should not be fully soaked since the part where the cutting took place should only be dipped. The roots will sprout overnight and can be planted once they are fully developed. 

How to cross-breed succulents?

These are the steps on how to successfully cross-breed succulents:

  • First, pull a flower off of the main plant. 
  • Remove the flower petals to expose the pollen-covered anther. Leave it since it is filled with pollen and pull off the stamen. 
  • Next, rub the freshly-removed pollen into the flower of the plant you intend to cross-pollinate it with.
  • Close the receptor flower’s petals with tape if the succulent is growing outside to prevent cross-pollination by insects. However, if the succulent is placed indoors the insects cannot access it then there is no need to tape the flower closed.  Mark the flower you pollinated by writing on the tag. If pollination is successful,  the flower’s base will swell in a few weeks to months, but this will depend on the succulent. 
  • Finally, collect the seeds once the cross-pollination is done then proceed with the planting process.

Succulents reproduce asexually and this means individual reproduction or reproducing without sex.  It is a sole reproduction without gene contributions by another ‘parent’ plant. Asexual reproduction in succulents is in the form of offsets or young ones produced by succulents.  A good example of a succulent that reproduces through offsets is the hens and chick plant. 

Problems concerning the propagation and breeding of succulents 

These are the probable problems concerning the propagation and breeding of succulents:

  • During the cross-pollination process, newly-produced succulents may become weaker than the original variety instead of creating a hybrid variety. 
  • Sterile succulents are not capable of cross-breeding and the only way to breed them is through stem and leaf-cutting methods. 
  • The pollen of two plants may not bloom at the same time and the only way to breed succulents is to control the environment.
  • Not all succulents are a perfect match so you have to be mindful of proper cross-breeding procedures. 


Succulents are popular home and office plants and they are easy to propagate. They reproduce through methods like leafing, stem cutting and by using the seeds. These low-maintenance beauties can also reproduce through cross-breeding and require two kinds of succulents through separation and division of plant parts.

Image: / HaiMinhDuong

Potting Pebbles for Succulents

Potting Pebbles for Succulents

Take your succulents to a whole new level by enhancing the visual presentation with potting pebbles. These pebbles make the plants stand out and also add to their aesthetic value. 

What are natural decorative potting pebbles?

Natural decorative potting pebbles are perfect for flower arrangements and succulent containers.  These pebbles have no toxic chemicals added which make them safe choices for plants and the environment. They also come in natural shapes and colors that enhance the aesthetic features of your succulents. 

Do not use moss as a top dressing for your succulents. It traps moisture and encourages fungi or bacteria growth, whereas potting pebbles are perfect for your plants. Be sure to avoid non-porous rocks like river rocks, pea gravel, fish rock, sand and glass marbles. Other ideal top dressings aside from potting pebbles include pumice, shale and turface. 

Benefits of potting pebbles for succulents

1. They provide drainage. 

Potting pebbles help achieve a fast-draining soil for succulents. Mixing succulent soil with potting pebbles allows the soil to have a water exit point so that excess water drains easily and will leave nothing but the necessary moisture. Succulents may develop growth problems like dark spots on leaves and stems if excess water stays at the bottom of the pot. 

2. They serve as a root anchor. 

Most plants establish stability with soil, but the roots of succulents become more stable and rigid when they are anchored on pebbles.  Succulents grow naturally and healthily when they have pebbles to hold on to and also provide strength.

3. They provide aesthetic value.

Succulents look more enticing with the added beauty of the potting pebbles. However, be sure to pick pebbles in a colour that will compliment the colour of your succulents. Also, consider the size and shape of the potting pebbles with the plants to maximize the aesthetic effects. 

How to prepare potting pebbles

First, clean the pebbles thoroughly. 

See to it that the potting pebbles are clean before putting them in the pots. Soak them in water for a few hours to soften the soil and kill any elements that stick to the pebbles. It is important to do this if you reuse pebbles from another pot. Mix some liquid soap with the water, wash the pebbles thoroughly and rinse with clean water. 

Pour the pebbles into the pot.

Once the pebbles are cleaned, you can place them in the pot and pour them about an inch thick.  This will help with the drainage system of the soil mix. If your pot has drainage holes, consider the size of the pebbles.  You may need a mesh over the holes if the pebbles are smaller to prevent them from slipping through the holes. 

Fill the rest of the pot with a fast-draining soil mix and plant the succulents in the soil. Add another layer of pebbles around the succulents for that final touch. Make sure that soil still has plenty of air so it can breathe and do not put in too many pebbles.

Common brands of potting pebbles for succulents

Small River Pebbles 

This brand provides all-natural and non-toxic potting pebbles for succulents and other potted plants.  The pebbles are pre-rinsed so they are safe to use. They come in vibrant colors that add aesthetic value and are ideal for indoor and outdoor gardens. 

Mexican Beach Pebbles 

These natural potting pebbles are from Baja, California and are commonly used for landscaping projects because of their perfect size and color.

Other must-try natural decorative potting pebbles for succulents:


Taking care of succulents provides stress relief and adds beauty to homes and gardens. These plants are easy to care for and can withstand high temperatures since they can store water in their leaves and stems. Potting pebbles add aesthetic value to succulents and allow them to stand out. These pebbles also provide drainage and root anchor so the plants will grow naturally and healthily. 

Image: / joloei

White Fuzz on Succulents

White Fuzz on Succulents

Have you noticed some white fuzz on your succulents lately? It may look harmless, but it could mean a pest infestation or a fungal disease. Succulents are known to be hardy plants but like most plants, they can be attacked by pests and diseases. Let us get to know what causes white spots on succulents and ways to treat them. 

White fuzz on succulents: What are the most probable causes?

1. It could be due to mealybugs.

Mealybugs are common pests that tend to infest succulents. These tiny bugs usually thrive on indoor plants since they favor moderate temperatures.  They look like a white cottony substance and they are found among the new growth on your succulents, usually at the base of the leaves or on the stem. They are hard to detect and shortly the leaves are already deformed and misshapen. 

The probable causes for the presence of mealybugs include overwatering and excessive use of certain fertilizers. These pests spread quickly and it is ideal to eradicate them at the earliest signs to avoid any widespread damage. Not acting promptly may not just kill your succulent but the infestation may also spread to other plants.

Treatment options:

These are the treatment options for mealybugs:

By using plant insecticides.

The use of plant insecticides is a common treatment option for pests. However, it is a good idea to settle for organic ones like neem oil. Chemical insecticides are effective but they can also harm beneficial bugs and some states restrict their use. If you choose to use them, make sure that the insecticide is compatible with your succulents as it may just inflict damage. 

By using isopropyl alcohol. 

Isopropyl alcohol is a cheaper option than insecticide but equally effective. Simply spray 70% isopropyl alcohol on the mealybugs and cover all angles to make sure that you are spraying all areas of the plants. The bugs die on contact and you will notice that the white substance will fade almost instantly. Wait for a few minutes once done and wash the dead mealybugs away with water. 

Repeat the treatment process after a few days if you notice that there are still a few bugs. However, if you notice any burns on the leaves, opt for 50% rather than 70% of alcohol content.

By using ladybirds. 

Ladybirds or ladybugs are natural predators of mealybugs and placing these bug warriors on your affected succulents is a big help. They are experts at hunting mealybugs and they will easily finish them off in no time at all. 

How to prevent a mealybug infestation?

Here are some tips on  how to prevent a mealybug infestation:

  • Be sure to water your succulents moderately and do not overwater them. 
  • Inspect your plants regularly. 
  • Quarantine infected plants. 
  • Do not over-fertilize as it may create an ideal environment for pests instead of keeping your plants healthy. 

2. It could be due to the epicuticular wax. 

Some succulents may develop a white powdery film, some plants that were once vibrant become soft, pale and pastel-colored. This is all due to the development of epicuticular wax or Farina, an even dusting of powder. This thin layer of silvery film is often seen on plums, grapes and other plants.  

To be sure if the white fuzz on succulents is epicuticular wax, try to examine the uniformity and if you notice an even coating it is probably farina. It is evenly distributed on the plant, but the thickness may vary depending on the species. The wax is a protective covering for plants and hydrophobic, making the water bead up to prevent too much moisture from entering the plants. 

Farina helps the plants to stay moisturized and also serves as sunscreen to prevent plants from becoming sunburned. It also protects plants from pathogens, insects and other extreme conditions. Do not wipe off the wax from succulents as it has many benefits for them. 

3. It could be due to powdery mildew. 

The white fuzz on succulents may also be due to powdery mildew, a type of fungal disease. It is usually characterized by white powdery mold on the leaves. It is usually white but it could also become yellowish, brown or black-colored growths. This fungus grows in warm and dry places, which makes succulents more prone to it. 

Powdery mildew does not spread on the entire plant and it is patchier compared to farina. It is fuzzy and tends to spread from one leaf to another. It does not look harmful at first but it is capable of taking away the nutrients of succulents until they wither. The leaves fall and succulents may even die. 

This fungal disease is contagious and it is ideal to separate infected plants to avoid any further damage. Gently remove the infected leaves, and you could also use a fungicide to kill the fungus and stop the spread of infection.

4. It could be due to whiteflies. 

These white, flying insects are usually found in leafy succulents. They multiply rapidly and the larvae are also white but the eggs are yellowish that turn brown when they are about to hatch. These insects do not produce evenly distributed powdery substances. They suck the nutrients and produce honeydew that causes mold growth. 

Whiteflies usually stay under the leaves rather than on the surface and occupy hard to reach places.  If your plants are infested, they become deformed and eventually wither if not treated promptly. 


White fuzz on succulents could be indicative of several reasons. It could be due to a mealybug infestation in your succulents. It may also be due to epicuticular wax which has many benefits for plants or powdery mildew, a highly contagious fungal disease.

Image: / Sabine Wagner

11 Large Succulents for Landscaping

Emphasis. Balance. Scale. If you are looking for outdoor plants that will help you achieve a well-rounded look to your garden, you might want to consider adding one or more of these large succulents for landscaping.

1. Century Plant

Century Plant
Image: / Supersmario

The Century Plant (Agave americana) originates from Mexico and the southern parts of the United States. Also known as the Sentry Plant, Maguey, and American Aloe, this succulent can grow up to six feet and spread to a width of up to 10 feet.

The plant’s spiny blue-green leaves arch down as the plant matures. At around 10 years of age, the Century Plant produces a flower stalk that can reach a length of 15 feet. The flowers of this plant have a greenish-yellow color.

This agave is best planted in sandy or gravelly soil that is slightly acidic. Although it prefers full sun, the plant can tolerate partial shade, unlike other agaves.

The plant is an excellent addition to different types of gardens and works well as an accent plant or part of hedges. It is virtually pest and disease resistant and can attract birds. The plant is also deer resistant.

Avoid planting this agave in areas with heavy foot traffic like walkways and paths as its leaf tips can trip people.  

2. Dinosaur Back Plant

Dinosaur Back Plant
Image: / Sara Friesz

If you are looking for an accent plant for your landscape, the Dinosaur Back Plant (Myrtillocactus geometrizans forma cristata) should be on top of your list. This interesting-looking cactus has several columnar branches and stems that grow densely together. 

The cactus can reach a height of close to 15 feet while its crown can reach a width of 16 feet. Because of its big size, the plant should be placed in a location or container which will give its roots ample space to spread out. It should be moved to a bigger pot every other year.

Despite its ornate appearance, the cactus is easy to care for. The Dinosaur Back Plant can tolerate the full sun and needs a moderate amount of water. It is semi-hardy which means it cannot survive sub-zero temperatures.

3. Fire and Ice Echeveria

The Fire and Ice Echeveria (Echeveria subrigida ‘Fire and Ice’), also known as the Red Edge Echeveria, looks stunning, especially during the summer. The plant grows up to nine inches but its rosettes can spread up to 18 inches.

The most interesting part of this succulent is its leaves. The main body of the leaves is spade-shaped and has a blue-green color. The leaves have a smooth and pink or rose-colored margin.

The succulent should be planted in a soil that has about 50 to 70 percent mineral content, preferably perlite, coarse sand, or pumice. Avoid watering this plant from above to prevent excess moisture from sitting on the leaves. From time to time, check for dead bottom leaves which mealybugs like to inhabit.

4. Tree Aloe 

Tree Aloe
Image: / Cheryl Ramalho

The Tree Aloe (Aloidendron barberae) originates from South Africa and is recognized as the largest aloe in the continent. This tree-like succulent is often used as a landscape centerpiece because of its height. The plant can easily reach a height of 30 feet and a width of up to 20 feet.

This plant is a fast-growing succulent. You can expect it to grow anywhere between four to 12 inches annually.

The Tree Aloe prefers the full sun but can tolerate partial shade. It can withstand drought but it should be watered once a week during the hotter months. Make sure to protect yourself when handling this plant as its sap is known to be a skin irritant.

5. Spineless Yucca

Spineless Yucca
Image: / maljalen

Yuccas are fairly popular as indoor plants. But one yucca variety that you should strongly consider planting outdoors is the Spineless Yucca (Yucca elephantipes). Among the yuccas, the Spineless Yucca is considered to be the tallest, capable of reaching a height of four feet.

This succulent is characterized by its smooth and spineless evergreen leaves as well as its thick trunk with a sparse branch.

The plant is rabbit and deer resistant and is immune to most pests and diseases, except for leaf spots and aphids. The Spineless Yucca should be planted in sandy soil and prefers the full sun.

6. Madagascar Ocotillo

Madagascar ocotillo
Image: / Linjerry

The Madagascar Ocotillo (Alluaudia procera) is an odd, off-kilter choice for landscaping. But that is part and parcel of this succulent’s appeal, ideal for people looking for a landscape conversation piece. The Madagascar Ocotillo originates from Toliara, Madagascar, and can grow as high as 60 feet.

The stems of young plants tangle with one another for several years. Eventually, these stems die out when a central stem develops. The central stem then sends out upward branches.

The succulent requires full sun along with well-draining soil and ample airflow. It can tolerate temperatures up to zero degrees Celsius. 

During winter, the plant drops its leaves. At this point, you should avoid watering it. In Madagascar, the plant is cultivated both as a fuel source and construction material.

7. Mountain Aloe 

Mountain Aloe
Image: / Mantonature

Named after South African botanist Rudolf Marloth, the Mountain Aloe (Aloe marlothii) grows up to 20 feet. The dense grayish-green rosettes form on a single stem. Reddish spines line up on the edges of the leaves as well as various parts of the plant. When the leaves die, they form a petticoat around the plant’s stems.

The aloe blooms flowers between May and September. A single plant produces 30 racemes which hold the orange-yellow to red flowers. 

The Mountain Aloe is an excellent addition to rock and succulent gardens. It is deer resistant and hardy enough to resist most diseases and pests, except for mealybugs and scale.

8. Desert Spoon

Desert Spoon
Image: / Leo Malsam

The Desert Spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri) got its moniker from its short trunk which has the same shape as the utensil it is named after. This succulent can grow up to five feet in height. During summer, the trunk sends out a flowering stalk that can grow up to 15 feet in height. A single specimen of Desert Spoon can produce thousands of flowers that attract bees and hummingbirds.

Hundreds of blue-green leaves form a symmetrical rosette around the main trunk and have teeth along their margins.

Typically used as an accent plant, the Desert Spoon thrives under the full sun. It is resistant to both rabbits and deer but is susceptible to scale.

In Mexico, the plant is cultivated to make the alcoholic drink known as sotol. It is also used both for food and fiber.

9. African Candelabra Tree

African Candelabra Tree
Image: / Farknot_Architect

The African Candelabra Tree (Euphorbia ingens) is often mistaken for the Euphorbia candelabrum due to their similar features. This cactus grows into a tree with a height of up to 26 feet. The plant’s leaves are said to be rudimentary and ephemeral. This means that these leaves do not last for a long time and do not perform any useful function. The African Candelabra relies on its stems for photosynthesis.

Once the plant matures and becomes fully-established, it no longer needs much care. It requires the full sun and prefers warm temperatures. It cannot survive temperatures below zero degrees Celsius.

Be careful when handling this cactus. Its sap is a known skin and eye irritant. In some African countries, the plant is used as a treatment for ulcers and some forms of cancer.

10. Bitter Aloe

Bitter Aloe
Image: / Winston Fowler

Originating from southern Africa, the Bitter Aloe (Aloe ferox) has long been cultivated, not only as an ornamental plant. This succulent is an invaluable plant cultivated for its medicinal properties. The gel extracted from the leaves is used in the production of supplements, cosmetics, and herbal products. Like its cousin, the Aloe vera, the Bitter Aloe can also be used for treating skin irritation.

On the other hand, its resin is collected to be used as a laxative and a treatment for arthritis.

Mature specimens can reach a height of 10 feet. The succulent’s leaves are fleshy and arrange themselves into rosettes. The leaves of young plants have spines that serve to protect them from grazing animals. As the plant grows older, it loses those spines.

11. Madagascar Dragon Tree 

Madagascar Dragon Tree
Image: / lizfernandezg

The Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena Marginata) is a relative of the Dragon Blood Tree (Dracaena draco). One notable difference between these two plants is that when you cut the Dragon Blood Tree, a blood-like resin will ooze from the cut. 

The Madagascar Dragon Tree is one of the more popular houseplants in the world because it is one of the toughest plants to kill. It can survive a couple of weeks without water and can easily bounce back from that almost immediately.

Although the succulent grows up to a height of 8 feet, it is a slow grower. It can take up to 10 years for a specimen to reach a height of 5 feet.

Compared to other Dracaena, the Madagascar Dragon Tree has slimmer leaves which arch. The leaves can vary in color, depending on the variety. The plant produces leaves after the main trunk produces stems or canes. These canes should be trained to ensure that they grow upward.

Caring for your succulents

Succulents have become popular among gardeners for a variety of reasons, ranging from exotic looks to ease of care and maintenance. If you are adding a few of these plants to your landscape, here are a few important things to keep in mind.

Water more during summer

Although most succulents are drought-tolerant, it is a good idea to water your plants more frequently during summer. This advice is particularly true if you live in an area that receives little rainfall.

As a rule of thumb, you should water succulents planted on the ground once a week. Container plants can be watered three times a week. Water your plants only when the soil is dry.

Water less during winter

As the cooler seasons set in, you should reduce the amount of water you give your succulents. Around fall, begin to reduce the watering frequency to help your plants withstand the drop in temperature.

Do your research

If you are planning on planting succulents directly on the ground, you should carefully study which succulent varieties are suitable for the area where you live. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the best starting point for your research.

Alternatively, you can consult experts in your area. Offline, you can go to botanical gardens and nurseries to seek recommendations. Online, you can join forums and social media groups for more ideas.

A welcome addition

Large succulents are fast becoming landscaping staples. And for a few very good reasons, including ease of care and maintenance and their gorgeous and unique appearance.

Whether you are starting from scratch or rescaping your front yard, consider using large succulents for your landscape.

11 Large Succulents

If you are looking for the missing piece for your outdoor or indoor garden, you might need a succulent that readily commands attention. And one of the best ways to command attention is to dominate the landscape. Here are some big boys that are more than ready to fulfill that role.

1. Blue Fox Tail Agave

Blue Fox Tail Agave
Image: / Kira-Yan

The Blue Fox Tail Agave (Agave attenuata ‘Boutin Blue’) got its moniker from the appearance of its leaves. The leaves are shaped like the bushy tail of a fox and have a bluish-green color.

The succulent can grow up to four feet and spread out to roughly the same width as its height. Upon maturity, the Blue Fox Tail grows out a flower stalk that can reach a height of up to 10 feet.

The plant prefers full sun although it can grow in partial shade especially in areas where the temperatures can get extremely hot. It is not frost-tolerant and should be moved in a covered area during winter.

2. Tree Aloe

Tree Aloe
Image: / Cheryl Ramalho

The Tree Aloe (Aloidendron barberae) is recognized as one of the largest aloe plants in Africa. This fast-growing succulent can grow up to 60 feet in height with a width of 36 inches. Because of its potential to grow big, you should not plant it close to a structure.

Although this aloe is a relatively fast grower, capable of increasing its height by four to 12 inches per year, it should not be planted with other plants that grow faster than it. When overgrown by other plants, the Tree Aloe can be smothered and die.

This aloe prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade. It is prone to frost damage especially while young.

3. Golden Barrel Cactus

Golden Barrel
Image: / RoExploration

The Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) is one of the more popular cacti. How popular? It is so popular among collectors that there are more specimens in homes than in the plant’s natural habitat.

This cactus is a real charmer. Young plants have circular bodies. But as the Golden Barrel matures, it takes on a shape that is more oval than circular.

A mature Golden Barrel can reach a height of three and a half feet and a width of two feet. The cactus is a slow-grower and can be kept indoors as long as its needs are met.

Indoors, it should be kept in a sunny location. Outdoors, it prefers the full sun but can tolerate partial shade. This cactus is prone to rot. And as such, it should be watered infrequently.

Keep the plant out of reach of young children and pets because of the cactus’ sharp spines.

4. Mexican Giant 

Mexican Giant
Image: / Sara Edwards

The Mexican Giant (Echeveria Colorata) is one of the larger echeverias, capable of growing up to 12 inches. Its leaves are fleshy and thick with pointy ends. Usually, the leaves are whitish-green. But when subjected to stress, the leaves can turn light pink or light purple. The leaves are also covered in farina, a waxy white coating.

The Mexican Giant thrives under the full sun. But watch the succulent carefully as it can be damaged by the sun.

Although it is a hardy succulent, it is prone to insect infestation. Mealybugs, aphids, slugs, caterpillars, and grasshoppers are some of the pests that you need to watch out for. Birds and mammals like deer can also feed on this plant.

5. Spiral Aloe

Spiral aloe
Image: / Sabine Hortebusch

The Spiral Aloe (Aloe polyphylla) is sought by collectors, not just for its rarity. More than that, this succulent is a true beauty. This succulent grows up to one foot and spreads one to two feet wide.

The most striking characteristic of the Spiral Aloe is its leaves. The grayish-green leaves form a symmetrical spiral running clockwise or counterclockwise. On average, a Spiral Aloe can produce 150 leaves which are arranged in five ranks.

The aloe prefers full to partial sun. Younger specimens can be kept indoors. As for its water requirements, it requires less water than other members of the aloe family.

The plant originates from Africa where it is used for both magic and medicine.

6. Fire Sticks

Fire Sticks
Image: / seven75

It can be difficult to miss the Fire Sticks (Euphorbia tirucalli) succulent whether it is placed in a garden bed or a container. The plant just calls attention to itself. Also known as Sticks on Fire and Red Pencil Tree, the plant typically grows between four to eight feet.

