Succulents are now seen in everything from boutonnieres to hanging planters. They are a trend that is taking over not just gardens, but wedding and home decor as well. Succulents are a type of plant that thrives in dry climates. Most succulents come from areas in Africa or Central America where it is hot and there is little humidity. Because they store water in their leaves, they can withstand long hours in the sun and little watering.
Succulents are known for their low maintenance and long lifespans, which makes them great for people who work all day, are on the go or just aren’t great at taking care of plants. These plants are great for adding structure and vibrance to gardens and homes. There are many types of succulents that can be used as corner plants in a home office or pops of color in a lush garden.
However, even though these drought-resistant plants are simple to maintain, they still have preferences when it comes to location. To help you better understand the different types of succulents and where they grow best, we have composed a list of the 20 most popular types. We’ve categorized them by indoor and outdoor varieties, and created visual guides to help you differentiate between the two types.
10 Types of Indoor Succulents
There is a reason that succulent plants are so trendy. Not only can they be grown alone, but they also pair nicely with other types of plants. Succulents also happen to be right on trend with Pantone’s color of the year: Greenery! Succulents offer a diversity of shapes, colors and styles that can fit anywhere from a home office to a child’s bedroom.
Indoor succulents grow best in room temperatures where it is dry with little humidity. While they like direct sunlight, they can adapt to lower levels of light as well, making them ideal for home decor. Keep reading for the top 10 most popular types of indoor succulents.
Burro’s Tail (sedum morganianum)
Also known as the donkey tail plant, this succulent is one of the easiest plants to propagate and care for, which makes it a popular houseplant. The burro’s tail was given its name because of its ability to grow up to four inches long with a shape that resembles a tail. This species happens to be a cactus and although all cacti are succulents, not all succulents are cacti. This succulent grows best indoors, placed in a well-drained container, where its long stems can drape down off of the edges of the pot.
Crown of Thorns (euphorbia milii)
The crown of thorns is a great houseplant because it adjusts well to dry indoor environments and room temperatures. For the best care and results, place this succulent near a window where it can get about three to four hours of sunlight a day. The crown of thorns is very lenient when it comes to missed waterings, but make sure to only water the plant when its soil is completely dry. In Thailand there is a legend that the number of flowers that bloom on a crown of thorns predicts the future of the plant-keeper. So, make sure to take good care of this one!
Flaming Katy (kalanchoe blossfeldiana)
The flaming katy is a common houseplant that is native to Madagascar. It prefers temperatures from 60 to 85 degrees, and is extremely sensitive to the cold which is why it is best suited for indoors. The flaming katy grows best in clay pots that have holes at the bottom for drainage. They prefer well-lit areas and will produce more buds and flowers when given eight to 10 hours of sun a day. In late autumn and early winter this succulent produces buds with four petals that can be an array of colors from dark reds to golds and whites. It looks great as a table centerpiece or a desk plant.
Jade Plant (crassula ovata)
The jade plant is similar to a bonsai plant in the way that it grows and is maintained. It has a thick trunk with branches that jut out like a miniature tree. This succulent has thick, shiny, dark green leaves that grow into an oval shape. Some varieties of the jade plant develop a red color at the tip of the leaf. Once the plant matures and if the conditions are right, the jade plant can develop beautiful white or pink flowers that bloom in the shape of a star.
Aloe Vera (aloe vera)
Aloe vera is a variety of houseplant that is most known for its medical benefits. It has been grown in tropical climates for many years and cultivated for its medicinal purposes. You can use the healthy compounds of the aloe vera plant to ease scrapes and burns, so it is a great plant to have around the house. This succulent can be found in ointments for burns, skin lotion, drinks and cosmetics. It can also be used for decorative purposes as an indoor plant. This plant has thick, pointed leaves that are usually a green-gray color. The leaves are variegated with spots of white that stretch out directly from the plant’s base.
Panda Plant (kalanchoe tomentosa)
The panda plant is one of the most interesting types of indoor succulents because of its small and fuzzy leaves. The velvety appearance of its leaves and brownish-red markings on its edges are what earned it the name of the panda plant. They can live for many years indoors and although this type of succulent can flower in the right circumstances, it rarely does. Because of the panda plant’s small size and soft texture, it looks great in children’s rooms or in hanging planters.
Pincushion Cactus (mammillaria crinita)
The pincushion plant is of the cactus variety and has pointy spikes covering its exterior. It is native to Mexico, but has also been found in some southwest areas of the United States. This succulent belongs to the mammillaria family, which consists of over 250 species of cacti. The Latin word mammillaria means “nipple” and refers to the tube-like features that protrude out of its exterior. The pincushion is a miniature cactus that usually does not grow taller than six inches and produces vibrant blooms that add a desert vibe to your home.
Roseum (sedum spurium)
The roseum plant is a low-growing succulent that only gets to be about four to six inches tall. It is a fast grower that works great in containers or planters on a windowsill. In the summer, the roseum develops clusters of light-pink star flowers that can add a pop of color to your home decor. It can also add texture to a floral arrangement. This succulent prefers full sun to partial shade, so we recommend placing it on a windowsill that gets a decent amount of light.
Snake Plant (sansevieria trifasciata)
Native to West Africa, the snake plant is one of the easiest succulents to cultivate. It can be neglected for long periods of time and still maintain its fresh look. This plant has long, variegated leaves in different shades of green. It is one of the most tolerant types of indoor succulents and can survive in rooms with low light and little water. NASA research says this plant can even improve the air quality in your home by removing toxins and pollutants while you sleep!
