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: istockphoto.com / 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

Ocotillo
Image: istockphoto.com / 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: istockphoto.com / 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: istockphoto.com / 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

Senita
Image: istockphoto.com / 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

Saguaro
Image: istockphoto.com / 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: istockphoto.com / 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?

Stretching

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. 

Growing

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.