The true stars of the show are the plant’s vertical stems which have red-golden color. Younger specimens grow a few small leaves which eventually drop as these reach maturity.

Before getting this plant, be aware that it is toxic, especially when ingested. Aside from that, its white sap is irritating to both the eyes and skin. As such, proper precaution should be enforced when handling it.

7. Jade Plant

Jade Plant
Image: / ClaraNila

The Jade Plant (Crassula ovata) is probably one of the most popular succulents. This popularity can be attributed to a few key reasons. For starters, the Jade Plant, known by other names like Money Plant, Friendship Plant, and Lucky Plant, can be grown indoors with minimal fuss.

The plant requires a few hours of sunlight, a well-draining soil mix, and warm and dry conditions, similar to the conditions in most homes.

The plant is also fairly easy to propagate. You can propagate either with leaf or stem cuttings.

Finally, the Jade Plant lives for several years when you take good care of it. In fact, in some countries, the succulent is passed down from one generation to another.

On average, the plant grows to about three feet when kept indoors. However, some specimens grow up to eight feet tall.

8. Dragon Tree 

Dragon Tree
Image: / seven75

If you live in a coastal area, the Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco) might be the missing piece your garden is waiting for. The succulent is salt-tolerant and can thrive in both drought and dry soil. Plus, it is deer resistant.

Mature Dragon Trees can grow anywhere between 15 to 25 feet. However, it will take several years before your succulent reaches that height.

In the Canary Islands, some species are reported to be over a thousand years old. The sap from the tree has been used as a varnish for wooden items, including violins.

Young specimens of the plant have smooth stems and branches. But as these mature, the bark of the stems grow scales and take on a reddish hue.

9. Candelabra Cactus

Candelabra Cactus
Image: / nmessana

The Candelabra Cactus (Myrtillocactus cochal) hails from the Baja Peninsula of Mexico where it grows on the hillside slopes. The cactus can grow up to 10 feet high and spread out to roughly the same size as its height.

Upon reaching maturity, the plant looks like a giant candle holder, with its semi-arced dark green branches growing from the woody trunk.

The Candelabra Cactus prefers the full sun with reflected heat. It is a drought-resistant succulent. However, during summers, you may need to water it more frequently.

It produces flowers between spring and summer. The cactus’s fruit is edible and delicious while its branches have been used as a firewood substitute.

10. Mexican Fencepost

Mexican Fencepost
Image: / jean-francois

Beautiful and functional are probably the two best words that can sum up the Mexican Fencepost (Pachycereus marginatus). This cactus originates from Mexico where the locals use it as a living fencepost, especially in homes located near roads. Today, landscape artists use the plants as an accent piece or as a part of a desert garden.

Given the right conditions, the cactus can reach a height of up to 20 feet. The cactus has a columnar trunk and produces neatly-arranged clusters of stems. The trunk and stems are deep green in color. It also has white margins on the body as well as small spikes located in the ridges.

The plant is best kept in an outdoor location where it can get full sun and ample heat. You can keep it indoors, provided that it gets enough sunlight.

11. Saguaro Cactus

Saguaro Cactus
Image: / lucky-photographer

The Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) is recognized as the tallest cactus in the United States, with mature specimens towering at up to 60 feet tall. Filled with water, this cactus can weigh as much as 4,800 pounds.

But this cactus is a slow grower. For the initial eight years of its life, the plant will grow about an inch a year. It is estimated that it will take about 75 years before this cactus starts growing its characteristic arms which are actually stems.

And this cactus has the patience to wait. There are reports that specimens living in the desert to be as old as 175 years old.

The plant thrives under the full sun and requires a fast-draining soil and infrequent watering. 

It is prone to infestation of both mealybugs and scale.

Go big

Succulents come in an array of shapes, sizes, and textures. And although several species look good in small containers, some tower over other plants. Adding these giants to your collection is a good way to diversify your plant portfolio and generate interest in your landscape.

Do Succulent Leaves Grow Back?

Do Succulent Leaves Grow Back

Wondering if your succulent will ever grow back leaves that it lost?

The long and short of it is no, leaves will not grow back on the stem where the leaves fell from. But that is not necessarily bad. Your succulent will grow new leaves from its top.

Should you expect succulent leaves to grow back?

If your plant is otherwise healthy and does not exhibit other symptoms, you need not worry much about your succulent. Although leaves will not grow back on the area where these were originally from, your plant will not go bald for too long. You can expect new leaves to grow on top of the succulent.

In some types of succulents, fallen leaves are replaced by offshoots in the stems where these came from. Either way, you just need to be patient and wait until your plant looks luxurious again.

But what can you do if you are anxious about the appearance of your succulent? One option you can consider is replanting your succulent. First, take a look at the succulent and find an area above the bald spot. Using either a pair of pruning scissors or a sharp knife, cut the head of the succulent.

Afterward, put that top part directly to dry soil. Allow two weeks to pass before watering the part of the plant that you cut off. Within a few days or weeks, this portion of the plant will grow new roots and turn into a completely new plant. Once its roots become fully-established, it can resume its growth.

Why do succulents drop leaves?

But the more pressing question you should ask is why your plant is losing leaves. A succulent dropping leaves is not necessarily bad. Just like any other plant, a succulent will drop leaves when these have lost their utility to the plant.

1. Usual leaf loss

When a leaf is no longer useful to the plant, it will turn brown and crispy. This simply means that the plant has re-absorbed all the nutrients from this leaf. Usually, succulents drop their bottom leaves which are then replaced by new leaf growth at the top.

2. Extreme heat shock

Many varieties of succulents originate from arid regions. These plants have developed adaptations to both intense sunlight and high temperatures. That, however, does not mean that succulents cannot succumb to extreme heat. Even when a succulent is placed in a shaded area, it can still suffer heat shock if the ambient temperature is too hot for the plant to handle.

Young succulents are particularly vulnerable to heat shock. If you have just moved your succulent outdoors after spending a substantial time indoors, it may also become vulnerable to heat shock if it has not adjusted to its new environment.

How do you know for sure if your succulent is suffering extreme heat stress? When a succulent is subjected to extreme heat, its leaves wilt. In some species, the leaves may change color into red or orange. You will also notice that its leaves drop even with the slightest touch.

A quick remedy for heat shock is to move the plant in a cooler location, preferably one with ample shade. However, you need to make sure that there is no substantial difference in the temperatures between the plant’s original location and the area where you are bringing it.

3. Cold shock

Although a significant number of succulents come from arid climates, a good number of these plants come from alpine climates where temperatures can reach freezing or sub-zero temperatures.

But for a sizable number of succulents, particularly the soft or tender ones, extreme cold can cause damage. Succulents store water in their fleshy parts, including their leaves. When the temperature reaches a near-freezing level, the water inside a succulent’s individual cells become frozen. Eventually, these cells can burst, causing irreparable damage.

Before this happens, you will notice that the leaves of the plant begin turning black and start drooping. Save your succulent from imminent danger by moving it to a warmer area. 

4. Over and under-watering

Unlike other plants, succulents do not need much water to thrive. With their unique ability to store water in their individual cells, succulents are more than equipped to handle droughts.

Over-watering is detrimental to succulent health. As such, avoid overwatering your plant. Otherwise, you can unknowingly kill it. Make sure that you use a fast-draining soil for its container and water your plant when its soil is dry. Overwatered succulents have leaves that look and feel soft. These leaves may also take a yellowish tinge.

Although very few people do it, it is possible to under-water succulents. Perhaps you have been too busy lately or you simply forgot to water your plants. Succulents that have been under-watered will have leaves that are soft and shriveled. The leaves usually retain their original color. Even the slightest touch can lead to dropped leaves. Left unchecked, the leaves eventually turn brown and continue to shrivel. In most cases, it is easier to turn things around for an under-watered succulent compared to one that has been overwatered.

Turning a new leaf

If you have an otherwise healthy succulent, leaf loss should not be a cause for concern. Plants, including succulents, lose leaves naturally. Eventually, your succulent will grow leaves, but not in the area where the dropped leaves came from.

However, the loss of leaves can sometimes signify a larger problem at hand, especially if you notice other symptoms. If you notice anything out of the usual, apart from dropped leaves, act quickly to save your plant.

Image: / Teenoo

9 Large Indoor Succulents

Many people think succulents are tiny and fragile houseplants that are displayed unobtrusively on top of tables. But if you look more succulents, you will see that these low maintenance plants can become the focal point of any room.

1. Jade Plant

Jade Plants
Image: / Andrey Nikitin

The Jade Plant (Crassula ovata) is the quintessential indoor succulent, primarily because of its popularity. Known by names like Lucky Plant, Money Plant, and Money Tree, the succulent is often given as a housewarming gift. Due to its longevity, some specimens are passed down from one generation to another.

The plant can grow as high as six feet. However, many Jade Plant owners prune their plants to keep the height at around three feet.

Your Jade Plant requires five to six hours of indirect sunlight. It thrives in daytime temperatures between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius, and nighttime temperatures between 10 and 13 degrees Celsius.

This succulent does not need too much water. Water it only after its soil is dry.

Like other succulents, the Jade Plant is not a heavy feeder. You can fertilize it every six months using a water-soluble fertilizer.

2. Christmas kalanchoe 

Christmas kalanchoe
Image: / Tatyana Abramovich

The Christmas Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) is native to Madagascar and goes by other names like Florist Kalanchoe and Flaming Katy. Like the Poinsettia, this succulent is often sold during the Holidays and thrown away once its flowers have died. However, the Christmas Kalanchoe can be kept for the whole year. With proper care, it can be coaxed to blossom the following year.

Like the Poinsettia, the Christmas Kalanchoe is photoperiodic. This means that if you want it to produce flowers, you should give it enough time to spend in complete darkness. Around September, the plant should receive 10 hours of sunlight and 12 to 14 hours of total darkness. After two to three months, the plant will produce buds.

Like most succulents, this plant requires well-draining soil. It prefers indirect sunlight but can tolerate the full sun. It also needs to be fertilized monthly.

3. Snake Plant 

Snake plant
Image: / Grumpy Cow Studios

Along with the Jade Plant, the Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is probably one of the most popular succulents. The plant is a perennial favorite among new and old succulent collectors because of its seeming indestructibility. If you are close to giving up on keeping a plant, do not give up until you have owned this plant.

Originating from tropical and sub-tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Europe, the Snake Plant has over 70 species. Among the most popular of these are the Cylindrical Snake Plant, the Golden Hahnii, and the White Snake Plant.

A mature specimen can grow anywhere between half a foot to 12 foot.

Although this succulent can survive in low light conditions, it prefers a few hours of direct sunlight. For this plant’s potting mix, use a sandy soil. Water it only when its soil is dry.

4. Crown of Thorns 

Crown of Thorns
Image: / pichaitun

The Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii) is another succulent that originates from Madagascar. According to a legend, the plant was used as a crown by Jesus Christ during his crucifixion. Capable of reaching a height of three feet, the Crown of Thorns has brown thorns all over its branches and shoots. Yellow, pink, or red flowers grow from the plant’s tips.

The succulent is often recommended for beginners because it is easy to care for. It thrives best under direct sun. The more hours it spends under direct light, the more colorful its flowers will be.

But be warned: this succulent is not ideal for homes with small children and pets. Apart from being poisonous, the plant contains latex which irritates the skin and mucous membrane.

5. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera
Image: / Sundaemorning

Many homeowners keep the Aloe Vera, not only to spruce up their living spaces. More importantly, the plant is esteemed for its medicinal properties. Specifically, the clear gel from the plant is used for aiding in the healing of small cuts and minor burns. The gel can also be used for treating acne, redness, and mild psoriasis.

Some people use the plant’s juice for cosmetic purposes like removing makeup and hair conditioning. But be aware that there is no conclusive evidence that supports the efficacy of the plant for cosmetic uses.

You can extract the juice from the Aloe Vera by making a lengthwise incision from the plant’s spikes. 

The plant is fairly easy to keep. It thrives best if you plant it in a terracotta pot filled with well-draining soil. This succulent prefers sunny locations and should be watered every two weeks or when its soil is completely dry.

6. Christmas Cactus 

Christmas Cactus
Image: / Kathy Reasor

The Christmas Cactus is actually not a cactus. In reality, it is a succulent that has been produced by breeding two different plants that grow in the rainforests of Brazil. The plant is called by its common name because it blooms red, white, yellow, pink, or purple flowers near the Holidays.

The green segmented branches of the Christmas Cactus can grow as long as three feet. The flowers grow from the tips of these branches.

To encourage this cactus to bloom, you need to plant it in a well-draining potting mix. Compared to other succulents, the Christmas Cactus is a heavy feeder. As such, it needs to be fertilized every other week until it is ready to produce flowers.

Water the plant deeply but infrequently. It prefers indirect light. Do not put it under the full sun because its leaves can become sunburned.

7. Panda Plant 

Panda Plant
Image: / TatianaMironenko

Also known as the Chocolate Soldier, the Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) is a succulent that originates from Madagascar.

The plant can grow up to two feet tall and is characterized by its interesting looking leaves. The thick and fleshy leaves are fuzzy and can grow up to three inches long. The edges and tips of these leaves have brown markings. From afar, the leaves look like the ears of a panda or rabbit.

Outdoors, the plant is typically used either as a groundcover or as an accent plant. Indoors, it can be kept in a small pot or hung in a basket.

This succulent can tolerate full to partial shade. Because of its thick leaves, the plant can store a sizable amount of water. As such, it does not need frequent watering.

8. Sticks on Fire

Sticks on Fire
Image: / Katharina13

Also known as the Pencil Cactus, African Milkbush, and Finger Tree, the Sticks on Fire (Euphorbia tirucalli) is a shrub or tree-like succulent that is known for its colorful vertical stems. The thin, pencil-like stems have a golden red color which fades into yellow during the summer. 

The plant grows up to eight feet tall and is a favorite among landscape artists because of its resilience against diseases, pests, and even small mammals.

This easy to care for plant prefers the full sun and rocky soil. Typically, you will find it used in garden beds and borders.

Be careful in handling the plant. Its milky sap is a skin and eye irritant.

Currently, numerous studies are focusing on the diverse use of this succulent. For example, medical experts are looking into how the plant can be used to treat cancer. Other studies are looking into the possibility of using the plant as an oil source.

9. Ponytail Palm

Ponytail Palm
Image: / SzB

Despite its name, the Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) is not a palm. It is actually a member of the Agave family. Although the succulent can grow over 20 feet in height, it is a notoriously slow-grower. As such, many keep the plant as a bonsai specimen. 

The Ponytail Palm is close to what may be considered as the perfect indoor plant. For starters, it is a very forgiving plant. It can survive weeks without being watered. And although it requires bright light to thrive, it can be kept in low light conditions for several months, as long as you put it under bright lights for half of the year.

Like most succulents, the plant does not require constant watering. It does need dry, well-draining soil. Additionally, it is not a heavy feeder. You can fertilize it one to two times a year.

Pros and cons of keeping succulents indoors

Keeping succulents indoors has a few advantages. For one, these plants can instantly add beauty to your living or office space. Plus, succulents require minimal care, making them ideal for busy people.

An indoor environment can also protect succulents pests and the elements. When you keep your succulents inside your home, you do not have to worry about changes in the temperature or weather, especially if you live in an area where the climate may not be particularly suitable for the succulents that you have chosen to keep.

Finally, keeping a succulent indoors lessens the chance of it succumbing to pests and some diseases. 

But despite these benefits, you also have to be aware of the disadvantages of keeping succulents indoors. One of the greatest challenges that you will need to overcome is providing your plants with enough sunlight.

Although there are a few succulents that can thrive under low light conditions, many prefer six to eight hours of sunlight. And more often than not, placing your succulents near the windows may not be enough. In such a case, you can invest in grow lights.

Soil takes a bit longer to dry inside an indoor environment. This can be attributed to both lower indoor temperature and the lower level of airflow. This is why it is critical to choose the right potting mix for your succulents and to water them infrequently.

Before buying a succulent, be sure to check its care requirements. For beginners, it is a good idea to stick with green succulents which are easier to care for compared to succulents with exotic colors.

Tips for keeping succulents indoors

Part of the charm of keeping succulents is that these plants do not need much to thrive, whether indoors or outdoors. That, however, does not mean that you should not make an effort to provide for their needs. Here are a few tips that will help you keep your plants happy and healthy.

1. Use well-draining soil

Succulents can withstand drought. Living in arid environments, these plants evolved to adapt to what would otherwise be an inhospitable environment. However, succulents do not like getting their roots soaked. As such, it is imperative to use well-draining soil, whether you plant them on the ground or in a container. For most succulents, a potting mix specially formulated for cacti and succulents will do.

2. Choose the right container

Whether you choose a container made out of glass, plastic, or terra cotta, be sure that it has enough drainage holes to wick away moisture from the potting mix.

3. Pick the right spot

Most succulents require at least six hours of sunlight. Some need more, others less. Indoors, many succulents can thrive in south or east-facing windows. But do check your plants from time to time. If you notice that your succulents are stretching, it means that they need more sunlight.

4. Water deeply but infrequently

Succulents do not need to be watered daily or regularly. Overwatering makes these plants vulnerable to root rot, which in turn, makes them likely to die. Water your succulents until you see the fluids drain out from their containers. After that, wait until the soil in the containers is completely dry before watering again.

If you are unsure if you need to water your succulents again, err on the side of underwatering. Wait a few days before watering your plants.

5. Fertilize annually

Succulents are not heavy feeders. In fact, most originate from locations where the soil offers little to no nutrients. However, that does not mean that you should deprive your succulents of the nutrients they need. Most succulents will benefit from fertilizers during their growth phase. Avoid applying fertilizers when your plants are dormant.

The perfect indoor companion

If you are new to keeping plants indoors, there can be no better choice than a succulent. They are easy to care for and yet they can be rewarding to keep.

Best Soil for Jade Plant

Best Soil for Jade Plant

The Jade Plant is one of the more popular houseplants since time immemorial. And there are plenty of reasons why. For starters, the plant can be grown indoors. Whether at home or the office, this succulent can brighten almost any space. The plant is also known for its long life. This is why a single specimen can be passed down from one generation to another. Finally, the plant is easy to care for, with a minimal amount of requirements.

But if there is one important thing to remember when keeping this plant, it is that it requires the right type of soil.

What is the best soil for Jade Plants?

The best soil for Jade Plants is a mix of coarse sand and organic matter. In general, you can use commercial potting mixes specially formulated for succulents and cacti. However, some plant owners prefer mixing their potting soil, using three parts of coarse sand mixed with one part organic matter and another part of peat moss.

Jade Plant soil characteristics

The succulent originates from Mozambique and South Africa. In its original habitat, the plant can be seen growing in sandy and rocky soil. This type of soil offers little to no nutritional value to plants. As a succulent owner, you want to mimic your plant’s natural environment to give it the best chance of survival.

However, using sandy and rocky soil is not enough. You should also consider the fact that as your Jade Plant grows, it will become top-heavy. Furthermore, the succulent grows shallow roots, compared to other plants with extensive root systems. What this means is that the combination of these factors can make the Jade Plant susceptible to tipping over.

Additionally, the Jade Plant is classified as a succulent. This means that it does not like to get wet feet. Exposure to excessive moisture can cause the plant’s roots to rot and eventually die.

The solution to these problems is to provide a balance between drainage and structural stability. That balance is achieved by mixing organic matter with coarse sand. The addition of organic matter, especially peat moss, may sound counterintuitive. However, the presence of organic matter in this potting mix means that your Jade Plant will have a steady platform to anchor its roots.

At the same time, the organic components of the potting mix provide the plant with vital nutrients that a purely inorganic potting mix cannot provide. Additionally, any drawbacks caused by the addition of peat moss can be counteracted with proper watering.

Problems associated with poor soil

It does not take much to keep your Jade Plant healthy and happy. But even if you think that you are giving it proper care, some things can go wrong if you do not use the proper soil.

Poor drainage due to the use of the wrong type of soil can lead to root rot, a common problem among succulents. Like most succulents, the Jade Plant does not like having its feet or roots wet. Initially, you will notice symptoms like the darkening and softening of the plant’s leaves. At the same time, you will also notice leaves dropping off from the plant or the plant drooping.

Below the soil, the roots turn brown and mushy. As the rotting progresses, the roots can no longer carry water and nutrients to the other plant parts. In turn, the whole plant declines and eventually dies if the problem is not corrected. 

On the other side of the coin, if your Jade Plant does not get enough water, either due to infrequent watering, poor water retention of the soil, or a combination of both, the plant can suffer from drought stress. A Jade Plant suffering from drought stress will exhibit a few symptoms. These include slow or stunted growth, leaf drop, leaf spots, and discoloration.

Choosing the right pot for the Jade Plant

Today, succulent keepers can choose from a wide variety of materials used for pots, including ceramic, plastic, glass, wood, and metal. Each of these materials has its own sets of advantages and disadvantages that you should strongly consider looking into before buying. Whatever type of material you end up choosing, make sure that the pot has several drainage holes which can aid in the fast-drainage of water.

Furthermore, it is a good idea to choose a pot that has sufficient heft, especially if you have a mature Jade Plant.  As Jade Plants mature, they can get top-heavy, and tipping over is a strong possibility. A heavy pot can serve as a counterbalance, preventing that issue.

One potting material that combines drainage and heft is ceramic. When it comes to wicking excess water, ceramic pots are considered superior over other types of containers. Plus, these pots carry considerable weight, more than enough to maintain the balance for your Jade Plant.

Repotting Jade Plants

You do not need to repot your Jade Plant regularly. Like some succulents and cacti, the Jade Plant does not have an extensive root system. The succulent’s roots are shallow and relatively small compared to the main plant. As a rule of thumb, you should repot a Jade Plant every two to three years if you want it to grow more. 

For older and more established specimens, you can get away with repotting every four to five years. Being root bound is not a major cause of concern for Jade Plants.

Ideally, you should choose a new pot that is one to two sizes larger than the current pot. Any larger and you risk your plant going into shock.

Every time you repot your Jade Plant, it is a good idea to use a new batch of potting mix. Over time, the soil can lose nutrients. Using a new potting mix allows your succulent to get a steady supply of the nutrients it needs.

Water your Jade Plant two weeks before repotting it. This will ensure that your succulent is completely dry once you repot it.

Start by pulling the root ball from the pot. After that, fill the new pot with your potting mix. Once you put in your plant into the new pot, it should be about even with the pot’s top. Because of the density of the potting mix, your plant will eventually sink.

After placing your plant, you can add compost around the rootball. Finish off by pressing down on all sides of the potting mix.

Allow your plant to rest for about a week before watering it again.