Zebra Plant (haworthia fasciata)
The zebra plant can grow between five and six inches tall and wide. It does not take up a lot of room and does not require much care, so it works well as a houseplant. The zebra plant gets its name from the white variegated stripes on its leaves. These striking leaves point out from its stem in different directions. This plant has shallow roots and is best grown in smaller pots. The zebra plant produces bright yellow, cone-shaped flower heads that last about a week. They are dainty, slow-growing and have an eccentric appearance. They make great gifts and decor for a shelf or desk.
10 Types of Outdoor Succulents
Succulents make a great addition to outdoor gardens. They add structure and complexity to a garden design and can be planted in the ground or in a variety of different containers. There are many characteristics that make these particular succulents great for growing outdoors- some are too large for indoors, while others need direct sunlight to grow properly.
The most important thing to be aware of when growing succulents outdoors is the sun. A lot of care instructions will say “full sun,” but that does not necessarily mean they will be able to handle temperatures of 100 degrees. Most succulents do best in zones nine or 10 when outdoors. Here is a list of the top ten succulents for outdoor gardens.
Hens-and-Chicks (sempervivum tectorum)
Sempervivum means “live forever,” which makes this succulent perfect for those that don’t have a natural knack for growing. The hens-and-chicks succulent can propagate very quickly and produce multiple offspring called “chicks”. With over 3,000 different species, this sempervivum species comes in a wide array of colors that you can mix and match in your garden.
When given proper care, they can produce beautiful red flowers that bloom together in the shape of a crown. This succulent only lives for about three years, but because of its ability to quickly propagate they “live forever.”
Stonecrop (sedum spp.)
The stonecrop succulent comes in a variety of colors from bright green and pink to silver and blue. There are two main types of sedums- tall sedums and creeping sedums. The tall sedums have long stems that grow to be between one and three feet tall. They are known for sprouting colorful flower clusters that look great in a summer garden. The creeping sedums grow along the ground and are usually used in rock gardens, rock walls or on roofs.
Whale’s Tongue Agave (agave ovatifolia)
This agave succulent was originally grown in Mexico on mountains with elevations of 3,700 to 7,000 feet. It has light green, flat and wide leaves that resemble that of a whale’s tongue. They grow to be between two and five feet tall and about three to six feet wide. Because of their large size, they are more suitable to be grown outdoors. They grow to their full size when watered regularly and can produce 10 to14 feet-tall flower spikes.
Ball Cactus (parodia magnifica)
The ball cactus is one of the most uniquely-shaped succulents because it can grow between one and two feet tall with a shape that resembles a hot air balloon. However, it is not quite as smooth as a balloon, with columns of spikes lining its exterior. The ball cactus produces small, yellow-colored flowers that like to grow in clusters.
They look great on patios or as container plants within a garden. The shape and brilliant blooms of this plant add a desert vibe to your garden’s aesthetic. They are most commonly used in xeriscapes, which is why they make one of the most popular outdoor succulents.
Plush Plant (echeveria pulvinata)
The plush plant is covered in fine white hairs that shimmer in the sun, giving it a silvery appearance. It is native to Southern Mexico and blooms gorgeous orange-yellow blooms that mirror a sunset. They prefer partial shade and can be grown in the ground or placed in containers within a garden. For best results, it is important that the plush plant is repotted during the warmer months. Before repotting, always make sure that the soil is completely dry.
Dudleya (echeveria spp.)
Dudleyas are members of the echeveria genus and are t native to California. There are more than 40 different varieties of this succulent, some of which are on the endangered species list. They are a rosette-forming plant which means that they have a circular arrangement of leaves. Most leaves have rounded edges that with good care can live up to 100 years! These plants used to grow naturally on hills to avoid getting water on their leaves, so make sure to avoid their leaves when watering.
Pig’s Ear (cotyledon orbiculata)
The pig’s ear succulent was given its name because of its thick, oval leaves that have red on the edges. During late summer or early autumn, yellow and red flowers grow at the top of two-foot stems and droop down. When fully mature, the pig’s ear can grow up to four feet high, making it a great addition to an outdoor garden.
It is best suited to dry areas like succulent beds, rock gardens and even hanging baskets! This succulent does not need much water, but can take up a large space, so make sure to leave a little room when planting this one in your garden.
Zwartkop (aeonium arboreum)
The zwartkop is also called the “black rose,” which refers to the dark burgundy color of its rosette-forming leaves. In winter, this plant produces yellow flowers that create a beautiful and unexpected contrast to its dark foliage. This succulent prefers full sun, which is why it grows best in outdoor gardens. They are most commonly placed in flower beds or borders and like to grow together in clusters.
Sunburst (aeonium davidbramwellii)
The sunburst succulent is also called copper pinwheel because of the yellow leaves that grow in a circle around its center. The sunburst is considered to be a “tri-colored” plant because of its variegated green, white and yellow leaves. It is a hybrid succulent and a member of the aeonium genus that is popular among outdoor succulents. It branches out with rosettes that bloom white flowers in the summer. The sunburst succulent is native to the Canary Islands and can flourish seaside, growing to up to two feet high.
Torch Plant (aloe aristata)
The leaves of this plant start off as a light green shade that turns darker in the sun. In the summer, they can bloom orange blossoms atop 20-inch stems that resemble a torch. It does not have quite the same medicinal benefits as its aloe vera cousin, but is unique in its ability to grow to great lengths. When cared for properly, the torch plant can grow up to ten feet tall and 18 inches across. They are great for brightening a garden and creating a summer vibe.
Types of Succulents: Visual Guides
From garden walls to hanging planters, succulents are a great addition to any home or garden. Not only are they easy to care for, but they can help add variety and texture to what might have been a boring design. With the many different varieties to choose from we have created two visual guides listing the most popular types of indoor and outdoor succulents.
It can be fun to mix and match different varieties of indoor succulents to spice up your home decor. They look great as office plants, on kitchen windowsills or as coffee table centerpieces. Here is a list of the most popular types of indoor succulents for your home.