Succulent Types: Explore Interesting Species & Variations [With Pictures!]

succulent types

Succulent Types: Explore Interesting Species & Variations [With Pictures!]

Succulents are some of the hottest plants on the market right now! Succulent and cactus sales have jumped 64% since 2012 as part of the rapidly-growing plant movement. Demand for these amazing plants continues to rise, so you may be wondering which varieties are the most popular succulent types?


The current generation of young adults has quickly pushed the indoor houseplant market into a billion-dollar industry, totaling a whopping $1.7 billion in 2019. If you’re looking to hop in on this trend, we’ve rounded up all the most popular succulents so that you can get started on your plant journey. Follow along for more great information so that you can select the perfect succulent that matches your personality and style!



What Are Succulents?

Succulents refer to many different plant species that most commonly live in dry, arid regions. These plants are unique because they can store moisture in their leaves, making them incredibly drought-tolerant and capable of surviving in dry conditions. As a result, succulents often have thick, plump, fleshy leaves that contribute to their overall beauty.


Succulents can come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, which is part of their appeal. Some succulents only grow to be a few inches tall while others, like the famous Saguaro Cactus, can reach up to 40-60 feet tall!


People love succulents because they require very little work to raise. They are some of the easiest plants in the world to care for and can go for weeks without water. Many types can also tolerate full sun and thrive in any environment (besides freezing cold). Plus, most are small enough to place around the house.



How Many Succulent Types Are There?

With over 10,000 known succulent types and more being identified every day, it’s only a matter of time before you find one that you love!


Plant nurseries around the world cross-breed different species to create new, wild, and exotic succulents that can become your next tabletop centerpiece. You can also mix and match multiple varieties to build a relaxing, colorful ambiance inside your home!



Most Popular Succulent Types

Check out our list of some of the most beloved and hottest-selling succulents right now! These cute, tiny succulent plants are incredibly versatile and can complement any home decor. Use this list as a starting point for your next plant purchase!



Kalanchoe plants are probably one of the most purchased succulents in supermarkets, nurseries, and flower shops.


This stunning plant produces colorful, long-blooming flowers that last from fall through winter. The flowers resemble small roses and come in either red, pink, orange, yellow, lavender, or white.


The minimal care needs and manageable size make this succulent one of the top plants for landscaping. Kalanchoes are also great indoor succulents for decor since they can thrive in almost any environment!


Jade Plant

Native to South Africa, the Jade Plant (Crassula ovata) is a beautiful succulent that has dark green, oval-shaped leaves, and thick tree-like stems.


Jade Plants can grow up to 3-6 feet tall, but they typically grow slowly at about 2 inches per year. You can keep them as small house plants that fit perfectly tableside for many years before they reach full maturity.


Did you know Jade Plants are thought to bring good luck and prosperity to their owners? They really do! And that’s why they make some of the best housewarming gifts.


If you’re really lucky, your Jade Plant may grow light pink or white flowers. Jade plants are easy to care for, making them ideal for plant owner’s of all levels!






Snake Plant

Snake Plants (Sansevieria trifasciata) are often called “Mother-In-Law’s Tongue” for the sharp, sword-like leaves that stand upright.


Different varieties of Snake Plants range in size from 6 inches to 8 feet tall. This hardy succulent requires very little attention and can go weeks without water.


Snake Plants are highly valued in Asian cultures because many believe the plant brings long life, luck, prosperity, and strength to the household.


But be careful having small children or pets around Snake Plants since the plant can be poisonous to them!


Zebra Plant

Zebra Plants (Aphelandra squarrosa) are renowned for their striking dark green, patterned leaves. Each green leaf has prominent white veins, giving it a zebra-esque appearance.


During full bloom, Zebra Plants can grow 2-4 bright, yellow flowers in the center of the plant. These stunning flowers can last up to six weeks per year, so enjoy them while you can!


The Zebra Plant is native to the tropical forests of Brazil and thrives in moist, humid conditions. They may require slightly more work than the typical succulent, but they are still relatively easy to care for. The beautiful mix of colors in this succulent makes it the perfect toy for any amateur decorator.


Panda Plant

Panda Plants (Kalanchoe tomentosa) are native to Madagascar and are popular for their vibrant, exotic appearance.


Also called the Chocolate Soldier Plant or Pussy Ears, these fun succulents grow greenish-white leaves rimmed with red or brown dots. The leaves have a fuzzy and velvety look to them, completing their resemblance to adorable panda bears!


Panda Plants can grow up to 2-3 feet tall, but like other succulents, they are slow-growing. Their compact sizes allow you to place them anywhere inside your house as long as they receive bright, indirect light. Most dedicated succulent collectors will have a Panda Plant in their collection!


Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller) has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. But, many people also raise it as a succulent plant for its tall, spiky leaves. Native to southern Africa, the Aloe Vera plant is one of the fastest-growing succulents available.