It does not take much to take care of a Jade Plant. Water it infrequently, give it ample light, and use the right type of soil. Make a wrong choice in any of the three and you can expect problems with your succulent. 

Image: / Gheorhge

How Fast Do Cactus Grow?

How Fast Do Cactus Grow

Some cactus varieties can grow incredibly high, but it will take a very long time to get there. For example, the Saguaro can grow as high as 45 feet. However, it will take as long as 200 years for that cactus to reach that height.

How fast do cacti grow?

Generally speaking, cacti grow slow. In some types, you can hardly notice visible signs of growth. Others grow at a relatively faster pace. On average, you should expect your cactus to grow anywhere between less than half an inch to about an inch per year. And there are some cacti that can grow as much about six inches annually.

To better understand the pace of growth of most cacti, it is worthwhile to look from the vantage point of their growth stages.


Like many plants, cacti grow from seeds. However, you can also grow cacti from cuttings. If you are starting with a seed, you will first have to wait for it to germinate. The germination of cactus seeds will vary from one type to another. Some cactus seeds will germinate in a matter of weeks while others take several months.

In general, cactus seeds germinate faster in an indoor environment compared to an outdoor environment. This is because an indoor environment can be easily controlled. If a cactus seed is germinated outdoors, it may take several years for germination to take place. This is because the seed needs to wait for the right environmental conditions.

1 month

If you are starting from a seed, you might see spines growing from the seed in one month. However, take note that not all cactus species grow spines. Instead of waiting for spines to grow, you should wait for a seedling to appear from the soil.

If you do not notice spines or seedling growth in a month, do not despair. There are just some cacti that take more time to germinate. Just be patient.

Half a year

If you have successfully germinated your cactus seed, you may hardly see any difference within six months. It is not unusual for many cacti to remain the same size as a marble ball within six months. 

One year

In a year, your cactus will essentially look the same as it was a few months ago. Although there might be no visible signs of growth, your plant’s needs have changed. Specifically, it needs to be moved from the propagation tray to its own pot.

Two years and beyond

Most cacti take years, decades even, to reach full maturity. As such, do not expect significant growth from your cactus.

Are you doing something wrong?

Although cacti have the reputation of growing slowly, it is also entirely possible that you are doing something wrong that is causing your plant to grow at a sluggish pace.

1. Using the wrong pot size

From germination to a year later, you will need to repot your cactus. Here, it is crucial to use the right size of pot for your plant. Placed in a container that is too small, your succulent is deprived of the nutrients it needs to grow further. Simply put, if you use the wrong pot size, you are limiting your plant’s growth potential. You may need to repot your cactus several times in its early stages.

2. Stress

After moving your cactus to a new pot, you should give it ample time to recover. Otherwise, you are subjecting it to stress. Cacti are extremely adaptable. However, they need to be given enough time to adjust to a new environment. After repotting, keep your plant away from direct sunlight for a couple of days. This will give it the time it needs to recover fully. After a few days, you expose it to more sunlight on an incremental basis.

3. Overwatering

Cactus can withstand long periods of drought but like other succulents, it cannot tolerate excessive moisture. In fact, overwatering can be downright fatal for these plants. One possible reason why your cactus is not growing is that you are overwatering it. 

The signs of overwatering in young cacti are not always readily apparent. In fact, you might be overwatering your plant without even knowing it. Cacti can continue to grow and show no signs of overwatering for weeks or even months. But when these signs do begin to emerge, it may be too late to save your plant.

Excessive moisture is the number one cause of death in cacti and succulents. When you give an excessive amount of water to your cactus, the roots sit in the water for a long time and this leads to root rot. When the plant’s roots begin to rot, they lose the ability to supply the whole plant with water. 

That is when you will see visible signs of overwatering. These signs include discoloration, soft leaves and mushy texture. If the root rot is not extensive, you might just be able to save your plant. If there are just a few rotten roots, you can cut these away and plant your cactus in another pot.

4. Lack of ventilation

Between germination and the early stages of growth, the container of the cactus seedlings needs to be wrapped with a plastic cover or a transparent lid. The purpose of the plastic cover is two-fold. First, it helps the cactus to get access to enough sunlight. Second, it helps the soil retain moisture.

Once the seedling is established, you will need to remove the wrap gradually. Removing the plastic wrap facilitates ventilation which is an essential ingredient for growth in young cacti.

Are there ways to make a cactus grow faster?

The best way to make your succulent grow faster is to avoid the things that impede its growth. However, there are a few tricks that you can use to speed things up a little.

1. Repot your cactus

Choose a ceramic container that is a bit larger than your cactus’ current pot. Make sure that you fill the pot with a soil mix specially formulated for cacti. Alternatively, you can create a potting mix made up of one part organic soil and another part made of coarse sand. Also, be sure that you plant your cactus at about the same level as it was in its original container.

2. Move your cactus to a brighter spot

Find the sunniest area in your home. In most houses, this will be in a south-facing area. Make it a point to keep that area warm for your plant. Cacti prefer areas with a temperature range of 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Water your cactus correctly

Cacti need more water during the summer months and less during winter. The best way to water cacti is to give them just enough water to moisten their potting mixes. After watering your plant, be sure to allow excess moisture to drain out of the pot’s drainage hole. 

Water your plant again only when the soil is dry. Watering frequency will vary depending on the age of the plant, the season, and the size of the pot.

4. Use the right fertilizer

Providing your plant a low-nitrogen fertilizer formulated for cacti can give it the boost it needs for growth. However, avoid giving your cactus fertilizer during winter when it will probably go dormant. As a rule of thumb, fertilize your cactus once or twice during its growth phase. Fertilizing it weekly can lead to more harm than good. Overfertilization can lead to uneven growth or even deformities.

Why are cacti such slow growers?

If you have kept other plants before, you will see a marked difference in the growth rates of those plants and your cactus. There are a few reasons behind this difference.

Survival adaptations

If you look at the places of origin of many cacti, you will instantly notice that these locations can barely support life. For the most part, that makes cacti such amazing plants, being able not only to survive but thrive in conditions that are downright hostile to plant life.

In the desert, the soil can be dry for most of the year with rain falling intermittently. Aside from that, desert soil is practically infertile, providing little to no nutrients to support growth. To thrive in this type of situation, cacti have evolved and adapted by putting their focus on survival and taking advantage of what little resources are available to them.

Instead of allocating resources toward growth, cacti use those resources to keep themselves alive until the rains come in.

Absence of leaves

Leaves serve a few critical functions in plants, including transpiration. Transpiration is the process by which plants lose water through evaporation. Transpiration is important for two reasons. It helps cool the plant and enables nutrients and water to be distributed throughout the plant. According to studies, a plant can lose as much 99 percent of water through transpiration.

If you look at a few cacti, you will see that most do not have conventional leaves. In place of leaves, these plants have spines which perform multiple functions. These include protection against animals, airflow reduction, and sun protection or shade.

The lack of leaves means that cacti do not lose as much water as other plants do. However, the absence of conventional leaves means cacti cannot produce as much food as other leaves.

The absence of leaves also translates to lower levels of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll gives plants their green color. It is also a critical part of photosynthesis, a process by which plants use the sun’s energy to create their food.

Without leaves, cacti have to rely on their stems for photosynthesis. This means that these plants can produce a considerably lower amount of food which they use mainly for survival instead of growth.

Fewer stomata

Apart from lacking leaves, cacti also have fewer stomata compared to most plants. Stomata are plant structures that open up to absorb carbon dioxide from the air. Carbon dioxide is integral to photosynthesis. When the stomata open to absorb carbon dioxide, water is also released.

Cacti evolved to have fewer stomata to limit water loss. However, this adaptation means that these plants cannot absorb as much carbon dioxide needed for fast growth.

The patience game

Even if you implement the hacks mentioned above, do not expect your cactus to grow as fast as other plants. Cacti are slow growers and there is not much you can do about it. But that is part and parcel of the beauty of keeping cacti.

Image: / fotocelia

Do Succulents Need Fertilizers?

Do Succulents Need Fertilizers

Succulents have earned a reputation of being plants that can thrive in the harshest of conditions. Many of these plants grow in areas where the soil offers little to no nutrition. And if the best way to keep a plant is to mimic the conditions of its natural habitat, why should you fertilize your succulent? Are you not just wasting your money on something that your plant does not need?

Do your succulents need fertilizers?

Succulents, including cacti, do not need fertilizers to survive. However, if you want your plants to thrive and reach their full potential, giving them fertilizers is essential, depending on the conditions.

Technically speaking, succulents do not need fertilizers to survive. After all, these plants have adapted to live with few resources readily available in their places of origin. But surviving is not the same as thriving and feeding your succulents with the appropriate nutrients benefits them in many ways.

For starters, well-fed succulents grow faster compared to those that can barely get nutrients from the soil they are planted. Fertilizers also enable succulents to better respond to environmental conditions that can cause stress.

And even if your succulents derive nutrients from the soil, over time, these nutrients are washed away the more you water your plants. From time to time, the nutrients in the soil need to be replenished.

What fertilizer should you use for succulents?

Before discussing which fertilizers are suitable for your succulents, it is worthwhile to know which ones to avoid.

As much as possible, avoid giving your plants fertilizers that have a high amount of nitrogen. The high concentration of nutrients in this type of fertilizer is detrimental to the health and form of your plants. If you overfeed your succulents, you will notice that your plants become more prone to leaf and root problems.

1. Commercial fertilizers

If you have no other option but use a commercial fertilizer, choose one with an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 formulation. More importantly, lower the strength of the fertilizer by half or even a quarter. 

For example, if it says on the label that you should dissolve a tablespoon of the fertilizer for every gallon of water, use half or a quarter tablespoon of the fertilizer. The quarter-strength formulation works best for tropical succulents like the Christmas Cactus.

2. Manure tea

Since time immemorial, farmers and savvy gardeners have relied upon manure to fertilize their crops.

The droppings from grazing animals like cows, horses, and sheep contain a diverse number of nutrients and minerals. These nutrients and minerals do not just feed crops. More importantly, manure conditions the soil to make it viable for longer periods. Animal droppings also feed the beneficial microorganisms that live in the soil.

Studies also indicate that manure offers other benefits like improving soil aeration and making the soil’s carbon content more available to plants. But despite these benefits, it is understandable why manure can be off-putting to some people.

If you want to reap these benefits without the associated hassles like the smell of manure, consider using manure tea. Manure tea offers all the benefits of animal droppings without the smell and other downsides. Plus, you are assured that your plants get the nutrients they need without the risk of getting burned and disfigured.

To use manure tea as a fertilizer, you will need to soak one tea bag for every five-gallon of water. You need to soak the tea bag anywhere between 24 to 36 hours. Once the nutrients leach into the water, you will notice that the water will turn brown. You can then use this solution to water your succulents. One batch is enough to water several succulents.

You can use one tea bag to create another batch of fertilized water. However, you will need to steep the tea bag longer, usually for three days.

Because manure tea is milder than commercial fertilizers, you can use it to fertilize your succulents monthly, especially during the growing season of your plants. Most succulents enter their growth phase during the summer.

3. Worm castings

Another organic alternative to chemical fertilizers that you might want to consider using is worm castings i.e. the droppings of worms. Almost all plants, including your succulents, can benefit from worm castings.

Worm castings contain over 60 minerals and other nutrients that are essential for plant growth and health. These include magnesium, nitrogen, zinc, carbon, and iron. 

Worm castings can fix a few problems related to soil quality. These can be used to balance soil with high or low pH and even protect the plants from the presence of heavy metals in the soil. Worm castings also improve soil aeration.

Finally, worm castings protect plants from pests in two ways. First, the enzymes found in these repel common succulent pests like mealybugs and aphids. Second, worm castings contain the enzyme known as chitinase. When your succulents absorb this enzyme, they become more resilient against insects that feed on their leaves.

Insects instinctively sense chitinase in plants because the enzyme breaks down their exoskeleton. Better yet, chitinase poses no harm to beneficial insects like the ladybug.

You can add worm castings to the soil before planting your succulents. Alternatively, you can just put a few spoons to a handful of worm castings over the soil.

When should you fertilize succulents?

Succulents can be fertilized once a month in perfect conditions and this is a common practice among professional nurseries. The main drawback of monthly fertilization is that the plant seems to be incapable of thriving or even surviving in an environment where there is less control of the conditions, like in a home or a garden. In short, the plant loses its inherent ability to adapt. This is why it is advisable to feed your succulents just once a year. 

If you want to fertilize your succulents, whether you keep them outdoors or indoors, the best time to do that would be spring, except for some succulents that go dormant in the summer. The logic behind this schedule is that you should feed your succulents when they need more nutrients, which is during their growth phase.

There is no need to feed your plant when it is about to go into hibernation. You are only wasting precious resources and you might end up doing more harm than good.

You should also be aware that when you feed your succulents, they will go into overdrive and grow at a faster pace. If you do not provide your plants with enough sunlight, they will stretch themselves even further to gather more light.

Providing adequate light for your succulents after feeding them allows them to remain compact.

Should you fertilize your succulents?

Succulents are exceptionally resilient plants, able to survive in environments that are downright hostile. It is amazing to see them thrive in their natural habitats with little to no nutrients available to them. But of course, using the right type of fertilizers, given at the right dosage and timing, can help your plant to thrive.

Image: / Singkham

Succulent Growing Roots From Stem

Succulent Growing Roots From Stem

A succulent growing roots from its stem is something to take note of as it is often an indication of larger issues at hand that you may need to address immediately to ensure the well-being of your plant.

Roots growing on the stem of succulents

But what exactly are these growths on the stems of your plants? Are not roots supposed to grow below the plant, hidden in the soil? The proper name for these growths that you see on your succulent’s stems is aerial roots.

Plants rely on their roots for different functions. These functions include securing moisture and nutrients, transporting both to different parts of the plant, and holding the whole plant firmly in place, usually in the soil.

In most plants, you will find the roots attached to the base of the plant, buried in the soil. However, there are instances where these roots cannot perform their designated functions optimally and in such cases a plant may grow aerial roots to supplement the functions done by the main root system. 

The presence of aerial roots can indicate that your plant is missing something. That something may mean that the plant is not getting enough water or that it needs to anchor itself, usually on a surface as its stems grow longer.

Functions of aerial roots

Aerial roots, also known as air roots, grow on stems to perform multiple functions. Like the main root system, aerial roots extract water and nutrients. But instead of extracting these resources from the soil, aerial roots extract these from the air.

Although you cannot see it, the air is filled with water in the form of water vapor. Aerial roots are capable of absorbing water vapor from the air. But compared to the primary root system, aerial roots are not as efficient in absorbing water.

Apart from water vapor, the air can also contain a small amount of nutrients that are valuable to your succulent.

Plants also need gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. In most plants, these gases are acquired by the leaves. But in some plants, the aerial roots also perform this key function. 

Some plants called epiphytes use aerial roots to latch on securely to their host plants. Most succulents do not need to send out roots for structural support. If they do, it is because it has shallow roots that are close to the ground.

Finally, plants grow air roots to provide support to their runners. Succulents like the Haworthia are known to send runner stems. These trailing stems have aerial roots that aid in propagation. If those runners get cut off from the main plant, the aerial roots are converted into conventional roots which anchor and provide water and nutrients to the new plant.

Evaluating your succulent’s deficiencies

Although the appearance of aerial roots on a succulent is not a major cause for concern, they often indicate that your plant is not getting most of its needs met. In short, you can look at air roots as warning signals that prompt you to act to address your succulent’s deficiencies.

Light deprivation

One of the first things that you need to look into is the light requirements of your succulent. When a succulent is not getting enough sunlight, it will literally stretch itself to catch more light.

In this case, air roots appear, not to help in absorbing more light. On the contrary, these roots appear because the plant has become too top-heavy. Here, the main role of the air roots is to provide support to the plant once it tips over.


Aerial roots sometimes grow on stems because your succulent is dehydrated. Dehydration can arise due to two main reasons. Your succulent may be dehydrated simply because you are not giving it enough water. Some people think that succulents need little to no water because of their ability to store moisture.

Succulents like to get drenched in water. However, these plants do not need to be watered regularly. Imagine heavy but infrequent rains in the desert. If aerial roots appear, revisit your watering habits. Perhaps, you need to water your succulent more often than you have been doing.

On the other hand, you might be giving your plant enough water but it can still be dehydrated. In such a case, you should carefully examine the composition of the soil you are using. If there is a significant amount of organic matter in the soil, it can get too moist for your plant. This excessive moisture impedes the root system’s ability to draw water from the soil. If there is too much organic matter in the soil, change the soil to a different one, ideally one that is gritty.


If you live in an area that has high humidity, you might see your succulent growing air roots from its stems. The appearance of these roots indicates that your plant is taking advantage of this situation. Specifically, your plant sees high humidity as an opportunity to get more water from the air.

For most succulents, high humidity is detrimental as it prevents water evaporation. Remember, your succulent does not like sitting on wet soil for an extended period. When it is too humid, it takes a long time for the soil to get dry. Eventually, this can lead to root rot. You can lessen humidity by increasing airflow. This can be done by opening the windows in your home or by using an electric fan.

It should be noted that not all succulents grow air roots from their stems.

Aerial roots typically appear in succulents that grow fast, like the Graptopetalum paraguayense and the Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives.’ You may also notice air roots on the stems of succulents that are in their growth phase.

What to do with aerial roots

You can leave the aerial roots and let them be. Their continued presence does not necessarily hurt your plant. However, these roots can become unsightly, especially when they become harder and thicker. If you want to remove these roots, you can just clip them off.

The more important issue at hand is determining your plant’s deficiencies. Try to look at the possible reasons for the presence of these air roots and remedy the underlying problem.

A warning sign

Although the presence of air roots does not necessarily mean that your succulent is in danger of dying, it indicates that your plant’s needs are not being met adequately. Consider the presence of aerial roots as a warning sign. Act fast to prevent grave problems from arising.

Image: / Olga Beliaeva

7 Succulents That Stay Small

Succulents are excellent plants for small spaces. You can reap the same benefits of owning succulents (ease of care, longevity, etc.) in a small, manageable package.

Here is a list of seven succulents that stay small:

1. Echeveria amoena

Echeveria amoena
Image: / Creative life, looking for special pictures.

The Echeveria amoena is known both for its compact size and its prolific production of offsets. The succulents leaves can measure up to two inches in length, forming a small rosette. The leaves are green in color and can sometimes have red tips.

The Echeveria amoena produces coral-colored flowers from red stems during late spring. These blooms usually last for a month.

Like most echeverias, this succulent does not require extensive care or maintenance. However, there are a few things to bear in mind if you want to keep this plant. For starters, you should not water this plant from its crown. Doing this will create small pools of water to form on the rosette. These small pools of water can make the plant vulnerable to fungal diseases and rot.

Over time, the plant sheds its old leaves. Be sure to remove these immediately because mealybugs like to stay in the dead leaves. If you need to repot your plant, do it during the summer and make sure that you are using dry soil.

2. Echeveria minima

Echeveria minima
Image: / owngarden

In English, the Latin word “minima” translates to small. The Echeveria minima is a miniature succulent that is known both for its beauty and its size. Originating from Mexico, this plant can grow between three to five inches in height. 

Its chubby, blue-green leaves form a tight rosette that has a diameter a hair below two inches. The rosette is tightly-packed that you cannot see much except the upper halves of the leaves.

When exposed to full sun, the leaves become stressed and their tips take on a pinkish hue.

The Echeveria minima produces bell-shaped, peach and orange-colored flowers during spring.

Like most succulents, the plant needs well-draining soil and deep but infrequent watering.  The plant prefers full sun and without adequate light it may start stretching. It can be kept in partial shade or indoors, especially during winter.

3.  Zebra Cactus 

Zebra Cactus
Image: / Saowakon Wichaichaleechon

Often mistaken as a variety of Aloe, the Zebra Cactus (Haworthia fasciata) is characterized by its fleshy leaves which have distinct white markings like that of a zebra. Despite its name, the Zebra plant is not a cactus.

A native of South Africa, this succulent is a slow grower. Mature specimens can reach a height of close to six inches.

Although the plant can be grown outdoors, it thrives indoors. Unlike other succulents that require hours under direct sunlight, the Haworthia prefers indirect light, making it one of the best plants to keep indoors. A lot of that has to do with its original habitat. In the wild, the Zebra Plant can be seen growing beneath rock formations and bushes.

When exposed to too much sunlight, the plant turns to a deep red color, a sign of stress. Eventually, the leaves turn white which is a sign that the plant has dried up.

4. Blossfeldia liliputana

In the book Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift describes a fictional island called Lilliput which is inhabited by small people. As such, it should not come as a surprise that the smallest cactus in the world is called  Blossfeldia liliputana. And it is not just this cactus’ small stature that makes it also one of the most interesting succulents in the world.

Originating from Argentina and Bolivia’s arid regions, this tiny cactus grows up to less than half an inch.

Unlike other cacti, this plant does not have ribs nor spines. Instead, it has areoles that have tufts of wool. In the wild, the cactus can be found growing between rocks with barely enough soil to support its growth.

The plant can also lose as much as 80 percent of its water weight, capable of surviving in such a state for as long as two years. Once the rains come, the plant regains its normal size and shape without being harmed or undergoing significant change.

5. Gasteria ‘Little Warty’

Gasteria ‘Little Warty’
Image: / Anothai Wimolkaew

Despite its off-putting name, the Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ is one of the most beautiful succulents. A cross between two Gasteria species, Gasteria batesiana and Gasteria ‘Old Man Silver’, Little Warty can grow up to five inches tall and four inches wide. The plant’s nickname is derived from the small bumps which appear all over its thick green leaves.

Gasterias are close relatives of Haworthias and share the same care requirements. This means that Little Warty can tolerate partial shade.

This succulent is particularly vulnerable to fungal infections especially when there is high humidity. An infected Little Warty will exhibit black spots on its leaves. Fortunately, the succulent has a defense mechanism against fungi. When subjected to a fungal attack, the plant attacks the microorganism and seals off these invaders.

6. Sempervivum ‘Little Bobo’

Sempervivum ‘Little Bobo’
Image: / Helen Davies

The Sempervivum ‘Little Bobo’ is a charming little plant that possesses a few endearing qualities that make it one of the best houseplants. This type of Hens and Chicks plant achieves a maximum height of fewer than three inches and roughly the same width. Its lime-green leaves form a tight rosette.

Like other Hens and Chicks plants, Little Bobo is a prolific producer of offsets or chicks. These offsets can be left with the main plant or transplanted to different pots.

During summers, the plant requires weekly watering. It prefers coarse and gritty soil which will provide it with sufficient drainage.

The succulent is frost hardy and can be left outdoors during winter. However, like most succulents, it should be protected against heavy rainfall.

