Named for their fleshy sap-filled leaves, succulents are widely used in home decor because of their resilient nature and low-maintenance nature. With so many to choose from, you may be wondering what defines a succulent, and the answer is that botanists haven’t decisively concluded.
They come in all shapes and sizes, colors, and textures. However, not all succulents are created equal. From cacti to aloe plants and so many in between, these plants are all the rage right now due to their attractive and versatile nature.
Because there are so many different types of succulents, their scientific names vary. They are found in more than 60 plant families with members of Cactaceae, Aizoceae, and Crassulaceae being mostly succulents.
Because succulents vary so greatly, other common names vary from species to species. There is no other common name for the classification of succulents.
Succulents are termed xerophytes, which means that they are able to live in extremely dry climates. Hence their thick, fleshy leaves that hold moisture and prevent water loss.
Most succulents come from deserts or semi-deserts in warm places around the world. Mexico and South Africa are both large producers of succulents, though some succulents come from cooler climates.
Because there are so many varieties within the succulent family, the appearance can differ greatly. Some succulents are small, some are large. Some have pointy spike-like leaves, while others have flat medallion-shaped leaves or plump spherical leaves. Regardless of the shape, they will all be thick and fleshy.
There are succulents that are all one color, and there are variegated succulents. You’ve likely seen moon cactus plants with vibrant neon tops alongside the dreamy pastel pink rosette succulents, like the Echeveria ‘Afterglow,’ for sale in garden centers.
One commonality that many (though not all, by any means) succulents have is that their leaves typically grow in a rosette form. Other than this, the appearance of succulents varies drastically.
Types Of Succulents
As you can see, succulents are plentiful in their varieties. However, here are some of the most popular indoor succulent varieties:
Burro’s tail (sedum morganianum)
Jade plant (crassula ovata)
Panda plant (kalanchoe tomentosa)
Roseum (sedum spurium)
Zebra plant (haworthia fasciata)
Crown of thorns (euphorbia milii)
Hens and chicks (sempervivum tectorum)
String of bananas (senecio radicans)
Of course, there are many other types of succulents that can be grown indoors, but these are some of the most popular, and our favorites.
Because of the unique look of each type of succulent, there are several ways to style succulents. When grown as houseplants, succulents are often kept in small pots and used to decorate desks and small tables.
Certain succulents can be planted in the same pot, so grouping succulents in a beautiful terracotta pot can make a nice addition to any room. Trailing vine succulents, such as the string of pearls, make for a lovely hanging plant or can be placed on a high shelf to allow the stems to cascade down.
While you’d think small succulents would do well in a terrarium, too much humidity can kill them. If you do choose a terrarium, make sure it has a large opening and plenty of air circulation.
You can find many DIY projects and videos online for unique ways to style your succulents.