Although you can harvest and use the flesh of an Aloe Vera topically, the thick leaves are slightly toxic and should not be ingested. Aloe Vera also prefers bright light and little water, making it extremely easy to grow indoors or outdoors. Aloe Veras can bloom flowers in ideal conditions, but normally it doesn’t happen when grown indoors.






Related: Aloe Plant Vera Care: A Guide To Inspire Growth & Wellness

Christmas Cactus

The Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera buckleyi) is a unique cactus native to tropical regions in South America. Unlike other cacti, the Christmas Cactus does not have any spikes, and it blooms stunning pink flowers in the winter. Christmas Cacti also do not have a main trunk. Instead, they have long, hanging stems that droop over the side of the pot.


Many South American urban legends tell stories of how the Christmas Cactus symbolizes the idea of answered prayers. This emblem makes it’s a popular gift to give to others during the holiday season. Other variations of this succulent are the Easter Cactus and the Thanksgiving Cactus, which bloom around their respective holidays.


Related: Christmas Cactus Care: How to Keep Your Cacti Alive & Healthy


Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear Cacti (Opuntia) is one of the most commonly grown cactus plants. You’ll probably recognize its large, flat pads with prickly spines and vibrant red flowers. This cactus grows edible fruits on top! The fruit is a popular snack in Mexico and is often made into candies, jellies, and drinks.


Since it’s an actual desert plant, the Prickly Pear Cactus needs full sun to grow and even less water than most other succulents. There are different varieties of the Prickly Pear Cactus that can vary in size, spine color, and flowering. It’s a fantastic decorative plant that you can grow in your backyard!






Which Type of Succulent is Best for First Time Plant Owners?

Although many fantastic succulents are great for first-time plant owners, the Jade Plant is potentially one of the easiest to start with. Plant care is typically very easy, straightforward, and undemanding! Although sometimes Jade Plants can reach up to six feet in the wild, they are usually much shorter when grown indoors.


It’s always better to underwater than overwater your succulent plant, so they aren’t sitting in too much water. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which kills the plant. Jade Plants thrive under bright, indirect sunlight, so if you can find north or south-facing windows, you can leave your succulent there to grow. Avoid areas with direct sunlight as sometimes the rays can cause leaf burn.


The average room temperature and humidity are suitable for the plant to grow and thrive. Overall, Jade Plants are very adaptable to their surroundings. If you don’t have any plants currently, a hardy Jade Plant is a great one to start with!



Which Succulent Types Are Easiest to Grow?

In no particular order, here some of the easiest succulents to grow, some of which are already on our list!


  • Jade Plant
  • Snake Plant
  • Burro’s Tail
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Aloe Vera
  • Panda Plant
  • Ponytail Palm
  • String of Pearls
  • Pincushion Cactus



What Succulent Type Lives the Longest?

One of the longest living succulents is the Saguaro Cactus. This iconic cactus is commonly depicted in desert scenes and can grow up to 40 feet tall! It only grows in the Sonora Desert region, from southern Arizona throughout western Mexico.

You’ll probably recognize the Saguaro cactus by its thick green trunk. Its branches look like raised arms. As a desert plant, it loves dry, arid conditions, but you can easily grow it from the comfort of your own home. A well-cared-for Saguaro can live for almost 200 years!


The Saguaro is an extremely slow-growing plant, especially in its early years. The cactus might only grow 1-2 inches in its first ten years of life. It can take up to 70-80 years for the Saguaro to reach 6 feet tall and get its first flowers and fruit.



Which Succulent Types Are Rarest?

Rare succulents are highly prized and can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars if you can find one. Many of these succulents number less than a few thousand in the entire world. However, these succulents are unrivaled in beauty and look!


  • Compton Carousel (Echeveria X Imbricata) – The Compton Carousel is extremely attractive, growing in clusters of giant bluish-green rosettes. The rosettes grow to about six inches across and a foot tall. A high-quality Compton Carousel can cost a few hundred dollars — if they aren’t already sold out!
  • Rose Pincushion Cactus (Mammillaria zeilmanniana) – The Rose Pincushion Cactus is endangered due to its popularity! The succulent blooms bright pink flowers on top of its small, 6-inch base. Due to illegal harvesting, the Rose Pincushion numbers less than a thousand in its native region of Mexico.
  • Sand Dollar Cactus (Astrophytum asterias) – The Sand Dollar Cactus is often also called Sea Urchin Cactus or Star Cactus for its unique round, coin-like shape. However, the rising popularity of this succulent led to people illegally removing it from its natural habitat. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates there are less than 2,000 remaining in the wild.



Final Thoughts – Succulent Types

There are several types of amazing succulent varieties out there waiting to be discovered. Succulents are a great addition to your home if you want to brighten and improve your space. Start with some of these most popular succulents and work your way onto the more exotic and wild plants!

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