7. Lithops 

Image: / Nutsara Rukbangboon

Lithops, more popularly known as Living Stones are succulents that originally come from the southern parts of Africa. In their native habitat, it can be hard to distinguish between rocks and these plants primarily because of their appearance.

These slow-growing plants grow up to barely an inch in size. Each plant consists of two leaves that are fused together. The degree of fusion between these leaves can vary from one species to another. In some, the fusion is barely noticeable, while in others, the fusion is deep enough to give the impression that the plant has been cut in half.

To keep these plants happy, they need to get as much sunlight as you can give them. Deprived of sunlight, the leaves will elongate and their patterns can disappear.

Lithops are dormant during the summer. Avoid watering these plants during that period. However, if you notice that the leaves are starting to shrivel, the plants can be watered lightly.

Keeping your succulents small and manageable

A few succulents grow just a few inches even upon reaching maturity. And others seem to remain small because of their slow growth. However, if you want to keep any succulent small and manageable in size, there are a few things that you can do.


You can slow down the growth of leafy succulents like Jade Plant and the Christmas Cactus by pruning their leaves. Succulents like the Snake Plant and Aloe Vera can also be kept small by trimming their older, more mature leaves.

On the other hand, succulents like the Hens and Chicks plant that regularly grows small pups can be kept small by removing their baby plants. Removing the pups keeps the main plant relatively smaller. Plus, separating the pups prevents crowding in the pot.

Use small containers

Some succulents remain small while planted in small pots. These plants can stay in these small containers for several years. But there are also small succulents that need to be repotted to achieve their full potential.

But how do you know if you need to repot your succulent? If your plant is unhappy with its current container, it has a few ways of telling you it needs a larger home. First, you will notice that its pot can barely contain it. The plant’s various parts may look like they are spilling all over the container. You may also notice that the roots are growing out of the drainage holes.

Once you notice this, you can either keep your plant in the same container or move it to a larger pot. If you opt to keep your succulent in its current container, you should trim its leaves to maintain its small stature.

Mother of Millions vs. Mother of Thousands

Mother of Millions vs. Mother of Thousands

Many people confuse the Mother of Millions with Mother of Thousand, due largely in part to the similarity of their names. However, these are two distinct plants. The easiest way to distinguish one from the other is to look at their leaves.

Mother of Millions vs. Mother of Thousands, which is which?

The Mother of Thousands (Kalanchoe daigremontiana) has broad, tear-shaped leaves that grow in pairs that are located on the opposite side of the stem. One pair is positioned about 90 degrees away from the other pair. This leaf growth pattern ensures that one pair of leaves does not block out the sun for the other leaves. The leaves of the Mother of Thousands contain ridges where the plantlets grow.

On the other hand, the Mother of Millions (Kalanchoe delagoensis) has narrow leaves. Typically, this succulent has four leaves that grow from the same node.  Additionally, the plantlets of the Mother of Millions only grow on the tips of the leaves. As such, the plant has fewer plantlets, usually between two to five per leaf.

Apart from their leaves, the plants are different in their growth patterns. The Mother of Thousands has only one central stalk that grows upward. As the plant grows heavy with the sheer number of leaves and plantlets, the central stalk will droop.

The Mother of Millions, on the other hand, has several stems that also grow upward. However, these stems typically cause the plant to grow like a bush.

Similarities between the Mother of Millions and the Mother of Thousands

If you look closely at both plants, you will notice that they share a few similarities, apart from their names and their production of plantlets on their leaves. For starters, both plants come from Madagascar. 

Both share similar care requirements. Both thrive under direct sunlight but can tolerate partial shade. As succulents, both plants need to be watered deeply but infrequently. They also thrive in well-draining soil.

But if there is one uncanny similarity between the two, that would be their ability to spread their plantlets with such great ease. In fact, both species can easily overgrow a garden. That is why these plants are often considered invasive species because of their efficiency in crowding out native plant species.

The plantlets produced by both plants are more than ready to grow upon reaching the ground. In essence, these plantlets are just miniature versions of the main plants. They can grow and survive even before they drop to the ground. All of these give the plantlets a distinct advantage over most plants.

Although both plants produce flowers and seeds, they do not flower often and rely almost exclusively on their plantlets for propagation. 

Finally, both plants are known to be poisonous, especially to animals. That is why many governments seek to actively control the growth of these plants. Both plants secrete a milky sap when their stems are broken. This sap contains a dangerous toxin that is poisonous to pets and livestock.

A tale of 2 Kalanchoes

Kalanchoes are succulents that originate from Madagascar and Africa. This plant genus consists of 125 species, including the Mother of Thousands and Mother of Millions.

Kalanchoes share a few similarities. For one, their leaves are thick. Second, these plants open their flowers by producing new cells on the inner surface of the petals. The production of these new cells forces the flower to open outwards.

The flowers are star-shaped and bloom from winter to spring.

Kalanchoes thrive best in fast-draining soil and mild temperatures.

Like most succulents, Kalanchoes need minimal care and are susceptible to only a handful of pests and diseases.

Mother of Thousands

Also known as the Devil’s Backbone, Alligator Plant, and Mexican Hat Plant, the Mother of Thousands is a succulent that originates from Madagascar. Typically kept as a foliage plant, the succulent is often recommended to beginners because it is easy to care for and propagate.

Like most succulents, the Mother of Thousands requires soil with good drainage. If you are planning on keeping this plant, you can use a commercial cactus potting mix. Some succulent keepers use common potting soil mixed with coarse sand to boost drainage.

Unlike other succulents, the Mother of Thousands likes its soil moist. However, do not water the soil to the point that it gets too soggy.

This plant prefers bright but indirect sunlight. If you are keeping this plant outdoors, do not place it under direct sunlight.

Terracotta pots work best for these plants. Remember to repot your Mother of Thousands only after it outgrows its current container, ideally during spring. 

The most interesting aspect of this plant is that it is easy to propagate. The Mother of Thousands is a prolific multiplier, evolved to reproduce like no other. While other plants reproduce through seeds or cuttings, this succulent relies on its plantlets. Although the Mother of Thousands produces flowers, it rarely does so, especially when kept indoors.

Upon reaching maturity, spoon-shaped spurs develop on the edges of the leaves. These spurs carry plantlets which, in essence, are clones of the mother plant. Over time, these plantlets grow bigger and produce their own roots. As the plantlets continue growing, the leaves carrying these droop due to the weight they carry.

To propagate this plant, you will need to take one to two plantlets and store these in a plastic bag. Keeping the plantlets is essential to keep these moist. Otherwise, the plantlets can become dry and eventually die.

After securing viable plantlets, you can then put these on top of a pot of soil. Avoid pushing the plantlets into the soil and give them enough space apart from each other. Once you have planted the plantlets, cover the pot with cling wrap. This ensures that the baby plants are moist. Place the pot in a place with ample sunlight. Keep the plantlets covered in plastic wrap just until they grow taller.

Mother of Millions

Like the Mother of Thousands, the Mother of Millions originally comes from Madagascar.

Also known as the Chandelier Plant, Mission Bells, and Christmas Bells, this flowering succulent can grow over two feet tall.

The Mother of Millions can be grown outdoors and indoors. Like most succulents, it prefers well-draining soil and partial shade. The plant should be repotted every two to three years, ideally with fresh soil.

The Mother of Millions can tolerate warm temperatures and prefers sunny locations. However, the plant should not be placed under direct sunlight.

Although the succulent is drought-tolerant, it should be watered one to two times a week, especially between spring and fall. You can water it less frequently during winter. When overwatered, the leaves begin to droop and the plant drops its plantlets.

Like the Mother of Thousands, the Mother of Millions is easy to propagate. To propagate this succulent, you will need to wait until the plantlets found on the edges of the leaves start to drop and take root. The plantlets can be planted in separate containers or small groups in a single pot. Either way, you have to make sure that you use well-draining soil. As the plantlets grow, these should be transplanted to larger pots.

The Mother of Millions is a resilient plant and rarely succumbs to pests and diseases. One particular problem to watch out for is mildew infection which typically arises when the air is too dry.

The plant has long been associated with cattle deaths. In the wild, the plant can be easily spread in pasturelands through floodwater, animals, and vehicles. This, combined with the plant’s toxicity, make the succulent a threat to livestock. When cows ingest the plant and its flowers, the animals can become poisoned, and when left untreated, die.

Keeping your plants in check

There is no doubt that both the Mother of Millions and Mother of Thousands are interesting plants because of their unique ability to propagate. But these same qualities can make these plants pests, especially when left on their own devices. This is particularly true if you live in an area where the climate provides these plants with the right living conditions.

To put it succinctly, keeping either of these plants entails responsibility, especially in terms of controlling the spread of their plantlets. Keep these plants in separate containers. This will make it easier for you to control the spread of the plantlets and prevent the young plants from making their way outside of your property.

Unless you are planning to propagate either of these plants, you should regularly check the mother plants and remove the plantlets before these take root and grow.

What makes a plant invasive?

Plants that are deemed invasive, like the Mother of Millions and Mother of Thousands, are not inherently harmful. The qualities that make these plants invasive are in fact adaptations that allowed them to survive and compete with other organisms in their native locations.

In their natural habitat, numerous factors keep their populations in check, ranging from predators to environmental conditions. Invasive plants cause problems when they are brought from their places of origin to locations where they may have an unfair advantage over indigenous plants.

When you bring a plant to a new location, two things can happen. It can die because it is unfit to survive in that new location or it can thrive because there is little to no competition that will keep its population in check.

Invasive plant species share a few qualities that make them successful. These include the ability to multiply and grow rapidly, qualities present in both the Mother of Thousands and Mother of Millions.

These qualities are not inherently bad, especially when seen in the context of surviving in their places of origin. However, these same qualities put native plants at a disadvantage when both types of Kalanchoes are released outdoors.

A big responsibility

There is no doubt that both the Mother of Millions and Mother of Thousands make excellent additions to any succulent collection, but due to the nature of their reproduction, you should be aware of the associated responsibilities of keeping both plants in your garden. 

Be aware of the tendencies of both plants and put into place protective measures to prevent their spread in your local environment.

Image: / skymoon13

How Long Do Moon Cactus Live?

How Long Do Moon Cactus Live

How long does a Moon Cactus usually live?

On average, a Moon Cactus can live anywhere between one to three years. However, there are a few anecdotes of succulent keepers who have kept specimens well over five years. On the other hand, it is not unusual for a Moon Cactus to live just a few months, especially if you do not have any experience caring for one.

The short history of the Moon Cactus

In reality, the Moon Cactus is actually two plants combined into one.  Or more accurately, the Moon Cactus is a product of grafting the Gymnocalycium mihanovichii with another species, typically the Hylocereus.

The Gymnocalycium mihanovichii is a small cactus that originally comes from South America. Collectors are enamored by its small stature and spherical shape. The plant is grey-green with deep purple accents. Its body can have anywhere between eight to 14 ribs. 

The Japanese commercial nurseryman named Eiji Watanabe is widely considered as the person who developed what is now known as the Moon Cactus. In 1937, Watanabe bought 300 seeds of the Gymnocalycium mihanovichii var. friedrichii. He was able to successfully germinate these seeds until most of these grew and produced their seeds. By 1940, Watanabe had 10,000 seedlings. Of these two seedlings, he found two mutants with reddish bodies which he then grafted. He continued propagating Gymnocalycium mihanovichii var. friedrichii with the hope of finding seedlings with better colors.

Understanding grafting

The remarkable coloration that Watanabe was able to develop out of his collection of Gymnocalycium mihanovichii comes at a steep price. His collection lacked chlorophyll, a pigment essential for energy production in plants. This absence of chlorophyll allowed the other colors in the cactus to come to the forefront. However, this also meant that the cactus cannot survive on its own for a long period.

To work around this issue, Watanabe grafted the cactus onto another cactus called Hylocereus. resulting in what is now known as the Moon Cactus.

What is grafting?

Grafting is a horticultural technique where two plants are combined. The purpose of this technique is to grow a single plant that possesses the good qualities of two plants. This technique has been widely used in fruiting trees and ornamental plants.

In grafting, you have the scion which is the plant that is chosen because of its fruit production or its ornamental qualities. On the other hand, you have the rootstock which supplies the scion with the qualities it needs to thrive.

In the Moon Cactus, the Gymnocalycium mihanovichii is the scion and the Hylocereus is the rootstock.

In general, grafted plants have long lifespans. But the Moon Cactus is a problematic combination of two seemingly incompatible cacti. The main problem with the Moon Cactus is that the scion and the rootstock are incompatible. Specifically, Gymnocalycium mihanovichii grows just a few inches while the Hylocereus is a tall cactus, capable of reaching a height of 30 feet. The disparity in the growth rate of the two cacti translates to difficulty in getting watering right for the Moon Cactus. Initially, this disparity may not be readily apparent. But as your Moon Cactus matures the rootstock grows faster.

But apart from the disparity in height and growth rate, another critical issue with the Moon Cactus is the different care requirements of the two plants that have been combined. Specifically, the Gymnocalycium mihanovichii prefers the shade, primarily because its lack of chlorophyll makes it susceptible to sunburn. The Hylocereus, on the other hand, prefers the full sun although it can tolerate partial shade.

Although most cacti live for several years, the Moon Cactus is fated to have a short lifespan because essentially, you have two plants, with one acting as a parasite.

Over time, the rootstock cannot produce enough food for itself and the scion. This unstable combination weakens both the scion and rootstock.

Saving your Moon Cactus

Fortunately, it is possible to prolong the lifespan of your Moon Cactus. To do that, you will need to separate the scion and the rootstock.

Grafting the scion

Before grafting the scion, you will need to get a new rootstock. Apart from the Hylocereus, you may use a Cereus or Trichocereus. Make sure that the new rootstock is more or less the same size as your scion.

Start the grafting process by making a clean cut on the top of the new rootstock.

Next, take the scion by cutting around the area near the old rootstock. Do not leave any part of the old rootstock on the scion.

Afterward, place the scion on top of the rootstock. The circle that you will find in the cross-section of both plants should be aligned.

Finally, secure both cacti by using a rubber band. Typically, it will take two months for the rootstock and the scion to make a full connection.

Saving the old rootstock

After removing the scion, the rootstock can now sustain itself. In fact, after the removal of the scion, new growth will appear on the rootstock.

Once the scion has been removed and grafted to a new rootstock, you will need to make another cut on the old rootstock, just below where the Gymnocalycium was previously positioned. 

Next, allow the old rootstock to callous over by placing it in a sunny location.

A short-lived beauty

Some succulent collectors oppose the sales and collection of the Moon Cactus.

They reason out that the plant damages their hobby because the plant sets up new collectors to fail because of the problems associated with keeping Moon Cactus.

If you are planning to get one for yourself, be aware of the issues mentioned above.

Image: / TatianaMironenko

How Many Succulents Per Pot?

How Many Succulents Per Pot

How many succulents per pot? The number of succulents that you can put in a pot for a succulent arrangement boils down to your preferences and goals. If you have the time to wait, you can spread-out your arrangement and allow your succulents to slowly fill up the available space. On the other hand, if you are planning to give your arrangements or if you just want to have one that looks complete, you should strongly consider planting as many succulents as you reasonably can.

Consider the pros and cons of each option before settling for an approach.

Planting succulents together in a pot

When planting succulents together in an arrangement, there are two prevailing schools of thought that you can look into.

Tightly-packed arrangements

On one hand, you have people that advocate planting succulents in a tight arrangement, planting as many succulents they can reasonably pack in one container. There are a few advantages to this school of thought.

For one, you do not have to worry much about tending to your growing plants. When you fill your container with as many plants as you reasonably can, they will grow and spread at a slower pace.

Second, tighter succulent arrangements will hold their shape much longer. Plus, your succulent arrangement will have a more finished look which can be more visually appealing. That finished look means that you can give your arrangements as gifts anytime you want.

But along with these advantages come a few downsides.

One problem that you will likely encounter is the difficulty in watering the succulents in your arrangement.  Because the succulents are planted closely together, you may have a difficult time reaching each plant and the best workaround here is to use a watering spout with a thin and long neck.

When one or more plants in the arrangement grow too big, you might find it difficult to trim the excess growth on these succulents. It is also possible for the plants to become root-bound.

Although it is possible to remove plants from an existing arrangement, you will have to go through the hassle of removing the other plants as well so you can gain access to one or more of the bigger plants.

Spread-out arrangements

On the other hand, some people prefer giving ample space for their plants in an arrangement. The chief advantage of this philosophy is you are giving your plants enough room to grow and spread out. If you compare the plants grown in tightly-packed arrangements and those that are in spread-out arrangements, you will notice that the rate of growth is faster in the latter.

Maintenance is less of an issue in spread-out arrangements. Due to the extra space available, you can water the plants without hassles. If you need to prune one or more plants, you will have enough room to maneuver around.

But before you use this approach for your succulent arrangement, you should also be aware of its downsides. First, your arrangement may look incomplete because of the extra space. Your plants will eventually fill that space up. But be aware that many succulents are notorious for being slow growers. You can counter that disadvantage by filling the available space with large decorative rocks. Others prefer to put a top dressing on their arrangements to complete the look of their projects. Eventually, you can remove the rocks as your plants begin to fill up space on the container.

The extra space in the container may also cause the plants to grow slower, especially at the beginning. Because of the availability of space, succulents tend to expend their energy toward extending their roots instead of growth.

A matter of choice

Succulent arrangement tips

But no matter what approach you take in designing your succulent arrangement, the following tips will allow you to take better care of your succulents and prevent a few problems along the way.

1. Sit plants above the pot’s rim

First, make sure that you fill your container with as much potting mix as you can. The potting mix should reach the rim of the pot you are using.

Otherwise, water will pool inside the pot, leaving your plants more vulnerable to rot.

When filling up the pot with soil, fill it partially before placing your succulents inside. This will help you see if you need to add more soil to prop up your succulents.

2. Combine thoughtfully

Do not put succulents in your arrangements randomly.

To generate visual interest and appeal, you need to establish a hierarchy. You can achieve that by mixing and matching the heights of the plants that you put in the container.

You can complete the look of your arrangement by adding trailing plants that spill over the container when they grow.

In terms of color, there are three approaches that you can consider: monochromatic, complementary, and analogous.

A monochromatic arrangement uses succulents that essentially have the same color. A complementary approach to color uses plants with colors that are on opposite sides of the color wheel. Finally, in an analogous approach, the colors used are placed next to one another on the color wheel.

3. Consider the plants’ needs

Finally, it is a good idea to use succulents that have the same light and water needs. This will prevent one or more plants from succumbing to problems while the rest thrive.

For example, avoid placing succulents that go dormant in the summer with those that go dormant during the winter.

Look beyond the number

Beyond the number of plants that you want to put inside a container, you should take into account your and your plants’ needs. You can put as many or as few as you want as long as you satisfy your design goals as well as your plants’ requirements for growth and development.

Image: / kynny

White Spots on Ogre Ear Plant

White Spots on Ogre Ear Plants

Should you worry about the white spots on Ogre Ear Plant?

The white spots you see on your succulent’s leaves can be attributed to a few possible causes. These include powdery mildew, excess salts, insect infestation, and overfertilization.

What causes white spots on Ogre Ear Plant

If you see white spots on your Ogre Ear Plant, do not panic. In most cases, these white spots are no cause for concern. What is critical is to identify the underlying cause of this problem so you can take the appropriate actions.

Powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is a type of fungal disease that affects various kinds of indoor plants, including succulents. A plant becomes vulnerable to this fungal disease due to a combination of different factors, including high humidity, poor air circulation, low temperature, and low light. 

The fungus that causes the white spots often begins its attack on the broadest part of the plant, usually the leaves. This is why you often notice the white spots on the foliage. Later on, as the powdery mildew spreads, you will notice fungal strings on different plant parts.

If you are not sure that the white spots are caused by powdery mildew, check your plant’s growing conditions. Once you have ruled out these conditions, you can check for other potential causes.

When caught early, powdery mildew is easy to treat and will not cause any long term harm to your Ogre Ear Plant.

To treat an infected plant, you will need a mixture of baking soda, non-detergent soap, and water. Spray this mixture on the affected parts of the plant daily.

Excess salts

Succulents like the Ogre Ear Plant store most of the water they take in their leaves. Now, if you give your plants water that is high in salt content, the balance in the water stored in the leaves becomes disturbed.

To restore balance in the moisture content of the leaves, your Ogre Ear Plant will try to eliminate the excess salt through the leaf pores through the process of transpiration.

In short, the white spots you see on your plant are simply salt residue.

Looking at the white spots caused by powdery mildew and those caused by excess salts, it can be hard to see any difference between the two.

Fortunately, there is a way to distinguish one cause from the other. To determine whether the white spots are caused by excess salt, all you have to do is to wipe away the spots with a damp cloth.

Wait for about a week before checking if there are spots left on your plant. If white spots appear after a week, those spots are caused by powdery mildew.

If the underlying cause is excess salt, those white spots will not appear again for quite some time.

Insect infestation

Two pests that can cause white spots on your Ogre Ear Plant are the mealybugs and spider mites. Mealybugs are small insects with flat white bodies that typically hide in the branches and stems of succulents. Spider mites, on the other hand, are tiny arachnids that often lurk beneath the soil.

If you suspect that your plant is infested by either of the two, shake the leaves of the succulent and see whether any of these insects will drop. You can wipe both of these pests using a cotton ball or cloth soaked in a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol.

Other insects to watch out for are aphids and thrips. However, these two rarely infest Ogre Ear Plants. As much as possible, avoid using commercial insecticides which can do more harm than good on your plant.


Succulents are not heavy feeders and they can get by with the occasional application of fertilizers. If you are fertilizing your Ogre Ear Plant excessively, you will notice that its leaves have white spots which are likely the build-up of surplus nutrients.

Finding the cause of white spots on Ogre Ear Plant

In most cases, white spots are just cosmetic blemishes that appear on the top of the leaves. These speckles can be removed easily without posing long term harm to your plant. However, that does not mean that you should take white spots lightly, especially if there is a possibility that your Ogre Ear Plant is infested by an insect.

Fortunately, determining the root cause of the white spots is not rocket science. However, there are a few steps that you need to undertake.

First, it is a good idea to check the content of the water on your property. It will make it easier for you to rule out excess salt as the underlying cause of the white spots.

Second, you can check the spots if these are fluffy or stringy. In such a case, the white spots are caused by powdery mildew.

Finally, you can shake the leaves of your plant and check if any insect falls off.

Preventing white spots

Although in most cases, white spots are not harmful, you would not want to leave anything to chance. The best way to prevent white spots is to keep your Ogre Ear Plant healthy. Here are a few helpful tips to help you achieve that goal.

1. Light requirements

The Ogre Ear Plant can be kept indoors or outdoors, as long as you provide it with adequate light. Indoors, you should keep your plant in an window which will give it sufficient light.

Jade plants like the Ogre Ear tend to take on a deeper green color when kept in the shade. Putting your plant in an area with more sun exposure will lighten the color of the plant.

Ogre Ear Plants that do not receive enough light will stretch and become leggy. Remember that your plant cannot survive in poor lighting conditions for a long time and you must find a suitable place for it. If you cannot find such a place in your home, consider buying a grow light for it.

Outdoors, place your plant in an area that is bright but partially shaded. The plant can tolerate the full sun but needs time to adjust. Otherwise, it will become sunburned.

2. Soil requirements

As a succulent, your Ogre Ear Plant needs well-draining soil to prevent the build-up of excess moisture. Many succulent owners use commercial cactus mixes while others create their own potting mixes using coarse sand, perlite, and organic potting mix.

3. Water requirements

When it comes to succulents, the rule of thumb is to water deeply but infrequently. But what does it mean to water infrequently?

The number of times you will need to water your Ogre Ear Plant will depend heavily on the prevailing temperature in your area.

During the hotter seasons, you will need to water your plant around a weekly basis. When the temperatures begin to go down, you can lessen the number of times to water your succulent, typically every two weeks.

Another critical factor to consider is humidity. During humid days, you should lessen the water you give to your plant. Humidity makes it harder for the soil to dry up.

The easiest way to tell if your plant needs to be watered is to feel the top inch of its soil. If the soil is dry, you can water your plant again. If it is still moist, wait a few days more.

A cause of concern?

White spots are fairly common on Jade Plants, including cultivars like the Ogre Ears. You should not ignore these blemishes as these may signal a larger problem which should be addressed before it causes further damage to your succulent.

Image: / Gids

11 Rare Succulents

You started with just one succulent you have received as a gift. Now, your house is filled with practically every kind of succulent. Where do you go from here? Maybe it is time to expand your collection to some rare succulents that are usually found only in the homes of true succulent aficionados.

1. Rose Pincushion Cactus

Rose Pincushion Cactus
Image: / Kridsadar Sanyear

A native of Mexico, the Rose Pincushion Cactus is now listed by the IUCN as a threatened species due to the low number of specimens living in their natural habitat.

It is estimated that about 250 specimens can be found in the wild. The main reason behind this saddening news is because of poachers who try to meet the demand for this cactus.

Unlike red-flowering cacti, the Rose Pincushion Cactus produces pink flowers at a young age. 

Initially, the plant is solitary. As it grows older, it produces green, globular stems. This cactus has raised tubercles where the plant’s spines are located. 

These tubercles function as the plant’s water storage system and become raised when watered.

Despite its rarity and conservation status, the cactus is surprisingly easy to care for. It remains small for a long time but produces easily.

Although it can be kept indoors, it prefers the full sun and can tolerate afternoon shade.

2. Parodia rechensis

Parodia rechensis
Image: / OllgaP

The Parodia rechensis is another rare cactus that is critically endangered.

According to estimates by experts, there are roughly 70 specimens that can be found in Brazil where this cactus originates.

This small number can be attributed to different reasons. One of the main reasons for the small population of this cactus is widespread theft by poachers.

It does not help that the original location of this cactus has undergone drastic changes that undermine the plant’s ability to survive.

Furthermore, the plant is notoriously difficult to grow. It can be propagated through the division of its rhizomes, offsets, corms, and tubers or grown from seeds.

If you are lucky to chance upon this rare plant from a reputable source, you can add it to your xeriscape.

Like most succulents, the cactus has an average watering need and thrives in partial shade.

3. Pachyphytum compactum ‘Little Jewel’

Pachyphytum compactum ‘Little Jewel
Image: / Kridsadar Sanyear

The Pachyphytum compactum ‘Little Jewel’ is literally and figuratively a gem of a succulent. 

This rare plant is characterized by its tubular and fleshy leaves which look like cut gemstones. The leaves have angular facets that are caused by the compression of the other leaves.

Usually, the leaves are blue-green. But when the plant is subjected to heat stress or cool temperatures, the leaves take on a violet tinge.

Like most succulents, this rare plant requires well-draining soil and deep but infrequent watering. It should be placed in an area that can provide it with bright sun.

Take note that this plant cannot survive harsh winters.

The plant thrives in benign neglect. In fact, you should not fuss over and touch this plant unless necessary.

Touching the plant can cause unsightly marks to appear on the leaves.

4. Giant Quiver Tree

Giant Quiver Tree
Image: / YolandaVanNiekerk

The Giant Quiver Tree (Aloe pillansii), also known as the Bastard Quiver Tree, is a member of the Aloe family.

This majestic tree, which can reach a height of close to 40 feet. The succulent has a base that can grow up to six feet tall and branches that can reach a height of 32 feet.

The tree is crowned by green leaves.

The Giant Quiver Tree originates from southern Africa where its population is believed to be below 3,000. This has led the IUCN to classify it as an endangered species.

The dwindling number of the plant’s population can be attributed to factors like poachers, climate change, the increase of livestock farming, and mining.

It does not help that the plant does not propagate easily.

Unlike other members of the Aloe family, the Giant Quiver Tree has no known medicinal properties. However, the locals revere the plant for its majesty and longevity.

5. Living Rock Cactus

Living Rock Cactus
Image: / khuntapol

The Living Rock Cactus (Ariocarpus trigonus) is a succulent that can be found in parts of Texas and northern Mexico.

This low-growing cactus is also called Dry Whiskey, Star Cactus, Chautle, and False Peyote.

The plant is called the False Peyote due to its psychoactive or mind-altering properties. Native Americans have used the cactus as an alternative to Peyote. However, the Living Rock Cactus does not contain mescaline.

In the wild, it can be hard to find the cactus. Apart from its low growth, this spineless cactus’ lower half is almost completely submerged in soil. Its rosette is composed of wrinkled and triangular tubercles that have a dull color, similar to its surroundings of rocks.

The plant becomes less visible during times of drought because its leaves shrink even more.

But despite the plant’s seemingly lackluster appearance, it boasts of colorful flowers that grow on top of the plant between fall and winter.

The plant is protected by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES due to its dwindling population. The plant has been subjected to rampant poaching due to the high demand from rare plant collectors.

6. Variegated Hens and Chicks

Variegated Hens and Chicks
Image: / PeterEtchells

The Variegated Hens and Chicks (Echeveria x imbricata ‘Compton Carousel’) is a rare succulent that was discovered in 2009 by David Sheppard, a garden designer.

Experts have yet to reach an agreement on the plant’s origins. Some say that the succulent is a cultivar of the Echeveria secunda. Others argue otherwise saying that it is a cultivar of the Echeveria x imbricata which is another hybrid.

This Hens and Chicks plant is currently sold under different names, including Compton Carousel, Serenity, and Lenore Dean.

The Variegated Hens and Chicks is characterized by its clumps that form tight rosettes, typically four to six inches wide.

The leaves have a blue-gray color and have cream margins that take on a slight pinkish hue when the plant matures and during winter.

The plant thrives in partial to light shade and can be kept indoors as long as there is sufficient light available.

Like other Hens and Chicks plants, the Compton Carousel produces offsets.

7. Vahondrandra

The Vahondrandra (Aloe helenae) is another rare Aloe plant that originates from Madagascar.

The IUCN lists the succulent as an endangered species. Estimates on the total number of species vary from 200 to 500.

The biggest threat to this plant’s survival in the wild is the decimation of its habitat, due primarily to mining and agricultural endeavors.

Although there are specimens kept in botanic gardens and private collections, the plant is considered a rare species. 

This succulent can reach a height of up to 12 feet and produces pale yellow flowers between spring and summer.

This flowering tree can be propagated through seeds and cuttings.

The Vahondrandra prefers the full sun and requires well-draining soil and deep but infrequent watering.

8. Discocactus subterraneo-proliferans

The Discocactus subterraneo-proliferans is recognized as one of the rarest and most expensive succulents.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN, the cactus is classified as critically-endangered.

The plant originally comes from Brazil. Unfortunately, it is believed that this succulent is already extinct in its native habitat due to cattle ranching and small-scale agriculture.

Today, it is believed that the total number of specimens is around 50 pieces, belonging to a handful of collectors who are working hard to propagate it.

Due to its rarity, not much is known about the Discocactus subterraneo-proliferans.

9. Aichryson dumosum

The Aichryson dumosum is another succulent that has been listed in IUCN’s Red List of threatened species.

This plant originally comes from Madeira, Portugal where the plant grows in a small area of over 1,000 square feet. 

Although there have been efforts to protect the plant’s natural habitat, its existence is still in peril due to a host of factors.

These factors include the presence of invasive species, landslides, fires, and drought. Apart from these natural causes, the dwindling number of this succulent has been attributed to the destruction of its habitat due to housing and road projects.

The plant is characterized by its long middle green leaves which have a brownish tinge. This succulent also produces bright yellow flowers.

10. Living Pebbles

The Living Pebbles succulent (Conophytum subglobosum) is a rare mesemb that originates from South Africa.

The plant is commonly found in areas with plenty of quartzite and shale rock crevices. In these areas, the succulent does not have too many competitors for water and space.

Typically, the succulent can be seen growing on rocky slopes along with other plants that prefer the shade, including lichens and mosses.

The Living Pebbles plant does not have stems. Instead, this slow-growing plant has two large leaves connected by a shallow fissure.

It forms clumps which develop into tight mounds. It also produces pea-shaped heads which can number to hundreds.

Each of these heads is comprised of a pair of leaves that will eventually be absorbed and regenerated annually.

The plant enters dormancy during the winter. During this period, the old body dies to make way for a new one. The new body absorbs the old body until the outer skin remains.

The skin protects the new body from both heat and evaporation.

11. Estevesia alex-bragae

The Estevesia alex-bragae is another rare and critically endangered cactus that originates from Brazil.

Little is known about this plant. Much of the available information about it comes from the German botanist named Pierre Josef Braun.

Braun has worked extensively with the Brazilian botanist Eddie Esteves Pereira in discovering new plant species in the country.

Most of what is known about the Estevesia alex-bragae comes from Braun’s 2009 research, describing the plant.

The plant is currently included in the IUCN Red List due to the low number of specimens currently living in the wild.

According to estimates, there are about 200 specimens found in Brazil. The main cause of this plant’s dwindling number is the conversion of lands for the production of soya.

What makes a succulent rare?

Why are some succulents considered rare?

Some of these plants are called rare because they are difficult to care for and propagate. 

Propagation, in particular, is one of the main challenges in rare succulents. Others do not grow roots as easily as most succulents. Some rarely produce seeds or offsets.

Some succulents that are classified as uncommon were previously available only to nurseries that specialize in rare species as well as a handful of collectors.

Advancements in tissue culture propagation have allowed many of these rare succulents to become more widely available.

Where to buy rare succulents

Itching to add one (or more) of these plants to your succulent collection?

Here are a few places that you might want to check out for that holy grail you have been searching for.

Succulent shows

Joining plant societies or associations is a great way to meet fellow enthusiasts and experts in your area.

And if you are keen on adding rare succulents, you will be happy to know that many succulent and cacti groups organize annual shows that showcase collectors and their plants.

Many succulent collectors, including those that specialize in rare ones, participate in these shows to sell plants and share their knowledge.

Some local groups even share their succulent cuttings to their friends. If you are lucky enough, you might chance upon a rare succulent owner who might give you a cutting of the rare succulent you have been searching for.

If you have not joined a local group, now may be the best time to search for one in your area. Social media is often the best place to start when looking for local groups.


Today, many succulent collectors get their plants from online sources. But if you rely solely on these sources, you might be missing a treasure trove of rare gems that may be hiding in plain sight.

Over the past few years, succulents have become more popular. And to cope with this increased demand, many local nurseries have expanded their collections to include rare plants.

The next time you pass by your local nursery, be sure to drop by and check their collections.

Public gardens

Another possible source of rare succulents that you might have probably forgotten about is public and botanical gardens.

Some of these institutions sell plants as souvenirs. Check out their collections. Who knows, you might find a rare succulent hiding in plain sight.

Online shops

If you prefer doing most of your shopping online, there are a few online stores that sell succulents, even rare ones.

Among the most popular platforms are Etsy and eBay. There are also a few brick and mortar stores that have established an online presence, allowing them to cater to customers outside of their local markets.

Expanding your collection

Whether it is comic books, stamps, coins, action figures, or succulents, part of the appeal of collecting is adding rare pieces that only a handful of collectors have. There is a certain pride in knowing that you have something that very few people have.

But in your search for rare succulents, make sure that you get plants from reputable sellers who procure their items ethically. The last thing that you would want is to get a plant that has been illegally sourced and contribute to the dwindling number of these plants found in the wild.

Jade Plant Leaves Turning Red

Jade Plant Leaves Turning Red

When your the leaves of your Jade Plant turn red, it is usually caused by one of two things: it is either your plant is stressed or it is infested by spider mites.

Reasons why Jade Plant leaves turn red

Although there are cultivars of the Jade Plant that have red leaves, most have green leaves.

Before you panic, you should do a little sleuthing to determine what is actually the cause of the sudden change in the color as well as the necessary steps that you need to take.

Reason 1: Stress

One possible reason behind the change in the leaves’ color is stress. Although stress has a negative connotation, especially when relating to humans, the term is not necessarily bad for plants. In fact, many succulent growers deliberately subject their plants to stress.

To better understand stress and its effects on your Jade Plant, it is worthwhile to tackle a few things first. First, succulents like the Jade Plant mostly come from places that are harsh or downright inhospitable to plant life.  For example, a desert environment lacks moisture and has intense heat. The soil has little to no nutrients that can support plant growth.

On the other side of the coin, there are succulents that originate from alpine climates where temperatures can plunge below zero degrees.

To a large degree, the adaptations succulents have developed to cope with these conditions are what makes these plants awesome.

Causes of stress in succulents

But how exactly does stress relate to you and your Jade Plant, especially if you are doing your best to care for it? A Jade Plant is said to be stressed if:

  • It is exposed to full sun for an extended time.
  • There has been a sudden increase or drop in the temperature, typically associated with the changing of the seasons.
  • The plant has been underwatered for a long time.
  • The plant is underfed with nutrients. It is either you have used poor soil, you have not given fertilizers to the plant, or a combination of both.

In the context of keeping a succulent in your home, stress means that your plant is reacting to one or more of these conditions.

How stress changes the color of the leaves

Apart from red, succulent leaves can change into other colors, including purple, blue, yellow, orange, and even black.

This change in color can be attributed to anthocyanins and carotenoids which are pigments that can also be found in fruits that are rich in antioxidants.

These pigments help succulents like the Jade Plant to cope with changes in the environment.

Distinguishing between good and bad stress in succulents

It is worthwhile to point out that there is a distinction between good and bad stress in plants.

If the plant is otherwise healthy and retains its normal shape, then that means that your succulent is under good stress.

Good stress can be beneficial, especially if you keep your succulent mostly indoors. Subjecting your plant to stressful situations can help bring out its full potential.

On the other hand, if your Jade Plant looks disfigured or distorted, it means that your plant is under bad stress and you need to act fast to change things around.

The key difference between good and bad stress is your plant’s response. In the case of your Jade Plant, changing the color of its leaves means that it is coping well with the things that put it under stress. 

Controlling the color of your plant’s leaves

One cool thing about Jade Plants is that you can control the color and amount of redness on the leaves.

If you wish to keep the leaves green all throughout, you should provide it with everything it needs, from quality soil to proper lighting to the appropriate amount of fertilizers.

If you want the tips of the leaves to take on a reddish hue, be sure to put your plant in a fast-draining potting mix. After that, water your plant less frequently than it is accustomed to. Soon, you will notice that the tips of the leaves take on a red color.

If you want maximum redness on the leaves, there are a few steps that you will need to take.

1. Use the right potting mix

If you are not using the appropriate potting mix for your Jade Plant, now would be the opportune time to make a change.

Succulents like Jade Plants do not require nutrient-rich soil. Remember, these plants typically grow in areas with poor soil.

If you want to ensure that your plant’s soil drains well, you can mix two parts of a cactus mix with one part of perlite. Alternatively, you can mix a part of each if you live in an area with high humidity.

2. Limit the application of fertilizers

Succulents do not need as much fertilizers as other plants.

If you want to achieve maximum redness of the leaves, apply fertilizers during your plant’s active growth phase. And if you are going to apply fertilizer, make sure that you use just half or even a quarter of the recommended dosage.

Avoid applying fertilizer when your plant is dormant.

3. Do not schedule your waterings

Scheduling waterings is convenient for most plants. But with succulents like the Jade Plant, you cannot stick to a specific schedule.

Instead, water your plant only when its soil is completely dry. The interval between watering sessions will vary, depending on factors like the season and container size.

4. Put your plant in a sunny location

Jade plants require full sun to thrive. If you want to achieve maximum redness of the leaves, you will need to increase your plant’s sun exposure by up to five to six hours.

But be careful. You need to help your plant adjust to prolonged exposure to the sun. Otherwise, it can get it sunburned. Gradually increase its sun exposure until you reach the recommended number of hours.

Stressing your plant to achieve maximum redness of the leaves can be beneficial to your Jade Plant. However, you will still need to monitor it from time to time to make sure that it is indeed thriving and not exhibiting signs of a larger problem.

Reason 2: Spider mites

If you have ruled out stress as the primary cause of the change in the color of your Jade Plant’s leaves, then it is highly likely that your plant is infested by spider mites. Some people mistakenly think of spider mites as insects. However, these tiny critters are actually arachnids. They are closely related to spiders and scorpions.

The arachnids target both indoor and outdoor plants, including Jade Plants. They live in colonies and are typically found on the underside of leaves. They feed on plant fluids by piercing the leaf tissue.

Signs of an infestation

One of the most common signs of a spider mite infestation is red marks on the leaves and stems of the plant.

You may also notice webbings on an infested plant. It is possible that the webbing is produced by spiders which do not harm succulents. However, their webbings can sometimes be a nuisance.

A spider mite webbing, on the other hand, is often accompanied by other changes in the leaves. The leaves may turn yellow or brown. In some cases, the leaves may turn crunchy.

Another trick that you can use to ascertain if you have a spider mite problem is to wipe the underside of the leaves with a paper towel. If you see green marks on the paper towel, it is highly likely that your plant is infested.

You can also touch the underside of the leaves with just your hands. Leaves of infested plants will feel grainy to the touch.

Getting rid of spider mites

Once you detect spider mites on your Jade Plant, it is crucial to act fast to avoid long term damage on your plant. Additionally, spider mites can also infest the other plants you might be keeping in your home.

There are several ways to remove these pesky critters from your plant.

  1. Cold water

These arachnids hate cold temperatures and water. Spraying cold water will remove a sizable number of these insects from your Jade plant.

  1. Soap solution

Instead of cold water, you can use a solution made out of water and dish soap.

  1. Neem oil

By applying Neem oil on the leaves of your succulent, you are providing them with a protective barrier against spider mites.

  1. Specialty products

Like Neem oil, leaf shine can be applied on leaves to provide them with a protective coating against spider mites. However, be aware that excessive amounts of this product can build up on the leaves and damage these.

There are supplements that are applied to the soil while watering plants. These supplements do not directly treat the infestation. Instead, these products strengthen the cell walls of the plants, making it difficult for spider mites to pierce through the leaves.

It should be noted that you cannot eliminate all the spider mites with just one treatment. It is highly likely that you will need to treat the infected plant several times before you actually get rid of the arachnid invaders.

Preventing an infestation

Spider mites can be downright troublesome to deal with. As such, prevention can go a long way. Here are a few helpful tips to keep these pests at bay.

  • As much as possible, avoid placing your plant under direct sunlight. Spider mites thrive in hot and dry environments.
  • Apart from direct sunlight, your Jade Plant is at a higher risk of an infestation if you place it near fireplaces, heat vents, and areas near open windows.
  • From time to time, check on the leaves of your plant. You should also wipe the leaves regularly with a soap solution, Neem oil, or even an insecticidal soap.

Learn the difference

When the leaves of your Jade Plant turn red, that is not necessarily a sign that something wrong is afoot. It is possible that your plant is just adapting to the conditions it is currently exposed to.

Of course, it is possible that it is infested by spider mites or it might be severely lacking one or more of its needs.

This is why it is crucial to learn exactly what a healthy Jade Plant looks like. Acquiring this knowledge will help you determine if anything is out of the normal.

Image: / Andrew Waugh

9 Large Outdoor Succulents

Although succulents have garnered the reputation of being among the best indoor plants, there are a few varieties that are perfect for your garden.

Here are some large outdoor succulents that are popular among residential gardeners.

1. Fire Sticks

Fire Stick
Image: / seven75

Also known by names like Pencil Cactus, Milk Bush, and Naked Lady, the Fire Sticks succulent (Euphorbia tirucalli) is the perfect addition to gardens located in areas that receive little rainfall.

With proper support, the plant can reach a height of 20 feet. This is why this stunning plant is often used as wall and window covers. Some homeowners keep the plant primarily because it makes a good burglar deterrent.

The plant thrives best when it gets anywhere between four to six hours of sunlight a day. It cannot survive harsh winters and needs to be brought in until the end of winter.

Be careful in handling this plant. The plant’s fingers have a built-in protective mechanism that is activated even with the slightest touch.

Touching the plant releases a white, milky sap which can irritate the eye and skin. Furthermore, the sap can be quite difficult to remove. 

Unless necessary, do not handle the plant. If you need to, make sure to wear the appropriate protective gear.

2. Mexican Grass Tree

Mexican Grass Tree
Image: / ArtesiaWells

The Mexican Grass Tree (Dasylirion quadrangulatum) can be kept in a container or planted on the ground as an accent plant for xeriscapes and rustic or contemporary gardens.

The succulent can grow up to 10 feet, although there are specimens that reportedly reach 15 feet in height.

The plant is characterized by its symmetrical leaves which radiate from a woody trunk. 

The Mexican Grass Tree is a slow grower that can withstand droughts once fully established. Like many succulents, the plant does not require much water. However, frequent watering can make it grow faster.

If you want to coax more growth from the plant by watering it more frequently, make sure to avoid watering it from the crown to prevent rot.

The plant prefers the full sun although it can tolerate partial shade.

3. Variegated Fox Tail Agave

The Variegated Fox Tail Agave (Agave attenuata ‘Kara’s Stripes’) is a cultivar of the Fox Tail Agave.

This agave is often marketed as Kara’s Stripe and is named after the wife of Gary Gragg. Gragg is the person who discovered and removed the sport growing in his garden. This cultivar was granted a patent in 2008.

The plant can grow up to four feet in height and spread out at around four feet as well. It has butter-yellow leaves that have green margins.

It can be planted directly to the ground or in a container. The Variegated Fox Tail prefers the full sun. If you live in an area with harsh winters, it is advisable to move the plant indoors or to a greenhouse. Variegated plants are more vulnerable to frost.

Additionally, watch out for snails that can damage this agave.

4. Beavertail Cactus

Beavertail Cactus
Image: / BrianLasenby

The Beavertail Cactus can only grow by about a foot but it can spread up to six feet wide.

Its gray-green and oval-shaped stems look like the tail of a beaver, hence its quirky name. The stems or pads are covered with barbed tips and bristles. Around spring, the top of the stems bloom rose-purple flowers.

The cactus is one of the easiest to care for succulents. It is deer resistant and is almost immune to most diseases that plague plants.

It does not require much to thrive. As long as you place this cactus in a sunny location and well-draining soil, you do not need to do anything more, save for the occasional removal of pads.

You can remove the pads if you want to limit the spread of the cactus. Be sure to wear gloves when performing this task.

Keep this cactus away from areas frequented by people and pets. The spines are irritating to the skin.

5. Totem Pole Cactus

Totem Pole Cactus
Image: / viavado

The Totem Pole Cactus is a columnar cactus that can grow as tall as 12 feet.

The cactus has a short trunk that grows tall, smooth-skinned stems. Unlike other cacti, the Totem Pole does not have visible spines. Instead, it has areoles or small bumps all over its body.

These small bumps look like small faces etched on the cactus, hence the name Totem Pole.

Although the succulent can be kept indoors, it thrives in an environment that mimics its place of origin.

Typically, the cactus is grown in succulent gardens, placed along with other cacti and succulents which highlight its tall stature.

The plant prefers the full sun. In fact, it grows best in areas that are unsuitable even for some types of cacti.

But despite its tolerance of extreme heat, it cannot survive freezing temperatures.

6. Jumping Cholla

Jumping Cholla
Image: / Delaney Cato

Also known as the Hanging Chain Cholla, the Jumping Cholla (Cylindropuntia fulgida) has earned a bad reputation because of its survival mechanism.

The cactus is called the Jumping Cholla because its barbed cactus spines seem to jump on and latch on to people or animals that come close to it.

Technically speaking, these barbed spines do not jump. However, these cactus parts detach easily. The plant uses this mechanism to help propagate itself.

When people or animals manage to remove the spines off themselves, the spines develop roots once reaching the ground.

If you are willing to give this tree-like cactus a chance, you will be rewarded with an interesting plant that is easy to care for.

Like most cacti, it requires several hours under the sun and well-draining soil.

7. Old Man Cactus

Old Man Cactus
Image: / Nature, food, landscape, travel

In Latin, the Old Man Cactus’ scientific name Cephalocereus senilis roughly translates to thin old man.

And it is easy to see why. This columnar cactus is covered by what seems to be white hair. The white hairs are soft to the touch and help protect the plant from temperature extremes. 

Apart from its white hair, the plant is fondly called the Old Man because of its longevity. In the wild, specimens can live up to 200 years, reaching a height of 20 feet.

Although the plant tolerates the full sun, it prefers the afternoon shade. If you want the plant to grow more hair, it is best to keep it under the full sun. 

Over time, the white hairs can become dirty and discolored. You can wash the hairs with a mild soap and water mixture.

8. Organ Pipe Cactus

Organ Pipe Cactus
Image: / LindaJohnsonbaugh

The Organ Pipe Cactus (Stenocereus thurberi) is a columnar cactus that can grow up to over 20 feet tall and 16 feet wide.

It is called as such because its branches look like the organ pipes typically seen in churches. Each branch has 12 to 19 ridges.

The whole plant is covered in spines. Initially, these spines have a black color. As the plant matures, these spines take on a lighter color.

This cactus is a slow grower, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor planting. It is estimated that the cactus can live up to 150 years old.

A native of southern Arizona, the Organ Pipe Cactus requires the full sun and hot temperatures to thrive. Like most cacti, you should not water this plant frequently. The only exception to this rule is during the summer months when it needs more water.

The cactus has been used both for construction and its fruits, as a food source.

9. Silver Torch Cactus

Silver Torch Cactus
Image: / Karin de Mamiel

The Silver Torch Cactus (Cleistocactus strausii) is a columnar cactus that is covered in fine, silver-colored needles and bristles. It is sometimes called the Wooly Torch because of these bristles and needles.

A native of both Argentina and Bolivia, the cactus is capable of reaching a height of 10 feet. 

The main stem produces branches from the base. Each of these stems has 25 ribs with roughly 30 whites spines and four yellow spines.

The plant produces magenta-colored flowers between spring and summer. These flowers only last four to five days and do not fully open.

Although the plant prefers the full sun, it is not like other cacti that can thrive under extreme heat. In fact, the plant should not be subjected to temperature extremes.

The Silver Torch can survive sub-zero temperatures, but only for a limited time.

Planting succulents outdoors

Some people believe that succulents can only be kept indoors. But no matter where you live, you can grow succulent outdoors. However, you will need to plan your succulent garden carefully, taking into account a few critical factors.

Selecting plants

If you are new to keeping succulents outdoors, you should stick to succulents that are fuss-free and easy to care for. Among the most popular choices are sedum, aloe, echeveria, aeonium, and sempervivum.

No matter what succulent you choose, it is important to remember that these plants require fast-draining soil.

Succulents are resilient and can easily overcome tough environmental conditions. However, their roots are sensitive to excess moisture, hence the importance of fast-draining soil.

Excessive moisture can cause root rot which is the number one cause of succulent deaths.

Ground vs. containers

Should you plant your succulents directly to the ground or should you keep them in containers?


Save for a few succulents, most of these plants cannot survive freezing temperatures. If you live in an area with cold weather, you have no other option but to keep your plants in pots.

Using planters allows you to move your succulents indoors or to a greenhouse. Plus, if you choose pots for your succulents, you can control the amount of water they receive.

Succulent growers have kept their plants in different types of containers, from glass to ceramic pots. Each of these has its pros and cons.

However, if you are keeping your plants outdoors, it is highly advisable to opt for ceramic pots with drainage holes. Ceramic pots can naturally wick away excess moisture. This is particularly important during the rainy seasons.


On the other hand, if you live in an area that has a warm climate throughout most of the year, you should strongly consider planting your succulents directly to the ground.

Before planting your succulents directly to the ground, be sure to check if the soil is well-draining. 

Dig a hole about one foot deep and one foot wide. Allow the soil to dry completely for a day. Cover the hole to ensure that no moisture gets in.

The following day, pour water in the hole, just enough to fill it up. After that, check the hole after 10 to 30 minutes. If all the water is gone, it means that the soil is fast-draining. 

If you are planning on planting succulents that spread out, make sure that you leave adequate space on the ground.

Caring for outdoor succulents

Whether you are keeping your plants in containers or if you have planted them on the ground, one of the most important things that you need to do is to water them correctly.

For container plants, you should wait until the soil is completely dry in between each watering session.

On the other hand, most succulents planted on the ground do not need as much water. However, you can give them more water during the warmer months or if you notice that their leaves are starting to shrivel.

If you are uncertain whether it is time to give your succulents water, err on the side of under-watering and wait a couple of days.

Succulents are not susceptible to a lot of pests and diseases. But if there is one insect that you should watch out for, that would be the mealybug.

Outdoor succulents are particularly vulnerable to mealybugs. If you notice signs of an infestation, be sure to treat the infected plant immediately.

If you live in an area where the temperatures can get below zero degrees, you will need to move your succulents indoors.

But before you move your plants indoors, make sure to check them for infestations. You would not want to infect your other indoor plants with an infected succulent.

Most succulents need ample sunlight. Be sure to pick a sunny spot inside your home. Alternatively, you can buy grow lights for your succulents.

The perfect outdoor plant

There is no perfect outdoor plant. But there are a few that come close: succulents.

If you are looking for a beautiful plant that requires minimal care and attention, check out the plants that made it to this list. If you prefer to plant using pots, see our article on large potted succulents.

7 Succulents That Grow Tall

Many people think of succulents as small and dainty house plants kept in cute pots. However, there are some succulents that grow tall. Consider adding these seven succulents to your collection if you are looking for a centerpiece.

Here is a list of 7 succulents that grow tall:

1. Palmer’s Agave

Agave palmeri
Image: / Padrinan

Scientific name: Agave palmeri

Origin: Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora, Chihuahua

Common names: Palmer’s Century Plant

Palmer’s Agave, also known as Palmer’s Century Plant, is recognized as one of the largest members of the Agave plant family.

It can grow up to four feet tall and four to five feet wide. When it produces a flower, it grows a stem that can reach up to 16 feet.

This succulent thrives on benign neglect. After putting it in a location, you can forget it, save for the occasional watering and TLC. In fact, you should not handle it often as it has sharp thorns and an irritating sap.

Palmer’s Agave has been cultivated for thousands of years both as food and for the production of mescal.

2. Ocotillo

Image: / Christine_Kohler

Scientific name: Fouquieria splendens

Origin: Sonora, Chihuahua, western Texas, southern California

Common names: Jacob’s Staff, Flaming Sword, Candlewood, Coachwhip, Slimwood

It is hard to miss the Ocotillo in its natural desert habitat. The succulent can grow up to 20 feet which is why many people use it for fencing. 

Its name is derived from the Spanish words little torch which refers to its fiery orange flowers. Ocotillo flowers bloom between February and April.

For most of the year, the stems are bare. But with the arrival of rainfall, the stem produces narrow oval leaves. The leaves remain on the stems until the soil becomes completely dry.

Apart from its height, there is another impressive thing about this plant. Studies indicate that it can live up to anywhere between 60 to 100 years.

3. Fishhook Barrel Cactus

Fishhook Barrel Cactus
Image: / rdparis22

Scientific name: Ferocactus wislizeni

Origin: south-central Arizona, southern New Mexico, western Texas, Sonora

Common names: Compass barrel

The Fishhook barrel has a stocky body that can reach up to two feet in diameter. The body of the plant is surrounded by long spines that look like fishhooks.

Its flowers and fruits grow on top.

Although most specimens grow between two and four feet, it is not unusual to see some to grow close to 10 feet tall with bodies that have a diameter of about three feet.

This cactus is sometimes called the Compass Barrel due to its tendency to lean southwest.

4. Golden Barrel Cactus

Golden Barrel Cactus
Image: / hadot

Scientific name: Echinocactus grusonii

Origin: Mexico

Common names: Mother-in-Law’s Cushion, Golden Ball

The Golden Barrel Cactus is a popular cactus that is sadly endangered in its place of origin. The plant’s population was reduced drastically due to the construction of the Zimapan Dam in the 1990s.

Also referred to as the Golden Ball, the cactus grows over three feet tall and can spread to a width of two to three feet.

Like most succulents, the Golden Barrel is easy to care for. But be forewarned: because of its spikes, it is not advisable for homes that have pets and young children.

You can, however, use the plant to boost security in your home.

5. Senita

Image: / hadot

Scientific name: Pachycereus schottii

Origin: Southern Arizona, Baja, Sonora, north-western Mexico

Common names: Totem Pole Cactus, Old Man Cactus, Whisker Cactus

The Senita towers at 15 feet tall and can grow as wide as 10 feet.

This cactus is columnar and forms thickets with thick branches that grow from the base. Each stem can produce anywhere between five to 10 ribs and has areolas that contain spines.

In spring, pink flowers bloom on the upper stems. These flowers are nocturnal, opening only during the night and closing during the daytime.

The plant’s fruit is edible and was a staple in the diet of the early inhabitants of both Mexico and Arizona.

Although the plant can be planted in containers, many plant it against walls as an accent piece.

6. Saguaro

Image: / crbellette

Scientific name: Carnegiea gigantea

Origin: Arizona, Sonora, California

The Saguaro is indeed one giant of a cactus. Consider the tale of the tape. 

Although considered to be a slow-growing cactus, a fully-mature specimen in the wild can grow as much as 40 to 60 feet tall. In the residential setting, the plant will take as much as 10 years to reach a height of 1.5 inches.

When filled with water, a Saguaro specimen located in the desert can weigh close to 5000 pounds.

Still unimpressed? Saguaros are said to live anywhere between 150 to 200 years old.

The Gila Woodpecker, Gilded Flickers, owls, finches, martins, even Hawks, rely on the cactus for habitat and food.

7. Queen of the Night

Queen of the Night
Image: / shuichi kadoya

Scientific name: Epiphyllum oxypetalum

Origin: Mexico, South America

Common names: Orchid Cactus

The Queen of the Night is as regal as its name. 

The cactus grows to about three feet high and is typically kept in pots, gardens, or near windows.

A native of Mexico, the Queen of the Night can be found in rainforests, growing atop trees, and other plants.

But the real star, the true queen of the night is the plant’s stunning white flower.

As its name suggests, the white fragrant flower of this cactus blooms only at night and stays open just before the afternoon heat sets in. Only one flower opens per night. 

Growing or stretching?

There is a big difference between a succulent that is growing taller and one that is stretching itself.

Although there are succulents that drive in low-light conditions, many succulents require ample light. Deprived of light, a succulent can exhibit changes, ranging from discoloration to the lengthening of stems.

How do you know if your succulents are growing tall and healthy or in much need of light?


When a succulent does not get enough sunlight, it literally stretches its stems. Apart from stretching its stems, the plant will lose some of its color. Succulents do this to allow themselves to absorb more light.

Aside from the stretching of the stems, light-starved succulents will also appear to have large gaps between the leaves.

A week or two after transferring a light-starved succulent to a brighter location, it will grow more leaves and regain its original color.

However, there is not much that you can do about the leggy stems. 


A sudden growth spurt does not necessarily indicate that your succulent needs more sun. When succulents enter into their growth phase, they will grow taller.

How do you know if your succulent is indeed growing healthy?

First, ask yourself if you are meeting all your succulent’s needs, especially its light requirements.

It would also be beneficial to have a fair idea of the maximum height of your plant once it reaches maturity. If its current height is well within its expected height, then you have nothing to worry about.

Check its color and leaves. Both should look full while the plant’s color should be vibrant.

21 Purple Succulents for Home or Garden

Purple succulents can add an instant pop of color, breaking the monotony of a sea of green. Whether you are looking for a trailing succulent to hang in baskets or something to put on your office table, here are 21 regal-looking purple succulents to consider:

1. Santa Rita Prickly Pear

Santa Rita Prickly Pear
Image: / thittaya itthithepphana

The Santa Rita Prickly Pear (Opuntia santarita) is a succulent owner’s dream come true.

Like most succulents, this succulent shrub is not fussy. It prefers partial shade to full sun and well-draining soil. 

Except for scale and mealybugs, very few animals infest this prickly pear species. You do not even have to worry about deer eating this plant. Plus, it is frost hardy.

For the rest of the year, this spine-covered plant is colored blue-grey. But with the onset of winter, it takes on an intense purplish hue.

2. Purple Beauty

Purple beauty
Image: / ShySlug

The Purple Beauty (Sempervivum tectorum ‘Purple Beauty’) is a type of hens and chicks plant that is known for its pink rosettes that have purple shading. During winter, the rosettes sport a brilliant magenta color.

To coax out the majestic purple hue out of this plant, collectors place this plant under the outdoor sun.

The succulent looks stunning when grown outdoors where it can stay all year round, even during winter. It is a frost-hardy plant that can survive cold temperatures with a little help from their owners.

3. Black Rose

Black rose
Image: / ShowOffSolution

At first glance, the Black Rose (Aeonium Arboreum ‘Zwartkop’) looks like a gigantic black flower. But those brightly-colored petals are actually leaves. 

Although the succulent thrives under partial shade, it can tolerate full sun. If you want the leaves to become darker, you need to place it under direct sun for about six hours.

However, too much sun can leave the plant sunburned. If you want to achieve a darker shade of purple for this plant, you have to watch out against sunburn.

The Black Rose can be grown outdoors directly on the ground. It can tolerate mild frost but can succumb to extreme cold when exposed for a substantial period.

4. Purple Heart

Purple Heart

Collectors and gardeners use the Purple Heart (Setcreasea purpurea) in a variety of ways. The succulent is often used as a groundcover or as an accent plant.Its purple stems and leaves serve as the perfect backdrop for flowering plants as well as other succulents.

The Purple Heart is a low-growing plant, able to reach a foot in height and two to three feet in width.

Unlike other succulents that do not require too much water, this plant prefers its soil to be constantly moist.

It does well in both partial shade and full sun. However, when placed in a sunny location, you must keep its soil constantly moist.

5. Purple Pearl

Purple Pearl
Image: / Peacefoo

The Purple Pearl (Echeveria ‘Purple Pearl’) is a stunning succulent that is used in wedding bouquets, floral arrangements and containers.

It can reach a height of six inches and a width of about a foot.

The rosettes grow up to 12 inches, sporting an olive green color tinged with lavender. The rosettes are also outlined by pink edges.

Like most Echeverias, the Purple Pearl is easy to care for. However, special attention should be given to the rosettes.

Avoid watering this succulent from the top because moisture can pool on the rosettes, causing fungal diseases or rot.

The dead leaves should also be constantly pruned to prevent insect infestation.

6. Dark Knight Prickly Pear

The Dark Knight Prickly Pear (Opuntia ‘Dark Knight’) goes by a few nicknames, including Hedgehog, Heacock’s Prickly Pear, and Juniper Prickly Pear.

The plant has pads that are green and purple. It is covered almost entirely in glochids which are barbed bristles.

These barbed bristles can pierce your hand, even if you are wearing gloves. Seasoned growers prefer handling the plant with tongs. Unless necessary, do not handle this succulent.

The succulent can grow up to two feet in height, requiring both full sunlight and well-draining soil.

It is a sturdy species, capable of handling temperature extremes.

7. Echeveria Taurus

Echeveria Taurus
Image: / TYNZA

The Echeveria Taurus (Echeveria agavoides ‘Taurus’) is a compact houseplant that grows up to over three inches high and close to six inches in diameter. 

Its red-green leaves are fleshy and triangular. During summer, it sends out long stems that droop, bearing red and yellow flowers.

Propagating this succulent is difficult because it does not usually respond to traditional methods.

It can be kept both indoors and outdoors, especially during the warmer months. However, it is not cold-tolerant. And as such, it should be brought in before winter.

8. Violet Prickly Pear

Violet Prickly Pear
Image: / Elizabeth Lara

The Violet Prickly Pear (Opuntia gosseliniana) is a cactus that grows in parts of Arizona, California, and Mexico.

This prickly pear bears the characteristic flat pads of its family. However, the whole plant has a violet to red color. The color varies depending on environmental conditions.

It looks like its relative, the Santa Rita Prickly Pear. However, the violet prickly pear can either have shorter spines or no spines at all. Additionally, the pads of the Violet Prickly Pear are larger and grow in clusters.

With proper care, the cactus can reach a maximum height of five feet.

9. Royal Flush

Royal Flush
Image: / rfranca

The Royal Flush succulent (Pleiospilos nelii ‘Royal Flush’) is an interesting, if not odd-looking plant.

Just one look at the plant and you are left wondering if it is indeed a succulent or a rock split in two.

The plant’s leaves are its most interesting feature. Between each purple-colored leaf is a large fissure. The Royal Flush produces a new pair of leaves annually.

The Royal Flush is a small succulent, growing up to three inches tall and about four inches wide. 

The plant prefers filtered light. If you are planning to keep it indoors, it is best placed in a south-facing window.

Unlike other succulents that have adapted to extreme drought, this succulent has adapted to conditions where rainfall is predictable. As such, seasoned growers recommend watering the plant once every spring and summer.

10. Perle von Nürnberg

Perle von Nürnberg
Image: / Tilli

The Perle von Nürnberg (Echeveria gibbiflora ‘Metallica’ × E. elegans) (Graessner) is one of the more popular succulent hybrids.

And there are plenty of things to love about this plant.

For starters, it is a real beauty. Its leaves have a pink and purple color coated with farina. 

Second, the plant is easy to care for. With ample sunlight and the right potting mix, it can grow up to six inches wide.

Among Echeverias, the Perle von Nürnberg is one of the most prolific, in terms of producing flowers. A single specimen is capable of producing five to six pink flowers annually.

Finally, the plant is easy to propagate. You can propagate it with its leaves or cuttings.

11. Desert Surprise

The Desert Surprise (Kalanchoe humilis) is an ideal plant for beginners looking for something beautiful but easy to care for.

This succulent shrub grows up to three feet. Originating from Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique, the Desert Surprise can be found growing in crevices and rock formations near bodies of water.

Its egg-shaped leaves are pale green in color with purple or maroon stripes or spots. The shrub produces purple to green flowers during the middle of summer.

Like other kalanchoes, the Desert Surprise prefers sunny locations, especially during its growing season in the summer. Additionally, the plant likes areas with ample heat and it should not be placed in an area where the temperature drops below 12.7° C.

12. Rubra

Image: / freedom_naruk

Also known as the Red Cap Cactus, Ruby Ball, and Hibotan, the Rubra (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii f. rubra) is a much-sought-after mutant cactus.

Its characteristic reddish-purple body is the result of the absence of chlorophyll which gives plants their familiar green color.

Chlorophyll is vital for the production of sugar in plants. Simply put, without sugar, a plant will die.

The Rubra overcomes this problem by relying on another plant for the production of chlorophyll. The Rubra is grafted to another succulent, usually the Hylocereus. 

Despite its seemingly delicate nature, the Rubra is easy to care for. However, the cactus is difficult to cultivate and can only be kept under direct sunlight.

13. Dragon’s Blood Stonecrop

Dragon's Blood Stonecrop
Image: / skymoon13

The Dragon’s Blood Stonecrop (Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’) is a perennial favorite among landscape artists for a few key reasons.

For starters, the beauty of this succulent cannot be denied. Its fleshy and round leaves are green in color and are outlined by a burgundy margin. At the onset of summer, this margin takes on a bronze-red hue. 

The plant is versatile. Landscape artists use it as a groundcover, edging, and rock gardens.

It is also a resilient plant that rarely, if ever, succumbs to pests and diseases. It is also perfect for areas where there is a substantial population of deer and rabbits. These critters avoid the plant.

Finally, the Dragon’s Blood Stonecrop has minimal requirements, surviving with little fuss.

14. Trailing Jade

The Trailing Jade (Senecio jacobsenii) is often mistaken as the Jade or money plant.

Like the jade plant, the Trailing Jade has spoon-shaped leaves. But the leaves of the Trailing Jade are larger. Furthermore, the leaves overlap.During winter, the leaves of the Trailing Jade take on a purplish hue.

The succulent prefers sandy, well-draining soil. It is drought-resistant but needs more water during summer. In winter, the plant goes into dormancy and does not need as much water.

As a native of tropical Africa, the trailing Jade likes full sun to partial shade. It can be kept indoors. However, you have to make sure that you place it in an area that receives direct sun.

15. Purple Moon Cactus

Purple Moon Cactus
Image: / galitskaya

Like the Rubra, the Purple Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii and Hylocereus) is a mutant cactus that does not produce its chlorophyll.

The color of the cactus’ body can range from green to dark purple, depending on the amount of sun that it gets.

The body is barrel-shaped and has ridges that are lined up by spines.

It produces pink flowers that are roughly the size of the body of the plant.

The Purple Moon Cactus prefers direct sunlight. 

During winter, it is best kept indoors as it cannot tolerate frost.

16. Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus

Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus
Image: / Dreamframer

A young Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus rigidissimus rubrispinus) takes on a pink to a magenta color. When the cactus matures, it changes its color to light pink to yellow.

The cactus produces flushes of flowers that are white in the middle and pink in the outer edges.

Much-sought after for its rarity, the Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus needs well-draining soil, adequate airflow, and bright light.

Although the cactus is cold-tolerant, it still requires protection from frost. The cactus is also fire-resistant, able to survive smaller grass fires.

17. Sunrise Succulent

Sunrise Succulent
Image: / FeelPic

A native of South Africa, the Sunrise Succulent (Anacampseros telephiastrum ‘Variegata’) is a luxurious succulent.

The leaves have a combined color of green and pink to purple.

Although the plant can be a frustratingly slow grower, it is easy to care for.

The succulent prefers bright but indirect sunlight and ample airflow. And like most succulents, it does not like to sit on water as it is prone to rot.

It is a tough plant, rarely succumbing to pests and diseases.

Furthermore, because of its small size and minimal requirements, it can be put indoors to add beauty to a space.

18. Black Prince

Black Prince
Image: / Satakorn

The Black Prince (Echeveria ‘Black Prince’) is another hens and chicks variant that has made it to this list of purple succulents.

This succulent is named as such due to its leaves which have a combination of deep green to dark purple. So deep is the purple color that it looks black from afar.

Initially, the leaves are green in color. But as the plant matures, their color darkens more. However, the plant loses its dark hue if it does not get enough light.

Like most hens and chicks plants, the Black Prince requires well-draining soil, preferably sandy soil. Plus, it thrives in full sun to partial shade.

19. Pachyveria Powder Puff

Pachyveria Powder Puff
Image: / Dorjan Ivan Rener Sitar

The Pachyveria Powder Puff is a hybrid of Echeveria cante and Pachyphytum oviferum.

The succulent boasts of stunning leaves which have a silver-blue color. When subjected to full sun, the tips take on a pinkish or purplish hue.

Many succulent owners use this plant in their rock gardens and hanging baskets, allowing the stems of the plant to stretch. Each stem produces a rosette at the tip.

The plant is best kept in an area that can provide it with about six hours of sun. You can keep it indoors but you need to put in an area that gets ample sunlight.

20. Corsican Stonecrop 

Corsican Stonecrop
Image: / ErikAgar

The Corsican Stonecrop (Sedum dasyphyllum) is commonly used as a groundcover due to its hardy nature, amazing color, and adaptability to different environments.

The succulent’s leaves have a turquoise or silver color. When exposed to full sun, the leaves take on a purple tinge.

Landscape artists like to use the plant in retaining walls and vertical plantings.

Although the plant may look fragile, it is frost hardy. And while it thrives under the full-sun, the Corsican Stonecrop is not heat-tolerant.

The plant is easy to propagate. Its fallen leaves and stems can easily re-root themselves.

21. Pink Frills

Pink Frills
Image: / kynny

The Pink Frills Echeveria (Echeveria shaviana ‘Pink Frills) is another variant of the hens and chicks plant that has made it to the list.

The succulent got its name from the appearance of its leaves. The leaves are fleshy and spoon-shaped with pointed tips and edges that are pink in color. The leaves can vary in color, from purple to blue to green. As the plant matures, the edges become frilly.

The Pink Frills succulent, like other hens and chicks plant, is easy to care for. It thrives under the full sun but can also be kept indoors provided that it is placed in an area with bright light.

Why are some succulents purple?

Many plants, including succulents, have a green color. There are, however, some succulents that take on other colors apart from green. 

Some varieties of succulents come in red, blue, and other colors. Some have accent colors, like black, white, and yellow.

If the green succulent that you brought home recently changed into purple (or any other color), you might be surprised by this change.

Some types of succulents change their colors, depending on three key factors: water, temperature, and sunlight.

To put it succinctly, your plant is reacting to these factors due to stress. When some succulents are deprived of water, placed under direct sunlight, or exposed to temperature extremes, they become stressed. And often, this stress manifests in the form of color change.

Stress is not necessarily bad. You have to remember that succulents are resilient plants and have adaptations that help them deal with environmental changes.

Many succulent growers deliberately stress their plants to coax out colors from their plants.

9 Large Potted Succulents for the House

Keeping plants in pots is a great way to maximize space. Additionally, potted plants allow you to instantly add a dash of color to your garden or living space. If you are planning on keeping succulents in pots, here are a few varieties that grow large.

1. Agave Jaws

Agave Jaws
Image: / Jack N. Mohr

Agave is the perfect plant to grow in containers, especially if you have limited indoor space without adequate light.

And one agave variety that you should strongly consider keeping is the Agave Jaws (Agave gentryi ‘Jaws’).

This succulent can grow up to a height of four feet and spread out to up to six feet. The plant’s leaves are blue-green in color and have deeply-serrated edges which give it the appearance of a wide-open jaw with several teeth.

The plant prefers partial shade, especially in hotter climates. However, it can also tolerate the full sun.

If you are keeping the Agave Jaws with other plants, choose plants that have thinner leaves which will highlight this succulent’s unusual leaves.

2. Fox Tail Agave

Fox Tail
Image: / soniabonet

The Fox Tail Agave (Agave attenuata) is one of the few agaves that are evergreen.

Growing up five feet high and eight feet wide, this plant got its moniker its flower stalk. Upon maturity, this succulent sends up an upward arching flower stalk which can grow up to 10 feet high. 

The plant produces greenish-yellow flowers during summer. The flowers contain both seed pods and bulbils or plantlets. Unfortunately, the Fox Tail Agave does not flower often. Most specimens flower just once in their lifetime. Plus, it will take up to 10 years for this plant to bloom.

This agave is easy to care for, requiring full sun and minimal watering. Additionally, it is almost pest and disease-free.

3. Spider Aloe

Spider Aloe
Image: / katerinakorovina

The Spider Aloe ( Aloe x spinosissima) is a hybrid of two plants, Aloe humilis and Aloe arborescens.

The plant grows up to three feet in height and spreads up to four feet. It prefers the full sun and requires good ventilation. The Spider Aloe should be moderately watered, except during its dormancy when its water requirements go down.

Although the plant’s name suggests something scary, the spines that line the leaves are not sharp. In fact, the leaves are soft to the touch.

Unlike other succulents that flower late in their lifetimes, the Spider Aloe produces flowers even when it is still young. The aloe’s orange-red flowers emerge between fall and winter.

Like its cousin, the Aloe Vera, the Spider Aloe can be used for treating sunburn.

4. Silver Dollar Prickly Pear

Silver Dollar Prickly Pear
Image: / MrHinxman

The Silver Dollar Prickly Pear (Opuntia robusta) is a tree or shrub-like cactus that typically grows three to six feet but can sometimes grow as tall as 20 feet.

This cactus’s most appealing characteristic is its stems or pads which are often mistaken as specialized leaves. These pads are thick and can weigh as much as four pounds.

Some pads may or may not contain white spines that are one to two inches in length.

Come spring, the cactus produces yellow flowers that appear along the edges of the pod. The plant’s red fruits are suitable for use as animal feed.

The Silver Dollar is ideal for beginners because it is easy to care for and relatively disease-free. The plant can thrive in full to partial shade and can tolerate different types of soil as long as there is ample drainage.

5. Dinosaur Back Plant

Dinosaur Back Plant
Image: / Sara Friesz

The Dinosaur Back Plant (Myrtillocactus geometrizans forma cristata), sometimes called Crested Blue Candle, Crested Blue Myrtle, or Crested Blue Flame, is an unusual-looking cactus that will surely draw the attention of your house guests.

This cactus’ thick branches spread out from the main trunk to form stems that crest and wave.

The plant requires at least six hours of sunlight although you can keep it indoors as long as you place it in an area that gets enough sunlight, like a south-facing window.

The Dinosaur Back Plant is classified as semi-hardy which means that it cannot survive sub-zero temperatures. As such, you should relocate it during winter when it enters dormancy.

6. Argentine Saguaro

Argentine Saguaro
Image: / daboost

The Argentine Saguaro (Trichocereus terscheckii) is a fast-growing cactus that is often seen as an alternative to the Saguaro Cactus which can be difficult to acquire.

Like the Saguaro Cactus, this plant grows tall and can reach a height of about 20 feet upon maturity.

Young specimens start with a single column. But as the plant grows, it develops numerous branches. The deep green-colored stems each contain ribs that can number anywhere between eight and 14.

The whole cactus is covered in golden spines that lengthen and grow deeper in color as the plant grows older.

Like most succulents, the cactus does not need too much water. The amazing thing about this cactus is that it will tell you when it needs a drink. Once dehydrated, the pleats on the plant shrivel. As the plant grows older, you can water it just once a month.

7. Bunny Ears

Bunny Ears
Image: / aapsky

The Bunny Ears Cactus (Opuntia microdasys albata) looks as quirky as its name. This plant is a perennial favorite among new and old succulent collectors for its unique appearance and its minimal care requirements.

Originating from Mexico, the Bunny Ears cactus typically grows two to three feet tall and can spread four to five feet in the wild.

However, like most cacti, this plant is a slow grower and can be kept indoors for years.

Young specimens grow pads or “bunny ears” which start with a rosy red color. But as the plant matures, the pads take on a green color.

Unlike other cacti that have spines, the plant has aureoles. Aureoles are composed of wool and bristles that appear in some cacti upon reaching a specific height or age.

Be careful in handling the aureoles. They may look soft but these can still prick your fingers.

8. African Milk Tree

African Milk Tree
Image: / RussieseO

The African Milk Tree (Euphorbia trigona) goes about different names, including Friendship Cactus and Cathedral Cactus.

But despite these names, this plant is neither a cactus nor a tree. It is a succulent.

The plant looks exotic but is surprisingly easy to care for. In fact, it is considered to be a fast-growing succulent with a minimal amount of requirements.

The succulent has three-sided stalks. The stalks and cactus-like branches are all lined up with spines. The plant has small leaves that grow on the branches and stalks.

This plant grows tall, easily reaching a height of up to eight feet. The combination of tall height and a relatively sparse root system makes the plant top-heavy with a tendency to tip over.

You can use stakes for support or simply cut off the top part of the plant to keep it from falling over.

9. Variegated Snake Plant

Variegated Snake Plant
Image: / flyingsky09

If you are close to giving up on keeping plants, do not. Not just yet.

The Variegated Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is near indestructible, perfect for people who may not have been blessed with a green thumb.

The succulent originally comes from China where it is kept due to the belief that it has been blessed by the gods with several of their virtues.

The plant has been subjected to numerous studies, including institutions like NASA. The plant is well-known for its air purifying ability.

Depending on the variety, the succulent can grow anywhere between six inches to eight feet. 

The Snake Plant prefers indirect light but is known to survive little to no light conditions.

Choosing a pot

Most succulents share the same needs: adequate sunlight, correct watering, and proper drainage. If you meet these needs, most of your work is done.

But if there is one thing many succulent owners miss out on, including those with some experience, is the importance of choosing the right containers for their plants.

Choosing a pot for your succulent is not exactly rocket science. However, there are a few important things that you need to consider. After all, the right pot does not only add more appeal to your plant. More importantly, the correct succulent container contributes to proper drainage.

Here are a few considerations that you need to take into account when buying pots for your succulents.

1. Size

When it comes to succulent pots, bigger is not necessarily better. If you use a pot that is too big for your succulent, you can end up doing a disservice to your plant.

As a rule of thumb, there should be a half-inch clearance between the base of your succulent and the edge of the pot. This will give your succulent enough room for growth.

Go a little bigger than that and you will stunt the growth of your succulent. When a pot is big for your plant, it will spend most of its energy spreading out its roots instead of spending the same amount of energy growing taller and bigger.

On the other hand, if you are making a succulent arrangement with multiple plants in a single container, the rule of thumb to follow is to give each plant half an inch to one-inch distance from one another.

A tightly packed arrangement may look amazing over the short term. However, over the long term, planting your succulents too close to one another does not leave them enough room to grow and spread out.

2. Material

Containers for succulents come in an array of styles, designs, and materials. And one part of the fun in keeping succulents is choosing aesthetically-pleasing containers for your plants.

But aesthetics should not take primacy over function. When looking at containers for succulents, consider the pros and cons of each material.


You almost cannot go wrong with a ceramic pot for your succulents. Ceramic pots are breathable and facilitate airflow. Plus, these pots work well both indoors and outdoors.

However, ceramic pots are heavier, especially once you fill these up with soil. That is one issue you will need to consider if you are considering keeping succulent varieties that need to be moved outdoors or indoors with the changing of the seasons.

Finally, take note that ceramic pots are fairly easy to break or crack.


Over the last few years, plastic pots have emerged as a popular option for succulent owners. And there are a few reasons why.

For one, plastic pots are considerably more durable than ceramic pots. Plus, plastic is a lighter material, making moving pots around easier.

However, be aware that water evaporates slower in plastic pots. But that drawback can be easily overcome by using the right potting mix.


Succulents placed in glass containers undoubtedly look stunning. 

But be aware that most glass containers do not have drainage holes. Additionally, glass is not breathable. This means that you have to pay more attention to watering your succulents.

Also, apart from being fragile, glass can get dirty easily.


Although metal planters look quirky, you should not consider these as a long term option for your plants.

Metal can get hot or cold fast, depending on the prevailing temperature. Furthermore, unless you are using a container that is treated to prevent rust, your plant’s long term health may be compromised. To put it succinctly, rust is bad for your succulents.


Wood is an unusual container for succulents. But somehow, it just works.

Apart from the aesthetic appeal, wood allows succulents to remain cool, especially during hot days. Plus, soil retains more water when placed in a wooden container.

However, both of these can be a drawback if you place your succulent in an area that has low light and poor airflow. The wood can contribute to rotting.

Finally, wood is not a good long term option because it will eventually break down due to exposure to water.

3. Drainage holes

If there is just one thing that you should look for in a pot, that would be the presence of drainage holes.

Drainage is not just a matter of using the right potting mix. Drainage holes contribute greatly in wicking away excess moisture from the soil, helping prevent the succulent roots from sitting on water for an extended time.

If you are planning on using a pot without drainage holes or if you are recycling another material into a succulent pot, you can add drainage by boring a hole on these using a drill bit.

Succulent Leaves Turning Soft

Succulent Leaves Turning Soft

Succulent leaves can turn soft due to over-watering and cold weather. Dying succulents also have leaves that are mushy, wet, and wrinkly.

Here is a quick look at each of these possible causes as well as the actions that you can take to remedy the problem.

Reasons why succulent leaves are turning soft

When you touch a healthy succulent, its leaves and stems should feel firm and rigid. If you try to bend the parts of your plant, it should offer some resistance before breaking off.

This indicates that your plant has a full store of moisture. Deprived of water, the leaves and stems look limp and bend easily.

But what if your succulent’s leaves are soft and mushy to the touch? Here is an exploration of the possible causes.


Over-watering is perhaps the number one mistake that new succulent growers make. Because of the unique ability of succulents to store water in their bodies, they do not need frequent watering like other plants. Frequent watering is detrimental to succulent health. Over-watering can result in not only the leaves turning soft but also brown.

Think of the leaves and stems of succulents as water balloons. Now each of these balloons can only store a set amount of moisture.

When you over-water your succulents, their leaves and stems become overfilled. Eventually, the cells of these plant parts become too engorged. This is why your succulent leaves feel too soft. Plus, the slightest touch can make the leaves fall off.

Apart from feeling soft and mushy, the leaves may exhibit other symptoms. These include yellowish color and black spots.

Left unchecked, over-watering can lead to rotting. A rotting succulent has noticeably brown or black stems that feel and look and feel mushy. 

As the situation progresses, the plant dissolves and eventually dies.

Over-watering is often compounded by the use of poor-draining soil which keeps the plant’s roots constantly wet. Additionally, when the soil is always wet, air cannot get to the roots.

After some time, your succulent’s roots wither and become soft. And when the roots cannot function optimally, the leaves begin to feel soft.

1. Saving an over-watered succulent

If the damage is not extensive, it is possible to save your succulent. But, you need to act fast.

First, check the roots of your plants so that you can evaluate the extent of the damage. If there is a minimal amount of roots that are affected by rot, you can cut these off using either a sharp knife or a pair of scissors.

Remove the soil from the roots until you see the white tissues. If the succulent has soft or dead leaves, be sure to remove these as well.

Afterward, place your succulent in an area in your home that has adequate light and airflow. Do not put it under direct sunlight which can cause sunburn. This will give your plant ample time to heal itself.

Once your succulent has recovered, you can replant it. Make sure that you use a fast-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes.

At this point, your succulent will enter its growth phase. You can water it thoroughly but allow the soil to dry out partially in between each watering session. 

2. How to avoid over-watering succulents

Succulents should be watered deeply but infrequently. Plus, you should only water your plants when the soil in their containers is dry.

As much as possible, avoid watering your succulents from the top as you would usually do with other types of plants. This will only allow the water to pool on top of the plant.

The better way to water a potted succulent is to place the container over a saucer filled with water. The soil can then absorb water through the pot’s drainage holes.

After some time, the water should reach the top portion of the soil. When this happens, you should remove the saucer from under the pot.

This watering method ensures that the soil is evenly moisturized while preventing over-watering.

Freezing temperature

Although there are succulent varieties that can be grown outdoors all year round, some cannot survive freezing temperatures.

Tender succulents are vulnerable to frost damage. During freezing temperatures, the water stored in the plant’s cells expands and eventually bursts. In turn, this makes the succulent leaves feel soft and mushy.

Initially, the leaf tips will exhibit damage from frost burn. Left for hours under freezing temperature, the leaves become extensively damaged eventually leading to the collapse of the whole plant.

What to do with frost-damaged succulents

If you notice that your succulents’ leaves are suffering from the freezing temperature, the first thing that you need to do is to relocate your plants.

Afterward, allow your affected succulents to dry off completely. This can take anywhere between a few days to several weeks. 

During this time, the affected plants will recover by themselves. The mushy parts will eventually dry out and you will notice scabs forming on the damaged parts.

Do not water your succulents during this time. You will only worsen the problem.

Once the damaged parts are completely dry, you can cut these off. Sometimes, you will only need to cut off small parts. If the frost damage is extensive, you may need to cut off a substantial part from leaves.

If the frost damage has reached the stem, you might not be able to save the whole plant. However, you can cut the healthy parts, let these callous, and replant these.

Why you should touch your succulents regularly

As you progress in your journey as a succulent grower, you become more familiar with the appearance of your plants. With a single glance, you can notice subtle changes in your plants.

However, there is a case to be made for touching your plants regularly.

When you are starting, you should learn how a healthy plant feels like when you touch it. Healthy succulents should feel firm and rigid.

You should also learn how to compare the feel of succulents which have been recently watered and those that need to be watered again. When you have just watered your succulent, you notice  that it has become fuller and firmer to the touch.

As you become familiar with the feel of a healthy, well-nourished succulent, you will be able to take better care of your plants.

Saving your succulent

Soft and mushy leaves indicate that your succulent is in danger. With quick action, you can help your plant recover. 

This is why it is crucial for succulent owners, not only to learn what a healthy plant looks like. More importantly, succulent collectors should learn how a healthy plant feels like.

Image: / Andrey Zhuravlev

Succulent Leaves Turning Brown

Succulent Leaves Turning Brown

Succulent leaves turn brown due to four possible reasons: over-watering, under-watering, sun damage and natural leaf loss.

Why succulent leaves turn brown

Identifying the real reason behind the color change in your succulent leaves can be tricky. Here is how you can distinguish each potential problem from each other.

1. Over-watering

If you have just started raising succulents, one of the possible reasons why you see the leaves of your plants turn brown is over-watering. In fact, over-watering is the number one mistake new succulent owners make. Unlike other plants, succulents do not need as much water. These plants are well-equipped to survive long, dry spells.

Before the leaves of an over-watered succulent turn brown, these change their color into yellow or transparent first.

If you touch the leaves, you will also notice that these feel mushy and soft. 

If you ignore these signs, the leaves will take on a darker color. When that happens, it means that rot has set in and your plant may no longer be salvageable. 

Once your plant turns black, you will see insects like gnats hovering around it. These insects are attracted by the moisture and rot.

At this point, your best option is to throw away your plant, especially if you have other succulents in your home. If you leave that rotting succulent indoors, the pests that have become attracted to it can infest and damage your other plants.

Saving an over-watered succulent

Can an over-watered succulent be saved? If you act fast and perform the necessary steps, yes, you can save your plant. And even though a plant that has begun to rot will still have salvageable parts that you can propagate.

If the affected plant has just started showing signs of overwatering, the first thing that you need to do is to remove it from the wet soil.

After removing the plant from the soil, allow it to dry out completely. This can take anywhere from a few days to a week.

Place your plant in an area with lots of airflow and sunlight. However, do not leave it under direct sunlight. Doing so will cause sunburn damage.

When the plant is completely dry, you can replant it. If the soil you used for it previously is appropriate for succulents, you can plant your succulent back in the same soil after it becomes completely dry. 

However, if you have used the wrong potting mix, you should use a different soil, and possibly, a new pot with drainage holes.

Do not water your succulent immediately. Instead, just wait for it to dry. After a week, you can water your plant. But before you do, take a quick check on the soil. It should be completely dry at this point. If it is still moist, you probably used the wrong type of soil.

Saving a rotting succulent

If the plant has begun rotting, the first thing that you need to do is to determine the severity of the rot. This will help you decide if some plant parts are still worth saving.

Save as many leaves and stems as you can. There are no guaranteed results when it comes to propagating succulent leaves and stems. This is why you need to save as many as you can.

Be sure to set aside complete leaves. Broken leaves do not usually propagate. As for the stems, look for the viable ones which should be colored green. If you see brown or black parts inside the stem’s cross-section, that means that rot may have started. Throw these away.

Allow the leaves and stems to dry out in an area with enough sunlight and airflow.

When the leaves are dry, you can either lay these flat on a potting mix or stick one end into the soil. You can also stick one end of a stem directly into the soil.

While waiting for the leaves and stems to grow new roots, you should mist the soil every few days. Do not put your new plants under direct sunlight.

2. Under-watering

Succulents have earned the reputation of being resilient and drought-resistant. But this very reputation can be detrimental to these plants.

Some succulent owners mistakenly believe that they need to water their plants too infrequently. As such, it is not uncommon for many succulents to be under-watered.

Apart from having brown leaves, under-watered succulents look deflated and shriveled. If you touch these plants, they will feel dry.

Saving an under-watered succulent

Fortunately, it is easier to revive an under-watered succulent compared to one that has been severely over-watered.

The first, and probably the most important thing that you need to do is to quench your succulent’s thirst. Water your succulent until you see water exit from the pot’s drainage hole.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, succulents love to be watered deeply. And if you are using a fast-draining soil mix and if you wait until the soil is dry before you water your plant again, you have nothing much to worry about.

After that initial watering, observe your succulent for about a week. Water it again once the soil is dry. After two or three waterings, you will notice that your plant looks livelier.

However, if things do not seem to turn around, you may have to take a more drastic measure in the form of water therapy. Water therapy entails soaking the plant’s roots in water.

Water therapy re-hydrates under-watered succulents quickly. However, there is no guarantee that it will work 100 percent. 

3. Sunburn

Like humans, succulents can also get sunburned. 

If you put your succulent under direct sunlight for a long period, it can succumb to sunburn. Initially, you will notice white patches on the leaves.

Eventually, if the plant continues to stay in its current location, the sunburn can become severe, manifesting in the form of brown patches. Typically, when these brown patches appear, it means that the sun damage has become extensive and the plant can eventually die.

Sunburnt succulent leaves are incapable of carrying out photosynthesis, adversely affecting the wellbeing of a plant.

Once you notice white spots on your succulents, move them to a shaded location. For succulents kept outdoors, it is a good idea to invest in a shade cloth that offers a formidable amount of protection against the sun’s scorching rays.

Natural leaf loss

Of all the possible causes of browning succulent leaves, natural leaf loss is probably the least concerning.

Like other plants, succulents drop leaves when these are no longer of any use or value to the plant. 

Before dropping its old leaves, your succulent will take all the moisture and nutrients from these leaves. This is why these leaves are brown and crispy.

Typically, these leaves will naturally drop from the plant. However, you can pick these dead leaves off the plant without risking any harm to your succulent. In fact, it is highly advisable to set aside time to prune dead leaves from your plant for aesthetic and functional reasons.

If you leave these leaves on the plant, harmful insects like mealybugs may become attracted to these.

You do not need any special tool to remove dead leaves from your succulent. All you have to do is pull these away.

Sometimes, you will encounter leaves that are not completely dried up. Do not attempt to pull these off. Pulling these leaves off when they are not yet completely dead can cause infections in your plant.

Wait a few more days until those leaves are completely dry.

Protect your succulent from discoloration

The discoloration of leaves of a succulent is often a sign that there is something wrong with it.

Fortunately, potential causes like over and under-watering and sun damage are easy to avoid.

Learn how to properly water your succulent and use a good potting mix for your plant. This minimizes the chances of discoloration and other problems significantly.

It is also a good idea to learn the light requirements of your plant. Ensuring that your succulent gets adequate and not too much sunlight is the key to preventing sunburn.

Succulent Leaves Turning Brown

Succulent leaves turn brown due to four possible reasons: over-watering, under-watering, sun damage, and natural leaf loss.

Why succulent leaves turn brown

Identifying the real reason behind the color change in your succulent leaves can be tricky. Here is how you can distinguish each potential problem from each other.

1. Over-watering

If you have just started collecting succulents, one of the possible reasons why you see the leaves of your plants turn brown is over-watering.

In fact, over-watering is the number one mistake new succulent owners make. Unlike other plants, succulents do not need as much water. These plants are well-equipped to survive long, dry spells.

Before the leaves of an over-watered succulent turn brown, these change their color into yellow or transparent first.

If you touch the leaves, you will also notice that these feel mushy and soft. 

If you ignore these signs, the leaves will take on a darker color. When that happens, it means that rot has set in and your plant may no longer be salvageable. 

Once your plant turns black, you will see insects like gnats hovering around it. These insects are attracted by the moisture and rot.

At this point, your best option is to throw away your plant, especially if you have other succulents in your home. If you leave that rotting succulent indoors, the pests that have become attracted to it can infest and damage your other plants.

Saving an over-watered succulent

Can an over-watered succulent be saved? If you act fast and perform the necessary steps, yes, you can save your plant. And even though a plant that has begun to rot will still have salvageable parts that you can propagate.

If the affected plant has just started showing signs of overwatering, the first thing that you need to do is to remove it from the wet soil.

After removing the plant from the soil, allow it to dry out completely. This can take anywhere from a few days to a week.

Place your plant in an area with lots of airflow and sunlight. However, do not leave it under direct sunlight. Doing so will cause sunburn damage.

When the plant is completely dry, you can replant it. If the soil you used for it previously is appropriate for succulents, you can plant your succulent back in the same soil after it becomes completely dry. 

However, if you have used the wrong potting mix, you should use a different soil, and possibly, a new pot with drainage holes.

Do not water your succulent immediately. Instead, just wait for it to dry. After a week, you can water your plant. But before you do, take a quick check on the soil. It should be completely dry at this point. If it is still moist, you probably used the wrong type of soil.

Saving a rotting succulent

If the plant has begun rotting, the first thing that you need to do is to determine the severity of the rot. This will help you decide if some plant parts are still worth saving.

Save as many leaves and stems as you can. There are no guaranteed results when it comes to propagating succulent leaves and stems. This is why you need to save as many as you can.

Be sure to set aside complete leaves. Broken leaves do not usually propagate. As for the stems, look for the viable ones which should be colored green. If you see brown or black parts inside the stem’s cross-section, that means that rot may have started. Throw these away.

Allow the leaves and stems to dry out in an area with enough sunlight and airflow.

When the leaves are dry, you can either lay these flat on a potting mix or stick one end into the soil. You can also stick one end of a stem directly into the soil.

While waiting for the leaves and stems to grow new roots, you should mist the soil every few days. Do not put your new plants under direct sunlight.

2. Under-watering

Succulents have earned the reputation of being resilient and drought-resistant. But this very reputation can be detrimental to these plants.

Some succulent owners mistakenly believe that they need to water their plants too infrequently. As such, it is not uncommon for many succulents to be under-watered.

Apart from having brown leaves, under-watered succulents look deflated and shriveled. If you touch these plants, they will feel dry.

Saving an under-watered succulent

Fortunately, it is easier to revive an under-watered succulent compared to one that has been severely over-watered.

The first, and probably the most important thing that you need to do is to quench your succulent’s thirst. Water your succulent until you see water exit from the pot’s drainage hole.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, succulents love to be watered deeply. And if you are using a fast-draining soil mix and if you wait until the soil is dry before you water your plant again, you have nothing much to worry about.

After that initial watering, observe your succulent for about a week. Water it again once the soil is dry. After two or three waterings, you will notice that your plant looks livelier.

However, if things do not seem to turn around, you may have to take a more drastic measure in the form of water therapy. Water therapy entails soaking the plant’s roots in water.

Water therapy re-hydrates under-watered succulents quickly. However, there is no guarantee that it will work 100 percent. 

3. Sunburn

Like humans, succulents can also get sunburned. 

If you put your succulent under direct sunlight for a long period, it can succumb to sunburn. Initially, you will notice white patches on the leaves.

Eventually, if the plant continues to stay in its current location, the sunburn can become severe, manifesting in the form of brown patches. Typically, when these brown patches appear, it means that the sun damage has become extensive and the plant can eventually die.

Sunburnt succulent leaves are incapable of carrying out photosynthesis, adversely affecting the wellbeing of a plant.

Once you notice white spots on your succulents, move them to a shaded location. For succulents kept outdoors, it is a good idea to invest in a shade cloth that offers a formidable amount of protection against the sun’s scorching rays.

Natural leaf loss

Of all the possible causes of browning succulent leaves, natural leaf loss is probably the least concerning.

Like other plants, succulents drop leaves when these are no longer of any use or value to the plant. 

Before dropping its old leaves, your succulent will take all the moisture and nutrients from these leaves. This is why these leaves are brown and crispy.

Typically, these leaves will naturally drop from the plant. However, you can pick these dead leaves off the plant without risking any harm to your succulent. In fact, it is highly advisable to set aside time to prune dead leaves from your plant for aesthetic and functional reasons.

If you leave these leaves on the plant, harmful insects like mealybugs may become attracted to these.

You do not need any special tool to remove dead leaves from your succulent. All you have to do is pull these away.

Sometimes, you will encounter leaves that are not completely dried up. Do not attempt to pull these off. Pulling these leaves off when they are not yet completely dead can cause infections in your plant.

Wait a few more days until those leaves are completely dry.

Protect your succulent from discoloration

The discoloration of leaves of a succulent is often a sign that there is something wrong with it.

Fortunately, potential causes like over and under-watering and sun damage are easy to avoid.

Learn how to properly water your succulent and use a good potting mix for your plant. This minimizes the chances of discoloration and other problems significantly.

It is also a good idea to learn the light requirements of your plant. Ensuring that your succulent gets adequate and not too much sunlight is the key to preventing sunburn.

Image: / kynny

17 Hanging Succulents

You do not need to have expansive space for hanging succulents. Even with little space to spare you can keep one or more trailing succulents hanging in baskets to spruce up your living space.

Here are 17 succulents that you can consider.

1. Burro’s Tail

Burro’s Tail
Image: / jerryhopman

Scientific name: Sedum morganianum

Origin: Mexico and Honduras

Common names: Horse tail, Donkey tail

The Burro’s tail, also known as horse or donkey tail, is an absolute stunner that is difficult to miss, not with its unmistakable trailing stems which look like the tail of a burro or donkey.

This succulent can be kept indoors and outdoors. Plus, it is fairly easy to keep, requiring minimal care. 

The plant requires plenty of sunlight. Indoors, it should be placed in an area that gets adequate indirect light.

But be forewarned: its leaves are sensitive to touch. Even the slightest touch translates to dropped leaves. As much as possible, avoid handling this plant unless necessary.

2. Climbing Aloe

Climbing Aloe
Image: / seven75

Scientific name: Aloiampelos ciliaris

Origin: South Africa

The Aloiampelos ciliaris, more commonly known as the climbing aloe, got its nickname from its ability to grow up to five meters or 16 feet.

This fast growing plant is often used with fences and boundaries, able to surround and climb over these and other plants.

Because it is a member of the aloe family, it requires minimal care. However, due to its fast growth, you may need to prune it from time to time to prevent covering the other plants in your garden.

The plant is best kept outdoors where it can produce orange to red flowers, typically around fall. It is known to attract hummingbirds.

3. October Daphne

October Daphne
Image: / Jaimie Tuchman

Scientific name: Hylotelephium sieboldii

Origin: Japan

Common names: Stonecrop, October plant, Showy stonecrop, Siebold’s stonecrop

Originating from Japan, the October Daphne is a hardy succulent that is capable of surviving sub-zero temperatures.

The succulent produces clusters of pink star-shaped flowers which usually appear around fall.

This plant is an excellent addition to rock gardens,preferring light shade, especially during summer.

The plant can also be kept indoors. However, you should place it in an area with adequate sunlight. The drawback is that you cannot see as many flowers when it is grown inside a home.

The plant is named after the renowned botanist and plant collector Philipp Frranz von Siebold.

4. Trailing Jade

Scientific name: Senecio jacobsenii

Origin: Tanzania and Kenya

Common names: Trailing Jade, Weeping Jade

Despite sharing a name with the jade or money plant, the trailing jade belongs to a different genus. It is often mistaken as the jade plant because of the similarities in the appearance between the two. 

The trailing jade also has spoon-shaped leaves like the jade plant. However, its leaves are larger and overlap one another. Plus, the leaves take a purplish tinge upon the arrival of winter.

This succulent looks luxurious as its branches trail down from its container. When well-taken care of, the plant’s branches can grow as long as four feet.

5. String of Pearls


String of Pearls
Image: / Tom_coultas

Scientific name: Senecio rowleyanus

Origin: southwest Africa

Common names: Rosary, String of beads

With its bead-like leaves, it is easy to understand why the string of pearls is one of the more popular succulents among collectors.

It is best kept in a basket as a hanging plant where its vines overflow. In its native habitat, these tendrils trail on the ground and overlap each other to form mats.

The succulent produces white flowers during spring. Many people say that these flowers smell like cinnamon.

It can be kept indoors or outdoors, preferring bright light.

Although the beads are beautiful, you need to throw these away once they fall off from the plant. These beads are toxic to pets and children.

6. Hindu Rope

Hindu Rope
Image: / bentaboe

Scientific name: Hoya carnosa ‘Compacta’

Origin: East Asia and Australia

Common names: Hindu Indian Rope Plant, Wax Plant, Angel Plant, Krinkle Kurl

The Hindu Rope is a member of the Hoya family. Its name is derived from the appearance of its leaves which resemble a Hindu rope.

The leaves are cupped and curly and may either be green or variegated.

It produces clusters of star-shaped flowers between spring and summer. But unlike some flowering succulents, the Hindu rope takes years to produce flowers.

Hindu rope can be placed indoors or outdoors, preferring indirect sunlight. 

Kept in a basket, its stems can grow as much as six feet in length.

7. Ruby Necklace

Scientific name: Othonna capensis

Origin: South Africa

Common names: String of rubies, Little pickles

Originating from South Africa, the Ruby Necklace is a close relative of the String of Pearls.

Like its cousin, it also has bead-like foliage which grows from fast-growing stems. These beads come in different colors, ranging from green to dark purple. The stems also have a purple color while the flowers offer a nice contrast of yellow.

This summer-dormant plant prefers locations with partial shade to full sun with plenty of air circulation.

During winter, it is best to keep the plant indoors as it cannot withstand freezing temperatures.

8. Wax Ivy

Wax Ivy
Image: / V_Sot

Scientific name: Senecio macroglossus

Origin: southern Africa

Common names: Natal ivy, Cape ivy, Wax vine, Flowering ivy

If you are looking for a hardy and no-fuss succulent to add to your garden, the Wax Ivy should be on top of your shortlist.

The Wax Ivy is a close relative of the String of Pearls and originates from South Africa. In its natural habitat, it can be found growing on forest floors.

Its leaves and stems have a pink to purple tinge while produces pale yellow flowers that look like daisy flowers.

This succulent is best grown outdoors where there is ample sunlight.

9. String of Hearts

String of hearts
Image: / Exsodus

Scientific name: Ceropegia

Origin: Australia, Africa, southern Asia

Common names: Rosary vine, Sweetheart vine, Chain of hearts

The popularity of the String of Hearts has grown steadily in recent years. And it is easy to see why many people have fallen in love with it.

For starters, its heart-shaped leaves make the succulent an instant crowd pleaser.

The succulent is versatile. It prefers bright but indirect sunlight which means that it can be grown both indoors and outdoors.

It can be grown either as a trailing plant although some growers prefer to wrap it around to produce a compact plant.

When you take care of this plant properly, it can grow quite fast. Plus, it is easy to propagate.

10. Ghost Plant

Ghost Plant
Image: / seven75

Scientific name: Graptopetalum paraguayense

Origin: Mexico

Common names: Sedum weinbergii, Mother-of-pearl plant

New to collecting succulents? The Ghost Plant ticks off all the right boxes. Easy to care for? Check. Pleasing to the eye? Check. Thrives even in the most adverse conditions? Check. Easy to propagate? Check.

A native of Mexico, the Ghost Plant is a close relative to the echeveria.

The succulent got its moniker from its triangular opalescent leaves which overlap one another to form a spiral.The leaves change their color, ranging from blue-gray to pink to yellow, depending upon the level of sun exposure, moisture, and quality of soil.

The Ghost Plant produces yellow, star-shaped flowers during spring.

11. Lantern Flower

Lantern Flower
Image: / bonnynord

Scientific name: Ceropegia haygarthii

Origin: South Africa, Mozambique, Angola

Common names: Parachute flower, Snake creeper, Parasol flower, Necklace vine, Rosary vine

The word interesting is barely enough to describe the Lantern Flower.

Originating from Africa, the Lantern Flower is an unusual-looking succulent, that, contrary to its looks, is relatively easy to keep and care for.

Its fleshy stems can either climb or trail. Its flowers are among the most unique-looking ones that you will see, having a funnel-shape that curves upwards from the base.

Inside the flowers are hairs that trap flies. Once trapped inside, the flies become covered with pollen. Once all the flower’s pollen is attached to a fly, the hairs wither, allowing the insect to fly away.

12. Creeping Inchplant

Creeping Inchplant
Image: / undefined undefined

Scientific name: Callisia repens

Origin: Central and South America

Common names: Turtle vine, Bolivian Jew, Basket plant, Jelly bean plant, Little jewel

The Creeping inchplant is a low-growing succulent that can be grown both indoors and outdoors.

The top leaves of the plant have a deep green color while the lower leaves have a purple color. The succulent produces small white flowers during spring and summer.

Due to its resilience and ability to thrive in almost any condition, the Creeping inchplant is a good starter plant for new succulent collectors.

Although it prefers partial shade, it can tolerate direct sunlight. Unlike other succulents, this plant likes its soil to be constantly moist.

13. String of Nickels

String of Nickels
Image: / Noppamas Phanmanee

Scientific name: Dischidia nummularia

Origin: India, Australia, Asia

Common names: Button orchid

The name String of Nickels is derived from the shape of this succulent’s leaves. 

Also known as button orchid, the plant can easily spread up to 10 feet. The String of Nickels can be trained to climb, or if you are planning to keep it indoors, to trail.

Apart from being easy to grow, the plant can thrive in an indoor environment. Although it can tolerate short periods under direct sunlight, it prefers filtered light. It can even grow under artificial light.

This succulent also loves high humidity, making them perfect for bathrooms and kitchens.

14. Kitten Ears

Kitten Ears
Image: / victimewalker

Scientific name: Cyanotis somaliensis 

Origin: Northern Somalia

Common names: Furry kittens, Pussy ears

A close relative of the inch plant, the Kitten Ears plant instantly adds texture to any succulent collection. The plant derives its name from its green and fuzzy leaves.

This low growing plant prefers bright lights but can be kept indoors with medium light. 

It is often kept as a trailing plant but some collectors keep them in pots or even terrariums due to their small size.

It produces fluffy, purple flowers that last for only a day.

15. Calico Kitten

Calico Kitten
Image: / MichelR45

Scientific name: Crassula pellucida

Origin: South Africa

Common names: Crassula pellucida 

The Calico Kitten is another gorgeous looking succulent which has heart-shaped leaves. 

The leaves can come in different color combinations, ranging from green to cream and pink. When subjected to dry conditions, these leaves can take a deep purple hue.

The plant grows slowly and can be tricky to care for, especially at the start. But with perseverance, you will be rewarded with a stunning trailing plant.

The Calico Kitten can be grown indoors and outdoors, preferring bright locations. Outdoors, the plant thrives in a bright, partial light.

16. Rat Tail Cactus

 Rat Tail Cactus
Image: / Goja1

Scientific name: Aporocactus flagelliformis

Origin: Mexico

Over the last few years, the Rat Tail Cactus has emerged as one of the more popular cacti grown in homes. It has become so popular that there are more specimens in homes compared to its native home in Mexico. In fact, the cactus is classified as a threatened species in the country.

In the wild, the Rat Tail Cactus grows on rocky crevasses and on trees.

This succulent got its popular name from the appearance of its long trailing stems which have yellow hairy spines. The stems can grow as long as six feet.

Initially, the plant looks green. But as the plant matures, it takes on a beige color.

The cactus produces pink, red, and occasionally, orange flowers between spring and summer.

17. Rex Begonia Vine

Scientific name: Cissus discolor

Origin: Java, Australia

Common names:

Despite its name, the Rex Begonia Vine is not a true begonia. In reality, it is a member of the grape family.

Although many gardeners use the plant in trellises and arbors, it can be hung on baskets as a trailing plant.

Its heart-shaped leaves are green on the top while the undersides are bright red. The plant looks absolutely stunning when trained to display both the top and underside.

Initially, the leaves appear to be red or purple. Upon reaching maturity the leaves turn green.

The plant prefers warm locations with ample sunlight.

Be forewarned: the Rex Begonia is not for beginners. It grows slow and can be difficult to care for.

Caring for your hanging succulents

Compared to other trailing plants, succulents are relatively easy to care for. Most of these plants will thrive with minimal attention.

However, it does not hurt to learn a few basic succulent care ideas.

Proper watering

If you can only get one thing right, that would be learning how to properly water your succulents. Proper watering is one of the challenges that new succulent owners need to hurdle first.

Watering succulents runs counter to the conventional idea that plants need to be watered regularly. If you are keeping succulents, it is vital to know that these plants need to be watered deeply but infrequently, like lawn grass.

Many types of succulents can thrive on benign neglect, going on days or even weeks without water. These plants are more than capable of handling long, dry spells with great ease.

Water your succulents only when the soil in their containers is dry. If you use the appropriate containers and soil mix for these plants, that is basically all you need to know.

Soil mix

Well-draining soil is essential for succulents, whether you keep them in hanging baskets or pots.

You can buy soil mixes made specially for succulents or mix your own. The important thing to remember is that you cannot use organic soil or dirt from the ground. These types of soil are not suitable for succulents because these become compact when wet and inhibit the optimal flow of air to the roots.

If you are keeping hanging succulents, you can supplement your potting mix with natural liners like sphagnum moss and coco fiber. These liners help drain water away from the soil after you water your plant or after rainfall.


In general, succulents grow better in shallow plants. For hanging baskets, opt for those that are eight inches in diameter and about six inches deep. 

In most instances, your succulents will thrive in containers with these dimensions. If your plants grow over the summer, you can transfer them from their hanging baskets to pots to be kept indoors. 

Additionally, many types of succulents do not mind growing in crowded spaces, at least for the short term.

Learn your plants’ individual requirements

Many succulents share a few similarities in terms of their requirements for optimal growth.

But whether you are hanging your succulents in baskets or keeping them indoors in containers, it is essential to study each of your plant’s unique needs.